Overwhelming Emotions Over Gaza – Practical Things We Can Do

Sarah Sultan


Channel: Sarah Sultan

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Bismillah salatu salam ala Rasulillah Juana and he was a human Wella. And my bad, just like mafia, to everybody for joining us today. This is obviously a very heavy and intense and overwhelming time for us all. And, and just to be able to come together and talk about it and talk about ways to navigate it, so that we can navigate those emotions without burning out so that we can stay engaged and we can stay connected to the struggle of our brothers and sisters is just so important. So my LS passata reward all of you for being here, and being willing to stay engaged with this topic, despite how hard it is. And so I wanted to jump in, in sha Allah to first acknowledge, and this is a really

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important thing that we need to acknowledge is that what we're witnessing what we're seeing is not normal. We have never lived in a time when genocide has been broadcasted in the way that it has been, seemed to us right through social media, where you're experiencing almost a constant live stream of atrocity, after atrocity, violence after violence, trauma after trauma and pain after pain. And we have not in the history of our lives this reason anybody's lives

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ever been exposed to it unless you're living it. And so this vicarious trauma, which is what it's called, which is kind of like trauma by proxy, were witnessing, ever the trauma that our brothers and sisters in Palestine are going through, can lead to traumatic experiences for ourselves. And this is why we need to know how to navigate it right. So you might be struggling with intrusive thoughts where you're trying to your you might be doing something in your daily life. And suddenly, you get you know, you get a sudden flashback to an image or a video that you've watched, you might be experiencing nightmares. I know that, my friends and I, when we spend time together, we're

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talking about the nighttime wake wake ups that that tend to happen, right? Where you wake up in the middle of the night, you wake up with anxiety, you're like, Where does this anxiety come from? And you realize it's because of this, right? It's because of everything that we're witnessing. And so it's so important to acknowledge when we're trying to navigate this, that this is not normal, that what we're seeing is not normal. And it should never be normal, that this happens to begin with. But the fact that we can witness it constantly, when in the past, there was one news cycle or one newspaper, or before then just a radio. Right? And this was not, you know, like these types of

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situations were not broadcast in the broadcast it in the way that they are now. And so just realize that this is not, this is not normal, and it doesn't, it should not feel normal. So whatever you're feeling right now, whether you're feeling grief, we all are anger, overwhelm, guilt, powerlessness, if you're feeling numb, like you can't feel anything. All of this makes sense. All of this makes sense. In the drastic situation that we're in in witnessing a genocide, witnessing apartheid, witnessing murder after murder, I'm all of this makes sense. All these emotions make sense. And so the first step is we're going to work on processing our emotions, and we're going to work on

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navigating this, this experience of witnessing so much so much atrocity and so much violence. But first thing is to acknowledge what you're going through.

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So if you're feeling overwhelmed echnology if your emotions are kind of all over the place, and they're more turbulent than usual, if your patience is thinner, if your energy is lower, acknowledge it. If you're struggling to go on as you normally would have when things are not normal, or if you're afraid for your safety because of increases sama phobia. If you're hurt because your friends haven't been speaking up or they don't share your perspective and your views on the situation. If you're experiencing survivor's guilt, in living your life of ease while others are suffering so much pain, if you just can't seem to feel anything anymore, and you feel numb

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echnology all of these responses are real and they all make sense. And so acknowledging this is the first step to managing overwhelming feelings and it's an amazing way to allow us to use our difficulties to connect with ALLAH SubhanA wa Tada.

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You can't connect to a less path data with your emotion unless you acknowledge your emotion first, and difficult situations and intense emotions are an opportunity to turn to Allah span data He created us with these emotions for purpose. They are assigned and we take it as a sign for us to turn to Allah Pattaya and if we can turn to Allah subhanaw taala in that moment, it can be really transformative. And we see this in the beautiful example of the prophet nor Hannay Sadam profitable

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Have you set up had given Dawa had been calling to, to his the message of Allah is packed out for 950 years, imagine the patients that it takes 950 years. And then one day he calls out to Allah. And he and Allah Subhana Allah says in the letter N, he called out to Allah saying, I am helpless. So help me.

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I am helpless. So helped me. He acknowledged the emotion of helplessness. And he pleaded to Allah's parents data to help him. And so when we can acknowledge our emotion, when we can acknowledge how we're feeling, this allows us to turn to Allah Hispanic data with that feeling just like the Prophet know how they said I'm did and to seek the help of Allah subhanaw taala. And in that process, we're connecting with him, and he's the source of all strength, He's the source of all power, the source of all change. And so connecting with him in these moments when we feel powerless and helpless, is so empowering. And it's so transformative.

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The other thing to note, you know, that I think is important to acknowledge when we're talking about emotions, you know, we're talking about the, the difficult emotions that we're experiencing. But it's also important to realize that in your life, you might still be experiencing positive emotions, too.

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And that's okay. You can feel joy when you manage to achieve a goal that you worked hard toward, you can feel comfort, when you hug your child, you can feel hopeful, you can feel hopeful, both in finding hope in the stories and strength of the amazing, like the the experience and the examples of our brothers and sisters in Palestine and witnessing their faith and their resilience. You can find hope, and strength in that you can also find hope in your own tomorrow. All of these can exist in parallel.

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All of these can exist in parallel. Sometimes it can feel like a betrayal. To allow yourself to feel positive emotions can sometimes feel like a betrayal, making diet like you know, the example of the prophet nor heist that I'm working makes.to illustrate that of saying I'm helpless. So help me you might be experiencing in this moment, almost a feeling of selfishness in making diet for yourself. So if you're struggling to, as you witness, all of these videos, all of these images, all of this news,

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and it is overwhelming and it's hard, you might struggle to make.to Allah subhanaw taala to help you in that struggle.

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Because you might think to yourself, I'm not even experiencing it, I'm just witnessing it. So what right do I have to need help to get through this, they're the ones who need help. And they absolutely do need help. They absolutely need the support of Allah, pancetta and so we don't stop making diet for them. And not but and simultaneously, do not limit the mercy or the capability of Allah's pancetta, whose mercy is limitless, and whose capability is limitless. You can still make diet, for yourself for the people that you care about. For all of that while also making dua for your brothers and sisters. This exists in parallel. So don't limit don't limit that mercy and that

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capability of Allah subhanho data.

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So when these emotions really hit us, when we're flooded with pain, when we're flooded with grief, when we're flooded with overwhelm, of the loss and pain that we're witnessing, what are practical tips that we can use to deal with this overload of emotion? How can we use this to navigate in this difficult time? Right? What are concrete things that we can do to navigate these emotions to process these emotions? And to keep going to keep moving forward and to keep staying engaged?

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So the first thing to to note is how are you thinking about this? How are you thinking about these, these feelings that are coming up for you? Right when these emotions flood, and they hit you so hard, realize that these emotions are a sign of the sense of humanity that you have, and they are a sign of your innate sense of justice.

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And that is a beautiful thing.

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That is a beautiful thing. And we need to be grateful for that. Because not everybody experiences that. Not everybody experiences, that sense of grief, and that sense of anger in seeing this injustice in this oppression. Be grateful that you're not one of those people. Right be grateful that you have that sense of humanity and that you have this innate sense of justice. That is a beautiful thing.

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This is

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Also these emotions are also a sign that you are a part of a powerful OMA that cares for one another and doesn't turn a blind eye to one another's pain, right? The Prophet sallallahu sallam, he described the example of the believers in their love for one another, in their mercy for one another in their compassion for one another, as a body.

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And when any part of that body aches, then the whole body struggles with sleeplessness and fever.

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The fact that you feel these feelings shows that you are a manifestation of this hadith, that you are a part of this body of this Oma. And again, that is a beautiful thing.

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And these emotions are also a sign of grief. And I remember hearing a definition of grief that I thought was very powerful, and it really stuck with me.

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Which is that grief is simply love that has nowhere to go.

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Grief is a feeling of love that you have a you don't know where to put it, you don't know where to put it, because that that place that you would have conveyed that love to that person you would have conveyed that love to is no longer there.

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And so it reminded me this definition reminded me of the Hadith of the prophets SLM, where he said that none of you will believe until you love for your brother, what you love for yourself.

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We love our brothers and sisters that we've never met.

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When we see our Muslim brothers and sisters, in Palestine, in Sudan, in, in China, in so many places of the world, who are suffering, we love them.

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And when they suffer, we grieve for them, because our love has no place to go. So allow these emotions to be a reminder to us that love for good for positive change for contribution. And allow these this sadness, these worries, these fears for our brothers and sisters, to propel us to do what we can for them.

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And to propel us toward a positive outlet for these emotions.

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So what are some positive outlets for these emotions? What are ways that we can take these feelings? Right? So now we've number one, acknowledge the feeling, right? We acknowledge, okay, this is what this is what I'm experiencing, as I'm witnessing this very important first step in managing in managing the our emotional response to this, that's the first step. The second step is, understand what is the meaning of that emotion. The meaning of that emotion is that I care, I care about humanity, I care about justice, I care about my brothers and sisters, I'm part of this OMA and this strong OMA

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and that I'm grieving for them, right, understand the meaning underneath these emotions, right? And now the third step is now what do I do with them?

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What do I do with these emotions, that's going to be a positive outlet for them.

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So realize that everything that's happening is a test. We know, obviously, that this is a very obvious and one of the hardest tests that a person can go through what our brothers and sisters are enduring, right? They're enduring trauma upon trauma, pain upon like, I mean, it is unimaginable the amount of fear and difficulty they're going through unless somebody experiences it themselves, right. So that is their test. And it is an extremely, extremely difficult and intense test. But we are also being tested. And that's what we need to remember to. How are we being tested?

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We have to ask ourselves some questions. Like, what do I do when I see these images?

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What do I do? When I'm scrolling on Instagram? Or whatever platform you're on? And I see a video that moves me that makes me grieve that makes me angry that that's devastating that I can't get out of my head. What do I do when I see this this image?

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Do I just scroll to the next one? When I feel uncomfortable? Do I just scroll to the next one? Or even if I don't, I'm waiting, I'm waiting to see what else is going to happen?

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This is a test. What do we do when we see what we're seeing?

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The least that we need to be doing is at least after after each video or image or post that we see. To stop and make.we can't just be bystanders. We can't just scroll through scroll through from one image to the next to the next to the next. Without any change or without any proactive choice or action that we're going to be taking in that situation. We have to pause and do something meaningful well

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Whether it's making dot for this particular person you see on this video, or whether it's making this default asking forgiveness from LS Pat data, because it's default brings so much so, so many blessings, right? We have to be doing something. Right. Another question to ask ourselves is, what steps have I taken, no matter how small to create change, sometimes we fool ourselves or shaitan fools us into thinking that small actions won't make a difference, right? Sharing a post isn't going to make a difference. Even though we've seen the power of that, or reaching out to your representative won't make a difference or donating to an organization. Well, there's no way that the

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money is going to get to, to us that right now. So we you know, there's no point in donating.

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Don't fool yourself into thinking that because our responsibility is not in the end result, our responsibilities and putting an effort

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like Allah's passata says in the Quran, whoever desires the Hereafter and exerts the effort due to it while he's a believer. It is those whose effort is ever appreciated by Allah.

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Your job is the effort, and then leave the rest to almost paradata.

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Right? So asking ourselves those questions. And then when we're talking about okay, these outlets for these these hard emotions, what are actionable ways we can deal with it? When you feel powerless, focus on what you can do.

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Like the advice of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Sallam where he said that whoever among you season evil, let him change it with his hand. If you can't, then change it with his tongue if you can't, then with his heart, and that's the weakest level of faith. So the prophets, Allah SLM gives us three outlets for these emotions.

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If you give gives us hands for physical action, right, we use our hands to promote physical action, our tongue for verbal action, and our hearts for spiritual action.

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So the Prophet SAW, Selim is giving us three routes that we can take, when we feel powerless, when we see something that needs a change, that we have to try to create that change. Right. So with our hands, you know, there are some very, very evident ones that we can do, you know, you can email your political representative, you can donate to organizations that are that are striving to help, right. But another thing that's important to realize that you can do to is to combat helplessness through helping others,

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right, whether it's going to be helping our brothers and sisters there, or also helping others in our own lives.

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Ask asking yourself, What good can I contribute in my daily life, because every good deed,

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it weighs, it weighs heavily on our skills, and it's powerful. And so being able to do that good being able to strive for that good. There was a research study that showed that

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groups were split up and one group was assigned that Okay, let's see what happens when you do a few simple small acts of kindness, like just a few days a week, like three days a week. And then another group got like traditional therapy and other group didn't get anything.

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In some cases, the group who did the acts of kindness actually had better results in alleviating anxiety and depressive symptoms, then even the group that had traditional therapy and traditional therapy is very helpful for for anxiety and depression. And so helping others is not just for them, it's for ourselves. So if you're struggling to cope, in the situation, because you're feeling helpless. The antidote to helplessness is helping others. And so asking yourself, Okay, is there somebody I can give a meal to, there's somebody in need that I could give a meal to, or I know, you know, my friend, like if you especially if you have a Palestinian friend, and who's who's coping

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with this, let me give her a call. And you know, see how she's doing and check in on her. Do something kind for your parents, right?

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Helping others is a way of evoking change with your hands as well. And then now with your tongue, right the prophesy Selim gave us another outlet is through verbal verbal action, to create change.

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The first and most obvious one and the one that is so easily dismissed by so many is to make diet and people when you hear the idea of making diet people view it as a very passive process, but it is very very active. And people kind of view it as like oh, it's a side note of course make diet but what else can I do? no.is Our superpower the Prophet sallallahu sallam said nothing repels Divine Decree but supplication dot can repel Divine Decree like that.

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tells you the intense power of it, and it should not be underestimated. And so, you know, create a dot list and place it somewhere where it's noticeable. And one of the things that helps me in this process because I think

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one of the feelings that sometimes people can have as they're witnessing everything that's happening and continue to witness it day after day after day, week after week,

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is my dog is not working. Right? I've been making diet, but nothing is changing. Right. And I think one of the things that can provide a lot of comfort is the reminder of the Hadith of the Prophet sallallahu Sallam where he says that there's no Muslim who calls upon Allah without sin or cutting family ties, but that Allah will give him one of three answers. So the three ways that die are accepted, he will quickly fulfill his supplication. So you're going to get what you asked for, you're gonna see it right away, he will store it for him in the hereafter. So you know, you will come on the day of judgment, and you will find your scale piled with these dots that have not been

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answered, or he will divert an evil from him some similar to it.

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So unless Pat data will stop at something bad from happening, because of this diet.

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And so his companion said, in that case, we'll ask for more. And the Prophet SAW, Selim responded, Allah has even more.

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One of the reasons why I find this very comforting, is because I imagine like even if my diet is not being seen exactly the way that I hope it to be seen, when I'm making diet for my brothers and sisters, and Palestine, I think about how it could be stopping something bad from happening to one of them. Right, like something that would have hurt a child

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that my dot repelled that that evil. And that really, I can I find that very inspiring to think about that, because we don't know, we don't know what was going to happen. Only Ellis passata knows only Ellis paths that knows what's written. And so if your dog can make a difference like that, that's a really powerful thought. And it can inspire you not to give up in it.

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The other thing to remind ourselves when we're talking about action with the tongue, is to speak the remembrance of Allah, remembering Allah subhanaw taala, glorifying Allah subhanaw taala Why is this so powerful is because it reminds us of who Allah subhanaw taala is, and that he's here and he's mirror and he has the power to create all change and he has the strength to create all change and he is the protector eight reminds us of who Allah subhanaw taala is. And also remember in the story of the Prophet Yunus at a Sudan, the Prophet Yunus it said, was in layer upon layer upon layer of darkness, three layers of darkness. He was in the darkness of the night, the darkness of the ocean

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and the darkness of the belly of the whale.

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And through all those darknesses Allah's passata, released him, released him from all three layers of darkness, just because of his one beautiful diet, where he said like ilaha illa, Anta Subhanak, Makoto and Adani mean, that there's no God worthy of worship, but you and I was from amongst the wrongdoers. And unless past that it says about the Prophet Yunus I sent him he said, had he not constantly glorified Allah, had he not been from Elmo said behind the ones who constantly remember Allah glorify Allah, He would have remained in the belly of the whale until the day of resurrection.

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And so we see here that, that our release to from these darknesses and the release of the OMA from these darkness is just like our Prophet Yunus is that I'm was released is to become from amongst and musette behind the people who glorify Allah subhanaw taala. And so this antidote to hopelessness in those moments, is to remember who Allah subhanaw taala is, and to remember his power and his capability. And we can do that through remembering him through constant remembrance of Him.

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And then, finally, the heart.

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And so we'll end with the heart and chulmleigh, which

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creating an outlet for these emotions through actions of the heart can be very, very powerful. And it can give us solace in these moments of difficulty and give us the solace that we need to continue to engage to continue to be there for our brothers and sisters and to can you continue to remember and think about them. And so one of the first ways to do this is,

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you know, I mentioned that a lot of us might struggle with survivor's guilt, right where you open your phone, and you see the reality of your brothers and sisters.

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And it is so different from the reality that you're living. But you have to go from seeing that reality into your own reality, right? You vacillate between witnessing what they're going through and living your own reality. And that is very difficult, because it leads to a lot of guilt. Right? And so how do we navigate that is we try to create positive intentions. And the prophesies LM tells us that our deeds are only by their intentions, and a person will only have what they intended. And so we all have to step away from our phones, and the pain that we're witnessing, you know, in order to, to do the things that we are responsible for in our lives. But doing it with a positive

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intention, can can be very, very helpful. And doing it with gratitude can be very, very helpful. So if you have to step away, to go to school, and get your education, make it with a positive intention, but this is for the sake of Allah subhana data, right, you are learning for the sake of Allah Subhana Allah fulfilling your responsibilities for his sake, and turn it into a diet for your brothers and sisters and the children there who have lost their opportunity for education, their schools and make thought that Allah's paradata grants them better than what they've lost.

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That when you have to take care of your child, be present, invest in your child, that's our responsibility. And at the same time, intended for the sake of Allah is fantastic, because this is my responsibility, with gratitude that I'm so grateful that I have my child here, while making dot for our brothers and sisters who have lost theirs, right?

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Work, sleep, all of these different things, that we're stepping away from their pain, and we are living our lives, do it with a positive intention, and do it with gratitude to Allah subhanho data, and transform that into diet for our brothers and sisters, who are not experiencing the same ease that we're experiencing. And, you know, I mentioned in the beginning of this that we are being tested. One of our tests is this test of ease, they are being tested with tremendous hardship, and we are being tested with witnessing their hardship, while living lives of ease.

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And the test of ease,

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we have to face that with gratitude.

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It doesn't mean that you forget all the tests of hardships that they're going through, but we have to face our tests of ease with gratitude to Allah Spanner data. And now we transform it to dots for them. And so this allows us the chance to positively turn to Allah Spanner data in gratitude while making diet for them.

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The other thing and I think if there's one point that you leave this talk with, just leave it leave this talk with this point. This one I think, is just the most important.

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And it's that

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when we're talking about these emotions, the overwhelm that we feel and an outlet for it. I don't think that there is a better outlet than strengthening the OMA through strengthening ourselves in our connection to Allah pancetta and becoming stronger Muslims, stronger and more obedient muslims to Allah subhana wa Tada how many stories have we heard of people opening the paren and being transformed by the Quran recently, and converting to Islam. And finding the beauty in the miracle that is the Quran and we've had this miracle and it collects dust into between the Ramadan and Ramadan, right? Like there are changes to strengthen our Oma. And so asking ourselves what is the

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change I can make in my daily life, right? If the OMA is one body,

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then I am a part of that body, I am a part of that body and my job is to strengthen the part of the body that I represent.

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And I can strengthen that by getting closer to all those paths at being more worshipping Allah's passata more, we owe it to us passata first, we owe it to ourselves, we also owe it to our brothers and sisters. Because imagine meeting them in the Hereafter, and being able to tell them

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that they inspired your change, that they made you a better Muslim, that the extra prayers that you did, were inspired by their resilience.

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And that you pray that they're rewarded immeasurably for what they inspired you to become.

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Realize that the source of all strength, the source of all power, the source of all strength of all change is with Allah subhana wa Tada. And so when we strengthen our connection to him, we strengthen the OMA as a whole.

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And so we have to work on ourselves. This is the best thing that we can do to strengthen ourselves as an old man. And so leave today with one extra act of worship

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then you usually do, and make a commitment to stick with it long term, not just now, like, while all of this is happening, but long term. So maybe it's to pray to two extra extra raka every day, right? Maybe one of the Sunnah prayers that's associated with a different obligatory prayers. Or maybe it's to read one extra verse of the Quran a day one more than you usually read, or it's to do to recite, I have to, of course, see in the morning and in the evening, whatever it is, whatever it is, commit to it, and make your intention that you're doing this for the sake of Allah subhanaw taala to get closer to him, because that is the path to strengthening our OMA, right and, and stick with it. And

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imagine your skills on the day of judgment and sticking with this one small, good deed that's going to amplify and multiply inshallah.

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And so I want to end with one final approach that I have personally found very helpful, I made a brief video about this too, but I want to elaborate a little bit on it.

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And this is a way to fill your heart, where I mentioned, we are going through vicarious trauma, which is witnessing other people's trauma, and that potentially being traumatic or at least is very painful for us. And so when you've seen an image, or a video, and it comes up in your mind, and it just pops up there, and you can't seem to get it out, and it leads to distress. And it's anxiety provoking, and it's painful. And you know, this happens, this happens because we're we're being bombarded with these images, right? And so Tran transforming that picture in our minds, in a way that is based on truth can be very powerful. This is called imagery rescripting, which is replacing

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one image with another. And I find it most helpful to replace this image based on the truth of the Quran.

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And I want to give you three examples that you can take. Right, so if you are seeing a video or you are seeing a picture, and you're feeling crushed with witnessing the pain that our brothers and sisters are experiencing, and you feel powerless, to be able to console them, right, like you just want to be able to give this child a hug. You just want to be able to give them some sort of support some sort of ease and you can't, you can't alleviate their pain. Remember the promise of ALLAH SubhanA data that when they go to Jannah in sha Allah, Allah in the Quran says that they're going to say, Praise be to Allah, who has removed from us all sorrow. Indeed, our Lord is Forgiving and

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Appreciative. He is the one who out of his grace has settled us in the home of everlasting stay, where we will be touched by neither fatigue nor weariness.

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So you take that image, and you replace it with the image that this verse brings up in your mind of them, not being tired, not being weary, that all the sorrow has been removed from them and you picture not you picture that because it's a promise of Allah

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when you're grieving the loss, when you see these posts of 800 You know, like 1000 lives or you know, like, all of these different people who have been I mean, just so much so much death, so much loss, so much pain and when you're grieving that and you see these pictures.

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Picture same and Jana were Allah's Pattana says, the meaning of which is they will have gardens of lasting bliss graced with flowing streams, there they will be adorned with bracelets of gold. There, they will wear green garments of fine silk and Brocade. There they will be comfortably seated on soft chairs. What a blessing reward What a pleasant resting place. And picture them.

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You know, picture picture these these images that you've seen of so many of our brothers and sisters in pain or having died and picture them with the streams with these bracelets of gold with these green silk garments sitting on soft chairs, right picture it.

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And then one of the things that stands out to so many of us when we see the people who have passed away is we think about the ones that they've left behind. And so when we grieve the people who have been left behind who are torn apart by the death of their loved ones and have lost so many loved ones.

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Picture the Promise of Allah subhana data of their reunion where Allah Subhana Allah says in the Quran, the Gardens of Eternity which they will end

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her along with the righteous among their parents, spouses and descendants, and the angels will enter upon them from every gate saying peace be upon you for your perseverance. How excellent is the ultimate abode. Picture that reunion, picture the reunion where not only are they going to be reunited with the people that they've lost and the people that they loved, but that angels are going to come and speak to them and say Peace be upon you for your perseverance.

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So my LS paradata grant them the best of rewards in this life and in the next and grant them every possible goodness grant them success and victory and freedom from this oppression and my Allah's path data. Reward all of you for your efforts to bring awareness to this to be aware of it to support your brothers and sisters and allow us the ability to continue to do that alone, Miami