Tom Facchine – Personal Journey, Imamship & Restructuring Masajid with Imam Abu Jawad

Tom Facchine
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Salam Alaikum Hello, welcome back to Imam talk, where we corner

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current events to discuss about their own personal trajectories and their stories towards community leadership and also reflect upon the state of our community, the state of our masajid and what room we have to improve and what are some things maybe that we need some little, a little bit of introspection about. So welcome to the program, a good friend of mine, colleague and former classmate back in Medina, Abraham cover, and it was, yeah, collapse and I want to come. So tell us just a little bit about like right now, what's your official position? Which Masjid What city are you at? So at this point in time, I'm imam of Roswell community Masjid in Atlanta.

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I graduated December 2018. I think.

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So I have been an email since January 2019. Which is kind of sad to say that was almost five years ago. Yeah.

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But yeah, so Hamdulillah. I was an imam in Chicago for about three years, and now almost two years serving as an imam here. Cool. So that's gonna be really important because one of the things that we'd like to do is highlight sort of, once you've experienced multiple communities, every community's very different. Some of the struggles are the same, right? But some of them are very different. But first, give us a sense of sort of what got you into studying knowledge in the first place? What was sort of your deal growing up? And how did you get the bug so to speak, when it came to wanting to study knowledge and then eventually go abroad and study in Medina?

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Study studying in Medina, specifically.

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Generally or specifically? Yeah, yeah, I mean, I was always like,

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the only I was always in the habit of trying to sit with a shield, especially for recitation and Quran. I love to see it. I used to sit down in the masjid.

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You know, learn from the local chef and in Jordan, I lived in Jordan for a time.

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How old were you? When you were in June? There were different times. So 1012 Okay, you know, Sunday. So you were fairly like practicing like throughout your childhood Hamdulillah.

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Yeah, like I remember Sheffield in, in Jordan. Man, I used to go and sit in the masjid. And after fajr I'll just read Quran and sit down and talk with him. And it was kind of learning through osmosis kind of thing. So that was my exposure. My dad was very intent on if we were at a masjid like in Dubai, we lived in Dubai for a few years. Go say sit down to the chair, right? Or he would put me in a camp with with a bunch of other files and stuff like that.

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And so, again, learning by osmosis, and being around these people, that was that was kind of the vibe that we were going with.

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And regarding Medina, specifically, like I really, really wanted to go while I was in college.

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It's a common thing. A lot of people reach out to me college students be like, how do I go to Medina? What was your your major at that point? Or what were you studying? Chem major, okay, I graduated in a degree in chemistry, okay.

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I had tried and tried didn't happen.

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I actually remember 2011 RAs and in Canada.

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I went there with a friend of mine and

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fast he was there. Now, Michelle.

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I walked after after his program, I he was like, you know, they have their like route that they go towards the hotels or whatever. So I saw him walking and I was like, Oh my God, let me go quickly say salaam to him. So I quickly said said unto him, and I was like, chef, I want to go to Medina, please make dua for me. And so he made a small deal out that I get accepted and stuff like that. It took another three years and you know how Medina like

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that. It's, there's no like one way to do things, right? You just keep on doing. Apparently, they never even received my application. But I applied four years in a row. And then the fourth year, when I applied, I you know, something happened a big transition, my life happened. And I went online in 2014. And I had a one of the brothers.

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You know, he took me to the to the university, his older brother works at

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one of the Islamic institutions out there. And you know, we drove to the, to the to the university did the interview. And then six months later, I started getting messages on Facebook, you're on the list, Allahu Akbar. But what was it that well first of all, like, there's one thing that I noticed and you know, your story, and Chef, my story and some other people, like there's a common ingredient, I think, which is that being surrounded by like, an ecosystem that respects knowledge and other than that, and it's like, it's just like, This is what we're doing. You know what I mean? Like for Chef Ma, it was his his brothers and sisters his like family, even though he was maybe like

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in Long Island or whatever. He was like he had a really strong family atmosphere, connections in the masjid. And so that was just, that was the expectation. And it sounds like you might have had a similar thing was that like three?

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about your family, in addition to like, you know, the areas that you were living, or was it just kind of, you know, like mostly from your your father and like the massage and mache and stuff like that.

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This was a little more self driven. The environment always welcomed learning Islam. And so my father, and you may Allah bless him. He said, I'm not going to stop you, I encourage you to do that. The main driver, completely with complete honesty was to be near the Prophet. So I said, I'm sorry, I wanted an opportunity to be near the Prophet. So I said, At what point did you decide, I'm gonna go study like, I'm going to do tolerable them like this. That wasn't the construct in my mind. The construct in my mind was I want to live in Medina, okay, I want to live near the prophets. And so thought about and was kind of like almost, you know, secondary to just being there, is that correct

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I wouldn't classify it as that.

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It's kind of like a one a one b kind of thing. So they're part and parcel with one another, I wanted to learn, I want it to grow. But I didn't want to learn and grow to teach others I wanted it for myself. And, and I wanted, again, ultimately, it was that, that passion of because the concept of alien, when you immerse yourself in it, you feel like you're with the prophesies. Right, when you're with the traces of the solid hand and you're like, you know, holding it, you know, you know, the thread of clothing, you're like pulling it, and you're like on these fringes, it's like an escape of this world. And, you know, I worked at a lab and stuff, so

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studied the secular sciences and all that stuff. I didn't, it didn't match, it didn't match what I what I longed for, and so your, your, the tolerable enum is an environment that encompasses the smell of the Prophet sallallahu wasallam. And so it's, it's kind of like your, your, it's weird. It's just like, you know, you want to just bathe in that, and be neared closer to the Prophet size. Ultimately, that's what it was, and rectify rectification of the self and being in the city of the Beloved, and so on.

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So now, you know, as a father of young children, you know, when you think about raising your children, and you think about sort of the opportunities in the environment that you had, are there things that you see that are continuities that you would like to continue like that you experienced? And are there anything that are there things that are maybe like, things that you want to do differently? When you think about maybe, what environment do I want my kids to kind of grow up in?

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Yeah, I mean, I'm, so I'm very thankful for my upbringing, and very thankful for my for my, my father and mom.

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I would say that, like, today's day, and age is different than kind of what I went through, even though they are different. My dad's my dad really did try his hardest to make sure that we were immersed in an Islamic environment. Hence why we went to Islamic school for high school, hence why we lived overseas for a time we lived in debate, we lived in Jordan, there was always that passion of saying no, no, I want you in this environment. So that you don't lose your your identity of who you are.

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And that is something definitely that I would carry on for my children. And I would say that serving as an imam or going to Medina and learning, ultimately, you do it for yourself, and then you do it for your kids. And then you worry about the community, right? Because that should be the prioritization. Many people that serve others forget about themselves and forget about their families. Yeah. And you find that their children actually because they they felt neglected in attention of or focus of rectification and purification and goodness.

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They they missed out on their on their on their family. Yeah, rather everyone else had their family and they didn't and so they act out.

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Like, if I if I memorize the Quran and memorize it for myself, and if I'm going to teach it to anyone, it's going to be my children, Sally and Joe, I'm gonna sit down with them and teach them

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and I wouldn't want anyone else to teach them I want to I want to teach them so. So yeah, that's that's brings up another question. Like when you were studying in Medina, like, at what point did it occur to you to maybe get involved in masajid any man work? Did it occur at any point? or at what point did that become like? Well, just yeah, maybe explain how did you make that bridge from going from a student of knowledge and Medina who's mostly focused on sort of rectifying yourself and immediately impacting your family to now being any man?

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You remember, Shahada? I forget his last name, but he was the one with the stick. Yeah.

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Of course, when I went to Medina, and I actually didn't want to stay, I mean, yeah, Shahada. And, you know, I was brought up to Harvey took me to talk to him.

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And I was just like, maybe this isn't for me, I don't know, I miss my family, my dad is sick, you know, shaitan starts giving all these things, right. So it's like, let me go back. Most people, by the way, go back, they don't last. So Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah, I take I take pride in the fact that my personal pride or personal honor, that I was able to go through the whole thing.

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But, you know, he said to me one statement that still sticks to me today. He said, man, your post,

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he said, it very simply, is like, last month, I put you here, man, your post, and I took it as a challenge.

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So upon graduation, you've accumulated all this information, you've gathered all of this exposure, you've seen a world beyond the world that you have, that you've been in, for Americans are kind of in a in a, in a in a very insulated environment where they don't realize what the world really is. And then you get exposure to it, and handled I was exposed to it already before. But this was like a whole other level where I didn't have my parents to kind of go and talk to but I was on my own. And, and so it's like, how can I bring whatever hide that? And goodness that I was able to kind of

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not gather but touch? I didn't gather it, I touched it. How can I bring it back to my people? You know, and so I guess it's kind of like just the natural course of things that it's like it goes that way. Plus I was leading toward throughout the process anyway, right? So it's a very natural sort of transition. So I was leading to the wait before I went to Medina throughout my time in Medina. And then when then it kind of just naturally just happened. Mashallah. So let's talk about Yeah, that transition, you make it back to the United States after you graduate. Tell us about your first community. What was it? Like? What was the composition? Like?

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What are the some of the things that you like struggled with? What are the things that maybe were different, because obviously, our education that we get over there, as essential and important that it is, it doesn't 100% match up with community leadership, right, there's a lot of things that they don't teach us that you kind of have to figure out on your own or supplement in a different way. So tell us about that first community and your sort of experience as a fresh Imam, in some sense.

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So it's interesting, because I remember I sat down with some of the older, older shields that have been around for a while. And I was kind of torn between two options that I was given. And I don't want to give names of where I went or anything, I mean, people. But I had two options. One was a lot harder, and one was a lot easier. And when I spoke with some of the machines, they were like, take the one that's harder and prove yourself. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. That's what they thought was harder about the size, the burden Zinger, so there's a lot more responsibility. So a lot more. It wasn't like a pocket, it was like there. And Jonnie the

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institution that I went to is the oldest, the first Masjid in Chicago, it was the first mustard there. And it wasn't just one mustard, it was to mustard and, and a school and like a bunch of other stuff that were kind of like accessories to it. So you need to be assimilated into something that's already got a history and identity. It's not like you're gonna come in necessarily leave your stamp on it in the same way that you would for like a brand new mesh to you. That's just like, you know, just started. Exactly. So you're literally diving in the deep end, first and foremost. And it was a challenge. They told they told it to me, they're like, I dare you to do it.

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The chef May Allah bless him, he said it like that. He said, I dare you. So I was like, okay, Bismillah because in my head when they say it like that, they're saying, I know you can do it. And don't settle for less. Right? And so I made the intention and I asked Allah subhana wa Tada for help. And subhanAllah you know, I you know, it's funny as I found a handle the people of Edom were always there for me and always had my side on the side of the, the principles, morals and content, but the see as a policy of people, I relied on my father and the people that were there, the elders that were there.

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One person that I consider a mentor and a friend. You know, even people that I worked with, were part of the institution and rather have you Padre, he was I consider him a mentor. Musical and shaky shakes, right?

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I would rely on him and I would annoy them so much. I pick up the phone and talk to him and say, Hey, this was happening. Sit down get some lunch, Peter in

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And if you ever go to Chicago get some pizza and

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and so that I

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sure they weren't sure you right but they had they had the exposure of people and they were they were definitely people that I rely on and even here there are brothers and sisters here that you know the that our elder older than me and age I rely on their their guidance. Can you think of an example like let's let's imagine that you and I are sitting down with a young Medina grad or you know a Medina student and they're about to go back and be any man. And now you've got to like, tell them these, whatever if people want to call them soft skills or CSR, whatever, that you're not going to learn there that you have to learn from people like what's an example of something Christchurch?

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So remember, I tore my ACL in Medina? I do. Yeah. It was miserable. Yeah. And you're not the only one big bash also did it as well. May Allah may Allah protect them. And she felt, but yeah, I tore my ACL there. And then I ended up doing the surgery in Chicago hamdullah I can I can run again.

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But it was literally the week after Christchurch happened. Now,

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you know, this is like, I'm literally on the bed with the machine. That's like moving your knee and all that stuff. And I'm like, What is going on? Right? I pick up the phone and I talk to these leaders. I'm like, What are we doing? What's gonna happen? And North Chicago has a very dense, excuse me, Jewish population. And they themselves are like, worried about the whole white supremacy thing? Yeah. Right. Because they had the Tree of Life. Okay, yeah. And desperate, right? Yeah. So they had similar situations. And there were people that are already part and parcel of the community and they were like, Let's, let's do a vigil.

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Now, that's the natural response. We're gonna do a vigil in the masjid. And

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I'm like, Okay, I speak with

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the the people that I consider elites in knowing how to manage community situations. I'm like, listen, vigil is something that from a from a content perspective, we don't agree with, nor do we endorse, because it is a ritualistic behavior that has pagan traditions rooted to it. However, people are grieving, and they don't know what to do in this situation. So now we're faced and on top of that, you have these people that want to gather on that. And you know, it's something that it took a life of its own. So what do I do?

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So what I did was I spoke with everybody, and then I looked at my options, and I said, okay,

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the news is going to be there. There's about a couple 1000 non Muslims that are coming to the masjid. This is like a big deal situation. This is a big deal. So it's not like a small 40 people are killed on camera. Right? This is not, this is not something where you can just brush to the side.

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They're going to be there anyway. The situation is happening on its own. Yeah. And I spoke with Habib about it. And basically, the vigil, it was called a vigil, right. But it was in reality, it's just a gathering. And there were a lot of non Muslims. And they came and showed solidarity, solidarity and support. And the news was there and they were all there.

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So, and I'm still literally in crutches.

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And I wasn't going to miss it. I can't like you hired me as the Imam I have to be there. This is,

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as we say, a stance of a man where you have to stand up and face this, despite the situation. Anything even in American culture

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was a Franklin Roosevelt who had polio, yeah. And then he would make sure that he looked like he was standing in a similar situation where you you have to stand up, forget about your pain, put that to the side, and I was in so much pain, I had to even go up the steps and I was like, literally struggling

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to get onto the stage. So

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attended that, but I cannot lose sight of the fact that I'm an imam. And this is a Muslim institution. So how do we grieve as Muslims in a situation like this? We do what we can for the siesta of people. But then we come in and say okay, the element to do with the Muslims and the grief of the Muslims and this is a Muslim situation that's happening, I'm not going to lose sight of this, nor am I going to politicize it in such a way cannot lose that that that that purity. And so I looked into our corpus and how we handle these situations, how do Muslims grieve in such situations we performed we decided to perform so a lot a lot. This is by the way before Maria Medina Cortes did

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it. So I announced to the community that the vigil is going to happen in the gym, and in the masala after Madrid, we're going to place a lot to live

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a very Hanafi community.

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And the Hanafi opinion on salata aloha is that it was something specific for an agenda. Yes. However, the other opinions they differ and each each month have has an approach to this, this, this issue

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and this is a very

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And if you community as well, however, I know that everyone is dealing with this, like this touched people in a very different way that Muslims were slaughtered on camera in the most ugly of fashions.

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And so I announced to the community that we're going to

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we're gonna do it like this. There were some people that said, Oh, this is not so novel. I'm like, there's a difference of opinion. And if you want to talk, let's talk Charla we can discuss. However, I didn't go outside the bounds of our, our, our tradition. And I went with my crutches.

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To the front of them, Salah

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couple 100, people are still in the masala and it's all them, there's a difference of opinion. If you don't want to pray with us, that's fine. But there's a situation here that requires a different outlook. And I gave them the different opinions of them at that. And I said in sha Allah, the janazah is for Christ, we face the Qibla and we perform the salah, and

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literally less than a handful left, everyone else stayed. We prayed Salah to live. And

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it was like a coolness of my heart that the next day, Miss lochsa should never be and muscle haram all performs a lot to the heart upon those brothers. So

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that was something that felt I felt an hamdulillah like, I felt guided by the guidance of my elders and my teachers and my, my father and my loved ones that helped me in that kind of thing. And that's, that's Eman. It's a mocha if it is a stance of hasm of leadership of strength where you where you, you have to be the one to say I got you and people look to you for leadership. If anyone didn't give that to you then where did what was you're supposed to benefit. We're not supposed to hide in rooms. We've been put down Rahim Allah was there with Salahuddin on the day of suffering. So we're heading sorry, he was on the day of Hedlin with Salahuddin and so that's that's the ultimate

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nutshell. Yeah, I mean, that's, that's a wonderful illustration,

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especially of things where you know, your elders and mentors can really save you and just extend obviously, the little bit that we know, they give a whole other sort of dimension to it, and amplify everything that we can do.

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But as your first community, there's no doubt that you also made mistakes, right? And there's probably things that you regret. Let's talk about those, like, what are some things that if you know, now that you know better, right, you feel like wow, it's like, okay, next time around, I'm gonna do this in a different way. Or I really wish I had I hadn't gone about it in this way.

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I didn't I wish I didn't insulate myself the way I did. Probably should have been out there out and about with the people how did you insulate yourself and why like, what was sort of going through your mind? Like you just didn't wouldn't like show up the shirt? So toe social things with like, hey, but like, what was it? No, it was more like an organically, so I learned it organically over over time. But like,

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like one of the biggest issues of being an imam is people want to talk to you after Asha? Yep.

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When you have family and stuff like that, you know?

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And I don't know, this is like one of those things where I'm still learning.

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And I would say that work life boundaries is very difficult. Exactly. Now, you ask yourself, you know, you you're strict on those boundaries. But What harm did that do? Yep. You know, and maybe I could have done it better.

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And I wish I

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I, I wish I reeled in my own personality a little bit. And been a little bit more balanced in my in my leadership, and that's something again, I'm still working on. Yeah, we all are, we all have our own personality, and it's part of leadership is to kind of rein that in and not necessarily let your personality rule how you're going to dictate rather deal with people with with wisdom. Yeah. And that's a really good point. Because, you know, we were just talking, you know, off camera, and we were getting coffee, before we came here about how you might love somebody, but your personalities might just not go together. And so it's like, you need to find a way. That's some almost one of the

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more challenging sort of situations in leadership, it's like, how do I be a leader to this person, and still sort of give them what they need, but it can't necessarily all the time, be me, or I have to, like, manage my own personality around them, because just the way we are our personalities kind of clash. You know, it's a really interesting thing. I think, you know, from my end, you know, one of the things that I learned the hard way, was a similar thing about access and, and boundaries. You know, I was so idealistic, I think going into it, and even naive where, you know, like, everybody has my phone number I was basically on call 24/7. And that just wasn't sustainable. You know, and

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some people didn't respect it already. Some people would

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You know, not have the proper etiquette, when it came to reaching out, you know, things that really weren't important for they weren't following protocol they were trying to get to me to skip over having to go to the person they really had to go to. Right. Almost like pitting you against maybe the board or something like that sometimes, like sometimes that happened, or just yeah, just people demanding access to you like 24/7. And it's challenging because you have your family life, you have the things that you have to do for the community, you know, your hippos, your classes, your your et cetera, et cetera, you have your other sort of networking that you have to do with other local faith

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leaders and masajid and etc. There's just so many different components. And yeah, it's, um, I think that people often don't realize that when they reach out to any man for what they think is like a little question, you know, that person might be very overwhelmed. And that person might have like, literally a million other sort of, like, 300 people literally at like, demanding something similar of them. You know, so that was that's sort of something that I had, I've been learning to navigate.

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Anything else come to your mind of things that or, or if not talk about the transition to the new community that you're in? Now, what are some of the differences because communities are very, very different. And they pose unique sort of opportunities and challenges wherever you go.

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So just kind of like going back on your point, there was one thing that I

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forgot where I saw it, but it was very relevant is

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if you want to be a good leader,

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and a good

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anchor, and a center, a center of gravity for the community, you need a balance of two things. competency, or competence, and warmth.

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So I tilt more on emphasizing competence.

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And because there is sometimes that deficiency of deficiency of warmth, someone who maybe I never even got a chance to interact with, they just saw me walking by. They're like, why is he so mad?

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And it's literally because I left the room because I was just talking to someone about suicide. Yeah.

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And so it's like, this is like the it's like an age old century old, kind of a conundrum of how do I manage this. And then at the end of the day, we're human and young. And I feel like the elders have done a better job at mastering it.

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So, you know, as far as putting up boundaries, and people reaching out, and any there was one situation where any, there was that badgering.

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But then I realized that the person was struggling with something. And you feel guilty, you're like, Yeah, you know what? Yeah, the guilt is huge. And so like, I'm a little more forgiving after all these years.

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And, you know, that's, that's what I try, I try to be about moving transitioning into a new community.

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I tried to learn from my,

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from my past experience and build on it. That's that any part of part of what you have to do transitioning into the community, you do have to adopt a little bit of what's going on in that community. Right. So, for example, one community may be very strict on noise that's happening in the masala no talking, right? And I completely understand that. And then another community,

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they have weren't any more lifted for loop, right? Their hearts are you want to. So that doesn't work there. And so you probably do have to entertain the conversations and sit down and stuff like that. So that kind of transition I picked up on it. And part of the blessing of being in Chicago was the two mustards that were part of that one umbrella organization were very different. And so I'm literally like, going between two that are very, very different.

00:29:07 --> 00:29:13

Now, going into the new community, I tried to learn from that mistake and was like, I embraced

00:29:14 --> 00:29:27

certain cultural elements of it, certain ones, not all of them. And other ones. I feel like you have to also be the one to rectify, you do have to, you know, part of part of our our belief system is illimitable model for anatomy.

00:29:28 --> 00:29:31

We call to good and we also forbid things that are wrong.

00:29:33 --> 00:29:39

I think one thing that I'm learning now, and trying to do better out is the neon and monka

00:29:40 --> 00:29:53

is a process to sequence Yeah, right. It's not just one point. Exactly. Yeah. So sometimes you only you would, you're giving advice and people kind of take it

00:29:55 --> 00:29:58

the way they wanted to hear it, of course, which is not what you said at all. Yeah.

00:30:00 --> 00:30:11

It's like, you're simply kind of alluding to something and then it turns it takes a life of its own. So you kind of have to be a little more wise in that regard. And that comes with that comes with.

00:30:14 --> 00:30:45

That comes with trial and error, which is what we call experience, experiences with trial and error. And a lot of failing. A lot of a lot of failure. Yeah. Fail for fail forward, as I say, right, exactly. All right. So give us let's talk, let's switch from talking about the personal sort of aspect to the institutional aspect, okay. We live in an era where a lot of people complain, and rightfully so about being unmasked, right, that the mosque is not a hospitable place. It's not a welcoming place, especially for the youth, especially for women.

00:30:46 --> 00:31:07

Some people have given up on the mosque, some people have, you know, tried to create third spaces. Some people haven't given up quite on the mosque yet, but they're in the trenches trying to fight and think about how we're organizing and running our mosques. What are what are some of the biggest struggles that the institution of the mosque faces, especially from your experience, and what you've seen?

00:31:10 --> 00:31:12

So I told one of the brothers here that

00:31:13 --> 00:31:23

for board members really to, to know what they're doing, they have to practice what Harun Al Rashid used to do, where he would dress like a commoner and walk in the streets.

00:31:24 --> 00:31:26

Put yourself in the shoes of the people.

00:31:27 --> 00:31:35

See what they see. Some people will come and say, Well, you know, we're a donor driven masjid. And the donors want this and the donors want that.

00:31:36 --> 00:32:09

That's not That's not our way so that the ABA disagrees with you. So doesn't care if was put enough second Alinea during Ramadan? belladati will actually you read on Twitter disagrees with you know how they sent him. He didn't care what the donors thought he built the ark and they made fun of them. Cool. Mr. Murali coming in such a woman Yeah, well, more trophy her right, I lost my dad talks about the elite of a people are the ones that are tested. Right, that there's a particular sort of thing that comes along with being of the elite that actually makes you vulnerable to a certain type of test.

00:32:10 --> 00:32:20

And so the advice is to rectify our affairs, and to be more sincere and renew our intentions and to purify our hearts. And to any one of the beautiful

00:32:22 --> 00:32:38

characteristics of the prophesy center, is you couldn't tell them apart from the pizza, right, right. That was in his physiques panel. Right, Rob item being a butcher, he was he was like, he wasn't too tall, and he wasn't too short, shallow, you know, like I can tell you apart, when we're doing a lot, I know exactly where Tom is, right.

00:32:39 --> 00:32:49

The rest of us are dealing with those at hand, you know, you're in the stratosphere. In handy for two off exactly. Everyone knows where Tom? Yeah, but, you know, the prophesy son was

00:32:51 --> 00:33:14

he was in the middle. And that that had a hint of accessibility. And on top of that, he knew other people were and there were descriptions that if people would throw a thobe piece of cloth over the brothers and sisters while the brothers in in the time of the Sahaba, it would cover them. Yeah, because of how close they were with each other. And you couldn't tell the difference of who from whom.

00:33:16 --> 00:33:27

And so like, like one of the examples, he was sitting with a little bucket above the lawn, and they were like, which one is he? Right? You know what I mean? That's, that's very important on lawn around his slave, right?

00:33:28 --> 00:33:55

Yeah, yeah. And so this is like, the advice that I give to these people, you being a board member is not a privilege. It's not a privilege. It's a responsibility. And that responsibility is not to steer what the big bucks are saying. It's to steer the cause the cause that there are people that are struggling, that we want to work for the collective good. We want people to feel a sense of warmth in the masjid.

00:33:56 --> 00:34:00

What the? It's interesting, because the stakeholders will claim

00:34:01 --> 00:34:34

warmth, but then the stuff that they're promoting is pushing people away. Right? Because they don't feel like they belong. What are they they push the push that pushes stuff people away? When there's an overemphasis on the walls and the building right facilities over personnel over programming. Even the programming the nature of the programming tends to be a little self serving, right where it's it's promoting what we think is important, but then these people are struggling it's like a whole different language. Right? You know what I mean? And you only it's, there's a balance and you want to kind of address everybody, you want to deal with everybody.

00:34:35 --> 00:34:37

Everyone is important. Everyone requires Dawa.

00:34:39 --> 00:34:45

But that's the thing. The message has to be dour. Literally, last Avila Rebecca will Hekmati Well, my little husband.

00:34:46 --> 00:34:54

So we meet people where they're at and you know, again people some, some institutions fall for the trap of illustrious

00:34:55 --> 00:35:00

badges. You know, and look at what we are and look over we

00:35:00 --> 00:35:04

Do but it's not about you. Interesting thing we were looking into

00:35:05 --> 00:35:05


00:35:07 --> 00:35:45

a comparison, we were doing this with for helicopter the sisters actually this was today's Friday, Wednesday, it was Wednesday we did a helicopter the sisters on alone. So we love finding joy in our salah, finding joy in our head. One of the things that they say is you have to purify your heart and part of purifying your heart is looking at the things that matter. One of the things that matter is the strength of your iman and not the abundance of your deeds. Right. Then they give us example of a little bucket and Omar, which of them was better aboubaker But which of them did more Rama Rama did more for the Ummah had been Miss radula. And he says we didn't pray near the Kaaba until Ahmed

00:35:45 --> 00:35:56

accepted Islam. He was Khalifa for 12 years now it's not they're not mutually exclusive to say one is good and one is bad. No, they're both good. For equal in height, there's good in all of them. But then when we look at

00:35:57 --> 00:36:29

you look at the effect, there was a mass effect of what Rama did, versus a little more specific effect of Abubaker. Not to say that all workers didn't have his moments, right? He protected this from a reader or worker he was with the Prophet saw him and defended the profit center. He did a lot in from just a quantity, you know, perspective, he didn't have as much time. Right? Is that as exactly? So the so the abundance of action, and the abundance of good did not equal better? Right? Leave a little comment. Are you calm?

00:36:32 --> 00:37:11

Exactly. So. So when we look at that, and we say okay, just because a masjid or an organization was pumping out like a bunch of stuff. And then they'll have their their big dinners, and they'll have their presentations and this and that. Look at us look at us look at us. They don't realize that most people are like, Well, okay, you guys are all the way up there and your ivory tower, US Misaki and I don't belong here, right. And you can get the mayor and and you can get the politicians in and everybody can be whatever. But that doesn't mean that you're actually doing what a lot wants you to do what they're chasing for relevance made them irrelevant. Yeah. So now, what should be the metric

00:37:11 --> 00:37:30

then to judge msgid? Whether it's being successful and fulfilling its proper role, if it's not like being extremely well financed, and having like a big say, in the community and rubbing shoulders with the politicians and the really influential people? What are metrics that we should judge a machine, whether they're succeeding or not?

00:37:33 --> 00:37:39

It depends on what it's for, like you can't like I can't impose the word success on something where it's not even looking at what I'm looking at.

00:37:40 --> 00:38:20

Right. So you have to come with a statement of what it is that you want to achieve. And before diversifying into so many different things you want to hone in on what makes you you and as personal as well as an institution. And so we gather on a Kalama we gather on a phrase that is our direction is our if the word is prerogative, right, that is the thing that we're going to look at that is the horizon that we're going to face. Now. Whatever good comes along the way Bismillah, masha Allah, having the politicians has its place, having the people of affluence, it has its place, there's data for both, and there's necessity for both.

00:38:22 --> 00:39:06

What are you trying to accomplish? Right, that's the question. So I guess, you know, your mission vision, right? And your, your, your purpose and your objective these things, you want to clarify them. And it's these are business terms, but there's, there's wisdom in it. Right? If, for example, my institution is no, I'm not my I don't have an institution. But let's say I have an institution and my institutions focus is, you know, our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated, if that's my focus, and whatever, accessory helps propel that such as relationships with the government, and such as relationships, whatever that works for that cause. Does that make sense for me then to focus on,

00:39:06 --> 00:39:07

say, for example, a,

00:39:08 --> 00:39:48

you know, having having a retreat for social stuff? Depends on how you frame it if it's something that funnels it in, or is it just a standalone thing? Right? So are you doing like just a gazillion things? Or is it honed in on on a horizon that you're looking at? That's really profound. And I think really important, because, you know, we don't suffer from a lack of masajid. I don't think most places in the United States we have plenty of masajid plenty of buildings, plenty of places to pray, though, that wasn't always the case. It kind of is now for many, many people, but everybody's trying to do everything. We're in reality and you know it one way to sort of, I think redeem the

00:39:48 --> 00:39:59

situation where everybody is just trying to be sort of the king of their own castle, and their own little sort of thing that doesn't work with any other messages, right. And just we lose so much in it.

00:40:00 --> 00:40:38

reinventing the wheel and not collaborating on programming or, you know, God forbid finances or anything like that. That's almost like a way forward. Right? If you imagine, imagine one metro area. And instead of having Well, you have the Pakistani mosque and the Bangladeshi mosque and the Arab mosque and the this mosque, it's like, well, this mosque focuses on converts, and Dawa. And, you know, like, whatever. And this mosque over here focuses on charity work. And this mosque over here focuses on the youth. It's all just like youth programs, right? It's almost like a competitive advantage. But we're not competing with each other. We're actually then like creating an ecosystem

00:40:38 --> 00:41:08

of religious nonprofits where life is better for everybody. Because now you have higher quality sort of things that are going on and you're concentrating the efforts in different pockets and stuff that's really, really interesting to think about. I think it's idealistic, idealistic, Michelle, just the nature of people. And there's always an ebb and flow of how how to address these things. But proof to your point. An example of very more anecdotal approach to it is I've gotten mad.

00:41:09 --> 00:41:25

And I'm a very like, I'm very strict on that. Because personal stories of people who went through foreclosure, people went through homelessness, people who went through surgeries that broke them, right? And

00:41:26 --> 00:41:41

it's like, I never you have people that are millionaires, why are people suffering? Yes, exactly. And that shows a mismatch prioritization, your neighbor, your neighbor, the prophesies, and he says that Jabril keeps telling me about my neighbor. And so I thought he was gonna inherit from

00:41:42 --> 00:42:19

and so on. And so people are praying next to each other side by side, and one of them doesn't know if they're going to be able to pay their bills the next month, while the other one is sending to God knows where and fine there's clear and Is it is it much is it meaning that is it something that so the masjid a lot of massage don't have the capacity to distribute the cattle mal rather, they gather it, and then they don't know how to distribute it or they don't have the facilities to distributed. And I think Dallas has a an organization, I spoke with one of the machines, and he said that there is an organization and they give the majority of there's a cotton mill to that organization. And

00:42:19 --> 00:42:56

they are specifically for distributing the cotton man. That's it. That's what they that is their focus. And so a masjid that, you know, does not have the capacity to acknowledge your weakness. Yeah, acknowledge your limitation or have to do everything exactly. And give it to these people visit what matters more that you do it or that it is done how the who so that's, that's the fact that it's done how to slit them to miss Sheikh Abdullah used to always come back to that exact thing when judging our sincerity. He's like, judge yourself, if you're sincere? Are you as happy to see your brother do it? Where does it have to be you accept that that's true. And it goes to doubt

00:42:56 --> 00:43:07

whether it goes to programming, that's whatever it's like, if somebody comes if we have a program, or we have a holiday today, in Atlanta, you have a football, you have a football, someone comes like yeah, and go to your club bones. Abraham's, like he's, he's prettier. hamdulillah

00:43:11 --> 00:43:41

Yeah, but Allah, you know, it's like, I should be happy for you, you know, and happy for that person. It's like, I'm glad I got I'm glad you got what you needed. You know, because I agree with because everyone's got a different style than I do. You know, like, I can get lost in my, my thoughts and my theories and I'm very idealistic, like, like, you know, right, so if Ibrahim speaks to you and your vibe and I'm happy that you're that you're you found someone that speaks to you and it's not going to be like oh what's what's up him doing? It's like maybe I'll go through all of your shake it up podcast and find that little slip up that you made and I like that plug.

00:43:42 --> 00:43:57

Yeah, well, I'm gonna be on shake it up tomorrow shallow. So this is a nice little crossover we're doing let me let me give you another example of that. Here guys versus 20 records. Right Right, right right. Okay. Which one is right which one is wrong? Neither are right and neither are wrong. Yeah, it is what it is. But

00:43:59 --> 00:44:33

let's say for example, one musters is doing 20 And another Messrs is doing a geyser Why does the one that's 20 talked down on the one that's doing it shouldn't it's a you have to do 20 for yourself out to be valid and blah, blah, blah. No one said it's about That's right. No, you can do whatever it's the numbers arbitrary. Right? We all everyone acknowledges is some finish the Koran Some don't finish the Quran. I think that's variety. It is what it is. So so let's say for example, one mysteries is doing eight for the purpose that most people are going to pray 890 5% of people are going to are going to leave after eight, right? Why not give them the baraka of also listening to

00:44:33 --> 00:44:39

the winter? Yeah, and they'll stay for with it and they'll pray that with the other mustard they're gonna do 20 They're not going to do a talk in between.

00:44:40 --> 00:44:59

Okay, if that's what you like, that's what you like. Yeah. And if this is what you'd like, why do they have to be like, Why does one half to rule over the other and they all have to be unanimous. Well, it doesn't make sense. Kimbrough same team Exactly. Now how many that we have, we have a lot of friendly fire going on. Too much friendly fire. Always. Now we have that

00:45:00 --> 00:45:29

And you don't have to do that. Like, for example, we have some of the Bosnian massages. And you know, we work with them on as on stuff that we need to be doing more together, unfortunately. But that's one thing where, you know, when it came to when we were building our new facility, we were praying, tada, we with them. Yeah, so we did a joint thing. And so the Imam and I would like switch off every night, and they do it in the Turkish style, they recite very little. I had never seen the Turkish style, like, Whoa, this is all you know. And so we did it. It's great if you have worked the next day.

00:45:30 --> 00:46:03

So it's fine. But then once we have the DE LA, like, you know, got our facility completed. And now we're back in our facility, we're like, Well, how should we do totally, it's like, well, they're doing it this way. Let's do it a different way. That way, there's going to be people who have to wake up super early and go, especially we're in northern latitudes. So if Ramadan is in the summer, it's like night is very, very short. So I'm not going to hate on you or look at you funny, if you go to the one that's shorter, and you get back and rest and whatever. And if you got more time, you can come to us, maybe you go there on the weekdays and us on the weekends. Like, that's great. And in

00:46:03 --> 00:46:08

fact, I think there's more brotherhood than that. And I think that there's more sort of,

00:46:09 --> 00:46:25

you know, Naseeha in that, like, loyalty, you know, like, from one to the other. So we can approach many things like that programming and sort of, you know, sadly people turn these things into like teams. Yeah. And then any, they and then it turns into, like an interesting kind of

00:46:26 --> 00:47:04

the fragmentation. Yeah, I know, Latina federal Codina Homolka and oceanis them and I'm fishy. I overheard I'm not gonna even name the city because people will know which one I'm talking about. Not even a city but one. Once upon a time, I was in a city and I overheard somebody say to the Imam, man, we're the only Masjid in X city on the Sunnah. Hush, like, and the Imam was allowing it to happen. That was the problem to the Imam sets the tone when it comes to these sorts of things. It's like, that's first of all, factually, not true. And second of all, that's a really poisonous attitude to have. It's like us versus them competition like like, No, we're all the same team bro.

00:47:04 --> 00:47:06

Friendly fire friendly firemen.

00:47:07 --> 00:47:20

Yeah, you actually mentioned upstate New York. I was in Finger Lakes during Ramadan in 20 What was it? 2017? Ithaca, Rochester. Maria.

00:47:21 --> 00:47:55

Fingerlakes. Oh, that's the town of Fingerlakes. Yeah, of course heads. Okay. And very beautiful nature. But my God. We were finishing total we had like, yeah, one and Voyager was at 330. Yeah, that was not fun. No, that's northern latitudes, man. But hey, and once your time come back and winter, I mean yeah, you're like passing two hours. Chillin. Exactly. Yeah, so we're, we know we have to go both give crypto so our time is drawing to a close is there any other sort of like Final thought or anything that you'd like to add as a reflection?

00:47:56 --> 00:48:20

Whether it be to maybe people who are watching some people might be on boards of masajid or students of knowledge that are looking to one day consider do Imam work or just your average will suddenly write your average person who is you know, attending a masjid and maybe doesn't know how to feel about the way the other ways in which people are doing things at the masjid down the street or the masjid on the other side of town? Like, is there any sort of final thoughts you'd like to leave them with today?

00:48:21 --> 00:48:23

Yeah, I mean, so

00:48:27 --> 00:48:30

there's a few Inshallah, that we can we can touch on.

00:48:31 --> 00:48:32

And my focus is on the lab level.

00:48:34 --> 00:48:44

Once you once you taste it, you're never gonna want to let it go. And so don't ever ever let it go. Always, always crave more.

00:48:45 --> 00:49:20

The prophesies and was not commanded to ask for increase in anything except to visit nearly everything else. You don't need it. Lm is your thing. And that is you're never ever going to have all of it. So you chase after it and chase after it. And part of it again is to bedrock that you are any if you're not like the if you're not going to be like the solid, then at least act like him. If you're not going to at least learn about it. Right. And as Imam Shafi said Salah Hainault let's do love the sleight of hand, but I'm not from them. Perhaps I can find in my love for them a Shiva

00:49:22 --> 00:49:34

don't lose who you are. When you when you graduate from Medina, you're now a different breed. You're now different. You're not the same as the rest. You have been given an opportunity in Medina as HUD wherever, right when you have

00:49:35 --> 00:49:59

aspired to acquiring knowledge when everyone else turned their back, you're not the same. And Allah subhanaw taala he says, nice to require them liberally. mudra I don't know feasable so this is your follow up a toilet. Right? And once you've tasted it, don't turn your back on it. The prophesy sent me says May Allah have mercy on this person. If he started climbing late, if only he had continued

00:50:01 --> 00:50:44

And so don't lose who you are. And whatever you benefit, do not use it to disprove, do not use it to argue do not use it to exactly. Use it for yourself and your own rectification, use it for yourself in your in your own betterment because faculty Shakila Yachty. And, you know, the Imam or the ILM are the thought is like a marker, a marker that has in it like ink, when you put it in water, it's going to change the color of the water, but eventually it's going to lose its ink. And so you need to replenish and you need to replenish, otherwise, people are going to take and not give and you're going to lose it and you're going to be colorless, and you're you're going to be empty and empty

00:50:44 --> 00:51:01

vessel and so retract yourself for a little bit gain some have a word that you're reciting of Quran every single day have met in that your Yoni that you want to master. Learn something new read articles read Mukhabarat, which is articles in Arabic, read,

00:51:02 --> 00:51:06

have a book that you read, have a portion that you read, never lose that part of you.

00:51:07 --> 00:51:12

And then lastly, any when it comes to working in masajid, and this and that

00:51:16 --> 00:51:28

really does go back to one thing further, if you want to reach the unmasked, if you want to reach the one who is struggling if you want to reach the rich and powerful if you want to reach the poor and struggling

00:51:29 --> 00:51:38

have one thing that matters above anything else. And that's the example of the Prophet SAW Selim was that he was loved. He was loved.

00:51:39 --> 00:52:13

You want to leave that imprint that this person loves me, even the one that ideologically differ on the most fundamental basis, at the very least I can say, he's a cool guy, I just disagree with I can't help it. If that is the one thing that you are successful at. And that is connecting with people to where they can't say anything bad about you in the sense that like, I don't fundamentally dislike him. I may disagree with him. And that's normal. Our personalities aren't the same. A lot of wild you know, the magenta, right? This is fine. But at the very least I can say

00:52:14 --> 00:52:18

any he left a good imprint on my heart and

00:52:19 --> 00:52:23

emphasizing the memories is more important than emphasizing the information.

00:52:25 --> 00:52:28

When we talk about good teachers and bad teachers and Medina, right.

00:52:30 --> 00:52:39

Do we talk about the information? I don't I don't remember the statements that they said. Yeah. I just remember the feeling I had when they taught us check it out today the show somebody Michelle Marie, she

00:52:42 --> 00:52:44

served in Mohammed he was amazing. Right?

00:52:47 --> 00:52:54

shahada didn't mature these Messiah. When they walked in and they interacted what was something that was jammer of these people?

00:52:55 --> 00:53:04

Students loved them. And everyone speaks good about them. What did you learn? I don't really remember. Maybe I'll remember the statements here or there. But I remember how I felt.

00:53:06 --> 00:53:29

being cognizant of that and working in communities, if if you are loved the board when they gather and talk, at least when they talk about you or with you. They respect you and they love you. If you're with them Mosley's they respect you and they love you. If they're with the people that you disagree with them. At the very least you say listen, you know we don't vibe in that sense. But

00:53:30 --> 00:53:31

we're cool. Yeah.

00:53:32 --> 00:53:36

Great place to end it. We know you have to go I have to go to rectify or a

00:53:37 --> 00:53:40

sabbatical having a crescendo that had stuck for two weeks.

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