Hope Conference Lecture

Wasim Kempson


Channel: Wasim Kempson

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The speaker discusses their journey to Islam, including their belief in a creator and their desire to pursue a life outside of the western world. They also talk about the impact of Islam on their faith and personal experiences. They emphasize the importance of learning to value oneself and share one's values with others. The conversation also touches on the rise of empires and the rise of world war.

Transcript ©

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Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah. While early he was off, he said, I want to come on up to larger brothers and sisters and respected guests, I don't usually tell my journey to Islam. In fact, I've never told my story, how I became a Muslim. And

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I'm not going to change that today.

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So I'm not going to go into great detail concerning my journey to Islam. And as a couple of reasons behind that.

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I wasn't born into a Muslim family, I had 18 years of living my life of

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being a Catholic. And then I came across Islam. And I sincerely believe and I know for sure

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that there, especially in the times that we are living in, that every single one of you will have the opportunity

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to know and find about Islam,

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you will have that choice, even if it means that Islam has been presented to you, in the most evil way,

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in the worst possible manner, Islam has been shown to you, however, that you will have the opportunity to really look

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objectively about what has been given to you and not just simply be one of those people who just

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is maneuvered controlled by or that what they hear all the time doesn't question anything. But rather you're a person from time to time that you do question that you do ask, you do like to investigate, you give yourself that credit, at least

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that the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him that he has been portrayed in these caricatures in these cartoons? Wait a minute, why are these people going crazy about it? Why are these people the Muslims? That is? Why are they reacting so

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emotionally? And at times? Why are they reacting so violently? Why?

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What makes them feel so much towards this particular person?

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This is a question that may pop into your mind for a few seconds, you may investigate it, you may not.

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Nonetheless, a time came to you, when you had that opportunity to really look. What is Islam?

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And even if you are a Muslim?

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If what you see in the caricatures on the cartoons that are drawn about the Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him peace be upon him, how do you feel?

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Or do you simply say, you know, cartoons does not really that's not my thing? doesn't really have people want, go ahead and do that. That's fine.

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Put that in perspective that somebody draws cartoons of your mother, for example, humiliating her dishonouring? Her? How would you feel you'd feel real, you know, I can't imagine how one would feel if 5 million copies of a magazine were to be produced with your mother, on the front of that magazine, in all kinds of, you know, poses and pictures. So as a Muslim, if you see that and you don't really feel too much, then maybe you need to question yourself or ask yourself,

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What is my relationship with my Lord? And how do I feel towards the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him?

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Now, when I first came across Islam, let's say 21 years ago, I didn't really know what Islam was, I didn't really know who Muslims were, you could have you could have said to me, and I would have accepted it. Muslims are one thing and Islam is another I would have accepted that.

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I even had some of my friends when I was growing up, that they were Muslims. They had Pakistani background.

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But for whatever reason, you know, religion was never spoken about.

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But when I came across somebody, when I came across somebody when I was at college, and that he used to pray every day, I was amazed at somebody's

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devotion and dedication of praying every day.

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I myself, I live 30 seconds from an enormous Catholic church going on a Sunday was I mean, it was just too much for me.

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Maybe I wasn't convinced about the teacher. I mean, it could be many reasons. But I was always impressed the fact that a person would pray every day. And then when he said to me, because he used to go away at lunchtime for half an hour at seven hour break. And we used only spent half an hour together. I said would you do for the half an hour? He said, Well, I pray. I said, Wow, you pray every day. So we'll actually pray five times a day. I said, I have to see what this person does five times a day. I mean, you don't miss one little prayer. You know, when nobody's around, you miss one prayer. He said, No. I pray five times a day. He said, You know, you can come over look, we'll show

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you how to pray.

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Or you can see how we pray. And it goes back to the example of Jacob that to him that they individually stayed in the masjid who stayed in the mosque and how

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had the ability to see how the Muslims how they behaved

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in the mosque from one day to the next

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that each one of us, we all live by a system, we all follow a system. We believe that system to be right?

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Don't we? That what I am following? Or that what I am that ye stand for? I believe that to be right.

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I believe that to be the right thing to do.

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But do you actually ask yourself those questions? Or do you just simply live from one day to the next? This is the society I was brought up. And this is what we are, this is what we do? These are the values that I have.

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I'm told the superior. I'm told they're barbaric. And I'm told that they're backward. Is that really the case?

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Is that the reality?

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So when I saw the Muslims, how they were praying, unified, the way that they prayed.

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There was a spark, there was something in me, and I grew up and I always believed in a creator.

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And I used to like religion.

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I used to watch you know, particular times of the year season all the films, whether it was Jesus of Nazareth around Easter time, or king of kings, or the 10 commandments, I used to like those kind of religious films, without really being a practicing Christian.

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Even when I was at the secondary school, at the back of the class, they used to have

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the Gospels split up into different you know, books, and there was a yellow one, there was an orange one, there was a red one, it was a blue one, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and estimate the bucket of classes to open I wanted to take them home. I don't know why, based look through some pictures in it, some smaller stories and parables in it. I used to like it was quite interesting. So I had something within me that Easter like religion, I believe it had some

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some importance in my life.

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Because before the current generation that we're living in at the moment, that's what mankind believed in mankind believed in a religion, they believed in a creator. And if you look in the Quran, the discourse of the Quran addresses mankind, that they believe in a creator.

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And there are many times that Allah says in the Quran, that if you were to ask the polytheist Metcons, who is the creator of the heavens in the earth, Who is the one who gives life and the one who takes away life? Those polytheists they will all answer Allah.

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So the man mankind is addressed in the Quran that they are believers in the Creator, throughout history only of late one or two generations, that secularism has taken a stronghold in society, atheism is, if you like, these people were seen as crazy people. Not long ago, just a couple of generations ago, to claim that you're, you know, we don't believe in God, we believe in these kinds of theories, you were seen as something that, you know, a sideshow.

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It's only that, due to whatever factors that are in place, you know, the world is a global village now, and ideas can spread quickly, governments or whatever the case may be involved in that, that these kind of ideas have taken some form of stand within our society.

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But by and large, humankind is a believing creation that this we're who we are, does not pretend that we're not something else we are. We were created, we were put on this earth as a creation that recognizes a creator.

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Even the most staunch atheist, the staunch atheist,

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that he has the most, one of the most beloved people to him, laying on a hospital bed, with tubes coming out of their mouth and their nose. Don't tell me that something hasn't passed in his mind that if there is a God,

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save that person.

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Don't tell me that. Because I am sure because that's how we were created. The something even that that are in denial, Pharaoh.

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Pharaoh, who said, hon Kumala Allah, I am the highest god.

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And he's way said to Moses, at the time when the waves are about to drown him. He was about to say I believe in Allah.

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That he within himself denied.

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He tried to deny, but certainty was there in his heart.

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So when you come across

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things in your life which when you start asking yourself questions, what am I what am I doing? What am I following or what am I

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Is it is it really the right thing to do, because we live in a society where you're free to choose, you're free to speak, you know, there are many things that you can do

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this worldly life, whether an atheist, or Muslim, or Christian, you get one go at it,

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you're gonna get to goes at it. We all believe that you get one go at this life, there's no coming back again. So, when you have this life, you want to ensure make sure that it's the, you make the best go of it.

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Make sure that you have the best opportunity that you can live the best possible life. Because the Christian, the Muslim, the Buddhist, atheist, the secularist, all the isms. And so you want to mention, every single one of them wants to be happy,

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to all look up to be happy.

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They want to be happy in some way.

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And some of us why should we satisfy sighs satisfy ourselves, we're just being just mediocre happy. If this somebody is happier than me, what makes them happier than me? I want to be part of that. I want to understand why they're

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really happy.

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Is happiness found in worldly, you know, phones? Cause things that you can, you know, bring about painful? Is that what makes you happy?

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Or is it

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something just I just remember something i There's a documentary that I saw it maybe two or three years ago.

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And it is just reminds me about really what what is happiness, that there was, I think she was a trainee nurse or something from this country. And she went over to a small village

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in Africa.

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And she came across a really poor family.

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Something similar, maybe you find that in Pakistan, they were really poor. They didn't have much. For the first 24 hours when she saw those people. She couldn't stop crying.

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She couldn't stop crying because of the difficulties that this woman and her children that they were going through.

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She was the plan was to stay with her for about three or four, five days or so.

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By the end of the trip,

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the woman was still crying.

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But the reason that she was crying is not the reason that she was crying. When she first arrived.

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She was crying because she was looking at her own life.

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Because she saw that this woman and this family and her children, they didn't have very much didn't have very much in the worldly sense.

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But you know what? They were so happy.

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And that they were satisfied.

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And that here is that she was in one of the main western world countries, free to seek and be whatever she liked.

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But then she started to think about boyfriend problems, money problems, study problems, debt problem. The problem is, the list was so long. And she said, You know what, when I came here, I was crying because I thought that she was the unfortunate one. Do you know who the unfortunate one is? I'm the unfortunate one. Because I don't have a satisfaction. And I don't have really a purpose in life.

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This woman doesn't have very much, but you know what the she and her children, they are more happy than I can ever imagine.

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So wordly, this worldly life that we see in front of us, is not a permanent cause for you to be happy.

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It is a temporary cause that may last one minute may last an hour, may last a very short time, whatever it is, is going to last.

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When I saw that this is what Islam taught.

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And that the real life

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is the life of the hereafter.

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Not that mean that we forsake this life? No, because you try your best for this in this life. But it is the hereafter that you truly seek

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that we have been given the greatest gift, the greatest blessing that can be given to anyone. And that is Islam. Because that's why I was created. That's why I'm put here on this earth

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to respect and worship God Almighty to give the rights that are due to every human being.

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This is what Islam stands for.

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And it's quite frustrating. Personally, at least, that when I see other people they say this is what Islam is. And I say that's not Islam.

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And then he gets all watered down say, well, that's your version of Islam, and that's my version of Islam, and that's their version of Islam. And then we've got 15 versions of Islam. No, we have one version of Islam is one Islam, what the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon when he came with that Islam, not for people to start cutting and pasting taking little bits and say, This is what Islam is.

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You know, we don't believe in that. Let's hide that away. We don't accept that.

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Hold on What's going on here? It is of the utmost importance for Muslims not to restrict themselves to small communities, but rather to engage with as many people as they can to let them know what Islam is. How did I find out what Islam was? Because somebody sat down and wrote, I'm gonna start preaching to you now listen to me.

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You know, the 18 years that you spent on this earth so wasted,

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it's all gone. You need to follow this. And if you don't follow this, you're gonna go hellfire. Was that said to me? No, it was not.

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What was said to me was nothing actually.

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What I saw were the actions of somebody. The somebody was dedicated in praying, because I saw that from their actions.

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And then when I started to study Islam, when I started to read the Quran for myself,

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because there are many people, it's in the Quran. It's in the Quran that you know, it was quite funny, actually, that just a few days ago, somebody said, Well, it doesn't say in the Quran, that you can't make any cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, it's not in your Quran. And then somebody replied to him said, Oh, well, you know, Scarlett, could you please teach us, you know, the rulings of the prayer for the traveler? You know, that the person really doesn't know anything about Islam. But here it is quoting Islam is some form of authority on Islam. Why? For as Muslims, we should allow? I mean, they have the right to say that that's fine. I mean, of course, it didn't.

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Quran doesn't say, you can't make caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.

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But why don't we as Muslims take the step forward, above everybody else, and allow us to explain this is what Islam is, of course, that they're going to be certain individuals, certain people who take parts and interpret it their own way, and calls corruption upon Earth, that's going to happen.

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But the point is, and what I saw in Islam, again, is something very personal to me. And I guess, I'm not the only one. It's not personal to me. But I'm sure that everybody would recognize that is the fairness and the justice that you find in Islam.

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There was once upon a time

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that I wanted to join the RAF.

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And I wanted to join the Royal Air Force, because for a number of reasons,

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I wanted to be a pilot. And I saw it as a way of life, which had a very strict regime I liked, I liked things to be on time. And in their place, I used to like that very much.

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And not always the best adhering to times, and so on and so forth. I mean, of course, we will have a false, but that's what I like.

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And when I came across Islam, that's exactly what I found, from the timings of the prayer, the control of one's lusts and desires. When you first you withhold when your body craves food, and drink, you're going to fill your stomach, no, there's a time when I have control over my own self. There's a time when I have wealth, but I know that there are people who are more in need than me. So therefore I part with some of that wealth, but control of myself. And being fair to every single person who's around me. That's what I like I used to really used to really bother me

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a number of years ago, to be a school teacher, when one of the children would take away just the rubber of another child without permission, they still really bother me. That's not yours to take, you should ask you should have you to take permission. These things that I found in Islam, from the smallest thing to the biggest thing to give everything it's right. To give everything its place.

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Not just do things unplanned, things should be planned, worked towards,

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you know, when you think about Spain, in Europe.

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That's something I'm gonna Of course, we don't have time to talk about, but go look at Spain, you know, seven 800 years of Islamic rule.

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When the rest of Europe was living through the, the Dark Ages, I mean, I didn't call it the Dark Ages. They themselves call it the dark ages wasn't much really going on. There was infighting between tribes, even within England.

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But Islam and the Muslims in Spain were flourishing

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in Europe right there, well, how come they were flourishing? Everybody else was, you know, in the dark ages, what happened there? What were they doing?

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And then likewise, continue with the history. Why did it fall down?

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Because you don't find an Islamic empire in Spain now. You can see what it left in terms of the buildings and the massager than some of the you know, and even some of the language you can find that, but why did it fall?

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Why did it fall? Because offered other manufacturers many reasons I'm not a historian. But some of those things, because of the internal squabbling

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the gear towards prioritizing certain people or certain times, there was a prioritizing of this world, the life of the hereafter. They forsake what was going to happen in the hereafter. So they became weak, and they lost their way. And it was an empire that was lost at that one particular time.

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And if you look at other empires that existed before that,

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why is it that these empires, the civilizations that they fell down,

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because they sought to live and die for this world, essentially,

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the Roman Empire,

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and then eventually being split into the eastern Byzantines and the Western? Why did it fall because it became weak because that what it sought, was the pleasures and the treasures of this world.

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And if you do that, that will cease to exist at one time, when you will realize there's only so much motivation in seeking something from this life.

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If I pluck out, because I've mentioned a number of if you'd like

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some messages throughout my time have had with you.

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And that is to really for yourself, Muslim, Christian, Jew, what you're doing, what you're following. What do you stand for?

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Do you want to be just one of those who just is one of the one of the modes, one of the wave that comes in and comes out? Or do you want to be a somebody

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not out of arrogance, not out of pride, that you give value to yourself, you give value to who you are, and what you stand for.

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And there are many famous statements concerning this,

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if you don't stand for anything,

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something along those law, even if you don't believe in anything, you'll fall for anything, should stand for something, you should believe in something, something that is of benefit to you,

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to your families, to your neighbors, to mankind.

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And I think, as a Muslim, and if you speak as a Muslim, and this is something we should always speak about to ourselves, that this gift that Allah gave to us, you should share it with other people.

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Share it with other people, because it is the best kept secret that exists on this earth to more than four fifths of this earth.

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four fifths of this earth don't know what they are missing. Don't know what Islam is, what they know, of Islam, is ISIS.

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Or people walking around the streets with guns.

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As far from what Islam is, and what was mentioned earlier talking about the beauty of the Quran, the beauty of who the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was, you'll find that there was a big difference in the contrast between the two.

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But it is up to us. Either I can just, I heard it, and then I just moved on. And maybe I'll look back in my life. Maybe I'll look back.

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And I'll say, You know what, I had an opportunity really to take things but I didn't.

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And there was a time when I'm a Muslim, that I was reminded about the importance of this gift that was given to me on Islam. And I decided to really dedicate myself to becoming a better Muslim, a better human being.

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And I asked Allah subhanaw taala to

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make this a gathering, which serves as a life changing not because of me, because I'm invoking God Almighty, I'm invoking Allah, that he makes this time that we've had together a time that I can look back, if I have whatever how many years I have looked back in my life, that this was a time that there was a change in my life, and that I became a better person. I became a better human being, maybe I became a better Muslim. So I asked Allah subhanaw taala to enable that day to be this day, I mean,

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Baraka lafay May Allah bless you all and guide us all to the straight path. Thank you for your patience and sitting and listening to me go on. Just like a one off it was Salam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh