Nouman Ali Khan – Muslim Teenagers

Nouman Ali Khan
AI: Summary © The speakers discuss the importance of learning Arabic language and creating a serious program for young people to avoid the "by the way" of religion. They stress the importance of creating a program for graduates to avoid failure and helping others see it. The speakers advise graduates to identify their interests and areas of study before pursuing a career in a specific field and not losing their values. They also emphasize the importance of staying true to one's values and balancing good entrepreneurship with financial profitability.
AI: Transcript ©
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this project started towards the end of 2004 when I was still in New York, and the idea was to facilitate Arabic education for Muslims across the country. And the philosophy really I had was that one of the obligations and responsibilities of Muslims is to be educated in their Deen. And one of the biggest obstacles and us being properly educated in Islam is really the Arabic language because the primary sources of the religion are in Arabic. At the same time, as it's a responsibility collectively, I also believe that Muslims have a right not just a responsibility, they have the right to a quality education that is accessible to every Muslim man, woman and child. And they

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should have a quality education, at least in the Arabic language, which opens the doors to other areas of learning musical honor, so not you know any other area. So when I first started learning Arabic, for myself, it was a very difficult journey from you know, one teacher to another to another to another, and I didn't have the luxury to be able to travel abroad, or to spend a lot of money to go to a university was to do a degree in Arabic, etc, I was very much hand to mouth as a student. So when I went through whatever journey I went through to get to a certain level in Arabic, I felt, well, if I really wanted to learn at this bed, and I had to go jump through all of these hoops, I'm

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sure there are people that are far more passionate about learning this stuff than I am and they don't have these opportunities. So something has to be that that creates this opportunity. So when I started this project in New York, 100 in LA, we started on a machine I used to live in, in Long Island, Long Island in Bayshore. And the response was just incredible. And word of mouth spread and request started coming. Can you do the same program, a short Arabic class for the Muslim community in New Jersey? Can you do one in Connecticut? Can you do one in Maryland, and just no advertising, no radio, no flyers, nothing, barely a website at the time and just word of mouth, it kind of

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started spreading to the point where it got out of control. So 100 nights been I mean, that's where we started, and not just a fantastic team of colleagues

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that are just increasing by the day, and I'm constantly looking for new talent as well. Myself and my colleagues included, we must have was visited over at least 180 massages all over the country. All over. Yeah. all over the US.

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Can I take to plead the fifth on that one. I'll say Irving, right. Okay.

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Herb is absolutely one of my favorites, though. I came here in 2007. I thought some of you might remember. I came here in 2007. And I came with my brother in law. We're both from New York. And when we came here, I'm teaching the class of stairs we had about 8590 students. And there was a volleyball tournament going on between the Irving brothers and the brothers from i think i SAT or the central machine or something and the guys at Irving were getting clobbered. I mean, they were getting destroyed. But why didn't know I was just you know, enjoying the fact that there were bleachers back there and people watching the game, and my brother in law and I you know, we're from

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New York, we don't really see that kind of activity, sort of just is this he did we missed, like, what's the party.

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So we kind of decided to move it but long story short, after all these years of traveling, the idea the virus that God planted in my head was we need to create, like a serious program, not just something that introduces people to Arabic, but an actual proper alternative to traveling abroad to study Arabic over here in the US. And by Allah's grace and really miraculous help from Allah. And completely unexpected, overwhelming support from all over the country. We were able to set up our mini campus right here across in what used to be the Nokia headquarters. So we've taken up the fifth floor and we've started our programming.

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And so far, so good. Charlottetown

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is about next year.

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Yeah, we we started our registration for next year. And those of you that want to know more about it, and maybe towards the end of this program, I can talk to you folks about it.

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But what I'm looking for is high school graduates and older that are brave enough to spare a year of their academic life. It's 10 months long, and the next batch starts in 2011 September, it starts in September 20 or so, inshallah and already I mean, we it's been a couple of weeks since we opened up registrations and I don't have any Dallas applicants yet but we have several applicants from outside the Dallas area already moving we see some more local participation this year Sharma

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What role does team play in today's high school and college and also even to the point of last question of being a young Okay, so one thing at a time

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you know, talking about

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high school freshers,

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you know,

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that is different levels of expectations parents have.

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I have kind of a weird perspective on this.

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to just be totally frank with everyone here, I feel less in a position to tell you how you should be in high school because I was pretty messed up in high school myself, but

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but I can tell you of some things that I that I've seen work. And I want to start with a recognition that there are two ways you can look at Islam. There's really two main ways you can look at this Deen in your life. And one of those ways is, well, what's the bare minimum that this religion wants from me. And after that, it can leave me alone and I can do what I want.

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In other words, just tell me what I cannot do the absolutely Bad, bad stuff that's going to lend me straight to * tell me that stuff. I won't do that stuff. And everything else, I'll just do what I want to do. That's how I want to live my life. I want to be free from the shackles of religion, basically. Okay. And this is actually the way most young people look at any religion. Most young people look at a religion as a way, it just tells me not to do things, it stops me from living my life. Right? We, you know, strict or conservative Christianity or Judaism or even conservative, you know, aspects of Islam or whatever, you know, whatever it may be. It's this, it's keeping me back

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from, you know, living it up, so to speak, you know, and high school is being pushed, and it's been pushed forever. As the like the golden years of your life. That's when you really should be partying, how many high school movies do they make right about how you should be going and doing whatever you possibly can in high school, because the after that real life sets in or whatever. On the other end, there's another way of looking at Islam. And the other way of looking at Islam is that we were brought, we were given this gift of Islam not changed. Islam is that change that are shackling us, we were given this gift. And this gift gives us this really high purpose, I wasn't

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sent on this earth to party, I was sent on this earth to do something an amazing task. And there's a huge population on the earth, who Allah decided he will not give them the gift of Islam, they didn't deserve it like I did. Allah gifted me with Islam, and the best years of my life that I can service on with or what years, my early years, the youth of my life is the best part of my life that I can service on with. Now, these two very different points of view, one point of view asks, What's the least I can do? And get by? And the other point of view asks, What more can I do? I want to do more. I want to help other people see how awesome this Dean is, etc. And, you know, what I've come to

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realize is, if I use sports terminology for a second, you know, how we talk about defense and offense, if your team is on the defensive, what's already the case,

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when when your team when you're playing football, or basketball or whatever, if you're on the defense, what seems to be the case,

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you don't have possession, the other side does, right. And if you're on defense, most of the time, that's a pretty good indication that you are winning or losing the game. You're losing, because you're constantly on the defensive.

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Right, that's, I'm on defense. Yeah. That's why this happened. So But anyway, this idea of, you know, holding back and saying we just have to at least take care of defend a few of the things that Islam wants us to and the rest of it, you know, we can let go. What you're asking for is eventual failure, you're gonna eventually it's gonna you're gonna start making the list of things, the no no's, you're going to make that list shorter and shorter and shorter until there's nothing left. On the other hand, the winning attitude is really offensive. What more can I do? And I want to give you I've given this example in the hood by here before I want to share that example with you. I'll keep

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my friend's name anonymous. But he went to high school and when he before he went to high school, he was in a headset program. So Mr. Rose put on and you know, when you remember as well and of course you're sitting in the masjid with other kids.

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memorizing for on your with you, the officer most of the time, then you go home and you review for on and you're just surrounded by this really pure gathering all the time. And then he's gone now he's going to high school he tells his parents I want to go to public school. Right? And his parents say you, you want to go to public school, your office, you can go to that terrible environment, you can get all messed up. And you know what he says? He says, Well, I learned I just learned a lesson book. And the people who need to hear about his book The most are the people in high school.

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I want to do you have to know what this is. I feel I feel responsible. Why should I hide what I have? I feel a responsibility to share. I feel bad for those people. Right? So they put them in public high school. By the time he graduated high school. 16 kids are taken Shahada.

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16 kids are taking shots. Now what I'm talking about here is an attitude not of defense, but of what of office you see yourself as having something superior. So when I'm terrible, especially young young people nowadays, I feel like I'm putting the putting you guys on the spot. I don't know for sure. But I guess I'm gonna stereotype. A lot of you you're not proud of Islam. You're not proud of it, like this is this is it man, everything else? I feel sorry for these people. Instead of what's happening to our girls, our daughters is when they see some girl dressed a certain way. They say, Oh, I wish I could dress like that. Two minutes from

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right. We see art we see other, you know, kids, you know, boys, they're doing all kinds of things that we thought, yeah, my parents would let me do that. It's apparently not allowed, or something, you know. But the right attitude would be I feel bad for that girl, look at how she has to dress herself how she has to put herself on display. She's looking for attention like that. Well, Allah has already given the attention by my you know, by my Islam, all the dignity I need, all the recognition I need is already given me. Why do people do the kinds of ignorant things they do you know, what they're looking for is attention and respect. If you really have Islam, you don't you're

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not looking for it anywhere else, you already got it. And when you find other people pathetically searching for it and other things, you can actually look down on them and say, I feel bad for you. Let me show you something better you can aspire to you know. So that's, that's the kind of attitude that's really important, at least in high school life. When you were talking about college, I'll take two minutes more, when you're talking about college.

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In my opinion, at least at least in my, in my experience, College is a time where you can it's a world of ideas, right, you get exposed to so much more. And you can go in so many different directions. And college is really the part of your life where you it's it's the formulating part of your life, where you decide what the rest of your life is going to look like. Really, it's college, because true independence is in college. That's where you really, truly decide what direction in life you're going to take, not just professionally, but what kind of person you're going to be how you're going to carry yourself, what kind of priorities are going to have in life, all of that kind

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of comes from what you're going to do in college. And a huge part of that it is who you're around in college. If you're a bunch of if you're around a bunch of losers in college all the time, well guess what you're going to be one.

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If you're going to be around a bunch of go getters in college, you're going to turn into one. That's what college is like.

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The thing to do in college, in my opinion is to you know, have, of course, take care of your academics. But on the other side, be heavily, heavily, heavily involved in something like an MSA

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use your spare time to do some productive stuff, whether it be putting programs together, or you're doing food drives, whatever it is you're doing, whether it's study circles or something, but the MSA to me is like a lifeline in college. And if you're not part of it, you're really, really missing out on something that's going to hurt you way down the line, the role that the machine is supposed to play in the life of a Muslim during college. The reality of it is that's what the MSA plays. And I know MSA is have problems and drama and all this stuff. So right here is t shirt right?

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MSA t shirt that says we know drama. Right?

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Right. But uh, but that's true. Nonetheless, the Muslim Students Association, I think at least for me, it was a lifesaver. Well, it was a lifesaver. How did the MSA allow them? I would have never met anybody who would make me want to commit myself to praying regularly. I wouldn't have met somebody like that. So yeah, through the MSA. You know, and some of the great scholars we have going around nowadays are ex MSA people. They came out of the MSA you know, so don't trivialize it. Don't think little of it. Really, you know, make it a big part of your life in college and children. If your school doesn't have one, make one. You should be the one to make it. You should be the one to create

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it. And actually nowadays, so many high schools I'm so proud of them. High Schools are starting to make MSS. I went to the MSE ulis the Trinity high school the other day, I was shocked at kids. They're like, what are you people come from? You know, it's a thing of pride when Muslims come together and you're trying to do something

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thing like that. So that would be my advice for controls the last thing again, when you become zombies and you get into the workforce.

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Yeah, that's that's the that's the last bit right.

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The thing of it is,

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I'll just speak frankly, I think that Muslims in this country, for a long time, we haven't been creative. We've not been creative, our idea of a good career is limited to four or five things. And if your children are graduating in these four to five fields, then they have failed in life. Right? They are, they're just, you know, what are you doing with your life? So if your son decides to, for example, get a Bachelor's in history, you'll say,

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What are you doing? Is that what you brought it home rica to study history? No, no, forget about history, worry about your future. Right? And do computer science and do like accounting? And you know, if you can't, you know, do okay, no, no, first, let's start with Jonathan for those, do med school and then, you know, at least engineering and if you can't do that fine, a little bit lower, you know, kind of butterfish but you know, computer science, if you can do see us, you can be a programmer, at least do it. Okay, fine, be an accountant. You know, oh, education, we at the bottom of education.

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Right. So we have these, like, we figure out that these are the careers that are successful, and we push those on to our kids. Listen, this is not the British Empire, leaving Pakistan and India behind. And the only careers left are the ones that the Brits left. For us. This is not that anymore. This is a really, I mean, I don't mean to be cliche, but it's a land of opportunity. Right. And there's so many creative fields that we could use Muslims in, and that you can, it's not just that it would be a great service to the community, but they can really be lucrative careers. So my first bit of advice would be to first you know, identify for yourself and colleges, the time to do

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that. And High School is the early time to do that. Identify for yourself, what are the subjects? And what are the areas of study or specialization that you find interesting that you really like genuinely like. And then in college, find out like, speak to professionals in that field, speak to counselors, advisors, and find out what kind of career paths are available in that field that you personally really, really like. And not not just like, what you're good at that these are two things that are important, because you can really like something but you're no good at it. Right? Don't do that.

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Because you won't get anywhere. And sometimes you're really good at something, but you don't like it at all. You're really great at it. You hate it, though. And you go and do it anyway. Because you're good at it, you know what happens, you're miserable your entire life, because you hate going to work every day. So you can't stand your job, right? So it would be good it would be it would be an effort on your part, to look for something that you really like doing, and be that you're good at, and then pursue a career in that field in charlo, Tada. And even if that doesn't happen, that's the ideal case, right? But even if that doesn't happen, have a career in which your life is not your career.

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Your life is not your career. I used to be in it back in the day way before, you know.

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This is we're talking about the age of pentiums. And, you know, 380 said you guys will notice Okay, anyway, right when windows was the thing, right? So, but when I was in it, you know what happened? technology was constantly changing. So to keep up in your career, what did you have to do?

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You you're at work when you're at work, and you're at work when you're home, so you can stay at work the next day, to keep up with your career. So your, your your work, basically consumes you. And you have no energy, no time left to do anything else with your life. That is it. That's all you are. You ever seen people that work so hard. Every time you talk to them, all they can talk about is work. That's all they can talk about. They can't think of talking about anything else. Why? Because that's all their life has become unfortunately, they're just a means to make some multi million dollars company some more money. That's all they become some a cog in a machine. You have to have a career

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in which you have time left for yourself, for your family, for your community for other things. A lot of people I know that were amazing in their MSA years, man, these people were awesome. The moment their career started, they disappeared. We don't know what happened to that guy. I don't know he got a job. That's all like last I heard of him, he got a job. That's what happened. They disappear. We don't see them at masajid we don't see them in programs, we don't see them, you know, pursuing their their study of Dean. We don't, we don't see them. And then sometimes some cases understandable. You're busy with family and things, you know, but you know, it's something you have

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to be cognizant of don't lose who you were, don't lose who you are. And if your children see you not having any activities outside of your career, and doing the groceries, you know, they don't see you actively participating in wanting to learn to lean for yourself in wanting to gain a better understand doing something for Islam, whether it be in the realm of water, humanitarian work, or whatever it may be. If they don't see that how are they going to get inspired. You know,

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So this would be a few tidbits about just high school, college and career.

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Come back to the professional. What do you think about money?

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Making money? Wow, my dad gave it to me all the way. And I was happy. So beyond that there was

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a moment when he started coming in, right?

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To control that, and think about saving or spending or an aspect of controlling, because a lot of times parents don't give their children that that.

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Yeah, I

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have no idea. Actually, here, it's

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just part of the discussion. I'm very grateful that I was kind of my high school years, we're in New York, New York City, where most families live hand to mouth. So we don't have disposable income like we do in the south, like here, life is very cheap. So generally, people are better off. And if you think you're not well off, go to New York, you'll see what I'm what I mean, right, with the entire families working and they're working 40 hours, even if they're in high school, like I worked 40 hours throughout high school. And that was just my, you know, my siblings were to this is just a norm, you know, but one of the benefits of that was it made us responsible with and appreciate hard

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earned money, and makes you responsible in life, a lot of our youth, they haven't actually ever felt the need to take responsibility. They've never felt that need. They say if I screw up, you know, I got a job at the Apple store, or you got a job at the mall, or you got a job somewhere, you know, you were helping out of high school or whatever, some extra money is coming in. But even that you won't take very seriously. Because even if that doesn't go, if that goes away, well, you still got mom and dad, they'll take care of you. They'll take you know, you know, they'll they'll spot you or whatever. My dad early on one of the biggest favors he did to me said you're going to pay your own

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college tuition. You get it through your head. So okay. And I you know, and for the brothers at least taken like a man's Uh, yeah, okay, I'll do it. I'll do it. And so from high school on, I was thinking like an adult,

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like, this is how I'm going to budget my money. This is where I'm going to go to college, because I can afford to go here. This is how I'm going to manage my time. And, you know,

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this aspect of life, we're not giving our children. And we have to, they have to, if your kids are teens, a healthy thing for them is to get a job, it's healthy. It's not about the money. It's really not. And you have to make them responsible and you know, chores in the house and things like that. And this goes for brothers and sisters get a job at the library, get a job at the local volunteer at the local hospital. So hospital, if you don't want to get a job, volunteer, be part of the community center locally, something, but you have to be involved in something like that It builds responsibility. So when you do run into money, you know how you respect it, that it doesn't just,

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you know, come come out of trees. A lot of people have careers now. And even they don't take their career seriously, because you know what, in the back of their head, if this goes at least I can move back in with mom and dad again. You know, they're there in the back of their head, they're still on vacation, the time for vacation, you have to become independent, you really have to become independent. And you have to think like that you have to think responsibly, right? As far as you know, the money coming in is concerned, Muslims should have in my opinion, the you know, the idea of we should be we should work donia away, and we should be people of Africa. That is true. At the same

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time, Muslims, we shouldn't, we shouldn't have love of dunya. But I tell you, we should be the highest paid people in the country. Muslim should have the highest salaries, we should have the most successful businesses. And not because we want money, but we can pour that money into Islamic work. We can build infrastructure for future generations, we can't do that if we have nothing to work with. You follow what I'm saying? And the real strength of our times the real power in our times is economic power. That's what real power is. You can have military power or you can have economic power and let me tell you most of the time economic forces even drive military forces, right

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economics is the is the currency of power now, so we have to be empowered like that. But we have to maintain the balance that even if we are making loads of money, that our goal in life is not the money. The purpose is not that we make some money the the income we're generating is for a higher purpose. It does something more with life, you know, so and for this reason, we have to kind of balance the idea of good entrepreneurial careers and businesses with inshallah Tada This this is giving spirit

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Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan answers numerous questions about Muslim teenagers’ issues from the audience in this video. 

A few questions of interest are as follows:

  • What role does a Muslim team play in today’s high school and college?
  • What do you think about money-making, as a lot of guys get overwhelmed when money starts coming, how do you control that and decide about saving and spending and controlling it? Because most of the times parents don’t give this kind of independence to their kids at an early age and they have no idea how to manage money.

The questions are answered with immense clarity and elaborated upon with extreme explicitness. It makes for a wonderful listen and is surely not a video to be missed.

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