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Mufti Menk

Channel: Mufti Menk

Episode Notes

This is a short talk presented at the launch of Motivational Moments in Colombo Sri Lanka, 2017 to a multi religious multi cultural audience.

Episode Transcript

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


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Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. May the peace and blessings of the Almighty be upon one and all.

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Indeed, it is a great honor to be standing here in front of so many of the dignitaries, government officials, Muslims, non Muslims. And at the same time, my brothers and sisters in humanity to begin with, and in faith as well.

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listening to someone speak about you is not so easy. If you know me, you would know that I don't like people to speak about me, especially in my presence. Because I think it's what you leave behind as you depart, that makes you or breaks you. So it's very important that we realize and understand the beginning and the origin of every one of us. And that is what will take us to the greatest strength because the best positions can only be achieved in terms of humanity, by understanding that we are just human beings, every one of us.

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And I want to discuss with you two matters to begin with. The first is that the one who made me made you made everyone made those who follow your faith made those who don't follow your faith made those who don't follow any faith made those whom you like, make those whom you don't, like, made everyone. So in the same way, I feel so important as a human being, I need to know that they would all feel exactly the same, because they are human beings as well. And the quicker I understand this, the easier it will be for me to be able to reach out to the rest of humankind. But it does not stop there. Because the maker who made me and made everyone else did not just make human beings, but

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rather made creatures in greater numbers than human beings who are not human beings. If you were to count the number of animals on earth, they they exceed the number of human beings. You know, we heard just now that we're about 7 billion on earth, and it's increasing. But the number of animals, birds, insects, the number of trees, etc, etc, all this that was created by the Almighty, the same maker, they are greater in number, why are they there? And why is my life so limited? Surely, I believe that I need to serve my maker and serve the rest of the creatures of the same maker, as I spend my years on earth. And this is why as a Muslim,

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as I grew up, and this is the second thing I want to talk about to begin with myself, as I started off, we were young, we were very innocent. And we grew up in a world that was not filled with such hatred and intolerance. As we see today, we would have thought that the more educated we became, the more tolerant we would become of one another or the more we would learn to respect each other. Unfortunately, as we grew older, we found the reverse, reverse meaning we became educated, we went to school, more people can read and write on earth than ever before in history. But still, unfortunately, the number of lives being taken away on a daily basis is increasing. Why?

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So when I grew up, I went to a government school Mashallah, in Zimbabwe, we I was born prior to the independence. So we were not,

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you know, we were under a apartheid, sort of, if you understand that term, we were under an apartheid regime, until we got independence in 1980. and thereafter, I'd started my school just at that point. And we progressed

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initially, just because we were ushered into this new era, I found Mashallah tabarrok Allah, we got along with people of different colors, different religions, you know, people who came from different backgrounds, people who spoke different languages, everyone came together at school, we loved each other. We got along, we played with each other. We had teachers who were not Muslims. In fact, in Zimbabwe, very few Muslims were actually teachers at the time, very few. And so as I progressed, religion was taught to me by my father, and by the schools that we would attend in the afternoons, the madrasa manners, matters of belief, etc. And we were always taught to respect people of other

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faiths.

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As much as they don't adopt what you adopt,

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you don't just tolerate them. But you go beyond tolerance to the point of respect them. I respect you, we were taught from a young age, that when you see a Hindu, please don't offer him or her beef, because it is insulting, who taught me this, my parents when I was a little child, it means not just that I will not offer them, but I will try not to eat it in front of them too.

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Although my belief does not prohibit me from doing that, but I live in a multicultural, multi religious community whereby I need to be sensitive regarding the beliefs and that which is very dear to others. And therefore, we were taught not to do this, and we did not do that. So Han Allah, I remember, initially, we, as we grew up, we started asking questions, you know, why is it and we started learning more about other faiths. And then we had a subject that was introduced, where we had to learn about all religions, the Religious Studies at schools was not just about one faith, because the majority were Christians. It was not just about Christians, we had to study about the

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minorities as well, in order for us to be able to know how to respect each other. But we will also taught one thing that stood out for me as a Zimbabwean.

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And that was,

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you do not have to give up what you believe. You do not have to give up what you believe. And you do not have to ask others to give up what they believe, to be able to get along with each other, to be united with each other in order to build your nation.

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And without being together or united in that way, you will not be able to build your nation. So from a very early age, I know that if we would like a nation to succeed or to develop, we need to hold together, celebrate the difference, the diversity, understand that the same way you believe you have a right to do something to believe something. So does everyone else have exactly the same rights.

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And then as I grew older, I went into a Christian college and I studied there, I studied Christianity as well. And at the same time, I had completed my memorization of the Quran, and I started studying the books of Islam in depth. I then went to Medina munawwara, it's a long journey, I don't wish to get into the details. And towards the end of my studies in Madina munawwara problems started across the globe, we notice things happening, that were done in the name of faith, not just the Muslims, done in the name of faith, but it's not taught by the faith.

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And so I developed a passion, what was this passion? I told myself, you know what, you need to do something about this, you need to make sure that when you get up and deliver the goods, you do it in a way that is non judgmental, number one, non judgmental, meaning, I don't need to judge you based on your outward appearance based on your choices based on you know what I just see, I need to reach out to you as a human being without judging. And I've learned from a very early age, never to judge a book by its cover. You see someone you never know, moments ago, I was when you were speaking about technology. And I do admit that I try my best to keep up with the new generation because I believe

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that they are our future leaders, and we need to instill in them. A lot of this respect of various people, various faiths, all that actually exists. And that's not easy. And I was on a live, it's called an Insta live. It's live, it's saved for 24 hours, if you want to see it, you can see it predominantly my following is Muslim, but I do have a large non Muslim following as well. And so I was saying that piety is not just prayer. You know, being pious will show in your character. So no matter how much you have prayed, and you continue to pray, if it does not show in your character and conduct, you are not pious, you can actually find this on Instagram. I said it before I came here.

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You are not pious. Because if you have if you are close to the Almighty, you're softened. You become a person who understands others. You know that the Almighty is put people around me and situations and creatures around me to test me What am I going to do? Do I reach out to them? Do I smile with them? Do I make them feel like we are part of one family

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You know, you and I, we are definitely connected through blood relation, every one of us How?

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Well, if you take a look at the family tree, we all go back, according to those who believe, obviously, in what I'm about to say, it's easier to understand, we go back to the Prophet Noah May peace be upon him, because at that time you and I know that there was a flood and after the flood, his family was given the, the, the progeny, so to speak, so we're all from his progeny. And if you don't believe in that, no problem, we go beyond to Adam alayhi salatu salam. And if you don't believe in that, no problem, we go back to wherever we were made from it starts from a single person. So Panama. So whichever way you look at it, you will understand we are part of one family

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where humankind SubhanAllah. So I'm related to you. But I probably have a different faith, sometimes within a faith. And I've noticed this from a very early age, you find people squabbling, fighting, swearing, calling each other names in a way that it becomes

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violent. The hatred develops into enmity that develops into fighting, and that fighting goes to killing you see, across the globe, sectarian killing. And it's unfortunate that even if we try as hard as we can, to solve this matter, there will be people who will just look at you. drop you in a box label, you call you an outcast and want to fight you and it will happen. That's part of your challenge. I find it with myself, too. I hear this person called me that name. I just pray for them. I say Almighty, they don't understand the same way the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him when he was harmed in part a, what did he do, he prayed he said Almighty, don't destroy them. If they don't

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understand perhaps from their generations, you will guide them. So this is prophetic. We take from it. It's truly a godly quality, meaning it comes from the Almighty, it is inspired, divinely. And therefore we pray for them. We excuse them, we try to combat but remember one thing, when you have people who are not prepared to listen to you,

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there's not much you're going to be able to do for them besides praying, and keep trying, just keep trying one day, who knows, maybe that tapping might crack the rock, you know, they say if water taps at the rock in drops, the erosion at a certain point will definitely make a hole. So that's what we're trying to do. However, my beloved brothers and sisters,

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it was not easy to reach out to everyone to try to follow what you believe is correct. And at the same time reaching out to people of diverse faiths beginning with those in your own faith. Because you and I know it's not just one sect, there are many sects. The immature from amongst us are those who promote hatred, hatred, to the degree that to solve the matter, they would prefer fighting and killing, then discussing, speaking, convincing, addressing, if I have a problem with you.

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If I was an intellectual and I was truly a person of God, I would engage you to convince you regarding what I have, rather than fight you and make you go further away and create a whole group around me a group around you, the two groups will fight for generations. And this has been happening. I'm actually just putting history in a nutshell for you. This is what's been happening. So while we reach out to people, we need to understand

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that it's not just something that some of us should be doing. But every one of us should be doing. Open the pages of the Quran, and you will learn according to the true understanding and interpretation of the Quran, that we definitely need to respect each other. And I love the verses where the almighty speaks about saving people, not just saving people who belong to your faith, but saving anyone on earth is as good as saving humanity at large.

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Woman

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Jeremy, whoever saves a single life is equivalent to He who has saved humanity at large. And the same is said in that very verse about a person who kills a single person unjustly. They are as good as someone or should I say as bad as someone who has destroyed humanity at large.

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For

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me, it is as though they have destroyed or killed off

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all of humanity. And this verse goes to show how important it is for us to be able to protect life. When you see someone drown when you see floods happening across the globe, and I'm sure and I do know they have happened in this country, maybe Almighty protect us all.

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That is a time when we actually show our true colors. Who do you reach out to? Do you reach out to humanity? Do you reach out to those who disagree with you? Do you reach out to those who don't like you? If you do, you are fulfilling what the almighty wants from you.

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Look at the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. So many incidents where he reached out to those who threw dirt at him, there was an old lady who used to throw dirt at him on a daily basis. One day when it didn't come, he decided to enquire. You know, every day something happens, you throw some debt on me today didn't come to you, okay, Is everything fine? Perhaps you're not well, and she was not? Well, she was so motivated by that she actually accepted him as a messenger. No, you are a true prophet of the Almighty, I really regret my action, nobody would treat the enemy this way. So panela. And I want to give you another example that I love. Those of you who follow closely would

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have heard this before. You see, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him tells us that there was a man who earned forgiveness, and in turn paradise, because he showed compassion towards a dog. And his story is as follows. One day, he was in the desert. And it was a very hot day, the water was scarce, he found a well, he decided to go into the well he quench his thirst. And he came up when he came up, he noticed the dog.

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This is a powerful example, he noticed is a dog. The dog was licking the sand because it was looking for some water to quench its own thirst. And he thought to himself,

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then myself being a human being I drank, this dog is not going to be able to go into the well. And the dog is as thirsty as I was before I went down. So let me go down, fill some water in some form of a utensil, bring it up for the dog. He went down and he realized there is no utensil besides his own shoe. So he took off his shoe that time it was like a leather sock. He took it off, he filled it with water, he came back up, he brought the dog close, he made the dog drink and he felt so good about having quench the thirst of a dog that the Almighty says we loved his action and compassion so much towards the dog. We forgave him in turn, granted paradise. When I read this, it brings tears to

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my eyes. Imagine a dog, you and I know that as Muslims, for example, those who are Muslims from amongst us, we do know that when it comes to a dog, there are more rules and regulations governing your relationship with a dog as a Muslim.

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Why was it a dog It was a dog. So in order for his sincerity to be intact, and not questioned?

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If you reach out to a dog, your sincerity is not question if it was a pretty woman, one might argue what your intention was. Maybe your intention was to impress her. If it was a man, you might also have another intention, if it was anything, but if it's a dog, your intention cannot be questioned is for Allah is for the almighty for the maker who made you made the dog, etc, etc. What I was saying. So if we can achieve Paradise by serving, or by quenching the thirst of a dog, what do you think we would get by serving a fellow human being my brothers and sisters, this is a line that I love because it motivates me. And therefore what I decided to do several years ago was to start

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saying things on Facebook, on Twitter on line two, to really let the world understand that it's not just about Islam, it what I would say would be applicable to people of all faiths. If you scroll down the tweets that are tweeted on a daily basis, or you scroll down this Facebook statuses unless it was connected to something that was happening, like a program that is especially for Muslims, etc. Every other post would actually be impacting upon you as a human being not necessarily a Muslim, or someone who belongs to my faith. It would be reaching out to people of all faiths for as long as you believe you would actually be motivated. Now,

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we all develop, we all grow, we all mature, we do make mistakes, we need to understand when you make a mistake and you're corrected, it should Polish you up. It shouldn't make you arrogant and become angry. And there are a few times that we've all made

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glaring mistakes and corrected ourselves. You know, the arrogant are those who don't correct themselves, those who don't correct themselves will not be able to grow. So as I was

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growing,

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my attention was drawn to people who have no faith at all. What about them? Well, I can tell you something interesting. Guess what? They are human beings as well. Wow. Didn't I say moments ago people of all faiths? What about someone who doesn't have a faith?

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I may disagree with that. But that's a human being. Their hisab meaning their account is with Allah is with the Almighty, they will go to him.

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And who knows, they may believe that they don't go to him according to me, they will.

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I remember people arguing about Hellfire, that you believe that if people do bad they will burn. I said, Look, you know what, let's not worded that way, we can word it in a much more respectful way, we can say we believe that those who do bad the Almighty has warned them what he does with them, it's between him and then

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that's a better way of wording it we don't deny there is a warning, there is a warning. But guess what, it's not just the Muslims, almost all faiths have that belief Subhana Allah, that you know what you do good, the good will come back to you, you do bad, the bad will come back to you. That is an Islamic belief. But it's not just an Islamic belief. All those who have faith, they have that. So I always say don't use it against the people have a faith, when they say that if you do bad and bad is interpreted by every faith in accordance with that faith, then bad will come back to you don't hold it against them. Because there are those who don't believe in that you are free to believe or

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not to believe. No one has told you if I say I'm a Muslim, there is a set of beliefs I have, the main thing I need to worry about is that the people who don't follow what I have said, they also have the right to follow their own set of beliefs. And guess what the dialogue will continue. The discussion may continue all in a respectful way. People may disagree, but they may be your good friends. They may be your good friends. So as time passed, I found that a lot of the quotes and one might ask how do you think them up? Well, look, I'm speaking right now. So many things I've said would actually apply to humanity. And I will go back, jot down three or four sentences, that's

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enough for the day. That's what I do three sentences a day, or three little quotes a day, on average, sometimes two, sometimes four. Because I've been a counselor for many years, we reach out to people, sometimes we are attacked unfairly unjustly by people, sometimes people on a very high level, who've never interacted with you, they've never given a chance for you to explain yourself, and they will pass a judgement, they will say things that may affect you, it's okay. It's okay. A day will come when they will realize they were wrong. And sometimes a day will come when you will realize that you are wrong. So Pamela,

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see, it's amazing. So what happens is, we have to grow as life passes and progresses, you jot down a few important pointers, which you think are universal. And you will find the common factors between us are, should I say far outweigh the differences?

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We are seated here today.

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We have so much in common. And you know what developing the city and the nation, the country, etc, will only happen when we respect each other. So this was a quick introduction regarding the cause. Someone told me please compile this in the book. And I said it's okay. It's okay. They said you don't understand the power of these quotes. They help us it's as though you know what we are going through? And I say, Well, I don't, but I know what I'm going through.

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And we're all the same. If I were to tell you, brother, whoever or sisters, whoever has five fingers, put up your hands, we would all put up our hands. Why? Because I have five fingers, you have five fingers. It doesn't make me like a genius to know that you have five fingers, you're a human. And you would probably have five fingers in 99.9% of the cases. If not, maybe Almighty bless you even further. Some people may not for whatever purpose.

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The same applies to our lives. We all have financial matters, social matters, you know, perhaps sometimes psychological matters, things that affect our minds, mental stress. We all go through this. If I were to talk about it, I would then realize how many people actually benefit from what I've said, and how many are affected by the same. I remember years ago, there was someone who wrote to me and told me that you know, I am divorced and I'm going through this and this and I don't think anyone has been through what I've gone through. And I wrote back saying would you create a small club or

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People who've been through the problem, you can advertise it that time, the advertisements were slightly different, not as easy as now. And she created a huge club of people. And she was shocked that there were so many people who had been through exactly what she had gone through. And the point I was raising is together, we can help each other, we can actually reach out to each other, you can smile, imagine you suddenly read a tweet in the morning, something you were really going through, and you read it and you say, Wow, wow, I'm going through the same thing. It's just a reassurance to say we are one family, we go through the same thing. So I ended up a few years later putting this

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together, and we decided we are going to take those that were liked the most.

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So together in one book, we've got 30 Million Likes in total, within 500 quotes, these likes are from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Plus.

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And this book, I've launched it in a few places. It's the first time we're launching it here in Sri Lanka. Like I said, the uniqueness of it is it cuts through barriers of religion. And every other barrier you can think of, in terms of humankind, it's advice, it's a moment you read one, think about it, it's a motivation. It's a moment. Like I said, perhaps sometimes people who don't have any faith whatsoever, may not relate to some way we connect it to the Almighty, but they are still my brothers and sisters in humanity. And I recall, as I started off, there were some Muslims who came to me and told me,

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how can you call these people, your brothers and sisters, when they don't share your faith? And I told them, guess what? You need to know, it is such an immature statement. Because we were brothers and sisters in humanity before any of that we will.

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And it requires a constant reminder,

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a constant reminder for people to then understand No, you know what he is right. And for that reason, those who know me, they would know that I continue. We face criticism from people from all sides, actually, those who don't understand those who have a warped interpretation of faith and religion, those who think that religion means you must be at war with everyone else, you have an attack from them, keep on working, keep on trying, sometimes I don't even respond to negatives, because I want to think as positively as I can.

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And then you have people on the the other extreme, where they are liberal, very liberal, so much so that when they see you, they might sometimes automatically judge you, you know what, excuse them, but reach out to them as well, one day, they will respect you, they will understand this person was actually very balanced. They taught goodness SubhanAllah. So we faced so many challenges across the globe, you have to continue, you have to persevere. You have to keep doing what you're doing. Don't allow your goodness to be lost. Just because others were bad. Don't allow your goodness to diminish because others were bad. That is a time when you shall shine even more, it is the true test in the

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face of negativity to still be able to be as positive as possible. That is true success. You need to uplift those who might be feeling low, you need to keep reaching out to people, I remember meeting people of all faiths, different parts of the world, speaking to them,

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like a real brother, and sister, we are brothers and sisters in faith, then you have people who misinterpret religion, they misinterpret verses of the Quran, for example. And they begin to say the Koran says this, the Quran says that we need to understand

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interpretation needs to be correct interpretation, the context needs to be understood always. And we will continue explaining that even in the face of those who call us names. We will continue explaining we will continue living together. And we will continue building our nations because indeed the building of a nation and this is the third time I'm saying it will not happen unless we are together. And unless we are living in peace. So we reach out to one another. And in this way we would be able to actually build ourselves and we have positive hope for a future generation. So I've traveled a lot of countries across the globe, presenting a message. A lot of the times when I go you

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have people who look at the advert and they think what is this guy coming to do here? He's going to come and spoil he's going to come and mess. You have people who sometimes take one sound bite from what you said and said, look what he says when I tell you I'm open to correct

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At all times, and this is what makes us unique. If someone no matter who they are, would send me an email and tell me correction. You said this, you said that this is wrong. And this is why it's wrong. And this is how it is wrong. You know what, if they have a point, I would correct myself, those who know me know that I have done that. And this is how we've developed, we see crises across the globe, I promise you, the only way forward is to be able to understand our roots. And that is the Almighty Who has actually created us all one huge family, we will respect one another. So with this, I actually would like to say thank you very much for giving me this beautiful opportunity to

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speak about myself and the book. And I really would like to reach out to every single one of you in the best possible way, I would have loved to continue speaking, I've already spoken for exactly half an hour. I think I've overshot my time, but inshallah we'll progress will continue with the events of the rest of the evening. Perhaps I might get an opportunity to answer a few questions maybe a little bit later, desert Mala. Hey, thank you so much for what an all to have come here this evening. And I hope and I pray that together, we can actually do something people ask, what are Muslims doing about the problems, and this is an important point, perhaps the last one, what are

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Muslims doing about what's happening across the globe, all this extremism etc. While I want to tell you we are doing so much we have traveled at our own expense, a lot of the times to many places, we have done a lot to try and educate the Muslims about how they should not only coexist, but respect each other, they should learn to respect people of diverse faiths, etc, etc. And we have done so much we continue doing it. But we need the support of one and all. And that support will come even if it means by a good word. If it even if it means by an acknowledgment, even if it means by a correction, it still support you tell us you know what we acknowledge you guys are doing something

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about this. And this is why a country of this nature, it's not the only country that might have a bit of tension between people of different faiths know, there are so many countries that have similar issues. The question is, do we acknowledge those who are trying to do something to make a positive difference to make a positive change? Do we acknowledge them? Or are we from amongst the little group who keeps on talking about how nobody's doing anything about it, these people are like this, those people are like that, I think the more we educate ourselves, the more we would be able to actually live in a much better world. When we educate ourselves about one another, we will be

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able to respect one another learn to love one another, learn to reach out to one another and the world is still a very good place. The world is definitely still a very good place. There are still lots of people, I think the majority who actually care for one another. It's unfortunate that sometimes the way we project things actually becomes negative. You know, when I

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read the papers and the newspapers, the media, the internet, you look at the news outlets, a lot of the times they write about bad things, they don't write about good things. They write about how many people did not cross the road. So one guy was bumped today on this meridian drive, for example. They write about one guy pumped, but they never write about 20,000 people who crossed it successfully, you see. So for that reason, we always say watch our dangerous roll. Don't cross the road here. Because one man died. What about 2 million who cross the road last month? Subhan Allah. So I think from that angle, you would understand there is more goodness than bad. But unfortunately, the bad is

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propelled such that we start thinking we're living in a bad world in Sharla. It's a good world. And I hope that people like us can make a big difference. And again, I repeat, if there is any correction that has to come, please, at least let's discuss it. Let's talk about it. Let's say it so that we can all fulfill our role and our duty. Thank you very much as a communicator salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.