Resilience in Faith & the Ex-Muslims Phenomenon

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Mohammad Elshinawy

Channel: Mohammad Elshinawy

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San Diego

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hamdulillah salat wa salam ala rasulillah holiday Marina v In the name of Allah whole praise and glory be to Allah. Mais finest peace and blessings be upon His messenger Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and his family and his companions and all those who tried his path. May Allah grant us in your life upon his path and a death upon his path, and a reunion around him alone, I mean.

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So I'm going to be sharing a few thoughts in Sharla regarding navigating the phenomena of doubt,

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how people stop practicing, and then soon thereafter, or eventually thereafter, sometimes stop believing altogether. How should a Muslim react to this?

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The first reaction should be when you see a Muslim,

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being consumed in the secular age or by secular liberalism.

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By doubt and begin doubting their religion is that this should increase you in faith in Allah Subhana Allah to Allah and His Messenger sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, because our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam told us this would happen. And now it's unveiling itself. Right? As he said, just as he said, he said, a time will come over the people were they gathered together in the masjid and prayed together. And amongst them are no believers. So they are basically like, socially, culturally Muslim, and that's it. In some narrations, even he said, people will begin making hedge and praying and fasting while not in reality believers. And so he foretold Allah is Salatu was Salam that

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religions at the end of time, including Islam, or in particular, Islam, will be reduced to a shell of themselves.

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The outward motions, he prophesized that so when you see it, say he was the Messenger of God, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, it should increase you in faith. That's the first thing.

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Our second reaction to this phenomena

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should be that we become deeply concerned by what's happening.

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Because at the end of the day, we're human and human beings by nature are so impressionable, meaning it's so easy to impress on us a certain behavior, a certain worldview influenced us, because that's just how we are we're social creatures. And so we're products of our surroundings, we're products of our environments. like can you imagine Ibrahim alayhis salaam says, Oh Allah, it you know Binney were bernia and Naboo de la snam.

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Protect me and my children from falling into what everybody else is doing. Which is worshipping the idols the false gods

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attain me but I have a 10 year old law, great scholar, he used to read this verse and see familiar manual Bella about Abraham, who could ever feel secure from going astray. After Ibrahim alayhis salam was worried.

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And this isn't even about you seeing the whole world not believing in what you're believing in anymore. That as difficult as that is because we're social creatures and we want to belong and we want to be like everybody else. It's natural. No, we're talking now about people that were Muslim who are leaving the faith, which is even more difficult, right? That's why even the time of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. That was a tactic the tactic of x Muslims using x Muslims because Muslims a doubt and doubt their faith will call a party for too many kitabi I mean, who believe even zerah Lavina Amanullah Johanna Hari, Rahul Allah.

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Allah azza wa jal says, a group from the people of the book The people of Medina, the Jews of Medina,

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they used to say, believe in what the believers have accepted for a few hours during the daytime, then disbelieve later on at the night at night, so that they'll turn their back on their religion meaning make believe you're a Muslim for a few hours, and then walk away from Islam, because that'll shake them in their faith, more than anything else. And so just understanding the likelihood of this having an imprint on us lesser or more depending on who we are, depending on many other factors, but we should be deeply concerned, we should be deeply vigilant. So it's going to increase us in our faith and Allah subhana wa tada when we see it. And it's also going to alert us that we need to be

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vigilant and not have this wishful thinking that it's not gonna affect me or my family, or this false sense of security. Like I'm absolutely unbreakable in my faith, irrespective of the fact there's that drill away. It's me. Okay, that's the first thing I

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I wanted to say,

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the second thing is we need to analyze a little bit. Why do Muslims doubt? Why does this phenomena exist in our community?

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In 2016, the Afghan Institute for Islamic research was established for this very end,

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to basically provide Muslims with answers to so many questions that could cause them to begin to doubt, so many criticisms, so many accusations, and the Muslims need the answers. So this think tank was put together to provide them with acceptable answers, for these difficult questions, and also secondarily, for the non Muslims that are sincere, that are truth seekers, that hear so many lies about us that they can finally hear from us, you know, reclaiming the narrative about Islam, for the Muslims to begin with, and also whomever is open enough to listen, humble enough to listen from outside of our communities.

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And so what we did at European Institute, is we began by studying the pathways to doubt like what are the inlets that bring a person to start doubting Islam, so that we could dismantle those doubts one at a time in sha Allah one truth at a time, as we say, and then start building conviction, cultivating nourishing, strengthening the conviction they have been in people's hearts, and then naturally the byproduct of that should be contribution. So the third goal of the organization of the think tank of the Institute is to inspire contribution

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in the Muslims in light of their Islam through their theme through their conviction and certainty in their Islam. Okay, just a quick overview, a commercial with commercial or sell things, we're not selling anything, all our content is free, please avail yourselves make use of the website, you can institute.org Let's come back to the pathways to doubt which I want to summarize for you very quickly. In these thorough studies about the pathways to doubt we found the reason people doubt Islam can probably be summarized in three major reasons, three major inlets to doubt the first of them, we categorize them as philosophical or scientific reasons, reasons like questions surrounding

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the origins of the human being, like the whole evolution debate, which supposes supposedly science supposedly says evolution. But revelation why the sacred revelation from Allah says that he created Adam alayhis salam as his right, or questions about the existence of God, is there proof for that? And what is it or the nature of God? What kind of God is he? Is he a merciful God? Is he a compassionate God, the nature of God?

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And also questions about the existence of the universe and how to process and understand the world around us. Questions like the problem of evil, why is there evil? Why is there human suffering? That's one inlet scientific and philosophical contentions, that challenge our faith. The second category that caused doubt in people

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somewhat related, but what we classified as

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issues of morality, issues of social norms, like the the accepted norms in our societies, the morals, the standards, our society, Islam, not living up to those. So questions like why is Islam so harsh and its punishments? Or why is Islam so violent? If you read certain ayat decontextualised? Of course, not with their proper understanding, but certain I add, that seem to promote this, or ahaadeeth that seems to promote that, or incidents in the Sierra in the lifetime of the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasallam that involve warfare and fighting and violence. How do you make sense of this? Right? Isn't that just too much? Isn't that barbaric? Isn't that savage? This is the

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contention, this is

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the accusation. also things like Islam, religion being so restrictive, right? It's just so restrictive, so many rules, you know, especially against women. Why does it consider women inferior? And why does it like force women to wear the hijab and all of that that whole long discussion

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with all it contains the third category of reasons pathways to doubt.

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Our experiences, personal experiences, personal trauma, emotional reasons. So for example, Muslims

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that have experienced cases of domestic violence in their own person or in their loved ones, or trauma, because of some ordeal, they went through the loss of a loved one or some health, tragedy or something of this nature, right.

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emotional reasons traumas. Also to fall into this category is feeling rejected in the masjid or just being saved.

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of the stagnation in Muslim discourse, just totally put off by Masjid politics or racism within the masjid. Or the sisters not having adequate space or programming in the masjid.

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Or simply something within their very personal selves like something they're going through depression

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or a sense of alienation outside, they feel like they're a misfit in society, so that the weighs down on them. And so after a while, they just want to like get away from all of this peer pressure, if you will. And so they begin to doubt their religion as a convenient exit for all of that. And that's extremely important that last example, I gave a convenient exit.

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These three categories are not separate, we have to understand that. So like,

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imagine a sister that saw domestic violence growing up, maybe not with her, but with her mom or her aunt or something, right? And then she comes to the masjid and she's given the leftover space in the masjid, the boiler room, or the closet space. She that's

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an experience, right? That could feed another doubt in a different category. The social norms doubt the accusation that Islam does, in fact, consider women inferior. So those two things come together. Because all maybe there is some truth to it. I've seen it growing up, I've seen it in the masjid. And so maybe what I'm hearing on In popular culture or on the media or in the smear campaigns, has some truth behind it. Right? Or take another example, if a Muslim just like a local and you hear it, it's going, let's go and it's gotten the voices on its way up.

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A Muslim hears cherry picked incidents decontextualized from the Seattle the life story of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam that are supposedly merciless, supposedly ruthless. And then everywhere they turn there's like pictures of ISIS doing something that's merciless, right. And so that would feed into that maybe Islam does I mean, past and present, maybe it does have violent teachings, the two categories merge.

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Or someone who spent so much time watching bad news on their news feed between wars and between hunger and between maybe some depression they have in their own personal life. And so they say, Yeah, really? Why does God allow for the problem of evil to exist? Why doesn't God just fix all the problems in the world? And so it becomes like a philosophical issue, or it makes you more susceptible to the philosophical issue? Does that make sense, everybody? And the reason why I'm trying to say that it's not separate, they all go hand in hand, so that your solution to yourselves to your communities, to your families, to whoever you have influence over, also has to be holistic,

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also has to include all of these factors.

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So you're not just going to dismantle the doubt in somebody's mind. It's not a computer virus that you just like, you know, you fix it, and it's gone.

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Because then another virus can come, right, you're not, you're just going to remove the doubt, because another doubt can take its place. And so that'll be an endless project. So we don't just want to dismantle the doubts in the Muslims, you want to actually cultivate the inside of them solidify for them their convictions, that's part of the solution, right? That's part of it. Also, you want to provide the Muslims with it with a safe space, where they can escape the stigma of feeling alienated in society by being a weirdo being a stranger, because of the way they dress, the way they believe the way they pray in public, these types of things. Because human beings, we look

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for a sense of belonging. And so if the message is not welcoming to us, then I don't feel comfortable inside of the masjid as a Muslim or outside of the masjid as a Muslim, then maybe this whole Islam thing is not for me. Right? So the solution has to be all of that combined, it has to account for the emotional factors, the moral factors, and the intellectual scientific factors all together. That was the second point. So number one, how should you react to the phenomena, increase you in faith and get you vigilant, get you concerned? Number two, understanding why Muslims doubt Wow, I have 10 minutes left, Mashallah. Why Muslims doubt, I gave you a little bit of an overview of

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as to why Muslims doubt. The third and last thing I want to try to cover as fast as I can, is what I

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strongly believe is the most overlooked, but at the same time, most common trigger of doubts regarding God and regarding his religion

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and that is the dominant culture of our times.

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So, the dominant culture comes with so many things that we kind of just imbibe, like we just adopt and swallow unconsciously without realizing it is just conditioned into us. For example,

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our over dependence on science that's just part of our culture, we're in the age

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where science is everything. But science is not everything.

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Science cannot tell you any absolute truth because we're constantly improving in our science, forget scientific theories, even scientific facts, so many things that are fact, in science, the fact gets changed, doesn't it. And so if you over depend on science, you're going to be subject to that problem. And then they're the things that science can never ever address anyway, because science only observes the physical world, it cannot address anything about the metaphysical, the light, the unseen aspects of the world, right? And also, science cannot tell you even your physical world how to deal with it in the sense of like, what does this mean? What is this purpose? what's beautiful,

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what's just what's good, what's evil, science can't do that when either right morality. And so the over dependence on science, something we just kind of imbibed in our dominant culture.

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Also, another part of our dominant culture that feeds into doubt,

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is that we have,

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and I'm going to spend some time the rest of the time, I guess, on this one, unprecedented luxuries in our time, that we've never had before. And that is directly linked with our propensity, our likelihood to doubt our religion, the luxuries of the age of materialism.

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So how does that work? You need to understand your age, you're in the secular age, you know, Chris Taylor has a book called the secular age printed by Harvard press, extremely important to work.

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He basically says, look, in the past few centuries, the Western world, the modern world, because globalization, right? The Western world, he says, has taken a drastic turn, like human history has changed. A drastic turn what he calls an anthropocentric term. Forget the big words, just understand it. What does he What does that mean? He said, where the human now the human being man is now placed at the center of the universe. So basically, in the past few 100 years, the mindsets, the worldview of human beings has shifted from God, from religion to men, we don't care about God anymore. We care about human being now, like this whole God thing, just not important, we can really figure out

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anything about God. Turns out our religion was lying to us. This is the European experience, right? Let's just focus on us. Now. That's like, that's all we can really do. And so they shifted to men. And so they stopped caring about what's my purpose in life.

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And they started focusing on the quality of my life, my immediate life, right?

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In other words, I don't really care why I'm alive.

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Why I care about how I live, not why I live,

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you get it. That is the summary of how we think without even realizing it in the secular age, by the way, that that is a horrible trade off, decide point, horrible trip to exchange, your purpose in life, throw that out, for pleasures in life, that's a horrible trade off. And I said this yesterday. That's why you see the country's the modern world that has the most access to pleasures, but the most blurred sense of purpose. They have the highest suicide rates, they take more antidepressants than anybody, they have more tensions and anxieties. Because purpose is more important, important than pleasure. That's just the way Allah created you. He made you a purposeful creature. That's why

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the countries that don't live as comfortably, but they have a sense of purpose because of their religious traditions. They live better off, they have more life satisfaction, they have more resilience, to go on with life, even if life is more difficult for them. But it's purposeful, as opposed to someone whose life is more comfortable, but it's not purposeful. Their lives are the worst. May Allah protect us and you say I mean, but that was a side point. So we're in an age now where advancement science right? People think science is the reason for the trend of atheism. It's not true science, what it did is that it enhanced for us it improved for us the instruments of

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pleasure, right the instruments of self gratification, things are faster now. Things are cooler. Now. Things are more like thrilling now. It improved your the way you are able to pleasure yourself, to appease yourself to love to, you know, pamper yourself. And so that is what made us obsessed with pleasure with immediate gratification, self gratification. That's what made us hate religion. You get it because

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religion says what exhibits virtue exhibit patience, exhibits discipline, exhibit self restraint.

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And you're like waiting? Why? No. Why should I?

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religion? Just, it puts limits on me. And then it makes me feel guilty about the fact that I want to have the party life. I don't want it Why? Why is God like making my life miserable? What? Why is there evil in the world anyway? Why doesn't God fix that? You know, it's very interesting. It's extremely interesting, statistically speaking, the problem of evil like, why is there hunger? Why is there the problem of evil is the number one reason people cite for not wanting to believe in God, but not in the world, in the Western world.

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It's very fascinating. You know, why? Because in the Western world, these things don't really exist. Right? So you think like the people that are starving a third of this planet that is starving in the developing countries of the world, they would be saying, There's no God because there's so much evil.

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But that's actually quoted by the parts of the world that are actually luxurious, they're actually comfortable, they actually have security and have food, relatively speaking way more than everybody else. So instead of them being more grateful, it actually made them more spoiled. So they became in denial about God Kela in the insane Allah tala and Rahu stuck in Allah says, The human being constantly transgresses, he keeps going further and further and further when when when does it when is it when he feels like he's self sufficient when he feels like he doesn't have any more needs? You start thinking that you the universe revolves around you. You're the center of the universe now you

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are God basically. The Quran actually talks about this as well in another iron so that had

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a lot as well tells you the story of people who flip flop in their faith. You want to talk about flip flopping. He says people have flip flop in their faith when it happens. He says these are people who accept the God on the condition that God serve them not that they serve him. That's what people use God for in our society, right, like Monday morning inspirations, like a meme about God. You know, in the modern era, God's gonna make everything all right. But actually you committing to him, No, he has to commit to me. He has to promise to make my life a paradise. Well, that's not the rule. Like that's not what this world was about. It's not what it's for. That's not know. In any

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case, so let me get back to it. They flip flopping their faith. Allah azza wa jal says, When Amina nasci maniapoto Allah Allah house among humanity are those who worship God on the edge meaning conditionally standoff. Gosh, they worship God on the edge for in our Saba who hide on my nav, if things are going his way, he's reassured, meaning he's satisfied not with God, but with the luxury

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when our Saba to pfitzner tune, and if something doesn't go his way, doesn't go her way in Colaba, Allah which they turn the about face, they go the opposite direction, hustler dunya will after they miss out on both this world, they're miserable here, and they missed out on the hereafter as well. They're like a whole husana Lubin, certainly that is the greatest loss.

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And so by atheism, or even like secularism, like being a religious, this is not a scientific problem. atheism is actually a spiritual problem. People are not ready. They don't believe in God deep down inside. They're frustrated with God. I remember one time we're sitting with this woman said, I don't believe in God. So he just gave her like, you know, argument after argument, proof after proof. She said, Listen, listen, listen. It's just It's not that I don't believe in God. I just don't like religion. I just I don't I don't like the rules. You know, like the rules of religion. That's what it is deep down inside, people that are frustrated with God frustrated with

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limits, because instead of us, embracing virtue, embracing the purpose of life, embracing how we need to engage the world, as it was meant to be by God, a life that is a trial and a test that is passing in transit. No, we want to distort reality. We want to lie to ourselves about the nature of God and life and everything else to match our desires. We've become spoiled.

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And so if the problem is spiritual, the solution and I'm closing now the solution has to be spiritual. We have to find a solution that softens the spirit moistens our hearts revives our conscience, the healthy form of guilt that needs to be woken up inside of us. Otherwise, the materialism of our age, the hedonism of our age, obsessing with pleasing ourselves, this will lead to more indulgence, and then you'll start crossing limits and indulgence who will become sinful, so it'll become more sinful, then that'll darken the heart even more. And then so that'll make you even more confused about God and his religion and reality. That's really how it happens. And where that

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stems from more than anywhere else, and so Panama the prophet SAW, Selim said this about the end of time and said the solution. He said bed, you'll be amazed.

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phitsanulok Muslim Hurry up and race to devote your God with good devote to God with good deeds. Before fitten before tribulations chaos confusion comes that's like the dark night just envelops you. He said that causes the person to be a believer in the morning and a disbeliever by night and a disbeliever by night and a believer in the morning, listen, yeah be or Deena who we are all the minute dunia. Why is he flip flopping, he sells out his religion, because of a measly offer of this life, the immediate pleasures of this life.

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And so your devotion to Allah is actually what spares you all of this. It is the Jihad of our era of our age.

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Abdullah Mr. odo the alojado, he would say that at the end of time, a person with sound faith sound the man like conviction,

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this will be better than so many good deeds. So he heard the words of the prophet SAW them. And that's why he says this, like he's foretelling that a time might come when someone putting up the jihad, just putting up the fight to stay believing this stuff, when everyone's making fun of you in society, and all of the opportunities in front of you don't want you to, you know, think about al Qaeda accountability, God, mission, patient, gender laser Not now, to hold on to that could be harder. And that's why a lot will make it more rewarding. It could be harder. And so it could outweigh in your scale of good deeds 1000s of records, and 1000s of dollars that were donated by

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people of a different age, who are not faced with the same threats that you're faced with.

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And finally, if you know someone who's struggling with doubts, you will not be able to give them something you don't have. Right you need, you need to show them your faith, not tell them about faith, you need to show them your conviction, and how that translates on the outside, they need to see your excellent character as well. Don't argue with them. Don't let them drag you into an argument that they're going to walk out of a thinking they're right and even more sure and out there, right because they beat another person. Right? Don't do that. You can reference them to resources,

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but keep the relationship with them.

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As the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam would keep the door open. And always remember this statement that I read once and I try not to forget that your manners with them, or anyone you give power to you're trying to invite to a loss pathless truth. Your manners are the bridge.

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That your proof you always try to tell them proof and argue. Your manners are the bridge that your proof marches over to get into their heart when your manners fall. They don't want to hear what you have to say they don't they don't care. But when they see it, they see that you're different than them. Your Islam does for you, with them walking away from faith has deprive them of May Allah azza wa jal make us and new people have conviction of strong conviction and steadfastness and protect us from the fit and the trials of this life and the grave. And their laws though, just brighten our faces on the day of judgment and make heavier scales. So panic alone will allow you to learn to

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relax