Slavery and Rape in Islamic Law (Q&A)

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Omar Suleiman

Channel: Omar Suleiman

Episode Notes

This follow-up video answers many questions you sent in after the webinar about past and modern day slavery.

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 Alaikum Welcome to Labor Council Bismillah Hamza Lal slaughter cinema Allah, Allah while only he will be here woman whiner. So, you know, at hamdulillah we had the, the class on slavery, you know, about a month ago where we went pretty in depth into many of the issues and Pamela actually not as in depth, as I quite would have liked us to go into, especially with discussing some of the modern manifestations and, and slavery between the Arab slave trade and the Atlantic slave trade and so on, so forth. Also, when we glanced over the issues, one of my goals was to show you just how many laws there were in how you treat the slaves and so on, so forth at that time, and as I said,

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most of this was just to, you know, was just of academic value, because there is, you know, within, amongst the Muslim community, at least, you know, there is no concept of practicing slavery today, if we were to talk about extremist groups that exists that use certain verses of the poor on and so on, so forth, you know, they do things that by consensus, are not allowed, and even reintroducing the Institute, the institution of slavery is deviant in and of itself. But I really wanted to go over some of the questions, the comments, because I did just have a chance to kind of glance over some of the laws governing slaves and, and, and concubines, and this entire concept of, especially

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when we're talking about Islamic law, and in many of these cases, I wasn't able to go into deep detailed evidences when when I was making the points that I was making. So I wanted to go over some of the most frequently asked questions on the video. So I read through the comments on our YouTube video, as well as on some of the Facebook statuses and just some of the recurring issues. Also, I had the chance to, once I finished it, send it to some some scholars and ask them you know, what points do you think I need to elaborate further on him that I was able to engage in some pretty vibrant discussion since that since that talk and what that showed me is that this issue has been

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bothering a lot of people and many people have not been able to come to terms with it. Even many Imams and students have knowledge and it was in that boat until I really tried to dissect and study this issue. So I have about eight to 10 issues here that were brought up, you know, on multiple occasions either through the YouTube video or through the Facebook status. The first one and I'll kind of go through them inshallah Tada, the first one which was brought up more than once was the quote of Lima Misha for him, Allah to Allah when we were talking about the issue of consent and, and rape.

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Now, generally speaking, obviously, again, we're talking about the past, we're not talking about present day. And it's very important when you're viewing history, not to view it with the deficiency of present ism and present ism in history is to look at the past and analyze the past through modern through modern day laws and customs and understandings. So we're looking at the past and so we're talking about the issue of rape. Rape in and of itself is considered one of the most grievous sins in Islam, it's, it's it's considered hip hop, it's like waging war on the on the states, it's, you know, it warrants capital punishment, when we talk about marriage, so whether we're talking about

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conquer binary, or we're talking about marriage, actually, when you talk about marriage, the entire discussion of marital rape, which has become a hot discussion, as of late, wasn't discussed up until the 20th century. And in fact, the term marital rape didn't even exist there, you know, until the 1970s, no legal system actually addressed marital rape, which is does the wife even need to consent for a husband? Now, obviously, you know, it's being discussed now and and it's being looked at through the lens of various texts. So when we talk about, you know, konka binary it, you know, and concubines and leukemia, and that that concept of what the right hand possesses, it becomes even

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more complicated. Now, the quarterly mama Shafi Rahim, Allah to Allah, which I mentioned, was that if a person forced himself onto, onto a concubine, then she would be taken away from him. And he would be charged with the penalty of Zina, he would be charged with a penalty of adultery, so he would be punished, it would be taken away and in fact, she'd be given something not just being free from that man, but she'd be given something as well.

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And the word compensation is not you know, it's not a very is not very classy in this regard. But really just the idea of being able to move on trying to help her recover and recuperate in that situation. So the question came up well, was the chef or you know him whole lot Tyler talking about a person doing that to the you know, what their own right hands possessed? Or was he talking about a slave girl that was attacked? Okay. Or concubine that was attacked or acquired unjustly? And the answer to that question is that even if a shaft okay malata So yes, it does indicate if the Saab here is to take something forcefully that doesn't belong to you. It does indicate that a shaft akima

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Tyler was talking about unlocking

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Fully, or someone that was taken unlawfully meaning not a captive that was brought into your household, by the lawful means at that time. However, the reason why I mentioned that is to show you the attitude that they're in and out that the football had towards this entire concept that she also had rights. And she had that right to her body. And she had that right to consent. Now, if you were to say, well, since a chef, you don't have a lot to add, and again, the concept of Okay, that's men who it's taken away from him. So some of the scholars took from those words of a chef, very op, that's men who that it's taken away from him that a chef is not addressing.

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Whether or not this is a person that is legally under the control of someone or not, but he's addressing the act in and of itself. But let's just take for, let's just take this idea that,

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that it is that this quote is specific to a woman that was attacked unjustly, that did not belong to that person, which is, you know, which is at its face value, that's what it appears to be. So then how do you deal with this issue? Well, you deal with it the same way that you deal with the rights of a wife. And according to the Rahim Allah to Allah, He points out something which is very, very profound. He says that, and I didn't get a chance to actually mentioned this. In the webinar, he said that Allah subhanaw taala actually never mentions medica, to a man whom, that which the right hand possesses. In a separate verse, it's always mentioned Illa, Allah as watching him, Omar Malik,

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it's a man whom it's always mentioned with the wife to show you that she is in the same position, she gets the same rights as the wife, it also shows you there's no virtue to having multimeters or anything of that sort. It's always mentioned together and the prophets lie, some he followed this method as well, because when the Prophet slicin addressed the people on the day of alpha, and when he talked about, you know, taking care of your of your wives, and so on, so forth, he bunched up the you know, that which the right hand possesses with the wife, with the wife, as well, to show you that the rights are the same, that the treatment is meant to be the same. And so there is no

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precedent to establish, in fact, there is no masella there is no judgment to establish this idea that even if she was in your rightful capacity at that time, according to the laws in the system of that time, that you would still be able to force yourself upon her because that entire discussion of rape and forcing yourself upon someone was condemned. And in fact, it falls under another Maxim. Because if we say that she takes the same role as the wife, which it certainly seems to be that way, whether you're talking about, you know, when he becomes intimate with her, whether you're talking about you know, the child and freedom and so on, so forth and treatment, then we have to address it

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within that scope. And the Prophet sallallahu alayhi. wasallam says, Lord, Allah, whatever, without the law, so it comes under this hadith that there is no harm or reciprocating of harm, which establishes a maxim in the Sharia at bodily as that that harm should be avoided in any situation. If the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam forbade a master from from hitting the person that was under if and if a slap, meant expiation, then what then of rape? Right? I mean, it's common sense if, because that's the only thing we have, because the entire discussion, as we said, is ambiguous due to the language of the time. So if the prophets lie, Selim is establishing that you cannot harm you

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cannot even slap the person that's been placed under your control, then what then of rape, and even within the discussion of marital rape, because, in essence, to simplify this, from an authority perspective, if you're talking about it from a law perspective, the only difference between that woman and the woman that came in through marriage is that she came in through the house as a prisoner of war. That's what their intimacy that's the only difference between the two in that regard, as far as treatment is concerned, just like the man has a right upon his wife and the and the wife has a right upon her husband and regards to intimacy. And the Prophet sallallahu Sallam he

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warned a person from withholding themselves from their spouse as a means of punishing him or as as a means of, of not fulfilling his right. The prophets lie Selim does not say if that person does not give you your right, you then have the right to force yourself upon that person and take the right from them. Okay, that person then who doesn't fulfill their right towards you, whether it's a husband, towards a wife or wife towards a husband, or a because the scholars also established that that clause goes both ways, by the way, and inshallah I plan to do a future video on that specific topic of marital rape. Whether it's the child on the parents, or the parent on the child, you know,

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if that person does not fulfill that, right, it doesn't mean that you have the right to take it forcefully, it means that that person is athame, that person is sinful for not giving you your rights. So that's, that's the most important thing I want you to take from this entire discussion whether we're talking about the wife or we're talking about Mulkey mean, that which the right hand possesses, you're not allowed to forcefully take your rights from a person in a way that would cause harm and that

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Something that's established by the consensus of their, by the consensus of the scholars and their early writings that established that when talking about the wife, and again, the point of using the quote of a Shafi Rahim, Allah to Allah is to show you the attitude that they're not hard towards this entire discussion. So yes, I would say it again, unequivocally rape is would not be allowed, even in the case of that of a woman that that, that came in as a prisoner of war. And that's something that's established through all of these Maxim's and through all of these, even through all of these early works of the scholars as well. So that was issue number one, and that was the most

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frequently brought up issue. The second issue

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is there any way in which Congo binary can exist today outside of chattel slavery, because we talked about the difference between chattel slavery and modern day manifestations of slavery, as we said, Today, there are more slaves in the world than at any other point in history, there are more people that are employed in conditions of slavery that are put in conditions of slavery, than at any point in history. So then when you talk about a maid, for example, and this is actually a common problem, in some parts of the world, Muslim and non Muslim parts of the world, by the way, are the issues of of maids because of cheap labor, you know, a woman becomes a maid she's put into horrible deplorable

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conditions she's often subjected to, to rape and to being molested and being abused by her employers, if you want to call it that, because in some places, this woman goes, she has her passport taken, she's paid pennies, she lives in a, you know, a tiny room, she even has a room somewhere in the house. And she's basically a slave in the household. So does that mean that intimacy can be established from a salary perspective from an Islamic perspective with that woman? And the answer is absolutely not. It is completely how to help, right, there is no way that a woman can become in the state of a concubine, or welcome in or whatever it may be in that state. And so if

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a person was to, to abuse their maid in a sexual fashion, or in any fashion, in fact, they would be held like that, you know, in the same capacity as if they'd done that to any other woman, there is no way to assign that position today, because again, this was a system that was designed to deal with this, the circumstances of the time, it was the system of the world, it was reformed by the prophet sallallahu wasallam. And the only way that this that this position of money came in with the right hand possesses can be established was through being a prisoner of war, and being introduced in the household in that way. And at that point, she has the rights of a wife, when intimacy is

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established, and no one else could be intimate with her. And the, the the desire of the prophets lie, Selim, as illustrated in the hadith of Bahati was that she would be freed and she would be married, and you would get twice the reward as opposed to remaining in that state. As we said, The goal of the Prophet slicin was reintegration. So there is no way today that a woman could occupy that that state, or that a person could put their maid into that situation, or anything of that sort, no matter what the conditions were. Another thing that was brought up, and I found this very interesting was that when I spoke about some of the earlier scriptures, when I spoke about the Old

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Testament, I spoke about the New Testament, and really some of the very disturbing references to slavery that exists within the Old Testament and the testimonies. And the New Testament. In fact, even even the words of you know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Paul, so on so forth.

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That that was that that was meant to say that Judaism and Christianity actually introduced slavery. And actually, that's incorrect. I actually was not saying that these religions were particularly brutal, okay, are that these texts were particularly brutal. In fact, the point that I was trying to make is that they were complacent, because the things that are mentioned in the Torah and the things that are mentioned instead of more than the things that are mentioned in the New Testament, are very much so complacent with the laws of slavery and the understanding of slavery at the time. Okay. So the point was to say that these scriptures, if we take and again from an Islamic perspective, it's

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all bunched up because the scriptures are not considered the original scriptures. We do believe that there was at some point an initial, divinely revealed text to Musashi Salaam to Moses peace, we want him to resign Islam. But if you were to take these texts at face value, okay for what they are today, then they seem to simply conform with the practices of slavery at the time. So the point was not to say that these religions were particularly brutal. Certainly the story of ham, ham, the son of Noah, the son of Noah had a Salam and racializing slavery makes it particularly brutal. And anytime that you add a religious connotation, as we see with extremist groups today, then it makes

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it even more disgusting and more deplorable when you can manipulate religious texts and you can take a deviant disgusting practice and somehow make it divinely conforming are legislated. That's that's a problem. But I was not suggesting in any way when I talked when I talked about the Bible when I talked about the Old Testament or New Testament that these religions were particularly brutal towards slaves.

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Rather, they seem to conform with the practices of the time. And there is no doubt that there is no one who reformed this institution and who, who is as progressive as the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. And as Islam was, in regards to this institution, you can't find anything even close to the time of the messenger sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, even if you're going into the 19th 20th century, that was as progressive as the Prophet peace be upon him and and the scripture that he brought being the poor, which we hold to be the word of a loss pantai there's nothing that was nearly as progressive dealing with what was considered a fact and universally acceptable in the

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world at the time. Another thing that was brought up the issue of the ADA, I mentioned that there's something like ADA, which is a waiting period, for the, for a woman that is that comes in as a prisoner of war, what that means is that a time passes, and then, you know, she, she would have her her her cycle. And then at that point, one person in the household, you know, could be intimate with her.

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You know, and going through all those laws once again, so some some people brought up well, there is no

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the word that doesn't even apply here. And

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some people also, you know, objected to the idea of saying that this was for mourning purposes. First and foremost, let's make it clear, this is an explicit Heidi from the Prophet sallallahu wasallam. So there's no ifs and buts this isn't even a discussion of he had a reasoning or scholarly reasoning, the prophet peace be upon him, he actually explicitly mentioned that a woman should first observe one cycle, before a person could be intimate with her. The primary reason as I as I alluded to in the lecture, but I'll make clear, inshallah Tada, again, the primary reason, obviously, is protection of lineage, half of the Nestle, which is one of the universals of Islamic law to protect

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lineage, because obviously, it poses a very problematic situation, to society, if it's unclear who the child was now, before Islam, okay, in the, in the days of ignorance, it didn't really matter, because the child of a slave, whether it was lawful, that whole concept was thrown out the window. So

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even if it was my child that came through a slave, it's still going to be an illegitimate child, it's still going to be mistreated and treated like a slave. So the entire concept of a child being born to a woman that came in in the situation, and being free, being born free, and then you know, having the right to advocate to free the mother, and so on, so forth. And then when the when the, when the initial capture passed away, then the woman became free as well, then the entire family becomes free. That whole concept didn't exist at the time. So this reformed that the profit slice, and I made, the primary reason was to protect the lineage, to have a clear understanding who that

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child would be for if that child was born. And one of the secondary benefits that the scholars did mention, in fact, any mama No, we don't have a lot to add, I mentioned it was the idea of giving a woman time to mourn and time to, you know, get over the situation that she was in, and so on, so forth, obviously, with the varying times, and so on, so forth. This is

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this is simply one of the the benefits of that practice, it's more humane, considering the circumstances, the very inconvenient circumstances of the time, which is the issue of war and the issue of of having all these prisoners of war, and not knowing how to deal with them.

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Issue three that was brought up was the issue of the husband being alive, was it possible? Or what was the proof? And this was brought up several times what was the proof that a man could not be intimate with a woman had her husband been alive, I mentioned clearly that the Prophet slicin, I mentioned that if a family is taken into captivity, that it is impermissible to separate between the family members. And so that applies to the husband and the wife, it applies to the mother and the child, any amount of honey for Kamala extended that to say even if the husband was in a nearby area, even if the husband was not taken in with the wife as a captive, that still out of decency,

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that woman should be treated as such, because you cannot absolve that you cannot do you cannot avoid the marriage contract. And you cannot treat her differently in that regard. So this was one of the humane reforms of Islam and as discussed by the alcohol, it's discussed by the prophet peace be upon him and discussed by some of the scholars again, non binding for him, Allah extended it to, you know, even being in the same area being in the same region, and so on, so forth. Another thing that came up and I thought this is a very interesting question.

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And I'm going to actually read this question. Someone said, I'd love to see all these ideals about the Islamic view on rape and slavery put into practice so far, for the past few 100 years history has shown that the victim of rape is blamed, punish and or cast out from society whether it is Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan or Morocco, if it's so clear in Islamic law that the abuser is to be put to justice.

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This, why is the cultural experience consistently? The reverse? And the answer to that question, first and foremost, because I saw this a lot that some people would say, well, the ambassador did this, or the Arab slave trade was like this. And some people did this. And this is what happens in some countries, and so on so forth.

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You know, if you look at those regions, at the time, and what you have to decide is, is that person a product of their setting? Or is that person a product of their religion? Is that practice because it's Islamic? Or is that practice because of the cultural context, the setting, the time and the place that that person is in. And so if you take these countries that were mentioned, for example, if you take Pakistan or India and you take, you know, and you take that entire region, whether you're talking about Bangladesh, and Nepal, or Sri Lanka, whatever you're talking about, there are non Muslims, any difference in regards to the backwardness when addressing the topics of rape and

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honor killings, and so on, so forth, and treatment to women, in fact, as a whole, or female genital mutilation, just because these things happen in Muslim countries, whether it's, you know, whether it's present or past.

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We don't have to come up with an answer from a theological perspective. Rather, we have to work as a human race against these types of against these common sicknesses and illnesses that purge our society that plague our societies, and how we can purge them collectively. So the answer to that question is that again, whether you're talking about the past, you know, someone brought up the issue, they said, Oh, well, in this, in this period, in the 1300s, they did this. And then in the Arab slave trade, they did this, or now they do this.

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That's not a product of the religion that is, in fact, a product of the time in place. And that's the point here, that had Islam been applied correctly, because there's this attitude, this idea that many parts of the Muslim world are backwards, because they've insisted upon following this religion, whereas historically speaking, and what we're seeing today is that, actually, it's their abandonment of the religion of the text that has led them to this darkness into this backwardness that they're actually in. So, you know, this is about the time this is about the place. I don't think that, that non Muslims in India are any better than Muslims. And in regards to these issues, it's just as

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regressive and it's something that we do need to fight. And the job of the Theologian is to fight it using the text that's being abused, to say, Well, actually, this is what the text says, if you want to follow the portal, and you want to say that, you know, the Quran and the Sunnah are what governs the way that you're going to act towards, you know, approach these issues, then this is what you have to do. So the Theologian has to do that. And then people as a whole, activists have to come together and demonstrate a greater human conscience and the greater, you know, determination to fight these things that that plague the world today. Lastly, this question came up towards the end,

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do we get the same reward for freeing slaves when we fight modern manifestations of a free slaves, so the prophets lie some of them, you know, again, there's chattel slavery, and there are things that the prophets lie some mentioned that are that are specifically about freeing slaves, meaning taking a person that is non Luke that is owned, and purchasing that person's freedom. So obviously, that reward is specific to that situation. However, fighting modern manifestations of slavery gives us this opportunity to hopefully aim for something that is more what we do know is that just generally speaking, whether you're talking about human beings, or Muslims, non Muslims, or even when

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you're talking about animals, when you lighten the burden, when you ease the burden of a person in this world, Allah subhanaw taala eases your burden in the hereafter. So the greater the burden on that person in this world, and the greater effort you make to relieve that person of that burden, the greater likelihood you have of your own burden of sins being removed from you on the day of judgment and your day of judgment being made easier for you. So especially when we're talking about relieving a person of debt, or we're talking about advocating for a person who's being put in situations that are like slavery, then these things are greatly rewardable. And these things are,

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could in fact, gain you a greater

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reward in the sight of Allah subhanaw taala depending on the circumstance of that person on the issue that that person is facing and what you did to relieve that person. Because I would argue that being a slave and this is something that I brought up some quotes of historians about the factory worker in Europe in the 19th century compared to a slave in the Muslim world.

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If you know there are people that have greater burdens today than then a slave would have had in the seventh century. And so when you go out there and you ease that person's burden and you fight on behalf of that person, you advocate for that person's cause. You could be getting a greater reward than the lifetime because a lot is more merciful than we can ever imagine. than a person who would have freed a slave back then because

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That person's conditions actually worse than that person's condition was in the seventh century and so on so forth. So the idea is to fight it and shout lots at it and to continue to, you know, fight for social justice and to try to improve the condition of the human race, Muslim and non Muslim. And do what Allah subhanho wa Taala put us here to do which is to better the world. Those are the main questions that came up I hope they were satisfactory to you all I hope the answers are satisfactory inshallah Tada. And I do appreciate I tried to read through as much as I could and tell that I do appreciate the discussion that this started. And I asked Allah Subhana hota Allah to make us pleased

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with him as our Lord to make us pleased with the profits mycelium as our profit, and to make us pleased with the religion of Islam as a religion and I asked Allah subhanaw taala to guide our hearts to that which is true and that which is upright, and I asked a loss patterns out of that when we come across issues that are difficult for us to comprehend that we accuse our own logic and our own faulty intellect and our own ignorance before making an accusation against Allah or his messenger sallallahu alayhi wasallam and that we're able to have our minds and our hearts open to wisdom and truth uncertainty, and that allows pantai light our hearts with the power of sincerity,

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Eman and European uncertainty alarm I mean, so does that mean like i don't i look forward to seeing you all inshallah for the next webcast with Salaam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh