Islam & The Environment

Suleiman Hani


Channel: Suleiman Hani

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There are countless topics we could address every Friday hopeless topics that we are in need of in terms of a reminder in terms of the state of the heart in terms of the state of society, in terms of our families and relationships, in terms of ethics and morality in terms of causes and campaigns of injustice or oppression or hardship all around the world in countless places.

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But of course, with limited time, we must always choose one or two topics, for the sake of the betterment of our community in one way or another.

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And I want you to imagine, if you will,

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in the Euro 1520, proximately, 500 years ago, in the Euro 1520, an ottoman young man

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took the reins of leadership,

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came to the throne and became the sole pawn of the Ottoman Empire.

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And his name was Sudha, Eman al pannone Solomon, the law giver.

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And in Western academia, so the man the magnificence, he was the longest ruling Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. I went to imagine years before that, as a child.

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had he taken something that we see today, as simple as a plastic bag,

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or a plastic bottle of water.

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And got rid of it

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in a way that was not suitable for the environment, got rid of it by littering got rid of it, throwing it into the oceans,

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that it would have taken almost 500 years if not longer, according to some studies. During our times that same plastic bag, that same bottle of water thrown and decompose in the wrong way would finally disintegrate 500 years for a single plastic bank. And again, possibly longer.

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And if we think about the consumption of plastics around the world, and the use of different materials around the world, almost 500 billion bottles of water globally, if not more, billions of bags, just in the United States on an annual basis, if not more,

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and the way that they are treated, the way that we think about the way that we are or are not mindful of these ingredients of these chemicals of these tools of the supplies that we have, that often times are made for comfort and convenience in one place in the world, without any regard whatsoever to what it's doing to the earth, to the environment, and not just to the Earth itself, to think of it as something that we are caretakers of but to all future generations of people who live on this earth. That the ripple effect of one bad action this world can be seen and observed 500 years later, it can be seen and observed 1000 years later. If we think about the intertwining the

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interconnectedness, a little play about the tying in together, of countless factors in the universe, with every single moment that you are living, interacting, breathing, even sleeping, there is something of a ripple effect. And there are many things happening behind the scenes. And this is one topic that is separate from our main discussion today. That the tying in of everything in the universe and every potential ripple effect from your actions and decisions today should also give you comfort when it comes to suffering, that there are wisdoms beyond our imagination and Silver Linings beyond our imagination that outweigh one moment in which suffering was experienced in one

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place in the world. But in terms of our topic, I want you to fast forward from that incident that moment in 15 2500 years ago. Fast forward to your 2003

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in which there was the hottest heatwave in Europe. For the last 500 years. 70,000 people died during that heatwave. And during that Heatwave, almost 10% of the agriculture of the European Union was destroyed again, a source of livelihood living a source of benefit for people. And during a study that you're after that in looking at human activity in post industrial societies since the 1850s onwards, in looking at human activity, the researchers concluded that our activity doubled sometimes tripled, the risk that we would experience and the harm that we would experience

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With a heatwave, like the one that we saw in 2003, and that's just one incidence. That's one example. Today, people are looking at numerous examples around the world. And we have current events right now, around the world locally and globally, in terms of the effects of climate change and the effects of destroying the environment that we are as Muslims supposed to be preserving, and caretaking. When we think about some of these risks, and we say our earth is at risk, a person might wonder, someone here might wonder, someone listening might wonder, why is this topic that important that we have to address it, and a Friday, whatever.

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And if we're not aware, we should be aware,

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because it's an opportunity for us to solve a problem and to prevent something worse from happening. If you don't think that environment is something Muslims should care about, and there's something missing in your understanding of Islam. And I hope and I pray that that's not the case, that we are all aware that there are within our disciplines our studies in terms of Islam, just in the field of ethics and morality, different disciplines that benefit from a discussion on ethics. For example, in the ninth century, some scholars started publishing writings on this is the third century of the hijra, started writing on ethics in the economy, economic ethics or justice. And in that same

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century, some of the physicians who put forth some of the groundwork and develop some of the scientific fields that we have today, again, contributions from some of the greatest Muslims of that time, wrote about medical ethics as well, amongst many other topics,

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the field of environmental ethics did not really fully manifest until the last 100 years. Why because of the damage that clearly we are causing to the environment. Why, because of the post industrial societies that we live in. And of course, this varies from place to place and person to person. If you go online and do some basic research, if you've never done this before, if you've never heard about this before, if you've never come across a single reference to some of the damage that we are causing to the world and to the changes in climate around the world, then look into it. That's not something that today we should be unaware of, especially as Muslim Americans.

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We find, for example, the rise in global temperature year after year, and that in the last 20 years, we have 17 of the 18 hottest years on record. We have almost every year in the last two decades, something that's happening of an extreme weather event that is clearly rising and increasing due to the again activities of humans around the world. And oftentimes when we talk about these examples, and the warming of the oceans, that melting of the ice sheets, to the extent that Greenland and the Arctic, glaciers and and Arctic are melting in a way that obviously would give a rise to sea levels and affect people in different places around the world and lead to an increase in flooding, and so

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on and so forth. A person might again wonder, what can I possibly do?

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Why should I care? Why should Muslims be aware and what can I possibly do? What is what is the Islamic perspective, when we talk about the destruction of coral reefs more than 50% of which were destroyed in the last 50 years, and more than 90% of which will be destroyed in the next few decades? What is the point of all of this? Allah subhana wa Tada reminds us and again, this is under the discussion on Islamic ethics and the environment. Allah subhanaw taala reminds us that we are wholly caretakers successors, and has different connotations in different places, successors on this earth. Allah subhanho wa Taala reminds us through the prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam that there

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are ethics when it comes to the world around us and not just human ethics or human interactions, or contracts or finances or more ama that even when it comes to animals, yes, we believe that animals were created for a purpose, and every animal has its own purpose. But even then, there are conditions there are guidelines, there are requirements, there are boundaries, we cannot transgress the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam informed us in the Companions about a woman who tortured her cat until the cat died. Basically, she she put the cat in a place in which the cat was not able to eat until it starve to death. She tortured the cat, the Prophet sallallahu, Alison said Allah

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subhanaw taala punished her. Allah subhanaw taala punished her. That's a cat a single cat. Companions were traveling for one of the expeditions passing by a tree and the Prophet sallallahu Sallam saw a bird flying around him. And the companion is asked what's going on? And then he says hello, I sent him who took her babies from her who took the live babies from this mother give them back to her as a Rama for her. This is one example of many are there? Are there examples of how to deal with animals in Islam? And do we believe that animals have a purpose and some animals can be consumed in

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even then there are guidelines for the slaughtering of animals in the Most Merciful way possible. Yes.

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And of course, there's an entire discussion on the guidelines and ethics and the filth of pets for example, what about the environment? The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was asked about animals and later on the environment, is there a reward for doing good with animals? Is there a word for being kind and just an ethical towards animals and the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said there is a reward in doing good to every living being, there is a reward. There's a goodness there's an agent for doing good to every living beings. When we say we are caretakers on this earth law subhanaw taala reminds us in the Quran and again this, this can be applied in many different ways

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when a Tutsi will fill early about the slaughterhouse do not cause corruption by the Slavia after it was fixed after something was rectified do not cause corruption on the earth and facade here can be as a morality, but often times again, due to our lack of development in environmental ethics as Muslims. When we say facade and corruption, oftentimes our minds go to human behaviors with other human beings or between them and God. And oftentimes, we forget there are rights towards other things as well towards animals towards the environment.

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When Allah subhanho wa Taala reminds us about some of the harms that we experienced today and the disasters and calamities and so on and so forth. It all goes back to the foundation of why we're here. Why were you created? Let the holler Kalamata well Hialeah blue accom, a ucommerce anomala the One who created death and life in order to test you to see what's best in their conduct, what is the best of conduct and why do we experience some of the things that we experienced today things that are increasing around the world? Allah subhanaw taala reminds us waha Alpha do feel bad the will battery Bhima cassava ad NAS liyu. The oppo homebuilder Lydia AMILO, the alarm, your JIRA, that

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corruption, facade has spread in the lands and in the sea, because of what people have done because of human free will and activity. And that's part of the test that some of us will say, Well, we're following and doing what's right. Why is there still corruption in the world and corruption of the very earth that we live upon? It is because of human agency. And that is a part of the test. What will you do to respond to that corruption? What will you do to prevent it? What will you do so that you are not a part of it? May Allah subhanaw taala protect us and guide us along that I mean, we're living upon this earth, this blessing of an Earth for a temporary time, but we recognize that it is

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a place and a home for future generations as well. And we can follow through with some action some principles number one,

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we should not be wasteful of any resource. Do not be wasteful with any resource. While our two sniffle Allah says do not waste too Do not be excessive. In Allah Allah your hidden mystery fiend, Allah subhanaw. Taala does not like the wasteful. We're living in America, in which you can order something on your app today on your phone today, and it'll arrive to your home within an hour. You can order something today and probably get it sooner. You order something as soon as you desire it. We're living in a hyper consumer society in which people think that their happiness and their validation comes through that moments that you purchase, something comes through that moment you

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walk into that store, and I'm not talking about needs I'm talking about once because for many people, for many of us, it's a matter of wants and not a matter of needs. And we know this because as Muslims, we are perhaps the most aware community of some of the hardships affecting other people locally. And many of our brothers and sisters and family members around the world in different countries, we are aware of that. We're aware that some people don't have even a roof over their heads and some people don't have water that's guaranteed for that next week. We're aware that some people are literally using water tanks clean water for one week, one month at a time until somebody

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from America Canada somewhere else is donating that 2030 $40 So they can have access to clean water. We're aware of that. We're aware that some people have electricity for an hour or two a day and the rest of the day it's caught off. There's no AC, there's nothing else and for some people, there is no electricity. We're aware there are many homeless people around the world who would wish to have some of the things that we throw away some of the food that our children and some of the parents throw away as well. We're aware of that, that for many people, the waste that we have here is enough to take care of an entire kingdom, the waste that we have in America, especially as Muslims, in

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which for most Muslim Americans, they are living at least at the average or above average in terms of their income, we're aware of how much is wasted. We're aware of how much food gets thrown away. May Allah subhanaw taala forgive us, may Allah subhanaw taala guide us may Allah Subhana Allah keep us grateful for the blessings that we have that you want and desire something new and immediately you throw away the old rather than recycling rather than donating rather than finding someone to utilize to

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give that amount to May Allah subhanaw taala guide us and protect us from ever wasting,

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even water. Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam passed by a companion, who was making a will do.

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And the Prophet sallallahu sallam said, What is this excess? This wastes going above and beyond what is necessary what is the success? And the companion sounded on the hola Juan he said yellow sola is there excess with the water in willowblue? Is there such a thing as wasting water when you're making a will do the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said yes, even if you are on the banks of a flowing river, meaning even if you had as much water as you needed, and you were in a river on the banks of a river, yes, there is such thing as access in will do Subhanallah you would think back then that that example that example would be beneficial for that companion in one way. And yet for

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us 1000 years later, 1400 years later, it's irrelevant to us with our current systems and our current infrastructure and so on and so forth and how we waste and utilize water. May Allah subhanaw taala protect us from ever wasting a drop of water even while you are making will do brushing your teeth taking a bath. Yes, there is access in that as well. Allah subhanaw taala reminds us Yeah, Benny Adam, oh Children of Adam, all of the descendants of Adam until the end of times. Who there was in Atacama in the Aquila masjid, in what Kulu wa shabu basically where your nice clothes when you go to the masjid and whenever you're in a state of worship, eat and drink quinoa shootable so

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that is for the blessings of Allah in this world that you are given food and drink. Could you wash it up one or two sleeve but do not waste do not go above and beyond? Do not waste do not go above and beyond what you need in a hula your husband was sniffing Allah subhanaw taala does not like and Muslim even when you ask what is it that I can do so that Allah will love me we have examples will Allah who your head will solve it in and motorically and Alexa and so on and so forth. Allah does not love those who wastes Do not be amongst those who wastes do not it for our children show and teach and exemplify a lifestyle of easily thrown away food, like it's not a problem of easily

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wasting things like it's not a big deal of ordering more than you need buying more than you actually need. May Allah subhanaw taala guide us and forgive us along I mean, number two, after emphasizing not wasting, we emphasize another principle here, which is something as simple as our treatment and our perspective on plants are trees, on gardens and so on and so forth, preserving them, protecting them in certain ways and utilize them in other places around the world in different ways. Something as simple as planting a tree or planting something in general the Prophet salallahu Alaihe Salam said the one who plants a tree or sews a field and then a human bird or animal eats from it or

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benefits from it in some way, it will be considered as a charity from him or for her. What does this mean? A simple act of worship that provides benefits and oxygen as well as we know today in many other things. It's something that continues as a sort of Algeria and the believer in more than 16 variations of the Hadith in Sahih Bukhari the believer is likened to the palm tree for the benefits that we give to the world around us and for the ongoing steadfastness as well. May Allah subhanaw taala allow us to benefit from this reminder along the Amin number three is to also recognize the nations of animals. Does this mean that Muslims are vegans and we believe it's haram to eat meat and

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so on and so forth? Absolutely not. And anyone who makes such a claim is trying to reform something that is Puranic in terms of the Maxim's however, there are guidelines. However, there are changes in some societies that will and should cause us to step back and think about the way that we are consuming certain things about the way that we are treating certain things about the dangers and harms of other things. As of today, humans are consuming more than the earth actually has meaning what we are over consuming, and this doesn't mean the Earth doesn't have enough. That means that we are over consuming and wasting as well. Even animals when we think of them, and the pets that you

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may have or your neighbors may have or your children may have Allah subhanaw taala refers to all living beings on earth, and even the birds that fly as well in Oman, and third of them they are nations like you. They are nations like you and of course we know they glorify Allah subhanaw taala in ways we don't understand what I can learn of Kahuna to spear hum we don't fully understand how they glorify in terms of the language, how they glorify Allah subhanahu wa Tada. And finally, for our last point here, it's important for all of us to recognize that there is an Amana a responsibility upon every one of our shoulders, old and young. People think once again, that that

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single bottle of water or plastic bag, that single change you made in your home. What's this going to do when we think of all the harms and dangers at the political level? Meaning what the fact that certain things are even legal, the fact that there are companies corporations that have billions of dollars in the

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fossil fuel industry that are buying out politicians and judges and people of all at all levels, federal and state in different states, this is known that they're bought out and they're causing damage in a way that we think individually, we cannot change. And there's a course of action for that as well. But Allah subhanho wa Taala does not expect us individually individually, that your act of good is necessarily the single act that changed everything or stopped everything, but preventing some harm is better than not preventing any harm at all. And when the Prophet salallahu Alaihe Salam commands us to stop harm law, whenever you know, there should not be any harm or

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reciprocating of harm, it doesn't mean that if you're only going to make a point zero 1% chance of change, that you should not do anything at all. Because if everyone thought like that, then nothing will change. And if you thought like that, then you would be part of the problem that's taking place. Rather, look at what it is that you can do for Tapachula, who must have to be mindful of Allah to your greatest capacity? What can you change in your home, for your family, for the organizations that you work with, or can volunteer or suggest to, we can say, number one, discuss if you will, and if you have not to before, discuss with your family, with your children, the

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importance of this topic, preserving the earth is preserving potentially and protecting future generations as well. It is part of our faith, the rights of the environment is a part of Islam. Now, if you want to get into the deeper details of what those rights are, obviously, it's a longer discussion. But the rights of the environment in general are rights that we care about. And there are there are approximately 25% of the world's population, or practically 2 billion Muslims in the world. That means that if we alone and we should be at the forefront, if we alone all took the individual responsibility to the highest standard, we would see clear changes in society, if it's

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something that we became more educated about, and our communities were more involved in, in terms of awareness in terms of actions, yes, we would see changes in the world. And we ask Allah subhanaw taala to make us all part of that process of change and improvement along I mean, if you live with family members, talk about what it is you can change within your home, research, do some research online, what are some things you can change within your home so that you are disposing of things in a better way, recycling things in a better way, utilizing things in a better way conserving and so on and so forth? Rather than wasting? What is it that we can do when it comes to our food habits?

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are we throwing away any morsel of food? Are we buying so much food that some of it is spoiling and as a result, somebody was prevented from that 510 $50 Every time that we bought food, or and I know that this may seem insignificant to some people. But when I hear that $50 for some people is food for an entire month. We're talking here about a NEMA a blessing that Allah gave us that if you stop being grateful for it, you should worry that that blessing will not remain. And the one who is grateful for it does not waste it. May Allah subhanaw taala keep us grateful. Number two, depending on where you live, and especially for us here in Michigan, it's important for us to always be aware

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of politically, to be aware of certain candidates and their views on the environments, their views on this one value of many other things as well that matter to us so that we are changing things at a structural level. If you want to affect change at a societal level, we have to look beyond just the family and beyond the individual unit, look at and study and understand who it is that's bought out by the fossil fuel industry with billions of dollars. And this is not some conspiracy. This is the reality. This is what's been exposed in the last 2030 years, look at who is bought out who's causing more damage to our environment and our future generations and the earth and all the extreme events

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that we are experiencing, and look at who's not. And I ask Allah subhanaw taala to guide us to be more involved in that process of change. And finally, number three, reach out to your local organizations. And yes, I will voluntarily say starting with the masjid here and the messages that are around you, starting with Islamic schools that your children go to or even the public schools that they go to starting with a place that you work out, there is nothing embarrassing about reaching out and asking what are some of the policies in place that will make us inshallah Tada that will cause this organization or institution to preserve the environment more and be a little more

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cautious in how we do certain things. I understand. And I say this first and foremost about myself. We're talking here about things that we are accustomed to things that are not always easy to change, things that oftentimes a person will say are insignificant to change, or why are you making a big deal out of something like the environment or the way that we're drinking or eating certain foods. It's not that big of an impact. It's not that big of a deal. But if we don't think it's important, and we don't take action, we're not solving the problem. We're not doing what we can possibly do. And the Command of Allah is clear for top law Mr. Thought to do your best and may Allah subhanaw

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taala reward you for taking that step and that action and educating other people as well. And may Allah subhanaw taala make us feel amongst those who are preserving all the blessings that we have in this world and protecting future generations from the harm that is caused there.

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In our times, and may Allah subhanaw taala guide us and forgive us asking for forgiveness. He is the Ever Merciful, the oft forgiving acquittal holding that was stuck for too long you would have confessed video in the Hall of Fame.

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hamdu lillah wa Salatu was Salam o Allah rasool Allah wa ala alihi wa sahbihi woman wa now

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remember, if you will, that 500 years from now, if there is silly civilization on earth, 500 years from now, our actions will have ripple effects, 50 years, 100 years, 200 years, and every one of us has our own life, mission and life journey and life experiences and our own stories, our own decisions that we make on a daily basis. All I ask of my community here is for us to be a little more aware, to make other people a little more aware, but the Islamic perspective on preserving our Earth and preserving our societies and preserving future generations as well. Because one of the greatest risks that yes will affect the lives of potentially millions of people in the future, is

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how we treat the earth. And I ask Allah subhanaw taala to guide all of us to the actions that are best and not necessarily the most convenient, because it is difficult to make certain changes when you're accustomed to them. And again, I say that about myself. First and foremost, it is difficult, and some things are easier, no doubt. But what's easier is not necessarily always what's best. And we know this as Muslims, what's easier is not necessarily what's best in every situation. So focus on what is true, what is best what is right. And ask the Lord to guide you, your family, your community, your local organizations, as you advise them. Ask Allah subhanaw taala to preserve us and

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make us part of the process of solving some of the world's problems. And rather than sitting on the sidelines and critiquing everything else that's happening, we are doing something in this one facet of change. And in addition to this, I remind those who came in later today that yes, there are many important topics we can cover and we will cover every Jumar but this is one topic that's under addressed in our communities, and it's beyond time. It's long overdue.