Blasphemous Questions – The Journey of SULTAN

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(After memorizing the Quran)

Episode Transcript

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Is there a heaven is there a hell and go back? You don't say go back to where you came from. Don't ask such blasphemous questions. What Islam did for me was made me understand the purpose of life itself. No smoking, he's drinking, he's you know, womanizing, my daughter is you know, go into these promiscuous parties and you know, the same promiscuity is taken over my household. You know, when these tough problems are there, then they like to call out to Allah but when Allah brings them out of the problem, or Allah subhana wa Tada rescues them to the shore.

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Either home usually when they go back to their old ways

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as salam aleikum, greetings of Peace, welcome to the D show. We got exciting show with Imam so tan salon liquid.

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How you doing? Hamdulillah? How are you? How are things in here? Where are we at in Florida? Yes, South Florida, South Florida. The more south you go, the hotter it gets hot. You just did with the heat. Love it. Love it. You're not talking about going back to Turkey from Canada? Yes. Yes. I do not want to go back. Let's talk about yourself. Now. you're a new mom here in Florida. Yes. How did you get to that point? You're very you're very, very young. How did you decide at what point in your life? Did you decide that? You wanted to be a mom? All right. So it all started when I was younger? When I was about like five, six years old, and I had a few solos memorized, I would always wonder,

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is there a heaven? Is there a hell? I mean, I'm really I would sometimes I would think about hellfire. And I'm like, hey, if I did something wrong, if I told a lie, or something,

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I mean, am I really gonna burn for this. And then these thoughts really made me somewhat disengaged intellectually from my faith. And I really only rediscovered when I was a little bit older, when I was nine, when I was, you know, sent to an Islamic school, by choice wasn't forced. And I started memorizing the Quran.

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I started reading first and then I started memorizing at the age of 10. And by 11, I'd committed it to a memory. But I wanted to know what it meant. You know, I could have gone down the route of hey, on behalf of now go down back to your secular education. But I was like, Hey, I have 114 chapters of Arabic committed to memory, of which I have no clue what any of them mean. And that curiosity led me to joining the island program that was part of the school, it was a choice that you could do the item education along with your secular studies. So I joined it at a very young age. Usually the people who join that course are post high school graduates of high school.

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But I joined it when I was in the in the sixth grade.

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After I joined, my intention was just learned the Arabic do the first three or four years, do the Arabic and you know, go about your life, you know, moving on with something secular in nature. But after having done five years of that course, I was like, Hey, I'm so deeply involved in religious education. And I'm young, I want to travel overseas, it's an eight year course, I want to travel overseas to actually complete it in a traditional seminary. So then I went to South Africa, finished off the item program, the eighth year on in program. And by the time I was finished, I was like 18. And

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the thought occurred to me that if I stopped studying and start a job, I may never get to study again. So then I enrolled in the if that studies the Mufti course, and I completed that, and by 19, I was graduated.

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You know, as someone who completed that program, and then move the program, and now is looking for a job and I was like, There's nothing more appropriate than being an imam with this, you know, skill set or this educational program, having committed in my,

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in my arsenal, religious arsenal, if you if you will. So once that was completed, I mean, I had nothing else to do. So I'm like, you know, what, let me start serving the community, a lot of my doubts and questions and, you know, the thoughts that I had pertaining to the validity of religion and the existence of Heaven and the existence of hell, all of these were answered, because I gave religion the adequate

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chance to explain itself to me by going to individuals who really were open minded and, you know, not so very intimidating. Right? You know, your standard is you go to any mom and you ask them, Hey, I don't really believe heaven exists, right or hell exists. Or that, you know, is there even a god the standard

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answer you'd get from any mom for, you know, for a person that young in age is man pulled back. You don't say go back to where you came from, don't ask such blasphemous questions. But alhamdulillah the people around me weren't so, you know, rigid, they were a lot more open, they were a lot more welcoming. And they really explained it to me in a way that made sense to me. I was around people who were, you know, just a little bit older than I was, who are giving the gym walk bus. And on another day, they were playing basketball. And I was like, Hey, you're religious people can be cool, right? That's really what kind of drew me in and led me down the path that I went. And I felt like

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after graduation, the only thing right, is to also inspire other young people like myself, who also might have questions about their faith, who need real answers. You know, to continue down this path would really give me the opportunity to share that with people of my age. I want to highlight for the not yet Muslim audience, guests who might be tuning in, when you said that you memorize the entire Quran, all 114 chapters, I want really people to think about it because this is one of the miracles of the Quran. Can you elaborate on that real quickly? Because people you know, there's if you compare it to many other different religions, there's or any just complex book that are out

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there, you don't have people memorizing their religious texts and preserving it. Over time these texts have been changed, they've been corrupted. But now when we talk about Umemura, you're, you're you're a walking, living example of a living miracle of the Quran. Can you just highlight what what does that? What does that mean? It's, again, the biggest miracle of our religion is the Quran. And its preservation is not limited to,

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you know, physical tangible scriptures that we have or books or manuscripts. Allah says in the Quran in Zina, Nicaragua, in the hula, half alone, We have sent down this reminder and we shall preserve it. Right, that

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special clause of preservation

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was not really assured or guaranteed for the scriptures of the past, henceforth, there alteration adulteration changes. Whereas for the Quran, because it was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad, so lowson in the final prophet, Allah says, I will take care of the responsibility of preserving it. So if you were to take every single manuscript of the Quran and burn it, we'd still have it because millions of people committed to memory, right. And I really felt, you know, it's panela very honored and special that Allah subhanaw taala blessed me with the opportunity it was, when I started, I could barely memorize two lines, right, because memorizing something word for word without getting a

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single destination inflection or diacritical mark, accent wrong, is not something that people aspire to do. When you memorize something, you memorize the gist of it, you memorize the essence of it. Thereafter, you quote it with your own verbiage. Whereas with the Quran, you're not allowed to do that you have to read every like if I were to incorrectly state or recite something in the prayer that we just prayed and let them know that it almost every single person behind me, at least for the first chapter would correct it. Right? Because it's so

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intricate and are so precise. And that precision is really something that Subhanallah it's tough to do. And you start off, I couldn't memorize two lines going back to that. But over time, I really committed myself and I really said I really want to do this. And by the end of it, a person who could not memorize two lines was capable of memorizing an entire 27 pages in one day. That was my last lesson that I memorized. I memorized 27 pages in one day. And that's to me, that's not me. I don't think I'm capable of doing that I'm not that special. I really understand that. This is Allah and this is his miracle. And this is when he decides that somebody is a treasure chest for his book.

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He facilitates and he makes easy, according to his will tell me now for people looking at you as an Imam, and they might they associate with their clergy, someone who is devoted to God. Now he's someone who doesn't get married right, and lived a life of abstinence. Is that the same with the Imam as a Muslim? No.

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The Prophet Muhammad so Lodi Sydenham states very profoundly and Nika who mean Suniti marriage is for my son enough for my tradition for my ways. And Allah states himself in the Quran with Elsa Nam in public, rasool and Raja Anna the home as word and we're very, very Leo messenger.

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Allah before you we have sent many messengers and many prophets, we believe in all of them, Jesus, Moses, Abraham, everybody, and we've made for all of them spouses and progeny. So it's as a Muslim, we believe that marriage is something that completes you as a person, it is half of your religion, and abstinence. Again, it is something that is permissible, but not something that is recommended. You don't get sin from abstaining from marriage. But you do get plenty of reward for engaging in. What if someone says, look, as a Christian, we know that Jesus, they say that he didn't get married. So you say all the prophets got married? What about Jesus? Because Jesus, we as Muslims believe, has

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not completed his life yet. We believe he will come back, and he will get married. Right? And that statement of the Quran, there's no inconsistency in the Quran, Allah says, We have ordained for all of the prophets and messengers, wives and children. So the wife that has been ordained for the Prophet Jesus has not yet been tied with him in marriage. But that doesn't mean it's not going to happen. Because we don't believe he passed away. We believe Allah raised him and Allah will send him back, you know, to restore, you know, order injustice in the world when it becomes, as you know, somehow less corrupted as it could ever have been. Did Islam answer all the questions that you had

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on your mind? You mentioned Hellfire paradise, purpose of life while you're here, you know, all of these things, that it gives you the solace that you needed? That? Did it convince you intelligent, intellectually, that it was indeed, the truth? Based on proof and evidence? Absolutely. Now, what I mean by that is, every question that I had, as a young child was answered adequately, but as you grow older, regardless of

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what era what environment, what culture you live in, more questions develop. Right? The questions that develop at times, they may have answers that 100% satisfy you, and clear you have any doubt whatsoever. But at times, you know, there are some questions that you don't understand regardless of what answer is granted to you.

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But what Islam did for me is

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make made me understand how limited humans are. And how limitless God is. How limitless Allah azza wa jal is, and if Allah azza wa jal

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explained everything in vivid detail, then there wouldn't be a point of calling this life a test. So what Islam did for me was made me understand the purpose of life itself and the purpose of life itself. Allah says Allah the Halacha, Moto will Hialeah beluga, calm, are you combatant? Mohammed, the purpose of life is to test you which which one of you is best in deeds. And if everything was clearly explained, then there wouldn't be a point of calling it a test. So I understood it like this.

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early on. My father tells me Don't eat too much candy. Right. As a young child, I mean, I still am kind of a fat boy. I love candy.

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If I think that my dad is preventing me from candy, because he's a bad guy.

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Really like would that make sense? No.

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But as a child, I don't understand that.

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And my father, sometimes he will explain certain things to me. He will say you'll get a cavity, you know,

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but I'll say I want it anyways. My father will say, well, it's not good for you. cavities are not good for you. They don't. They're and he will try explaining to a certain extent, maybe add on diabetes. Yeah. Potential diabetes and heart disease, potential disease, all of these cancer. Yeah. If you want to go deeper, yeah, if you go deeper, right. But would the dad go as deep as he he understands? No, he will just give me a simple explanation. And if I accept it good for me if I don't accept it? Well, I know better because I'm your father. Right? And one thing he may add on is,

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when you get older and you have your own child, do you understand? Right? And perhaps I will understand and now Hamdulillah, Allah has blessed me with a sudden need to understand of caring for someone who doesn't know how to care for the baby really wants to go there, but he's gonna hit his head. I pull him back, he starts crying, you know, saying thinking Daddy's a tyrant. Right? But really the dad, he's not the tyrant. He's pulling you back from something that you're incapable of understanding is going to harm you. Right? So I understood it like that. That eventually when I grow up, I'll understand the wisdom of my dad for preventing me

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for preventing me from eating that candy.

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But if that understanding gap, if that comprehension gap is so vivid and so distant

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when the common denominator denominator is limitation of mortality, that the father and the child, both mortals, just the only gap is, he's a little bit older.

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But still, this child will never understand what he knows.

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Now imagine comparing some human, some mortal who thinks they have it all figured out with their limitations

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to the unlimited Allah

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will we ever understand fully understand the wisdom of Allah, the knowledge of Allah, it's unlimited, it's comparing something finite to something infinite. It's not even apples and oranges. It's comparing like fruit to a wall. Right? So really, when I understood that, and I said that this is really what Allah wants to test me to see if I'm only going to submit to His will when I fully understand something. Or am I going to submit what I understand and when I don't understand. Right and the story of Ibrahim alayhi salam is something that always motivated me whenever I found myself in this conundrum, the story of Abraham Ibrahim of Abraham, I knew his Sudan peace be upon him,

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where Ibrahim it is to them. I mean, it took them a while to figure out God. It's not like he just woke up one day and believed in God, he actually expended intellect, right to come up with the idea that God is something that we don't we can't fully comprehend. Allah states in the Quran for them I didn't even know you care about when the night dawned upon Abraham and his salatu salam. Then he saw a star and he said how that'll be this My Lord, for the muffled when the star faded when the star went away, and it was daytime. So no, I don't like things that fade away. And then the next night he looked at the movies like wow, this is beautiful how that'll be this is my lord for fun when the

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moon went away.

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Or law please show me show me what is the right guy. And then next day, he's he's staring at the sun, he said has a quote this is bigger than the start and the moon. This must be my God. When the sunset he said anybody when we met the Shikun I free myself from any partner that they associate with one god Allah, what in the world yet to what God Lady Fatima sama what you will add honey, if and when that no minimum was sticky in and I face my face, I turned my direction to that Lord, who incepted all of this who created all this? And I don't like again, I completely disassociate myself with anything, or any concept that makes it seem like God is fully comprehendible. Right. And that

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story really motivated me to stay on the right track of okay, you if you understand this well done, accept it, if you don't understand it's all been accepted even harder, because that's what was the means someone who submits. This is the way of life of all the Prophets and Messengers. And now you're living it and you're getting all this experience being in the Mom, tell us in the last few minutes that we have, what are some of the major challenges that you're seeing, being a leader in the community, with the youth with even the adults?

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The challenge is

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I'd like I wouldn't do a justice in a sentence. So I'd rather choose a prophetic statement to give it some some flesh and then I'll add you no theory to it.

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The province Hello centum says in the dunya Holberton Hadera that this world is lush and green when Allah who was stuck LIFO configure and Allah will place you in it as representatives, as Vice Germans found it okay for time and we want to see what you will do since the Quint dunya. So referring to the best of your ability from this world.

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So this hadith really captures the struggle that majority of us not just here in South Florida, but the majority of us Imams face to face in the West. But people come here from all walks of life from all different, you know, ethnicities from all different countries in pursuit of a better life. And in their mind, a better life

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translates to more material. And more material means more happiness in their mind

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before they figure out that that's the wrong idea of a better life.

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Usually, it's

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I wouldn't say it's beyond repair, but it's it's at a very difficult point.

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That repairing it, it becomes the challenge that contemporarily imams in the society face. So whether it's you

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No, you know, staying away from religion keeping it at a minimal in order to appease the folks around us, you know, and you know make it seem like Hey, I will assimilate to this culture this western culture better if I'm more materialistic, if I involve myself in the things of this world a lot more and keep religion to a jamaa keep religion to a Ramadan Tada we know a few of the gods and you know what, you know you're good most you know pray every now and then whenever you need God you know holla at him, you know saying he'll and then he'll respond basically like a genie in a bottle. Yes, yes, Allah says a layman complaints about that in the Quran. You know what's what's wrong with

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people? Why did they only call out to me when they need me? I mean in asking me I mean Allah how to have some people who worship Allah and edge famous autoclaves Good things come ultimately gonna be like, Oh, God is good. Quinta Saba to fitna if they ever find themselves in a challenge and tribulation and what about that what should they turn away from Him? Or they say well either lucky beautiful full cacao Allah meclizine Allah Who Dean for them and gentlemen, well, he the homie Chico, right when they are in a turbulent circumstance Allah is using the example of you know, waves in an ocean that are about to swallow you up. Less is when you're in these turbulent it represents

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all of life when you're in these turbulent waves. And they call out to Allah and say, Oh Allah, I'm gonna problem Oh, Allah, you know, my son is you know, off of, you know, the right path. He's no smoking, he's drinking, he's, you know, womanizing, and my daughter is, you know, going into these promiscuous parties and you know, the same promiscuity is taken over my household. You know, when these tough problems are there, then they like to call out to Allah but when Allah brings them out of the problem are Allah subhana wa Tada rescues them to the shore,

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home, usually when they go back to their old ways. So really, religion has just become like you said, a genie in a bottle. You know, if we need it, if we need something from God, Oh Allah, something is wrong in my life, my business is not going good. Oh Allah, I'm going to come to your house and pray. Allah fixes up the business going back to never remembering Allah and having him as something in the background as a screensaver in your mind. Right And subhanAllah that is the challenge that really, if you want to sum it up without going into all the derivatives and the details of the problems, the different precise problems that people struggle, it's really lack of

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wanting to affiliate with religion, thinking of it as extreme thinking of it is, as as anti secular, you know, thinking of it as anti progressive, you know, saying hence, all these other, you know, issues that contemporarily we face that generations before us right before us have not faced, it's really just thinking that religion is a barricade is a blockage against being progressive, whereas we know both you and I but Edie know that Islam has been progressive Islam has always been something that you know, taught humans to be better, even in this life, already taught humans to be more accomplished even in this life, the Prophet salallahu Alaihe Salam never prohibited us from

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advancing in this life. But Muslims today forget at what cost so it's not progressive in the terms of now I'm progressive, so I don't have to pray. I don't have to I don't have to go to gym. I don't have to wear hijab. I don't have to do this, that and the other and I start modifying the demon you become like a what a modified Muslim. No such thing but you know, yeah. Progressive Muslim, they like to call it Yeah, same progressive Muslim, a progressive Muslim does not. You know, again, this is generalizing. Yeah, there's exceptions to every rule. But a progressive Muslim and common portrayal

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is somebody who has nothing of the external imagery of Islam. You know, it's really a misuse of the Hadith of the prophets. lowson them where he says in Allah Allah, Allah just send me Come, we'll let you know. Sorry, come on. I'm worried I'm working on Marula who become Lama Alikum that Allah doesn't look at your apparent he doesn't look at your face. He didn't look at your bodies looks at your hearts. Right? It's a very beautiful Hadith, but misquoted misunderstood, misrepresented lies my heart, you know, I'm saying Allah knows my heart, so I don't have to have anything on the external. My question to them would be, hey, then why did Allah reveal those commandments? If he

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deemed them so, you know, baseless or so unimportant? Then why did he legislate them? Right. So, again, that is the struggle summed up.

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So

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you are living testimony that now at a young age, some takeaways here is that someone at that young age like yourself, you got to know your dean, Islam started living it answered all the questions to why you're here. What's the purpose of life based on proof and evidence, your testimony to that? Took it to another level and now you're

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Serving the community. You got to know your deen, was there ever any I've interviewed a lot of different people from all walks of life. And they come from different backgrounds, some from a Christian background, this background, that background and the more they went academically into the religion, the more they started to see the contradictions and they went away from it. But the more you went towards Islam than an increase your Imam?

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And do you believe now this is the solution where the more people will go and embrace Islam, that this would be the solutions for all their problems, their lives? That because obviously we can't escape? The drama we're in life is a test. But does the Islam give you the tools to manage to get through these tests of life? Absolutely, absolutely. Because, again, someone who if I had gone down the rabbit hole of okay, well, if I can't see God, I won't believe in him, I would refuse to believe in Him. Then what a sad life that would be that all the deaths that I encountered of my friends, family, I will never see them again, because they're just material. They're just particles, they're

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just chemicals are just rocks, you know, same argument that the prophets listen and face that when we die from we're just going to become dust and bones. You really think we're going to be raised? If I don't, I didn't believe that we were going to be raised and there's going to be justice. Then really, again, like what hope is there in living? Yeah, such a depressing life. Like all the this the trauma, the struggles, all of it means nothing if someone gets no bombed or killed in their house in a war torn country or in an oppressive regime or something, then they're just that, you know, saying they just become buffet for the worms of the ground. Right. So really, I feel that

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Islam is a very conclusive and consistent answer. Or, or a better term would be

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a layer of solace to the intellectually curious

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about the reality of life.

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Thank you so much, Imam. So time spend some time with us. Sure.

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Masjid

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please come back man, South Florida will really be appreciative of you. Thank you, Allah. Hi. Salaam Alaikum salam.

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And if you liked this episode of the deen show, like this video, share this video far and wide and support us on our Patreon page so we can continue this work. Thank you for tuning in. Peace be with you. A salaam aleikum