Reforming the Self #14

Tom Facchine

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Channel: Tom Facchine

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AI: Summary © The speakers discuss the four stages of a four step program to build a positive life, including belief, action, and hesitation. They emphasize the importance of adopting change and not letting oneself become satisfied with one's current life. The speakers also touch on the importance of motivating individuals to change their beliefs and pursue their potential, as well as the need for a strong moral and behavior awareness. The importance of education and behavior development is emphasized, along with the need for a pure intention to achieve success in business and achieve a worldly level of success.
AI: Transcript ©
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Bismillah

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Alhamdulillah hiragana Amin wa salatu salam ala estafa Mbogo more serene Medina with Latina Mohammed IV Salah was good to Sneed Allahumma eliminated be writing burner on fattener be ma Allah Ireland was it an element yellows anatomy

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It's Sunday night means we are talking about reforming the self taming the knifes that er, ILA Macquarie machinery, the path to obtaining the elite qualities that the city and the last panel wants us to have.

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We'll start with a question that will cover some of last class. So last class, we talked about how the author Ramadasa honey,

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he

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laid out a four step program

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to developing nobility

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honor,

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four steps one after the other.

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Who can remind us what the first step was, was the first step to becoming a noble person.

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Belief and what

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we can say I'll give you a hint. So there were four of them. The first two were

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regarding belief. And the second two were about actions. Yes, very good.

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Belief and beautiful things.

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We believe in beautiful things. Not chaotic things, not random things. Not harsh, cruel,

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crude things.

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What was the second step?

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It was also about belief.

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Yes, very good, clear and certain proofs and signs with those beautiful things that we believe in. It's not due to our whims. It's not due to

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something that is unstable. Something that is easily refuted, or undermined or targeted or changed? No. We have clear signs

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to which our beautiful beliefs are tethered and tie. Good. The last two had to do with action. What was number three?

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Breaking Bad habits. Yes, very good. And this is in line with the general principle of the city.

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That stopping harm takes precedence over achieving good.

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Like the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said

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multicam be follow Mr. Tato

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what I've commanded you to do do as much of it as you can. Well, man, I hate to call mine who touched anymore. And what I have forbidden you stay away from it.

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He gave no wiggle room there. He gave wiggle room with the things that he's commanded you to do. So do as much as you can.

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Meaning that we're not always going to be do what we'll be able to do as much as we would like or maybe even as much as we should be doing.

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But when it came to

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man I hate to command who what did I forbid you from? There's no wiggle room. He didn't just say we'll try your best he said at first and he will stay away from it. Don't approach it don't even get near it. fetched any book is not just like he could have said to the law what he said he could have said let's have fun woohoo.

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Don't do it. But he did he say finished Anywhoo mean stay clear away from it. It's kind of this imagery of putting something like you don't even want to touch it with a 10 foot pole you put something between you and it so that you're not just not doing it you're you're not even getting close. And this is within our Ramadasa honeys, four step program to building nobility number three is Breaking Bad habits coming first before step number four, which is developing good habits very good. And similarly, the four successive stages of corruption, for corrupting one's nobility as we said same categorization to into two related to belief and two related to action. The first one was

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delusion,

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bringing believing in false things.

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The second

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And similarly, how do they believe in those things through conformity and groupthink, which is a lack of courage, cowardice

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and then heedlessness, the two related to action heedlessness and idleness

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which is depriving you have any good and then finally vice which is actively actively doing the bad, very good. Today's chapter or one of the chapters we'll be looking at because it's not a very long chapter

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also starts with a question

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what if and this I've encountered this when talking to both Muslims and non Muslims

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a doubt

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a doubt that as an obstacle in the path of

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embarking upon this journey of developing yourself and the doubt goes like this

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If I forced myself

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to do something that I'm not ready for

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I will end up resenting it

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and it will build up within me this cognitive dissonance

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until I will end up even worse than I was before, essentially that I have to wait

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until I feel inspired

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in order to subject myself or discipline myself with a program

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so the question is, which one comes first?

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Do we wait

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for ourselves to feel inspired and motivated to change before adopting a regime of change? Or do we try to adopt change first hoping that it will do work upon our inner self which one comes first? That's the question I'm asking you now

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inside or outside

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adopt change first the shahada family says so outside first and chip away at the doubt

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other opinions

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Masha Allah I've only heard from the shahada family so far.

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Say family agrees.

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Okay, what about the what about the say family?

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Are there any exceptions?

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is always the outside come first? Can we imagine any situations in which the inside has to come first?

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The internal inspiration, the internal motivation.

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I'm ready for this change.

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The author was for honey.

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He generally says that the outside has to come first. But he does mention a couple situations in which

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in which the opposite is true.

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So he says that we lead with what is external because the nature of our souls is that it usually doesn't want to be disciplined.

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Okay, it usually doesn't want to change because as we said before,

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that Ella Jana, her favorite will McHattie general paradise is surrounded or shrouded by displeasing things.

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Right? It takes sacrifice. It takes effort. It takes discipline to wake yourself up at fetcher. In the wintertime when you have to use cold water to make will do or in the summertime when Federer is three in the morning or whatever it is too fast all day to do all of these things. The soul leans towards ease and comfort and there's an

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Nothing easy or comforting

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about

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religious practice.

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And so because the soul gravitates towards this ease and comfort, it has to be brought to heel, it has to be disciplined, you have to start with the external and impose it upon yourself.

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Hold yourself to that external authority. And this is something we see a lot today. We see a lot today, people who expect their faith tradition to merely mirror what they already believe, and what

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a refusal to put their faith tradition in a place where it is external to them, and slightly different from them and challenging them.

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To think about things differently or to act differently. And so there is no progress. There can't be any self reform or development, if your religion and if your faith already tells you everything you already want to hear everything you already agree with.

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So that much is true that men hide the muscle, like from the default position, starting point,

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that the habits are external, and they're imposed upon the self. They are a scaffolding like the shahada family just said, they are a scaffolding that creates ease. If if we're in the construction arts or the construction field, you use the scaffolding, not because you're going to leave the scaffolding there. But because the scaffolding is supposed to achieve something greater and more beautiful, you need the scaffolding first so that you can reach the heights, it facilitates you climbing, and working on the relief and the exterior and the facade and all of these things.

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So your actions, actually, when you impose them upon yourself, may become a transformative process that's making it easier and easier and easier, the more and more you do it. This is the default scenario.

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There are exceptions to this.

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So for example,

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when all of this is coming from the self, so we have a general motivation to want to change. But a specific reluctance to institute any particular change,

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then this has to be works and persevered through, go ahead and do it anyway, even though the self doesn't want it.

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But what happens and this was mentioned by the sheikh family if someone has just taken shahada,

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what happens if they don't have that general motivation at all.

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They don't want to become a better person hasn't our our author at all, but also honey, taken us through what's now about 100 pages

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of motivating us, the book is 300, some pages long, we've gone through 100 pages of Ramadasa Hani telling us that this is our destiny, this is what we are made for this is our highest purpose is to fulfill to to to gain these elite qualities so that we can be the whole of that we can be the true representative of Allah on earth, carrying the banner of justice and faith and righteousness.

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Hasn't he spent all this time motivating, motivating, motivating, motivating? Yes, he has.

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And so that's talking about a or that is gesturing towards a general motivation that has to be in place.

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Because you can tell someone to the till you're blue in the face. All of these things, if they don't want to change, they don't think that they can become better. They don't know there is a better out there. They're happy with just eat, drink,

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make money, spend money.

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All of these words and arguments, it's just going to be

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nothing sound.

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But if someone has the general motivation, they realize, oh, there's this higher purpose. I feel the tension in my life. I feel the lack of satisfaction. I want to have a meaningful, purposeful life.

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But then when you approach someone something specific,

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and they're like, oh, no, it's too hard. That's when the person has to discipline themselves and suck it up.

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So there's this issue of general and specific motivation. That's an exception. If someone's new if they're green to the religion. I

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If they don't have this general motivation, then don't waste your breath.

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Don't waste your breath, you have to make them once.

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The change, you have to make them see the goal and desire the goal. Before you can talk about nuts and bolts, what to do this sort of thing. The other situation, there's three situations, the second situation in which it can be problematic is if it's coming from outside, meaning that the person isn't doing it themselves.

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But it is somebody in their life that's forcing them, coercing them to do this, whether it's a spouse, whether it's a parents.

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We're not talking about the basics of worship and prayer, we're talking about trying to force someone to go through all of these extra levels, we set out all of us for honey, you said, there's going to be some people that are stuck at level two, or stuck in level one, even they're just stuck at the level of livelihood, and do a little bit of worship,

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or stuck at the level of worship, they can't crack through to that third higher gear.

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Okay, there's going to be people like that.

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Just because you find someone like that you can't necessarily force them. Say, No, you have to be the Khalifa of Allah, you have to develop them Academy, Sharia, it's not going to work that way. This is something that this type of work, as we said, last class, or no, actually, we're gonna say later today in this class can only be done with intention. And so if the person doesn't have the intention, it's not going to happen. Even if they do all of the right things. Even if they say the right words, the right decode. And they go to the right places.

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Right, and they stay away from the wrong places, and they do this and they do that if it's not coming from their heart, then it's not going to stick it's not going to have the proper effect that is supposed to have it's not going to purify yourself

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the last situation

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in which this is different

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than the normal rule of Yes, imposing using the external to facilitate the internal

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would be

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if, for example, the person is showing off.

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They're doing it for the wrong intention. So we have the second set scenario was they don't have any intention. The third scenario is they have the wrong intention.

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They're doing it even so that they can be called.

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Yeah, so.

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So

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yeah, exactly. Very much so Exactly. Like I will Sofia. Also,

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if someone's doing it for the wrong intention, they want to be seen, no matter what they want to be seen. And maybe they want to be seen as a good son. They want to listen to their parents, beta and Beatty. Because

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in their culture, it's I had, it's, it's embarrassing. They're an embarrassment

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to the family, if they don't do everything that their parents say. Or maybe because they feel like that's what everybody else is doing. And so there's social pressure, there's peer pressure.

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Or maybe just so other people can think that they're pious and righteous.

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Oh, Mashallah. Yeah.

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Oh, he's so humble.

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And the whole time that person is actually longing for that, that type of praise.

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In this scenario, you have to wait for the internal aspects to come around. First, the putting on the external scaffolding of change and discipline and things like that isn't going to help such a person

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because they've taken their bow, and they've aimed it in the completely opposite direction.

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So there's three scenarios, somebody who does not have the general motivation to be better to somebody who's been forced from outside.

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They don't have that general motivation and yet someone's trying to push them to it. Or third, that person's trying to show off.

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Whether for niceties or for reputation, they're being fake. In which case, no, that aspect of the internal self has to come around first. You have to want it, generally speaking, not specifically, but generally, you have to want to be a better person.

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Do

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you have to sincerely aim for Allah's pleasure?

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And we're about to get into that in just a moment.

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The next chapter, also Hani, he talks about why do people have different levels of manners?

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How can we account for this reality? We see, you know, we look at some people, some people having good manners is very, very easy for them. It's almost like a fish swimming in water, it's automatic. It's intuitive, that person always seems to know the right thing to say, that person always knows. He's they're thinking three steps ahead. Right? before you've even asked for the thing that you're going to ask for, they've already suggested it to you, because they saw it coming. Thoughtful, consider it.

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They never make you feel bad.

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That's one type of person, it comes easy for them. Other people, that's not the way that either, and we'll get into the reasons why. That's just not how they are. yet.

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And so it's very difficult for them.

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They find themselves kind of maybe stoic stone faced, they find themselves having a hard time thinking those three steps ahead, or having a hard time being that considerate

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or imagining or accurately anticipating how somebody else is going to receive certain words or a certain action.

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Everything comes back to three things.

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You your nature, meaning like what Allah created you with.

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That's your baseline. Some people start out they come out of the womb with just a high level of social intelligence,

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sensitivity to others needs. And some people come out with very little or none.

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Then there is environment,

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their education, what's their family, teaching them what's their school, their nation teaching them. You live in a nation or a society that teaches you to care and look after one another.

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Versus a society or a community that teaches you to just look out for yourself?

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That we're all just potential consumers and producers and one day, it's going to be your resume against his resume, so don't help them out too much. Rust is going to take your job and you're going to be a failure.

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Right, you hear the stories of like lawyers like ripping pages out of the book.

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Yeah, yeah. So I have found nature and nurture. Right, they both combined, they're both there. Now rather than us. Rouhani was way ahead of the curve.

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So there's our nurture, we have what we are given our environments.

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And then finally, we have our habits. And these reflect the choices that we've made.

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Am I going to continue to not return, not return phone calls that are given to me or not initiate phone calls, to relatives, to people in my community, things like that.

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Or give gifts all the times I've been given a gift, I don't get one on return.

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Right. These are habits of decisions. And they might just seem automatic, but they are also habitual, you have gotten into a tendency that is hard to break out of.

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So a lot of us Rouhani says when these three things align, you will get the most advanced person when it comes to matters and treatment of other people if you have a strong,

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refined nature,

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and a strong virtuous society or education or environment. And then this person also made good decisions and good choices. That's the pinnacle. That's the height of moral development.

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And then, the reverse, if you have somebody who has just, you know, was given nothing off the bat, and they were raised in a society that didn't value these sorts of things in a community in a family that didn't reaffirm the importance of these sorts of virtues. And then that person has continued to make choices that they have established habits of not caring, not having sensitivity to others, their perspectives their needs.

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then this is the lowest, this is the person with the most work to do.

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And so establishing the parameters makes us both realistic, because we can look at ourselves and we can know what type of education we have, what type of nature we were created upon, what type of decisions we've made in the past. And we can know that yes, there are people above us that had an easier than us, that will require less effort and less deliberate intervention

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in order to change themselves, but there are also people lower than us, that have to work a lot harder. That started with nothing. Right? So we should have something above us where we can reach up to and grab, attempt to emulate. And then something below us to see well, to be thankful, humbly Allah, it could have been worse.

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The final chapter will cover tonight insha Allah.

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Now we're going to start we talked about the four levels,

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believing in the beautiful, tying those beliefs to science,

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establishing or removing bad habits and establishing good habits. Now we're going to start walking the path a little bit.

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What do you need to equip yourself? What's your provision for this road for this journey?

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What are the most important things that you can do? Before you embark on this journey of trying to better yourself and live the life that Allah wants for you?

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All so honey, he identifies two attitudes that are essential

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to anybody who wants to have any success at all.

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The first attitude is docility meaning from docile, what is docile mean?

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docile means that you are able to be educated, you are prepared to receive you are pliable to change and humble towards it.

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Meaning,

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you are workable, you're not fixed and

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rigid, stubborn, no.

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Being docile is the first attitude that we need to have.

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People who don't think that there's anything to learn

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people who are deluded

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to be to think that they are just, you know, the completion

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of life on Earth

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as they already are,

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they're not going to be able to take instruction, they're not going to be able to enforce upon themselves that external authority, those changes in habits, such that they cultivate virtue, it's not going to be possible. A person thinks they know it. All.

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Right, there's some this is referred to there's a name for it, I forget what it is, in psychology. It's like a line graph about how much you think, you know, plotted against the x axis of

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your time spent in that field. So it's like in the beginning, it shoots way up. And they call this mount stupid. Because you've heard the the things where, you know, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Right? You learn a little bit and you think you're hot stuff. You think that you know at all. That's Mount stupid. And then you keep on learning more on Oh, whoa, wait a second. This is way more complicated than I thought it was. And then you keep on going and slowly it goes back up again. As you have more experience and more training and more exposure to things.

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So that mount stupid it's impossible to teach someone when they're on Mt. Stupid. They won't hear it. They think they've got it all figured out.

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This is what frustrates us about teenagers so much sometimes. They're 1617 years old, and they think they know it all.

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And try to tell them that they don't

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this is the opposite of being docile. Oh, yes. I think it is Dunning Kruger effect. I think that that's it that rings a bell.

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So they need to be ready to receive. They need to be humble and pliable. To change. Okay, they need to be ready to accept an external authority and external perspective. This is going back to the things we just talked about two chapters ago.

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The exceptions when is it not going to work to impose from outside a regime of changes and behaviors and habits.

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It's not going to work if the person doesn't have the attitude.

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If the person is humble, they're pliable to change, they are docile, then then it can, it can take hold. The person also needs to be generous, not in the monetary sense of the word, but in the charitable sense of the word, meaning they are going to take things

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according to the most charitable interpretation and understanding. We see this all the time in social media, the opposite, where somebody says something, and everyone's a critic, and they pour over the person's words and say, Well, you know, when you said this, that was not correct. And you should have said it this other way. And what about this other issue that you neglected to bring up, right, this kind of attitude of the critic, the critic, the critic, the critic is a mask that people wear, in order to protect them from having to change,

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often, most of the time, probably.

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So in order to embark upon this journey of self improvement of self reform taming the self,

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realizing your potential, you have to be charitable.

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Because this, these, these techniques are going to come from outside of you. So you can't take everything as an attack on you, and you can't be defensive. And you can't be well, you know, I don't think that it should be like this, you should be you should be teaching me in this other way, the student tries to educate the teacher about how they should be instructed.

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Now, it doesn't work like that.

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And finally, part of being docile is to be courageous, courageous, in the willingness to fail,

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the willingness to fail, because failure now if you've aligned, your integrity or your attitude, you are docile, you see the goal, you know, the steps, you begin to walk, you have to be ready to fall on your face.

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You have to be ready to fail. And know that you're going to learn every time that you fail, and that the test of failing is to see if you're going to get back up again. And what are you going to do differently.

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So this is all about being docile. Whereas the person who has despaired there, they don't have that courage.

00:32:36--> 00:32:48

This person has a very hard time learning anything. They don't want to step out of their comfort zone, they want what is safe, they want that constant feedback loop of No, you're great the way that you are.

00:32:51--> 00:32:56

Don't ask anyone else permission to be you. That's my favorite one that I've heard this week.

00:32:57--> 00:32:59

Right? All these sorts of

00:33:01--> 00:33:12

things very convenient and self serving platitudes that our society has developed to ossify petrify stunt, our self development

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we need to have the courage to fail to face it. It's like learning a language. Right? Anybody and I saw being in Medina for six years, anybody who was afraid to make a mistake, they learned the slowest.

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You have to shoot your hand up and just say it blurt it out.

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And if you were wrong, then you're going to know after you correct it.

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That's the type of courage that we're after.

00:33:44--> 00:33:49

It's interesting how that kind of cowardice and pride kind of are two sides of the same coin.

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The person who only wants to be told good things about themselves, they're afraid of critique from outside.

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Because they assume that it means something about themselves and their pride can't handle that.

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We need to be a little more reckless than that we need to throw ourselves into correction.

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Don't put up our boundaries or walls or masks.

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You become vulnerable

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and then accept admonition. This is all part of being docile. The first attitude that along but also he says that we have to have if we're going to go on this journey. The second is a pure intention.

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Slightly different than being docile, having a pure intention. Having a pure intention. There's several aspects to it. Even though it's something we talk about a lot. It's something that is inexhaustible.

00:34:46--> 00:34:57

Having a pure intention. One of the signs or symptoms of having a period of intention is that you want good for everyone. You want good for everyone.

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So panela even in a place like

00:35:00--> 00:35:02

Medina, there's a lot of jealousy.

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There's a lot of competition

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between students of knowledge, even Imams, scholars, even we've seen it between even scholars over in Medina.

00:35:15--> 00:35:16

Jealousy.

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And why is this such a fitna?

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Why is it such a calamity, because someone in that position if jealousy

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strikes them, they're going to start using the religion

00:35:32--> 00:35:33

acting as if

00:35:36--> 00:35:38

the work that they're doing in the religion

00:35:39--> 00:35:42

is sincere, but in reality, it's to settle a score.

00:35:43--> 00:35:51

They style themselves as defender of the faith and in reality, it's all to put somebody else in their place to knock someone down a notch.

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So we have to want good for other people are shaped to condonation Katie Hatfield, hola. He used to tell us, if you walk in a room,

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and no one stands up to you, for no one stands up for you. You should be smiling inside, you should be happy.

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We can't have this self aggrandizing thing, us.

00:36:22--> 00:36:27

We can't have this competitive thing. You want it for yourself and nobody else.

00:36:30--> 00:36:34

You're trying to prevent somebody else from obtaining the good that you have.

00:36:36--> 00:36:40

You're jealous of somebody else for passing you surpassing you on the road.

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You don't realize that a lot gave them maybe a horse to ride and you you only have a donkey. That's just what Allah gave you.

00:36:49--> 00:36:54

You're not in competition with anybody except yourself with who you were yesterday.

00:36:55--> 00:37:04

So part of having a sincere intention is wanting good for everybody. If somebody else surpasses you, you're cheering them on go, good job, you're doing great.

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That is having a pure intention.

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Another aspect of having a pure intention is making our goal, the cultivation of these good matters.

00:37:18--> 00:37:31

Right. Now, this sounds obvious, but in In fact, it's very, very difficult, very, very difficult. Because we receive tangible worldly benefits for having good manners. We do.

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Those with good manners, have more friends, and they will have

00:37:38--> 00:38:16

maybe some more access to romantic opportunities, or business opportunities. Everybody has a potential thing that they can give you, even if it's just praise, even if it just makes you feel good. And so you have to constantly check yourself, Am I doing these things? Am I making these changes? Because I sincerely want to be Allah's Khalifa? Or does it just make me feel good about myself? Do I like the attention? Do I like the praise? Even if I humbly say oh, no, no, it's all from the bounty of Allah. I really secretly,

00:38:17--> 00:38:20

really, really live for that phrase.

00:38:22--> 00:38:37

We have to constantly inspect our intention so that we are not in reality, just engaging in business, using our good manners as currency to purchase worldly benefits.

00:38:41--> 00:38:53

Now, at this point, a lot will also honey, he mentioned the difference of opinion. He says, The scholar is different. Whether it's permissible for somebody to intend the benefits of paradise.

00:38:54--> 00:38:59

You see the difference? Someone says they're going to pray for the sake of Allah dedicated to a law solely.

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And then someone's praying because they want to, they want the whole line agenda, or they want the fruits or they want the honey, the river of honey.

00:39:11--> 00:39:13

Is this sort of thing permissible or not?

00:39:14--> 00:39:25

I don't know what else for hunting. He says the scholar is different. Some of them said it is some of them said it's not. But either way, there's no doubt that the person who's doing it simply for a law out of their love

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is better than the person who is doing it for this sort of tangible benefit, even if it's an other worldly one.

00:39:37--> 00:39:45

And he gives an analogy, just as those who are pleased with Allah's decree are superior to those who are merely patients with it.

00:39:50--> 00:39:59

Then he says that there's a we have this phrase in English as well are the same, and Huckle more. The truth is better. Are we signing off?

00:40:00--> 00:40:01

The bitter truth, right?

00:40:03--> 00:40:19

And then he says he ponders on this. Oh yeah, oh, Shahada. Finally we're gonna get into that, oh, we're gonna get into that. This is just still the overview. This whole first third of the book is just the overview inshallah we're going to get really into the meat and potatoes in the future inshallah.

00:40:21--> 00:40:44

So if the truth is bitter, he ponders on this on this phrase or this idiom that we say. It's only bitter for those who have not harmonized their tastebuds, to love the truth. For the person who has purified themselves the truth is sweet. For the person who has a bitter tongue, the truth is better.

00:40:45--> 00:40:48

And then he said, he cites that he cites a lot of emotionality, the poet,

00:40:49--> 00:41:06

feminine, feminine yaku that offend me more in Merida, the aged more on V. Hill, Matt as Allah Allah is his line of poetry. It says, Whoever has a mouth, a sick,

00:41:07--> 00:41:11

bitter mouth, meaning that the illness is part of the mouth.

00:41:13--> 00:41:38

He will even find better. The most pure spring, the most pure fountain it doesn't matter how sweet, the thing is, objectively, it's all subjective because that person, that's how they're going to taste it. Their tongue is bitter. So it all also honey takes a second here and he says, Are we might find the truth bitter at first, but that's only because we have a long way to go. That's only because we have to

00:41:40--> 00:41:49

purify ourselves. Once we purify ourselves. Then we become like the Olia of Allah, we are in harmony with the truth.

00:41:50--> 00:41:57

We love the truth and we hate the falsehood, like the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa salaam, who said that

00:41:58--> 00:42:15

the prayer had become the apple of his eye, the most beloved thing to him was the prayer. Now you would meet, we drag ourselves to the prayer rug or to the mess sheet and, oh, okay, here we go. I got let me go pray real quick. Oh, I gotta take care of this real quick. We use this word SubhanAllah. Real quick.

00:42:16--> 00:42:21

It's the opposite. We're at rest and leisure outside the prayer.

00:42:22--> 00:42:27

And the prayer is something that we feel as this obligation that's hangs upon us that we have to do.

00:42:29--> 00:42:33

Whereas the prophesy said almost the opposite. When he was in prayer, that was his leisure, that was his rest.

00:42:36--> 00:42:41

So He who controls himself and trains himself and trains his capacities.

00:42:42--> 00:42:49

They have readied themselves to accept a loss, blessing the sweetness of the fountain, if you will.

00:42:50--> 00:42:54

And that's all the time we have for today. Does anybody have

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any questions? Comments concerns?

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Okay, everybody have a great night.

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All the time on Salam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah.