Celebrating 5 Years of Yaqeen – With Sh Abdullah Oduro

Omar Suleiman


Channel: Omar Suleiman

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Santa Monica and welcome to LA here we've got a cat so I'm so sorry cat. This is Chef honestly man, Sheikh Abdullah Dora would have the low Welcome back to pro and 30 for 30. outside on the blonde. On a serious note, this is a beloved chef Abdullah door. Of course, I'm your brother, honestly, man. Hey, don't you have any Landis lines of allowance shift? Mmm, almost a man was a doctor, almost a man myself.

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So how the last five years ago, did you catch the launch of a team, the public wants to

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know, I didn't intend to kiss the public lawsuit five years ago, five years ago, five years ago today at home, the long running

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European was publicly launched an emphasis on public because obviously there was a lot of work that was going into it before we launched publicly. But some of you might remember I was sitting in a hotel room in Malaysia, with my kids who have also grown 500 lessons than they have. And, you know, told the world about this new initiative, this new venture that was going to be launched and hamdulillah. Here we are five years later. That's how I think that for so many people there is, you know, it's just hard to grasp how much goes on behind the scenes. So first of all, with the founding of the pain, a lot of times, you know, people might think it's just one person, you know, sitting

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there with a notepad? Absolutely not, it was a group of us, 100 nonbinding that came together that sort of identified a major gap in the Muslim community, we saw that, you know, the attacks on Islam were not just affecting us in ways that were, you know, exterior, but really, you know, penetrating our youth, right? I mean, are young Muslims and us ourselves. We're still young, right? But like, you know, our kids, and just people in general, right, the attacks on Islam, through a well funded industry, right have penetrated every TV screen, every computer screen, every phone, and unfortunately, many hearts. And so we wanted to form an initiative launched the team, as a nonprofit

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initiative, where we would put out free and accessible information that would help not just individuals, but help institutions understand how to nurture faith better, and not just refute doubts, because ultimately, if you're always playing defense, then you're only reinforcing the narrative, but also nurture conviction, really, intellectually and spiritually ground people in faith and uninspired contribution. And I just talked about Asana as some sort of past history, but also talk about what that means for us in the present and the future. And we wanted to reach as many places as the industry has reached, right? The Islamophobia industry has reached them. So we don't

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need our content, right? We're we're putting out free curriculum for schools or groups, we are putting out football toolkits, we're putting out papers, videos, media, content, animations, infographics, right. So it's a lot of content. And some people obviously are just tied to one element of your game. And so they don't really understand the whole scope of the game either. But here we are five years later, come to me. And now we also shift from the lender who joined us a couple of months ago was playing

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Hamdulillah, we have now over 100 people actually, really humbling to think about, I don't count our teams, seven teams across the team.

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We have over 100 people at your team out how to know what I mean. So we want to first of all, thank everyone, you know, before we even get started with our conversation, and they sank everyone for being a part of this, whenever you joined this journey hamdulillah you're now part of the appian family. So just a little fight on for making your app for us for being with us, for our programming for consuming the content for sharing it and for being a part of it for supporting it. donating even if you've donated $1 to this work, because it's a nonprofit, you know, we have depended on whatever comes in. And so if it was not for the investment of the community into a nonprofit, then the

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resources that came out of it would not be possible. So first and foremost, we think a lot is a jump for that. But we're also grateful to each and every single one of you. So chef, how's it been for you, man? How's the journey with him been for you? hamdulillah it's been a beautiful, beautiful journey. I mean, the thing that I you know, I think the first time I came was about three years ago, and there was a retreat, and you pull arts and come to the retreat I saw online I was like, okay, 100 I moved to Dallas and Dallas for maybe about two years roughly. But a really the retreat is when I saw Okay, this is something that's progressing and it's moving because what I saw was family

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I saw that there were people that were committed to this cause exactly what you said nurturing COVID-19 you know, bringing conviction

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inspiring contribution, you know one one truth at a time right? Remember this this tagline It was very catchy to me, but I saw it was really an actually was being actualized

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With the team members, the very diverse was kind of like an all star team, right? You had people that were that were very passionate about the subject matters that they talked about coming together. And it's always a benefit when Muslims come together to work together for a general cause of helping bringing Muslims back to understanding who Allah is, and how they can actualize it in their lives. So when I saw that retreat, Michelle, they really showed me the level of teamwork, and commitment to trying to make people's lives better. And that was something that really caught me. And that's what I emphasize, at the retreat. And from then on, it's just more, it's just gotten

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better. Michelle, from the quality of the content, the content itself is very hard to know, strong, it's, you know, the integrity of the content is very, very strong, it's very academically sound. Michelle, when making the merger between, you know, the different different styles and different ways of understanding Islam even. But really maintaining the integrity of the general message and faith of Islam. So that was something that was mailed to me, and that, that captured me, and you know, and Subhanallah until this day, I'm always surprised when we're on Slack, and getting new messages and new people coming in to impact stories. It always increases my demand. It makes me want

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to continue on. Do you have a favorite impact story? Was there a time where you were you were you saw your team in public space? And it really hit you? Like, you know, aside from the shadows, right? That was crazy.

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We have people taking Shahada almost, you know, multiple times a week, right? Oh, yeah. Michelle, that was that was really special people embracing Islam. How did it? Was there like one story that caught you or that you can recall? Where you heard about your opinion from someone else? And it really, you know, impressed upon you how important this work is? Yeah, I mean, there was this there was this gentleman who mentioned his name, but he was from Rome. He was residing in Rome. And, you know, he had a number of questions about a particular topic in Islam. As upon Allah, you know, we reached out to him, I called him, and he's like, Look, I want to embrace Islam. But I have a couple

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of questions. And really, I was intrigued by and he said, yakin, and I was looking to see again, you know, so he just had a couple of questions. And as a questions, you know, I was answering the questions. And he said, No, I think I want to do this, then you want to take a shot? He said, Yeah, I really want to, and it was, you know, just being involved with the content. But primarily, I think it was a 3430 that kind of sparked it for him, you know, the Ramadan season. We haven't it sparked it for him to continue on and ask questions. It's very, very intellectual individual. And I think from there was just, you know, process should have over the phone. And he embraced Islam, and he

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wasn't like in a village in Rome. So the internet was coming in and cutting out. So it was a it was a beautiful, beautiful experience here in Dallas all the way in Rome. You know, Subhanallah, I think you mentioned the beginning as well, how you keen is worldwide, I mean, how it's different, even offices in different places around the world. And sometimes you forget when you're online, you know, how it affects people in different parts of the world that don't have access to this type of education. So I think that his profile is so huge that we have to remember that from the donors from those that donate $1 and those that donate their time, their expertise, pressing, send sharing,

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sharing this knowledge is huge. So that's one impactful story amongst amongst many,

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you know, with you,

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obviously, you yourself and you've talked about your journey to Islam, right? I mean, it's like, you've gone full circle, right? So you went from not being Muslim to being Muslim to now being responsible as an Imam, and as a, an integral part of VPN and heading convert resources to making sure that you're nurturing Islam and among people as hard as possible. So you're seeing people come around, and I think that's really important that, you know, we are aiming our content where we're segmenting the audience, right? But we're aiming our content at people no matter where they are in their faith journey. If you are someone that's on the giving side, institutionally or as a

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caretaker, as an Imam, or as a seminary, or as an Islamic school, we have resources, free resources for you to be able to make use of that. And if you are someone that is, you know, a young Muslim or we all like to think of ourselves as young again, but you're struggling with faith right? You know, and I don't I've always talked about this I don't like practicing and non practicing, labeled practicing and non practicing, there's just a snap. And so we're all we're all trying to do it the best that we can shut what's out and the poor and the sinner set the standard and we're all aiming to live up to it as much as we can get denied to Allah. But if you're someone that is

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institutionally connected, and you're having a hard time with certain relatives, you know understanding certain issues or you're someone that intellectually gets it but spiritually you're not settled. Or vice versa, right. It's you could be anywhere on your faith journey to the point of not knowing anything about Islam at all and wow, you know, this, this is really you know, I came into this looking for an answer as to why

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Islam supposedly stands for this. I've come to not only is Islam not, you know that this this craziness that I've been that Islam is truth, its purpose and that Islam is exceptional and what it's given to the world and what it can give to the world. And I'm a part of that that journey, right? so inspiring contributions. Yeah. So I mean, when you're talking about this, what's your greatest hope for your pain? So here we are five years and yeah, where do you see your pain in five years, and Shawn, we're sitting for the 10 year anniversary in Charlottetown. As we sit here,

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today, life will still be sitting here to sell. So within the next five years, hopefully within the next couple months, we'll have our yaqeen sweat wicking shirts and be in the gym and get this guy to do some boxing and some basketball, some muscle ups just like that. But But no, I mean, you know, within the next five years, I mean, I think it's going to be more of a household name to Muslims, those that know about Islam and those that do not know about Islam, this is an introduction for them about Islam. And as you mentioned, you know, you're tackling your gayness tackling different demographics from your Islamic school teacher, to your psychiatrist, your psychologist or just a guy

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like myself you know, that's just in the gym talking to people. I've told many people that don't know about Islam they enter into knowing about Islam through a particular contemporary issue which will ask them to inquire Okay, Islamic position is this what is Islam and then that's where you start from the basics again, so Subhanallah I think it's more of it's going to be more of a household name in the world not only amongst the Muslim sector, but amongst non Muslims when it comes to what is the Muslim world view on this particular contemporary issue, and then tying it into the classical text. Therefore bringing integrity to the religion and integrity inshallah in the

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hearts of the Muslims. We should all just like you got a fake journey man you got fitness your fitness journey. Yeah, that's part of your like, on your like the shift of fitness.

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So just just for now, but do go to the gym, how are you pretty Dude, I just don't go to your gym. I don't want to be anywhere around you, the gym is gonna make me look bad. So

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Bless you, man. Keep you inspired all of us, spiritually and physically. Now, so hello, one of the benefits of a team is that you can adjust. So COVID hit.

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You know, we have all these plans. We got our you know, we've got a plan for outreach, working with Islamic schools and institutions around the country working with massage and

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how we're going to, you know, form these conviction circles and conversations right in person, people getting together to discuss a song, if you're more serious group, you can do conviction circles, if you're just starting out conversations, if it's with your family, maybe just skipping conversations, we have this whole 2020 plants at the beginning of the year COVID hits. Now, we immediately recognized that things the world has changed. And so that means your pain should adjust as well to be able to reach people where they are, as Paolo, you know, that's just the Topeka below that 100. And now we were able to really become a place where people who were longing for their

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massages, longing for a connection, longing for understanding, longing for, you know, a way to make, to not just make use of their time, but to put the pieces together because we're all falling apart, right? loneliness death in the family, financial layoffs. And again, you need the spiritual Lifeline that more than any other time. And so we were able to handle it up, you know, be literally with people daily,

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producing the angel series, and then having put on 30 for 30, having our webinars where we're able to then show the genius of Islamic scholars and mental health professionals and academics working together on a regular basis, we're able to sort of pull it all together, and how did I know that I mean, and that, again, that could not have been possible without the team, you know, having the team that's able to do that. And we you know, we tried to do everything with our sound with excellence how to do that we have 100% gold star rating, by the way on GuideStar. As far as a charity, we do our nonprofit with their sound companies, we do our teams with Exxon, we try to make sure that our

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content is produced with their sound. So it's the details right? Exactly. Now, plan 30 to 30

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comes about right? So with blackberry 30 Do you have a fond memory of blackberry for 30 other than just the idea of kicking it with, you know, with me and someone else every night, you know,

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but you remember you remember bill empathy for 31 that came about? Oh, yeah, I remember I suppose I remember we were on the phone. And we were talking about um, you mentioned the idea of having something talking about the is, you know, everyday and in my mind, I was like, that'd be a great idea because I think we even individually done it, you know, when I was in the process of doing it as well and that's upon

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We mentioned you know, having different people from the team come on and you know, expound upon a verse that's impacted them and that's how it just started it was kind of organic was just a phone call and then we said let's just go ahead and do it. And we discussed it with team members and this villa was it was done and Mashallah it's benefited people all around the world. I mean, my family members non Muslim family members, they sit on and listen to it. I seen the effects of it

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you know, when I meet people, you know, they know my face because I've seen I've seen some cranberry for 30 but I'll say about a good 60% of them

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say I sit down with my family to watch it with the family with the kids it's a family event you know that and the angel series was a family event like they put it on their schedules to do that. So that really really hit me you know, you can never be little the little things that you do for me it's an idea that i've you know, studied and things of that nature but sharing it with the world you know, is something that's huge from the 50 year old to the five year old because they're sitting together and they're benefiting at certain levels in Ramadan and experience that can can never be taken away personally you know and collectively so

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you know as Palamon like we put a lot of the production quality into the angel series and I planted it was like let's just jump on every night on zoom and go live and we didn't take into consideration of Bob time last year so we're like trying to break our past 30 minutes to like pretty mother stuff you know,

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get it all on and you know get right on camera but 100 an hour I mean it shows you that sometimes I think this is a lesson that one general that sometimes what you think is going to be the most beneficial effort Eliza just puts it into something else and so it's sort of like going with the flow but then adjusting as well your capacity so we were a lot more professional a lot more I think well produced well organized this year with blender and you're very and the angel series was the start of a new It was a sort of turning the page with our media content right? But I think if you've noticed how loud we produced many now media series video series that are at the production quality

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and what I mean with different scholars different speakers and how many law right now in the midst the Dr. Nc Tamra Gray's 200 series we got show how additionality Prophethood and we literally got like series after series after series until it all alone now so it's just gonna be every month a new series inshallah excellent coming up on the love we do we did the pillar series. And you know, we've experimented with new infographic animation style videos where you know, there's anyone I saw that does a better than you meant something that the media content is going further at if you stuck around this long already with the video, and you're wondering where we're sitting, so don't tell

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anyone yet. All right, we're sitting in Yep, Ian's new building which we're going to be talking about very soon inshallah we just kind of quiet a building it's a 15,000 square foot building and have the number I mean, where offices are going to be as well as our new studio set up and have the knob running so we're growing our media capacity in shot Lazzara to be able to produce more to be able to produce better more songs all the time, and just continue to be there for people and again, we're committed to being free you know, we're committed to people's like, you know, how are you going to remember there's a lot of skepticism we started I started a nonprofit you have these, these

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lofty ambitions for an organization with this many people, how are you going to start nonprofit? How are you going to function that way? And we said, Look, our strategy is that we want to reach as many people as possible we're trying to help all the institutions that are out there, that by providing them content as well and then the individuals and we need to reach as many places as these islamophobes have reached with their content. And we said we do have a sustainable model inshallah, time in place, we're going to go for a while, you know, we fundraise for an endowment very intentionally have the knowledge that I mean and people constantly put into that endowment endowment

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can fund the operations and on the second layer of that is our sustainers people that get on a recurring basis and open ended right so what we do at your theme, again, nonprofit, we see how much resources are coming in we then allocate that to new resources, new positions, new new sub departments, right so that we can do more and more and more inshallah time all while being you know, Exxon and consola an efficient as well. And, you know, from your perspective, I know you know about that skepticism that was there, especially in the beginning, like how are you going to have something that is so large and so professional, but at the same time, dependent on those donations?

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You know, do you have anything to say about that, like,

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What are people really investing in when they give to you? And what's your what's sort of your message to someone in that regard? I mean, just really, when you believe in something, nothing can stop you. I mean, when you have that passion, you're going to keep going. And trust in Allah subhanho, wa Taala, he's going to assist you in that, there's always going to be people that will say, you know, they may sincerely say, okay, you know, this isn't going to work. And it's from their own scope, and it may be limited, it is limited, all of our scopes are limited. But when you have people with these limited scopes, and experiences, and you know, trial and error that they went

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through, you know, they've been jaded things of that nature, they come together, and they join together with that general vision, the sky's the limit. I mean, things, you know, Subhanallah, there's no stopping you and everyone that's involved. And that's what I see with Ukraine. I mean, Subhanallah, when you mentioned COVID, it was literally all hands on deck, everyone was on the phone call, it was strategizing, it was serious, it was about the work, it wasn't about an individual, it wasn't about a particular, you know, person, it was about the work, how can we help these people that are struggling in their homes or in COVID. And also, each and every one of us are in our

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respective communities, as you mentioned, the series, everyone is a leader or some type of influencer in their community, right? So they're reaching the people in their community. So when the content involves them, that people in their communities feel some level of ownership. And they see that representation. So when particularly COVID came, you saw a lot of people that were affected, and that their spirits were uplifted, they have people to talk to that refer to, you know, you're getting emails, every individuals getting particularly emails, and calls, maybe even zoom calls, and people embracing Islam, people having, you know, that little faith crisis, but they have an outlet

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and someone to talk to. And I think that was that was huge in regards to the impact of your gain upon the people. But when we're talking about, you know, the progress of your cane, and how, you know, the team coming together, is huge. It's just really sticking to that general vision, and keep moving. And people when they see that they will latch on Charlottetown because they see the effect within their personal personal interaction with the community members, that community leaders, and it being a nonprofit organization and the structure that we have, it's important for them to know for all of you to know that it's a serious organization, Mashallah to vertical, it's a serious team,

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it's serious family, I think we use the word organization, sometimes, it gives a kind of blue collar feel, and that is something that is detached from the personal experience from the reality of that 16 year old kid that maybe thinking of suicide, from the 45 year old, that's getting a divorce, because you know, her husband's not sure if he wants to be a Muslim anymore. You know, all of these personal experiences, we are family, all of us are family. And all we're trying to do is add on to the wall of the banana morsels of the strong, you know, structure of faith, how we can add on to society by coming together from our experiences and our knowledge and expertise to help you and to

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help ourselves. So it being a nonprofit organization, is just a means for us to worship Allah subhanho wa Taala to help you further worship Allah spawn down as well. What a beautiful way to put that, Zach, I really appreciate that. Because, I mean, ultimately, the whole mis mission of the Prophet slicin was driven by empathy. He wanted good for people, and they're doing another

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with the advocate of being salvation, and the dunya you know, people obviously finding fulfillment and their needs being met. As palla even I think the way that we we teach Islam and when we talk about orthodoxy and defending orthodoxy, we have to remember that everyone is struggling in some way, no COVID has, has really shown us everyone struggling in silence, including everyone on the team, right, everyone's struggling in some way and hamdulillah we, we become stronger as a collective, when we pull from that, that fountain of Islam and arrive at a place of yaqeen of certainty, and yaqeen as a concept, when you have certainty than you constantly contribute towards

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your appeal, and that has individual and collective benefits and community benefits. So exactly look out for the beautiful example. And I want to you know, sort of end off by just saying that hamdulillah we're a community organization you know, again, this is a an organization that has depended first and foremost always on the larusso gel, and the generosity of the community. And being the Sustainer of yaqeen means that whatever you're giving, you know, some people give $500 a month, some people give $50 a month, some people give less than that. Some people give more, at the end of the day, you know, when you are investing in this organization in sha Allah tayana you're

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investing in more community resources and we pray that bidding 90 to Allah as we've we've tried to be there for the last five years inshallah tada that will grow

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Hopefully will grow with sincerity will grow with steadfastness will grow with a connection to Allah subhanho wa Taala collectively connect each other in Charlottetown in that regard as well, and you'll continue to be proud of this, but this is your work. What you see here in Hamden blah blah mean and this building is empty right now and Charlotte Tyler will be talking about it to the public soon So I love that what our dreams are for this this new empty building and shout once out but I hope inshallah Ty we filled your hearts in some way and I hope that you can continue if you're already a sustainer and the luck continue to be a sustainer you know, most people handed arbiter

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sustainers will also give extra animal bond or that hedge and things of that sort because hopefully you've seen the benefit of this in your own lives, your own families and shall your own friends. So I want to encourage you all inshallah taught to do that. And Sheikh Abdullah exactly like him and I appreciate you, Tyler Boyd you for the person that you aren't having to learn and once you give to everybody, and like in five years, man I'm gonna have I'm gonna be benching as much as you be lifting as much as you in Charlottetown some be like sitting here busting my suit. So if I'm really you know, we're gonna,

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we'll have we'll have a weightlifting competition in five years on camera, you know,

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but um, the last minute it's been an absolute joy to be with you. And I think I think that people are going to be very pleased with what's coming out in Shell outside November, December, January, and then what we have in store for them this next one will bond in Sha, Allah

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and 3430 is going to be elevated even more. We're already planning for it. I haven't been in LA. So Zach, more Hayden to everyone. Zach l'affaire, Chef Abdullah, may Allah reward you all may allow us parents allow us to continue to serve in his way May Allah forgive us for our shortcomings. May Allah guide us to what is pleasing to Him and allow us to be firm on the path of His Beloved Prophet sallallahu wasallam until we meet him on the Day of Judgment allotment, I mean, does that mean well Hayden will sit on my econ without having to lie, he'll put a cut