Exclusive Interview in Nigeria

Mufti Menk


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Hello, welcome to NC exclusive with me Benga, a borrower. My guest today on NC exclusives is a leading international Islamic scholar and motivational speaker, born and raised in Zimbabwe, is stored in Sharia in Medina and holds a doctorate degree from social in social guidance from out of state university is Washington gained worldwide recognition and has been named one of the top 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world since 2010. He received the prestigious jewels of the Muslims World Award from the IIC in Malaysia in 2017. It has millions of followers across the social media platforms, my special guests today's personable style, and down to earth approach has made him one

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of the most sought after scholars. In modern times. He has endeared himself to peoples which is so much loved lecture series as a strong proponent of peace and justice. Speaking up against all forms of terrorism, video node C exclusive. I have the internet's favorite Islamic scholar, Dr. Mufti Ismail bank. Thank you very much for joining us on the program. Thank you, my brother, thank you for having me this evening. We're happy to have you off the bank. Now can you tell us about growing up in Zimbabwe a lot of people when they hear you're from Zimbabwe, they're taking by surprise. And as being an Islamic scholar always been on your radar? Is it something you've always wanted to do?

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Well, I think Zimbabwe is a unique place. It's an absolutely amazing country, which has a diversity of religions and races and so on.

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Obviously, the Muslims being in a minority. My father was an imam in the masjid in the city. The main Masjid many years back there was one main central masjid and he was the Imam they I was born in Zimbabwe raised in Zimbabwe, we schooled in the British schools or local schools, which had the British flavor because of the history of colonized. Exactly. And so yeah, that's how I grew up and that's where we were Zimbabweans. And we are and I'm a proud Zimbabwean, I think I make it quite clear all the time. Yes, you did. No, Marty. As we speak, the FIFA World Cup is currently ongoing. And Carter Carter says all people are welcome here. It's the first World Cup that will be held in an

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Arab country. But there's been a lot of controversies. There's been a lot of debate. And you know, they've been cultivated and all of that. And there's some they say, you know, football is haram. So what's your take on this? And what also wants to know, I saw your tweet after the Argentina and Saudi Arabia game, everybody was surprised. So we want to know what team you support or you're supporting in the World Cup. And if a football is really hard up? Well, I'll be absolutely honest with you. There is no particular team that I would be supporting. It's just that to show an interest in something, if you take a look at what Saudi Arabia did, in particular, even if it was Nigeria who

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didn't, or Zimbabwe, I think there would be excitement I mean, to take on Argentina after 36 matches to be the only Asian country ever to have apparently taken on Argentina is a big deal. So no matter who they were, they happened to be Saudi Arabia. So Mashallah. So all I did is I just cracked a bit of a witty one to say, you know, things got a little messy. And I use the term Messi, because he's one of the players. But yeah, and I think the Haram thing, it's interesting that you raise that because the vast majority of Muslims have always said that, no matter what it is that you you go into in terms of sport, for as long as you know, your own personal lines, you know, it doesn't

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deviate you from your prayer, it doesn't make you do things that are prohibited for example, the alcohol factor and so on for you as a person,

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then you cannot just claim that something is haram, you know, you might not feel that it was something encouraged or, but it doesn't necessarily make it the same for everyone else. So yeah, I think the fact that I tweeted about it already signaled that I would believe that it's not itself that makes it prohibited in any way but it depends on what comes with it. If a person for example goes in and engages in, in things for like, intoxicants and so on that the religion would prohibit, then that's something else, but not the kicking of the ball in in particular, yeah. But mostly, let me follow up on this with globalization, bringing us closer together, and in some ways, highlighting

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our differences, even more research points to a rising tide of really

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which is intolerance amongst us? How do we address this? I think I've been addressing this for a long, long time. And I've actually concentrated more in recent times, because you are very right when you say globalization has actually given a rise to this, because what we need to do is to teach our children how to differ in opinion with others, be it among the Muslims themselves, or with other faiths, races, etc. Those who have no faith, for example, to differ is one thing, but to propel it to hate and, you know, war and so on is something that is unacceptable. So I may differ with you right now on so many matters regarding faith regarding so many, but here I am sitting with you, I do

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consider you, my brother, and nothing that I would do would be disrespectful to you with the disagreement intact in its place. So this is something we need to keep teaching our children because the problem we're facing is there is a clash at the moment globally of you can call it a clash of civilizations, where certain people consider certain things so taboo, whereas another civilization in the same on the same globe at the moment, consider it so sacred to them so important to them, we just need to learn to respect the difference and not shove it down the throats of others. A big error that I find I would say is a mistake is when people from one part of the world want to force

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their own values or morals on another part of the world and consider that.

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Like, the only way that we're ever going to think that these guys are acceptable in our eyes is if they accept, they accept exactly what we our world view of things, which I believe is also part of the problem, if not a big part of it. So we should live in let's live we should live and let live indeed. And at the same time we should discuss there's no harm in discussing, opening up debate, but constructive debate, constructive debate. And now, Marty in Africa, some believe that religion is something for the masses, that things we pray for, as Africans, we pray for better leaders, we pray for healthcare, we pray for a better roads. These are things that have been taken care of in the

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west and without much prayers. So we have a different relationship with religion, on the continent, so what's the place of religion in 21st century Africa, I'd really like to say something very interesting to achieve those things. It's not just the prayers, together with the prayers, you need to make an effort and you need to change yourselves. And at the same time, you need to work towards achieving your goals. If you look at places where they don't pray at all, they may have all of that, but it has, it lacks blessings. It lacks the broader contentment and inner peace that's supposed to come with it. What's the point of having the best of roads and facilities when you cannot sleep at

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night because you have no contentment. So we need to strike a balance between both of those, what you do is you pray hard and you work even harder. And a combination of prayer with work will definitely get you the desired result and even more. So what we'd like is to see an infrastructure that is beautiful, together with a heart that is made of gold. Normally, we say we wash our faces, so many times a day and try and make sure that what people see looks presentable. But the almighty sees the heart, how presentable is the heart. So it's not just about what appears outside, you got to have a balance of both I wash my face, I wash my heart. So religion still has a place, I think it

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hasn't been a very, very big place. Now to talk in Africa, we're very proud African station at new central at trial, the continent, we have continued to have religious clashes that lead to the loss of lives, displacements and more. We've seen this in Nigeria, we've seen it in the Central African Republic, and other countries around Africa. You were in Syria, and you've been to Sierra Leone a few times and I would say their model for religious tolerance on the continent. What lessons can the rest of Africa learn from Sierra Leone? And how can we peacefully coexist

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as others in all religions? Yes, I think it's important that you raise this because politicians according to what I've come to learn, play a big role in promoting religious harmony among those who are perhaps, you know, look up to them. Because sometimes it is said that politicians use religion and religious leaders in order to sway the vote, and it's not something uncommon in countries. Now, if that's the case, sometimes they would create a hate that hate may result in warfare. You know, we always promote the fact that we live in a country say for example, Nigeria

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It would be silly, it would be literally unacceptable to destroy the nation just by us who are citizens of the same nation fighting each other and killing each other very sadly, I mean, I know a little bit of what goes on in Nigeria. And unfortunately, it's really unacceptable because at the end of the day, the Nigerians themselves are being affected. It's the country itself, that's not perhaps progressing in a specific way, due to this type of fear mongering due to this type of religious intolerance, if you'd like to call it even amongst the sects of the same faith. So whenever we hear about fighting among people of different faiths, I always try to reach out in a

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way, if possible, to say, Please, can we try and agree to disagree, let's understand each other, but don't destroy your own nation. It's like living in one house in separate rooms. And if you were to fight in that house, you're only going to destroy the lights and destroy everything else in that place. And like you said, is always the elites in society that bring up this divide and conquer they use it. So how can the ordinary people

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be less susceptible to be manipulated and used to cause violence? I think if we didn't have religion, yes, I think if we have to actually enforce on religious leaders to to promote an element of respect and tolerance of those we disagree with, it would make a big difference. I've been sent clips of people of other faiths as well say very unacceptable things about Islam, for example. And at the same time, you have some Muslims who say unacceptable things about others. I think it's about time we enforced this or made it law or criminalized, for example, some hate speech in this sense, you can disagree, definitely, but it shouldn't be respectful. You know, if I, for example, do not

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consume intoxicants, because I'm a Muslim, and I'm a devout Muslim, I can promote that in a beautiful way in a respectful way. Or I can teach it I can mention it. But those who do consume that of other faiths or whoever else they may be, how do I disagree with them, it's got to be respectful the same law of this particular land, that may allow for something that you in your religion may consider taboo, you don't have to do it. But that doesn't mean that you can go ahead and start the harming those who might have chosen something else, because they belong to a different faith altogether, or they disagree with you. Now, let's talk about this very important matter, Islam as a

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religious as often come onto the spotlight, there is an ignorant opinion of Muslims. As terrorists, especially in the West, there are over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. Why have the activities of a fringe group of fanatics continue to overshadow the true essence of Islam? In your view? Is there any justification, ironically, for committing what are called criminal acts and killing innocents? I think firstly, there is no justification whatsoever from Revelation for those types of acts for you know, killing and so on. In fact, the Quran is quite clear that whoever saves one life is equivalent to having saved entire humanity, the element of justice is enshrined in Islam in a very strong way

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as well. But at the same time, if you look at the killings, it's sad how perhaps, certain sections of the globe the global community, promotes or Islam as a terroristic religion, whereas the killings that have happened been happening sporadically, by people who have who don't belong to Islam have been much more of a greater scale numbers. If you take a look at the United States, for example, in the recent past, including yesterday, the previous day, and the previous day, and last week, and so on. Every day on the news, there is some killing, there is some mass shooting, there is a university shooting, there is gun crime, there is this, we pray for them. Because to be honest, none of those

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were Muslims, but no one made it an issue. It's suddenly not important what faith they belong to, but also say moderate

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proponents of the faith should come out and apologize or and if they make statements and the faith is irrelevant. I remember there was a time when I used to whenever we heard of a bombing. I used to want to know who did this and check did this person ever follow me in any way shape or form because unfortunately, even if someone happened to follow you, or know you from a distance on social media, somehow, you know you they would make you feel guilty that Oh, this guy used to know this guy, but it has nothing to do with anyone. Everyone knows the world leaders and popular people around the world. It doesn't make you guilty of a crime that someone you didn't even know existed committed.

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It's different. If someone was, you know, encouraging another to do something wrong, then they are definitely guilty. But if not, you can't say that and the same applies. That's why I say it's very sad, but I must tell you that things are changing where people are beginning to realize that you know

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It's not a terroristic faith. It's actually a very disciplined faith. That's what it is. It's something that requires great dedication and discipline to follow.

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And you really want to play the water baptism because if you look at other faiths, they've done things in greater skill and more recent history, but we won't get to that. Let's talk about something that is quite contemporary, and it's been leading debates and conversations all around the world. Even in today's game in Iran. There were people that wore T shirts and solidarity for Marsha meany. In September, a 22 year old Arabian woman named Marcia a meanie died in custody of the country's orality police after she was arrested for allegedly wearing the hijab improperly. Let's talk about interpretations regarding women in particular, we find it in many parts of the world that

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tend to be populated by Muslims, it seems that women are getting the short end of the stick. What is Islam, a position of women's rights and matters like this? I think if you look at the oppression of the women in the West, where they feel so so prejudiced against for freely with every freedom that exists, donning the hijab, in the most free countries, they they are not just uncomfortable, there is crime against them documented. No one talks about that. And that is huge. It's something that is brushed under the carpet completely. At the same time, I do admit that yes, there is an issue and the problem that we are facing, where perhaps people may not be educated, and so on. We do believe

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in freedom of religion. And we do believe if you're a Muslim, there are basic rules that you are taking upon yourself to follow. And we also do believe that there are schools of thought within the Muslims, and people within those schools of thought should be respected. It was very unfortunate what happened, it is unacceptable what happened. But at the same time, we need to, I think speak about the freedoms of women across the board. One is to speak about freedom of women in a country that people may know does not really stand for a lot of freedoms. But worse than that is a country that stands for every freedom they claim. I mean, they don't even want to get into the details of

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the types of freedoms. But a Muslim woman feels so insecure in the western world wearing her hijab or niqab. They've banned it in countries where

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for what reason no one speaks about that. I mean, if you are a Muslim woman out of your own freedom, your own religious belief, you really believe that it's your own personal choice, you want to done a niqab, for example, which is a face covering or even just the hijab, I promise you there are countries perhaps you may know, in the West in the most free world, apparently that exists, according to them, that have not only banded considered a crime, they've jailed they've also harmed the people who've lynched them. There are people who have really done a lot of evil. I think that needs to be spoken about more when unfortunately, it's not. They're not a bank. Before we wrap up

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our conversation, I would like to ask you this very important question. The main religions of the world. The Abrahamic religions are Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. While there are many differences, there are things that some say unites the religions. What are the threads of commonality? And how can we live in a more inclusive and peaceful world? I think the common factors are much more because the older older religions that you mentioned us Semitic face, they have heavenly books that are intertwined, interconnected by prophets, or religious men who were related to one another, not just by blood, but even by revelation. So Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, etc, may peace

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be upon them all, they were connected. And it's the revelations, the commandments are the same, the 10 commandments are the same. The concept of godhood is a you know, generally the in Judaism and Islam is almost identical in Christianity, because of the difference within the Christians, the issue of the Trinity and so on. If you were to,

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you know, to look at it broadly, you would find a lot of common factors. You know, if you look at Jesus may peace be upon him, mother, Mary, may peace be upon her, notice how I'm saying, may peace be upon him because we also revere him? Absolutely. And her too, if you look at, for example, the dress code that they observed, according to the Christians, it's, it's what Islam promotes today, and we'll continue to promote so the connection is definitely there. You know, and I think we need to highlight some of these many people are ignorant, you know, you mentioned the World Cup earlier in Qatar, I think

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It will give an opportunity to a lot of people to actually witness for the first time. Oh, wow, this is what they are, we thought they were, you know, And subhanAllah we will go there and we will offer the respect to their own way of doing things and Al Hamdulillah I'm really, really excited about the type of education that would come out of such a huge event that is of an international nature being held us hand education. Yes. Yes. being held in in in a Muslim or in an Arab nation. Yeah. Finally, Mufti manca, you traveled the world spreading a simple message, do good. Help others while preparing for the hereafter? Why is this the message you think the world needs to hear? I think there are two

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aspects of our existence. One is our relationship with God Almighty who made us I'm talking about people of faith. Secondly is the same Almighty who made us has made so many other creatures at the same time existing with us on the same planet. So we would need to do good and help others while we are on earth, preparing for the day, we're going to go back to meet our Maker Simple as that. So that to me is the core message of our existence, my relationship with God Almighty, and my relationship with the rest of the creatures of the same God. If I can fix those to trust me, my life on earth will be a pleasure. I leave behind the legacy and I'll definitely give that torch to my

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children and my offspring and the others to live in a better world when I'm gone. It doesn't seem like the world's getting any better from the looks of it, but we should never lose hope we keep going and who knows it will probably inshallah get better. Thank you very much for your time, Marty, as well as your bank. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you and thanks for talking to us and NC exclusive. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

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My guest today has been renowned a global world renowned Islamic scholar, Dr. Ismail Mufti Menk. Thank you very much for joining NC exclusive. We'll see you next time and being a borrower bye

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