Reforming the Self #11

Tom Facchine

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AI: Summary © The Islamic education program's goals are to distinguish between true and false speech, developing all three pillars of human capacity, and eliminate fear. The program aims to create a three-tiered hierarchy of values, and is designed to address fundamental doubts and change behavior. The importance of understanding the differences between natural and human behavior, avoiding mismanagement, and embracing one's own habits is emphasized. The segment concludes with a discussion of "immaterial capacity" and the importance of embracing one's own habits.
AI: Transcript ©
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Anybody wants to talk about wants to get me off topic we can talk about books

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okay,

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this was rocking

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hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala Ashraf at NBAA one listening there'll be no Mohammed Ali are forced to sleep alone on that island that'd be very unfair oh no and fatten me up and enter that was it and then the out of the army

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moving right along in that era Elam Academy, Sharia by Aurora but also Hurney.

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Last class,

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we talked about

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the process of obtaining good manners,

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and purifying the soul.

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So I'll go with us for honey, he's kind of categorized human capacity. Right? He says, humans are primarily a potential, they come into this world born not as a finished product, but as a potential.

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And so the nature of human being is that he or she has to perfect his or herself has to work on themselves purify themselves, and use the raw materials or the raw capacity that Allah has given them in noble ways, in disciplined ways. And that this is the process of becoming a laws Elite has ollie up and becoming

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a representative of Allah on earth, in the sense that

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if we're able to do those things, if we're able to obtain these McHattie, machete on these elites qualities, then we are managing the creation in the way that Allah wanted us to manage it. We are

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bringing about

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the results of a laws, noble names and attributes within the creation via through our management.

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And so all of us has a lot of work to do.

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How do we get started?

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After audible also, honey spends a good many pages convincing us that we need to do this work, that it's our destiny, that it's our highest purpose. He talks about our Constitution and he identifies three major capacities and then tells us that we need to spend time purifying them

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so that they do not become vices. What were the three capacities who can recall?

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The three compact capacities that are neither good or bad, that's two of them. Very good thought anger was the last one come on the last one is the easy one.

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Urge, right? Purge? Yes, zeal is true and zeal is packed in there with anger.

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So these three fundamental capacities, thoughts, urge and anger. If they're tended to and disciplined, then they become macadam machete. They become the elites qualities, thought leads to wisdom and knowledge.

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Urge, once it's tamed leads to generosity

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and anger, when it's tamed leads to bravery, courage and justice. And if either of those three capacities is mismanaged,

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it will fall into one of two extremes. Thoughts, mismanaged, can either fall into the extreme of cunning and deceit

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or it can fall into the extreme of ignorance and stupidity.

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Urge, if it's mismanaged,

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can fall into the extreme of lewdness, lust, fullness, promiscuity

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as well as gluttony.

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Or it can fall into this kind of numb

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dissensus

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ties the state where we don't even appreciate anything anymore.

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Anger,

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if it's not tended to, if it's mismanaged, can fall into the extreme of aggressiveness and callousness.

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And recklessness, or it can fall into the extreme of cowardice.

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So we talked about all of those things. And then he went in just a little bit further last class to talk about specifically reforming thoughts. What are the goals of an Islamic education? And he identified three, he said that the goals of Islamic education are to distinguish between what is true, theologically, and false. So what are theological truths and theological falsehoods

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to distinguish between what is true, and what is false in speech, right, true speech and false speech. And then the third goal of an Islamic education is to distinguish between what actions are beautiful, and reprehensible or repulsive.

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Today, we're going to talk about

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he's going to first he's going to zoom back out a little bit and give the broad picture about what the project is that we're doing.

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And then he's going to talk about he's going to address a doubt, right, and this doubt is very commonly widespread.

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This day and age and other ages, the doubts that I can't change the doubt that I am just the way I am. And you either accept me or you don't.

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Right?

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This mode of thinking is one of the biggest enemies to this entire project.

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That are all of us for honey is telling us that we have to or should definitely embark upon, if we're going to improve ourselves and become better people. What is more

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obstructive

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to this project, than an ideology, or an idea that everybody is just fine the way they are, or everybody is how they are and they can't change.

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It ruins the whole project. So all of it also, he's going to try to address this and take it down.

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But first of all, going to us for honey, he mentioned that reforming the self.

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Why are we doing it? We're doing it to establish justice and excellence upon Earth.

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that human beings have the obligation to establish justice and excellence on earth, and that only Muslims are able to truly implement this. But not just any Muslims, not ones that are just kind of barely getting by remember, along with us for how many he separates our goals in life into three,

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a three tiered hierarchy, the lowest wishes any metal out of living upon Earth, the middle of which is a battle, rough man, worshipping, the most most merciful and the highest of which the highest of which is Khilafah. See life, it's all Rockman. So it's not just for people who are hanging out on the bottom getting by with just the bare minimum.

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We're talking about the top here, the completion of faith, the completion of our potential

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so developing all of these three capacities that he laid out, is making each of them reach its pinnacle.

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Right?

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So forbearance.

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And bravery is the pinnacle of

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anger is the best possible manifestation. And this is the mistake of a lot of contemporary culture that kind of paint certain things with a broad brush and calls it a negative emotion, right we hear that anger is a negative emotion. Fear is a negative emotion. A lot of pop psychology is kind of would have you eliminate fear and eliminate anger from your lives. But we learned from anonymous for honey that his claim is that our tradition says no, these things aren't bad in and of themselves. They are to be focused and attained and they can end up being bad, but they are not

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necessarily so.

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So after that, let's get into the doubt that I cannot change. This is what it was for Hani spends

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most of this lesson talking about, and he begins by delineating some different ideas. They're in Arabic, however they do correspond to similar ideas within English.

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The chapter of the chapter title is what is the difference between nature,

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disposition,

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manner, manners, and habits. So he's going to look at four things. And he's going to tease out the differences he's going to explore, what room do we have for change? And what room don't we have for change, because it's true that there are certain elements of human nature that cannot be changed.

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And it's also true that there are certain aspects of human activity that everyone agrees can be changed. And we expect people to change them, even though the language of acceptance is very, very attractive. I accept you for who you are. I want to be accepted for who I am.

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It's not applied consistently. And absolutely, there are certain behaviors in every society that no one would accept.

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We expect people to alter themselves, we expect people to conform.

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And so we should not pretend that this is not a worthwhile project, it is a fine project. But we do need to talk about the borders of this project. Where does it apply? Where doesn't it apply?

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Think about if you're in a Muslim household, think about if somebody just walked in with their shoes into your house, and put their feet up on the table that you eat off of. We have hamdulillah in the Muslim community, we have enough kind of baseline manners that these things would be like shocking to us if somebody did it in your home.

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And that's not to say that you, you know, you should treat that person with consideration, you should realize that such a person person is acting out of ignorance that they need to be educated. But just because they're acting out of ignorance doesn't mean that there isn't an expectation to conform. That person can't say, Well, this is just who I am. Why don't you accept me,

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we can imagine an abusive relationship. Like, literally just to make a very clear example, a literally physically abusive relationship, a husband that beats up his wife or a wife that beats up her husband.

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Now, if the person who's doing the physical harm, we're just to say, well, this is just how I am you have to accept me. Nobody in their right mind would accept this kind of behavior. So even though these kinds of platitudes are common, and they sound nice, accept everything acceptance, and this is just how I am accept me for who I am. What we really means something more specific, because it's not possible to take it at face value.

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So what are the things that we can in Islam? What are the things that we can expect to change? And what are the things that we shouldn't expect to change at all? At all, when asked for honey, as we said, he breaks it down to four concepts nature, disposition, manners, and habits. As for nature of Baba.

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He says, first of all, that this concept in Arabic, it derives linguistically from the process of forging a sword. So imagine you have a mold, right? And you pour the molten iron or whatever have you the steel, whatever it is, into the mold. And so therefore, it shapes the shape, and thus the function of that tool that you're making. He says, this is exactly like, nature will say,

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something that's taking a specific shape. Because of a mold, like you can imagine coins, right? You pour coins, if you're minting coins, you pour the liquid metal into a mold, and then that's it. You know what shape it's going to come out. You understand what its purpose is, from its shape. The sword is sharp on the edges. It's made to cut.

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The coin is small and light it's made to be held and carried.

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So nature of

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ABA refers to that which is the mode, that which is not able to be changed.

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And these have to do with our capacities.

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The fact that people have a capacity for thoughts, we're talking about an average healthy person.

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Every person has the capacity for anger,

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the capacity is part of the mold.

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The capacity for urge, it's part of the mold.

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To expect someone to be completely devoid of those capacities is unrealistic. It's asking them to not be

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within the mold that they are

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to expect that someone is never going to get angry, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa salam got angry, are you better than the Prophet? Or Is anybody better and the Prophet sallahu alayhi wa sallam such that they would not ever get angry.

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Urge, whether it's sexual or for food, or for sleep, or something like that, or for this capacity is part of the mold. So we can't blame the mold.

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That doesn't mean that we can't shape and steer and influence and develop, as we know by now from the author. But we can't blame the mold itself. We can't expect people this is the failure of monasticism.

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To have men taking all this of celibacy for their entire lives.

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And look at the results, they're not able to sustain it, they're not able to change that nature.

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To imagine that a man can go and that not just one single man, you might find exceptions, but that a whole class of clergy would be able to go through their entire lives without marrying without any sort of intimacy or romance or attraction.

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is violating the mold, it's expecting the molds that go away. That is part of the mold, the urge.

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So knowing what the mold is,

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shapes our expectations, we can't wish it away.

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Just like with thoughts, we can't imagine we can't tell people, you just have to believe everything.

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God is three, he's son, Father, Holy Spirit, you just have to believe

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God is in every single place you just have to believe or whatever it is. No. That violates the capacity for thought that people have Allah doesn't treat people like that and the Quran. Allah doesn't tell you Yeah, listen, you just have to believe this is the word of Allah, Allah believe. No, he appeals to your reason the Allah come to that karuna, that Allah come to the fact that ruin

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look at the creation, look at the seasons, look at the cycles, look at the passing of the planets and the stars. Look at all of this order, and complexity, and orchestration and see how it demonstrates a singular will. Allah is constantly arguing with us by appealing to our reason.

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The people of the Hellfire will say, well, oh no, no, couldn't smell, oh, nothing new. If only we had listened, meaning obeyed, or thought about it, reflected, used our reason, and so on. It's a modal.

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So to wish away the capacity of thought is violating the mold. We can't expect people to just believe just because they're told to, we have to address that capacity that Allah has created in us for thought.

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So that's the whole point of separating out what is the mold, what is the nature what's actually nature is the capacity itself, not in the way that it's developed to its perfect, its perfection, not in either of the extremes that it can fall into if it's mismanaged, but the capacity itself is the mode in which human beings are created and we can't wish it away or try to bypass it we have to address it.

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The second concept

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that are all of us for honey addresses is the disposition as Cydia.

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The author says that this is usually refers to things that are not able to be changed. They are the act of Allah. Okay, so he's going to draw a distinction here between the act of Allah in shaping us call up alpha so we're

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so what accom for us and so what are calm

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versus the act of man? We'll see this in the next part that he says so disposition is similar to nature of Baba in that it is the Mole it's

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What your capacity is the capacity that was created within you. Whereas Manners,

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manners are the act of man

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manners

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are a capacity that is able to be developed, right? Manners refer to the process of developing those capacities, which is why some people have bad manners, they have mismanaged those capacities, either to either extreme, or they have good manners, meaning they have developed those manners to reach their pinnacle, to reach their proper place.

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Now, it doesn't always have to be conscious, you can grow up with enough good examples,

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and a good, wholesome, nurturing social fabric that it becomes automatic that you learned just from other people's examples. And so you have good manners by osmosis. Those that capacity was still developed.

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But it was developed,

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without you really even paying attention to the process of development,

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or somebody that is trying to turn their lives around, they found that they were raised not in the best way, they didn't have the best role models, and they're trying to change themselves. They can go about it in a very intentional way where they are noticing the process of the development of these capacities. And so they're trying to intervene in that process of development.

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So for this person, they require insights, and effort to things, insight, and effort. They need to be able to see clearly

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as to how these capacities, first of all that they exist, that they're part of our nature. Second of all, that they're meant to be developed. Third of all, how to develop them to their best conclusion. And fourth of all, how to avoid the mismanagement into either extreme. How does someone

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come across that information?

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By revelation,

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it's the

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quickest, most direct, most authentic way.

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There might be other things out there that will help with this and that and the other things that Islam itself confirmed. But if you're looking to develop the capacity to its perfection, and avoid both extremes, Islam is going to tell you the whole story.

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Neither going down, let's take anger, for example, going down the path of turn the other cheek, which is an extreme,

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which is a travesty of justice at times, nor to vigilante justice.

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paramilitary extra state justice, that's not justice. That's mob mentality.

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So manners fall within the act of men.

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They adhere to

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a concept

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that the Greek philosophers described when they call it habitus. That and we'll get into habitus in a second, what is your habit, but the idea of habitus is that when you act, when you do something, it's not an isolated act, that has no relation to the act after or the act before it. The Act that you perform in the present time,

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is influenced by the act that came before it and has an effect on the act that comes after it.

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Let's take stopping yourself from eating before you're full. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he said that we are a nation that does not eat until we get hungry and stopped eating before we get full.

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If you have a plate of food, you sit down to lunch or to dinner, mashallah, it's a really nice plate provided by one of your family members.

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And you reach that point, halfway through the meal, three quarters for the meal, where you know you don't need anymore.

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You know that this is enough. This is good.

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You have a choice to make.

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Am I going to loosen my belt

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and let myself indulge until I'm ready until I'm like full until I kind of can't eat anymore without getting uncomfortable. Or I'm going to stop here and call it good.

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The decision you make

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is influenced, not determined but influenced by the last time you face this

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decision. And the decision you make in the present will have an effect and influence on the next time that you have to make this decision.

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So we have a, the, the track is greased, if you will,

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you're becoming more

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likely to go one way or the other depending on the decisions that you make, which is why intervention and habits is so important.

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We'll get back to that later. So it takes insight to realize this processes going on. And then it takes efforts, the intervention in the habits, if it's a bad one, to turn it around into something that is good.

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To replace something that has a, a vise

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with something that is righteous,

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or to replace a destructive habit with a productive one or a positive one. This takes both the insight to realize what's going on the awareness, mindfulness, we would say these days, and then the efforts to actually put it into practice. This is the act of man. And this is something that anybody can change.

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Within this idea of habit, there are degrees, it's not to say that everybody has the same ease with which that they can change their habits. There is some truth to the phrase, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Yes, you can, but it's going to take a lot of patience. Right.

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So there was a hadith of a man, one of the companions, who

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they were returning to Medina from a trip.

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And some of the men you know, when you're traveling and that time, you're all dusty, and dirty and sweaty under the sun and these sorts of things. Everybody from that group of people rushed to go see the Prophet sallallahu wasallam. But one of the men went home first, and he showered and changed his clothes and he combed his hair and kind of took care of some hygiene issues. manscaping, as we call it these days, and then came to the Prophet Muhammad sites.

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And the prophesy centum responded to him and said, you have two qualities that Allah loves.

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And he said, What are they? He said, You don't rush, and,

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and hell, forbearance.

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Then the man said,

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Why do I have these qualities? Did Allah make me like this? Was I kind of always like this?

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Or was this something that I worked to get?

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And the prophesy Salam said that Allah created you like this, like you individually, and then the man he thanked Allah for creating him in a way that pleases Him. So we see from this hadith, that there is a degree to which things are gifted to us. And there's another degree which is earned right, it was a valid question, to ask whether this thing was gifted to me by Allah, he kind of gave me a head start,

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or whether this is something that I habituated myself to on my own.

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So both of these ways exist, and both of them are valid, and some of us have a head start on others. Some of us have a head start in the manners that we have, some of us have a head start in our capacity to intervene in ourselves and create a change.

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Whereas for others, their starting point may be far behind that. And it might not be as easy to reverse a habit or to affect a change.

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But

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even so, given this degree of ease that's different from person to person. It's not acceptable to claim that your bad manners are part of your nature are part of the mold and to use that as an excuse to not change

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No, that's not acceptable at all.

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Oh, I just swear when I get angry that's what I do. That's how I am That's My nature. No, that's not your nature. That's your habit

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I yell I shout when

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something whatever this that in the other we have the all these excuses. Oh, when I get tired i

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i have a shorter temper.

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Now this is your habit.

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Maybe you had a propensity. Maybe this is what you saw growing up. And so it's normal to you. Maybe that may

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The habit even easier

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to settle in and your life, but it's still a habit, we can't pretend that it's part of our nature, in the sense that it's the mold we were created and unless it's not changeable, no, this is not responsible. This is trying to avoid accountability.

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So this is manners. And as we were explaining it, obviously, it became clear that manners and habit have an undisputable intimate relationship, you can't talk about one without talking about the other, except for the few of us that are gifted and blessed to have excellent manners, either right out of the womb, or were born into an angelic family, the rest of us have to work very hard.

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And so we have habits I had to

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do or will do to return to something. The concept of habit and the Arabic language means to return to something, it's the same root word that we get aid from, because aid comes back around every year, the same time.

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So the habit is a repeated action, or a regime of actions or responses, even emotional responses to things. These are also the act of men. They are

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the nuts and bolts that results in our manners, our manners are shaped by our habits.

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So if we're looking to intervene,

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at the level of results, which are our matters and how we treat people, we have to open up the hood and get into the habits that make up the machine.

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Right?

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What is your habits for dealing with stress? What is your habits for communicating with your spouse or your loved ones?

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What's your habit for trying to get what you want?

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Is it to guilt? Is it to nag? Is it to blame?

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What's your habits? When it comes to dealing with loss or disappointment?

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Do you always ask what if

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the you kind of crushed yourself with the possibilities of what could have gone differently. These are all habits. They're not habits, when it comes to necessarily like motor skills in the way that we're used to thinking of them, but their habits of thoughts and their habits of the heart, which are just as real and as impactful as our habits of action.

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So by intervening

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at the level of habits, we complete and perfect our manners. And that's all we have time for for today, along with us for honey, he's going to start getting into talking about the changeability. He's going to talk a little bit more about the changeability of manners and habits. And then of course, how to actually go about doing that. So does anybody have any questions before we conclude for tonight?

00:33:47--> 00:34:04

Very good. So the question is, that I said that the means to develop capacities are the most efficient and straightforward way, given by revelation as opposed to personal experimentation or philosophy? Is this the meaning of said, almost stepping? The straightway?

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Short answer is, I don't know. It could be.

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There's certainly an aspect of Siddhartha mustafina We know what it is. A lot explains on the next I sit on Medina and untidy The path of those who I have blessed that you know, are certain that I have blessed meaning the prophets, because everybody else we're not certain that Allah has blessed them. We might see that they're successful. We might see their book is on the New York Times bestseller list. They might be the biggest pop psychology Guru of our time. But we don't know that Allah has blessed them. We're not certain. It could have been a fitna it could have been built up. It could have been a test for that person. Right. So

00:34:44--> 00:34:57

what you're getting at I think is founded and it might mean that a lot of the best, we're out of time is going to shut us off. Thank you very much everybody for your participation. While on batata. Adam was on Ambien Mohamed Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah.