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The Gravity of One Murder, and the Death of Justice

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Omar Suleiman

Channel: Omar Suleiman

Episode Notes

In this talk,  Imam Omar Suleiman takes on the death of George Floyd from the aspect of Allah’s edict in Surah Al-Isra’ which can be broken down to :-.

  1. The sanctity of one human life;
  2. The complete authority of the family of the one killed unjustly;
  3. Those that are angered by the murder should not become unjust themselves in seeking justice; and
  4. The role of the state/government/imam with the victim/ victim’s family/heirs.

There is no justification for the unjust murders executed against its victims and the fact that there still has been no justice meted out only compounds the injustice that is prevalent in our society.

Take the example of George Zimmerman who not only got away with the murder of Trayvon Martin but he has actually made hundreds of thousands of dollars after the killing. What is the message being given out to society, to potential murderers? Since nothing happened to Zimmerman, there is unsurprisingly no fear of accountability in all other cases of murder of persons of colour by persons in authority. What does the absence of justice do to the psyche of a person in a uniform and with a gun? Simple – that they can get away with murder, literally.

Facing these tumultuous times, while seeking justice for the victims and their families, we need also be introspective as we call for the end of systemic injustice in our society. We must not be distracted by the attempts of those in authority to divert our attention from the act of the murderer to the character assassination of the victim.  

Remember :- the victim’s character is not in question.  Rather, it is the snuffing out of the victim’s life that must remain the focus of all attention, even after years have gone by.

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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So I want to go over the curtain of investing administrators, you must not know him and him. Did you know what I mean? whenever they want

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people to have been with Tofino or Central America, because he can come in and sell a lot he will sell them. And only he will suddenly he was selling to senior cathedra. So, inshallah tada Today, I wanted to reflect a bit on obviously, what what many people are seeing coming out of Minnesota, but I wanted to sort of step back and give this Koranic framing and really help us understand through the lens of the

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the way that we deal with these types of situations beyond just, you know, the, the general statements about justice and the sin of racism, and murder, and brutality and all that comes from that, but really trying to understand deeply how the poor and teaches us to deal with a situation like this where we see murder, and when we see particularly state sanctioned murder or murder that is repetitive coming out of a singular system. And what are some things that we can take from the poor and to understand this, and before I go any further, speaking about this, inshallah, I know that it's la la, is doing something today in sha Allah, so I shared it on Instagram, I know that

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they're doing something in a few hours. And I think it would be important for all of us to tune in and to hear what you know, our emails, and various activists have to say about the current situation and how we can deal with the situation. But it is important for us to really have a spiritual framing beyond just the devastating impact of watching yet another video of a modern day lynching, police lynching, the way that we see with George Floyd. And it's unacceptable for us to simply once again say, you know, it's unfortunate, it's a mistake, it shouldn't have happened. But, you know, these are, these are the types of things that happen in this line of work, and there's nothing that

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we can do about it.

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I think that it's also extremely faulty for a person to step in and to express a greater sense of outrage over property damage and looting and things that happened in the wake of this. Or, you know, the extreme forms of the reaction, because to paint the entire protest, as writing has implications, and then to speak about just one element of it has implications, I think that it's also unjust to the situation. And so I wanted us to just pull back and to reflect on five verses of the Quran that speak about,

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you know, justice, and particularly, the, the the darkness of the injustice that covers a society, when murder of this regard, at the hands of the state, is, is glossed over and is not dealt with properly. And so, the first thing is just to speak about how the gravity of one murder can really shift a current both in terms of its laws, and in terms of its society, if people deal with it, in a proper way. And this is something that we even find from the poor. And you'll see that there's a frequent quote from the poor and that whoever saves one life, it is as if he has saved all of mankind, and that is taken from sorts of Nikita. And certainly that does not just introduce this

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idea does not just introduce this verse out of nowhere, it actually introduces it coming out of the story of Cain and Abel, the story of a beaten Hubby, where a lot tells us about how one brother murders another brother, the first murder in the history of mankind, and he murders his brother, not because of

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not because of something that the brother did wrong, but because of an insecurity within himself, because his sacrifice was not accepted. And the only way that he felt like he could assert his his power was to take his brother's life was to murder his brother, not to say to Allah, why was my sacrifice not accepted in that? What can I do to make my sacrifice accepted, but instead to kill his brother. And that is something that you know, I'll probably elaborate on in a future time but but usually when a person commits these types of Acts, they have problems with themselves more than they have with the world around them. And so they project their own insecurities on the world around

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them. and in this situation, where you have one brother, the first murder in mankind, one brother who murders his brother, who did no wrongdoing, who did nothing to deserve to be killed. Allah then introduces an entity that he could cut up now Allah Benny is slightly it was because of that that we prescribed on Vinnie Islam. He said that whoever kills one person, not in retaliation of murder or injustice, but or to spread mischeif in the land, it would be as if he killed all of mankind and whoever saves one life. It is as if

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saves all of mankind. So I'm in petard enough Sunday lady knifes in opha. Sub for Southern autocannon Matata, NASA Jamia woman, Africa and America NASA Jamia that whoever kills one person, not in retaliation of murder or, or the spreading of mischeif and land. But it would be as if that person killed all of mankind than whoever saves one life, it would be as if he saved the life of all of mankind. And somehow what you see here is an entire law, that entire laws can come out of one murder that Allah subhanaw taala says he prescribed this on the children of Israel, arising out of this incident arising out of what happened here, that murder of one person, injustice is like the

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murder of all of mankind is like killing all of mankind. And to save one life is like saving all of mankind. So the gravity of one murder here is able to dictate or transitions in the discourse of the Koran from just the murder of one person, to how an entire nation is then given a law of justice on how to deal with murder, particularly when it comes to unjust, the unjust killing of someone who had nothing, you know, who did not do anything that was deserving of such

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such a crime. A loss of a job also teaches us through the tongue of our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam that the gravity of one murder is such that it can shift societies. And in that case, the one who sets the trends is responsible for everything that arises out of that trend. And that's why the Prophet sallallahu Sallam peace be upon him, he said that no one commits murder, except that the first murderer, being the brother in Calvin, and Hobbes has a share of that evil, because again, because of how, in the unknown elements on the bottom, because he's the first one to normalize murder. And so anytime anyone kills a share of that evil goes to the first killer, because there's a

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there's a trend that is such that it sets off something that that ends up becoming much larger than its initial occurrence. And so there's this idea of some kind of love of the gravity of one murder, the sanctity of one life, and the gravity of one murder, and how that should cause a society, to pause and to reflect on where we have come. Now, in the case of police brutality, of course, this isn't just one murder, there are 1000s of hashtags at this point. And before hashtags were a thing, there were 1000s of victims of the same nature, the same type of murder. So, you know, how does the poor and talk about this idea of justice and this idea of the presence of justice for the victim,

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not just dealing with obviously, the, the spiritual disease of racism, and then what that manifests itself in, in in terms of the, the systemic oppression of a people on the basis of their color, and everything that comes out of that, but you know, life that exists or life that comes out of a presence of justice? What happens in a society when justice is there, a frequent statement from even take me out of Kamala, in a lot of European with doughnuts in it, though encountered capital, we had to go to Latino encounters Muslim Allah, that Allah would would uphold a just nation, even if that nation was a disbelieving nation. And Allah would destroy an oppressive nation, even if that nation

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was a Muslim nation.

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There's something to be said about the presence of justice in a society and what that does to a society, and particularly one element of justice, which is empowering the victims of injustice, empowering the victims of injustice, which sends a clear message to future aggressors and oppressors, current and future aggressors and oppressors, and also establishes a system where people who have been wronged consistently of people that have been wronged consistently have a legal mechanism to be able to go forth and to to attain justice. Now, in Islam, that was called kasasa. That's called the sauce which is retribution, the legal retribution that exists when when a life is

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taken. And so in the case of the sauce, the the plaintiff, the victim is the plaintiff and of course, are the the family of the victim is the plaintiff and the plaintiff is actually the one that has the authority of retribution, right to decide what to do with the one that has taken the life of their loved one and to to choose without being pressured in a way that you know, are cannot be a superficial choice, right. We see this happen all the time where in the name of this loss, you know, you have you have a state that would pressure a family

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To forgive the killers to forgive the murderers, because that would cover the state right now this is a pure idea of the sauce that exists in the world and where the family actually has the right to, to decide the fate of the one that took their loved one. And Allah subhanaw taala says about this welcome, filthy saucy. Hi, I'm Tanya O'Neill and back. And this is what I want to focus on the spiritual part of this, that you have life in legal retribution, that there's that there is higher that there is life in the presence of justice, a mechanism of justice for the family of those that have been wronged, yet within above 9.0 people of understanding that you may become righteous. Now

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this is a very specific wording that we find in this verse that comes into play slightly higher, that you have in in the presence of a system that would allow for a person to that would allow for the family of the victims to actually have rights to have the legal rights to pursue justice, that there is life in that. And the way that scholars traditionally dealt with this. So you read the Tafseer of this ayah. One Tafseer of it, which has scholars mentioned is that if a killer knows that there would be retribution for their killing, then that person would think before the murder, and so they would hold back, they would hold themselves back from killing. And in the case of that, and hey

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out here, you know, life that's preserved, the traditional scholars are traditionally you'll find in the toughest theater, they say that, hey, up and up the life of the murdered and the one the potential murderer, the potential murderer and the potential murdered, is saved. Because the presence of justice, the presence of a system, that would deter someone from killing, that would hold someone back from killing gives life to the one that was going to be killed, and the person who would have taken that life and then suffered the consequences of that. And so a sauce prevents right that the empowering of the plaintiff, the empowering of the victim's family prevents that. And the

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sauce would be applied, not in a way that if a person you know one of the things that Assad came to do away with was tribalism, right? So it didn't matter if you belong to Benjamin zoom, which was one of the more powerful tribes of Mecca, or if you belonged to, to no tribe at all. Right? The idea was that this loss would be established in a way that it would deter a person from killing, because they knew that there was going to be a system of accountability. And in the process of that, that's why you'll find this thing. Email Hassan Busey, talking a lot of the life of the potential murder and the life of the potential murdered one is safe. But there's a societal element to this as well, that

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goes beyond just the case of that person. Because we said there's the gravity of one murder and the sanctity of one life. And there's a very beautiful discourse, she has her family had shared this, this quote from habitable zone, Rahim Allah tala, where he talks about a dignified existence, that life here is not just talking about the presence of people being able to lead to live and to breathe. But it's speaking about the idea of a dignified existence, that a society in which lives are sanctified, in which there is proper recourse when murder takes place. That gives us society a sense of a noble life, a dignified existence, a dignified societal life. And when those mechanisms

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are not there, then they die as a society due to injustice, the presence of loan, the cloud of boredom and injustice, that ends up covering that entire society. And so it's not just the life of one person that saved but it is what ends up taking place of the of, of murder that spreads throughout the land. Because there is no recourse because there are clear double standards. And particularly the worst type here is when the state itself when when the the authority, which is supposed to be in a place of holding accountable is what needs to be held accountable, because of the constant murder that's coming from that singular place. And so that was 100 looking a lot spoke

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about this from from a societal perspective, that there is life in society, that there's higher and society when there is a legal recourse, you know, for these types of actions, because it doesn't allow murder to go unchecked. And to Leon, voting oppression and these types of things to go unchecked. And I want us to think about this, because it's very important for us to be self critical about where we are right now. And so just think about where we're at in terms of history. You know, when you have george Zimmerman,

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and I don't know where I was reading this earlier today, but just about the money that george Zimmerman has made

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after murdering Trayvon Martin and now

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being held accountable. Right? So I'm not going to rehash the details of the murder of Trayvon Martin. But obviously, it was instrumental in the, in the starting of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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And George Zimmerman, you know, has has accumulated He not only got away with murder, but he accused he's accumulated hundreds of 1000s of dollars, maybe over a million dollars, right, but hundreds of 1000s of dollars for sure. being celebrated for that murder. And I want you to think about what this what this is like, right? And it should stick in you. Right? When, when george Zimmerman who took the life of that young Trayvon Martin is able to walk around and be and you know, go to conventions around the country and be treated like a celebrity, sign autographs for money, sold his gun, the gun that he used to kill Trayvon Martin, he was able to auction it off for over $100,000 and then sued

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the parents for defamation. Right and make money off of that.

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What type of message does that send to society? Right? to other racists in society? Oh, and by the way, he also did a commercial with a with a gun store owner. And in Florida, I believe who had the no no Muslims allowed sign on his store, you know, some some cheap marketing tactic. I guess he put no Muslims allowed on his gun shop and george Zimmerman went and did a commercial with him. A lot of knows how much he got paid to do that. But like what type of a society? Right? What type of a message does that send to society? Where's the highest? Like, where's the life in our society? In that sense, right? And then you see these videos of the murder of an artery and the Lynch the

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lynching of an artery and what that what that leads to, right and and there was something about that video, the lynching of arbory, an artery that

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that was that was particularly gross, because you just, you could tell that the people that were committing this murder had no fear whatsoever, the repercussions of their murder, right and had the outrage not been there, they probably would have never been charged, because the videos were shown to those that could have taken legal action in their hands. But all of that was brushed under the rug. And nothing happened as a result of that. And so due to the outrage eventually, and you know, we'll see where that goes, because justice has not actually yet been served in that case. But the point is, is that there was no fear of accountability, there is an understanding that we're going to

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get away with this. And then you see what happens in Minnesota, with George Floyd and the arrogance, the arrogance, in the eyes of that cop, as he puts his knee on the neck of, of George Floyd, a man pleading for his life calling for his mother. Right, in his last moments, his mother, who died two years ago. And you see the arrogance, and the sense of invincibility in the eyes of that person and the eyes of the officers that are standing around. And you wonder, Well, you know, those officers probably knew the officer that murdered falando Castillo and his car in front of his, you know, in front of his his four year old daughter,

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you know, who for not doing for doing absolutely nothing? Right. falando Castillo who, you know, who was driving pulled over was following instructions and shot seven times in front of his four year old daughter that's coming out of the same police department. What is that? What message does that send to other officers in terms of the the ability to get away with these types of things, I'm not going to go through all of the incidents, because there are too many, too many. There are too many to name. But, you know, we have to start to think about this idea of welcome Philippi, saucy hypotonia above this idea of what the what the the presence, or the absence in this situation of

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justice does to the murderer to the psyche, of potential murderers to the psyche of a person that does have, you know, a uniform and a gun, and doesn't feel like they're going to be held accountable if they murder people, because there's always a way, right. I mean, and we have a history of planting evidence, we have a history of all sorts of ways where people are able to get out of these things. What is the message that's being sent? Right? And from a societal perspective to those in authority as well. So it's not just the the george Zimmerman's of the world, but it's also for us to think about what this means in terms of society as a whole. And then I want to end with one verse

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here, where last encounter data says, Well, that's up to the natality habla de la Elavil Huck, woman put in a mobile Roman fucka Jana de soltana. Fela use refill put in who can Matsuura This is a verse inserted slot last pantai says and I'm going to read it again very slowly. Well, it's tough to read enough seletti Harlem Allahu Allah will happen Do not kill the soul that God has forbidden except in justice. One then at that moment

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lumen and so whoever is killed unjustly, then we have given faqad jannetty. When he sold pawn that we have given to the family, or to the inheritor or to whoever is left to represent that person that's been killed, we have given them so upon Halloween, I've given them authority. We've given them authority, they're in a place of power. They're in a place of power, they are fully empowered to demand retribution or justice or to show mercy. The mercy should not be weaponized the way that it was here in Dallas, the the weaponizing of the forgiveness of the brother of both from john against the mother of both and john the into the family of both them john write a beautiful act of

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mercy and forgiveness was weaponized against the family that was still calling for justice. Okay, here, a lot of saying we have given to the police soltana, we've given them authority, we've given them power, they're in a place of power, they're in a place of authority. And then the last pensado says, fella, use refill, and do not exceed the limits in the matter of taking justice in the who can Amman sola. And verily that person has been supported, that person has been helped. Now, I'm going to break this down for the first of all, before a lot gets to the injustice in the response, a lot of firms the the complete authority of the victim, the right of the victim, and in this case, when a

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victim has been killed the family of the victim, the rights of them, you know, using the word Silvana is not easy that they have authority, they are in a place where they have authority, the state is to carry out what the what the family wants, due to the injustice that they have incurred, okay. And then a loss contest has fed I used to come in and do not exceed nouns.

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And just look at the order of the verse, okay, look at the order of the verse, If you only talk about food, I use certain parts. And if you talk about the excessiveness, in the response, without talking about the glaring void of the presence of justice, and how that has been compounded over time, and what you have with a community that is fed up that is sick of being treated this way. That is that has been beaten over the head by the so called justice system for for as many years as it's existed.

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And you know, and you think about, you know, going back to that verse, what a completely saucy hypotonia about that there is life in the presence of justice and death there. I mean, it's just society suffers suffocates when there's injustice, it's absolutely heartbreaking. And you know, I've seen many mothers of the victims of police brutality

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and the pain and despair in their eyes. And it's, it's, it's, it's beyond devastating to watch the mother of a child that's been killed unjustly and they have absolutely no way to make sense of what has happened. Right. And, you know, they're,

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you know, in the spotlight for a few weeks, a few months, and then usually the cases dropped, there is no justice and the family just disappears into despair. And no one is around the family anymore.

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You know, no one really asked about the families of the victims of police brutality, months after years after once the case has sort of moved on and people have moved on no one really asked about them anymore.

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In this situation, though, I do want us to think about this right? Like every time you're watching another black political commentator, a mother or a father break down into tears on TV, right and you ask yourself, you know, what, what is it that is making people so fed up, right, and just the compounded sense of injustice? Which is valid? Right, we have to ask ourselves, where are we as a society and that allows us for that historical pattern, do not exceed in the response. So yes, that is within cotton is there do not exceed in the response that's there do not exceed and the response is there but before do not exceed in the responses there affirming the full right of the victim and

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the families of the victim is also there. And you can't just jump that so you have to take the AI as a whole and the way that it ends in the who can on sorta indeed he will be supportive. Now indeed he will be supported here. According to the majority of them will facility if not all of them is not talking about divine aid here. It's talking about the state supporting the family of the victim that the end you know, so you'll find different Imam, the Imam, the authority supporting the family of the victim fully without any holding back so you know, the way the scholar

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I spoke about this, they said, you know, even if the person who justice is being exact it against is a friend of the authority, if not, wouldn't excuse that person because of conflict of interest or whatever it may be. But whatever it is that, that there is a way forward, that the Imam that the authority is to exact justice in that who can and sorta and a lot of comforting the family of the victim by saying that the authority will have your back. Right, the authority will have your back that the state will have your back, the governor will have your back, the mom will have your back whoever it is. But the point is that you will be Matsuura you are to be helped you are to be

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supportive, in your cause.

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There's so much to unpack here, but just taking the three critical components from this. A lot first starts off with the sanctity or four critical components just of this ayah. Allah starts off with the sanctity of one person, the sanctity of one human life. And then secondly, and by the way, that's important, because as I said, you know, in the immediate wake of this when we saw this with Stephon Clark, you know, particularly and so many of these different cases, right, the character assassination that takes place after the murder of a person at the hands of the police, the character assassination is to desensitize us is to impress upon us that this person is not worth

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your love and outrage, they're not worth you fighting for them. They're not worth, you know, what was that person's value to society in the first place? So why should black death matter of black life? Doesn't matter? Why should we care about this person? So the barrage of character assassinations that happen against the victim after they're dead and can't speak for themselves, is meant to neutralize our response, neutralize our anger, neutralize our outrage, and just say, Well, is it really that sacred of a person is that really that sacred of a life? Right? And Allah subhanaw taala says, here, that the knifes, how long Allah that Allah has sanctified the soul, Allah has

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sanctified that life, you don't have a right to say that this life has more value than another. Based on anything based on race based on record based on anything, you don't have that right to say that this life does not matter. So lots of contrast starts off with that. And then woman putting them up Roman law starts with the second component, the one who is killed unjustly than their family should have complete authority. So upon them, their family should have the complete, right. The third thing and then the family are then the rightful heirs, those that are angered by the injustice should not become unjust themselves or exceed the balance and seeking justice. And then in the who

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cannon sutra, that that person is supposed to be helped by the authority in their cause? Here, instead, we find these layers of systemic injustice, these layers of systemic injustice where you have, you know, the DHS office and the police department and a racist president and you know, also all of these elements working hand in hand with one another, to suffocate the calls for justice, and to suffocate the families of those victims. And it's a terrible combination that we have. Now, where do we leave off from all of this and,

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again, I'm going to recommend to everyone to pay attention to

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you know, I think LS La La has a has a program, I believe in an hour or so inshallah you can find it on their page on Instagram.

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It's important for us to recognize the the aggregates societal impact of this and what it means for us, and to really help

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our entire society to be more introspective, as we are also calling for, for reform, for justice for those victims. We're calling for, you know, the reform of a system that, that continues to render injustice, and we're calling for the rights of those victims, and the families of those victims of this injustice. But we also need to be introspective and to ask ourselves, you know, what is it about our society and how do we work through all of these layers, the spiritual diseases that exists here, the, the the legal, the enshrined legal and justices that exists here, and the constant negligence of the families of these victims. And that's probably the last thing that I'll end on

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because it's the most human of it all, you know, in terms of the inequity of pain, right that when when these families, you know, the family of both them john, who was murdered, you know, by an officer sitting on his couch, watching Thursday Night Football eating ice cream watching Thursday Night Football because the officer walked in the wrong department and the murder of a Titania Tatyana Jefferson, just a few miles away from here in Fort Worth.

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A woman who shared a driveway with the masjid in Fort Worth, while she was playing a video game with her nephew, and was shot through the window by an officer. And somehow a lot, you know the pain of that, by the way, both her mom and her dad have since died.

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Both her mother and her father have since died.

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And there's something to be said about the pain that it caused that family to lose to lose a Tatiana Jefferson. And the fact that there still has not been justice served in that case, by the way. So it's important for us to not relinquish these things when the media moves on just as when we talk about any cause any global cost our brothers and sisters that languish as political prisoners and places around the world, whether that's here in the United States, or whether that is overseas, our Messiah, our teachers, our scholars, our brothers, our sisters, that are wrongfully accused, and that language has political prisoners, the the constant murder and rampage that takes place in

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different parts of the world, the drones that were dropped that drop on our brothers and sisters around the world, the weavers, the,

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the Palestinians, the Syrians of Afghanistan, which is constantly being hit over and over and over again, by horrible attacks and things that are happening there. Just as we don't turn a blind eye, we cannot turn a blind eye to those things, just because the media has moved on or just because it's no longer popular. Let's also not turn a blind eye inshallah, to the families of these victims and to the calls for justice and then wait for another hashtag, to say something else. And there are going to be plenty of hashtags all the time, you know, unfortunately, until we're able to actually lend our voices towards this and we pray that a lot allow us to be used for good

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and we pray that Allah make things easy for those that are suffering in multiple ways as a result of this every every family of a victim and every black parent in America that has to have a conversation with their kids right now about this about what they're seeing unfold. We pray for them and and we lend our support to them in any way that we possibly can but in the light

00:32:15--> 00:32:33

if I said anything wrong, it is from myself from the shape lon I seek allowance forgiveness and I seek refuge from him or in him from the shape on and if I've said anything right then it's from the last panel to Anna will slowly level most of them. And Amina Mohammed whiner only he was lucky he was an interesting and cathedrals that I like