The Muslim Slave Revolt in Bahia, Salvador in 1835

Yasir Qadhi

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Channel: Yasir Qadhi

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Today is sha Allah as you're aware, because of what's happening in the world what I'm doing the last few weeks I'm talking about interesting episodes in Islamic history that we can take inspiration from, and some of them are more relevant to exactly what's going on others, we can derive some generic benefits. So today is going to be one of the most bizarre historic incidents in our Ummah, that I am pretty sure almost none of you have heard of, because it's a very obscure footnote. And not much research has been done in this reality. And this is a slave revolt in this part of the world around 150 years ago. In fact, it is the largest slave revolt against the whites that

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dominated them. Why are we discussing this in the masjid, you will be shocked to hear this, this slave revolt was the largest slave revolt in American history. And it was a Muslim revolt, it was Muslim slaves, using Islamic motifs, and wearing Quran and wearing Islamic garb and trying to gain their freedoms. After having been unsuccessfully after how they'd been enslaved and brought to these lands, then they're coming together and attempting to revolt and gain their freedom. And this is the known as the Bahia slave revolt. Now, where did it take place in the Americas, but not USA. And that's where many of us are not aware of it. It actually took place in Salvador, which is the

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province of Bahia in Brazil, it took place in Brazil in the Americas, and it took place in the 1830s. And it's a very interesting episode, and I'm going to summarize what we know. And I'm going to show you how to encourage us to look up more about this regard. Just a quick understanding of what's going on here. You all know that the slave trade consisted of ensnaring and capturing freed people in Africa's and bringing them to the Americas. Now, for reasons you know, each one is different, for reasons that, you know, just probably coincidental. The slave trade of Brazil, in particular, had a large percentage of Muslims coming into it. So Brazil had the highest

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concentration of Muslim slaves in the entire continent of America. There's no other and especially this province of Bahia. And it just so happened, the Portuguese weren't charged because Brazilian was the Portuguese protected, right? The only country in the world that speaks Portuguese is Portugal and Brazil, basically, right? There's some smaller groups, but basically, so the Portuguese are in charge. And the Portuguese are a small group of people, and they're just importing slaves and you know, workers and whatnot. Eventually, 80% of the people of the land or slaves are freed slaves, only 20% are the local Portuguese. And of these 80%, probably 30 40% We're not sure 100% are Muslim.

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In other words, a good percentage are Muslim. And these Muslims are from the Yoruba tribe, and also the Navajo tribe. So there are tribes in Africa there come primarily from these regions, and the Muslim slaves of Brazil were so common, there is a term that is used in Portuguese technic indicate a Brazilian slave, and that is Miley and Miley is the Yoruba term for a Muslim Miley is what they do European people call the Muslim and the Brazilian or the Portuguese language, it referred to Muslim slaves. Now what do we know about this era? In the 1800s, the Muslims began speaking of revolt and freedom. And some of them were waging what they themselves call jihad. This is a very unknown

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history, jihad is being waged in the Americas in this part of the world. And what a legitimate jihad, these are freed people captured in Africa brought against their will months and months, you know, in the in the ship, and then made to work worse than animals. And of course, this is completely unjust, as we know, completely unfair. In the 1800s. We know of at least five attempts led by Muslims in Brazil to overthrow the Masters, each one of them was small, maybe 50, maybe 100. And each one of them ended in a failure. There was one particular famous one a chef by the name of Chef Jha Oh, Chef Jha in 1815. It was He was the Quran teacher, half of the Quran, and he led 16

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slaves in a rebellion against the Portuguese he managed to kill 14 Portuguese soldiers and achieve freedom for a period of time until finally the Portuguese came and massacred all of them. So we have five documented Muslim revolts against the Bahia Portuguese, the most important and the last one, and the largest one, and this is the largest

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slave revolt in the entire Americas, nothing came close in this country, nothing came close in this country, even though the quantity of slavery was more here, but the quantity of Muslims was more there. And you needed the courage of Islam. And you needed Iman in Allah subhana wa Tada. Islam gives you a sense of dignity and a sense of courage that nothing else will give you. We see this as the now Islam gives you the incentive to fight for your rights that no other religion will give you. And we should not be ashamed of this legitimate fight. It is so unfair, so inhumane to take a human being and put him in slavery and make him a slave and treat him worse than an animal. He has every

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right to fight back. And we should not be embarrassed about this. So of course, there was actual Jihad going on in Brazil. And then the biggest revolt I'm going to talk about today, it took place in 1835. This was the biggest, the largest and the last revolt because it had repercussions we're going to talk about so this revolt is called the Bahia Muslim slave revolt. That's the title of it. The Bahia is the province Muslim because it's led by Muslims, Islamic motifs using Quran slave revolt of 1835. What happened? And again, the problem is one of the reasons why we don't have research written is that the people that were in charge were killed. They didn't leave records for

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us, we are piecing together based upon the enemies based upon the Portuguese based upon the court records, we are piecing together what happened based upon outsider accounts, unfortunately, unless we discover some hidden journal, some hidden diary, we don't have eyewitnesses from within the movement, so we have to kinda sorta make a lot of assumptions. So what we know is that this talk of rebellion was rampant amongst the Muslims there are not going to remain this way five rebellions have taken place from 1800 to 1835. And a number of travelers that have gone through this region of Salvador you can look it up Salvador, which is a city in Brazil, Salvador and the provinces, but

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here it's the tip of Brazil, Salvador, a number of travelers that have gone through from 1800 to 1835. They document an amazing phenomenon. They document that slaves are praying, slaves have Jumeirah slaves are fasting Ramadan, there are Madura says for the slaves. There's no other place in the Americas that I'm aware of. Yes, there were hidden, you know, slaves writing Korans and hidden slaves in America passing down in Bahia in Salvador, because the slave Muslims were so many there were schools and neighborhoods where slave children were taught Quran, and there were show you that we're enslaved, because you know what, they just catch anybody there, they'll catch somebody turns

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out to be a shift and then and then make him a slave as well. There were bonafide earlier mount and scholars who were in Brazil, and they had founded Madras says, as slaves, some of them secret, some of them open secret, none of them legal, it's not allowed. You're a slave. Sometimes the master is lenient, and you can do and sometimes you know, the master, you have to do it behind his back. And we know this because we have copies of the Quran manuscripts written down. We know this because one white traveller went through Salvador, and he mentions he came across a madrasa in which the children were being taught. He was amazed by he wrote it down on chalkboards, and then they would

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wipe the Quran away and memorize it again. This is how African brothers and sisters memorize the Quran. They write it down on a chalkboard, they wipe it away, they write it down again, the wipe it away deal, we're doing this in Brazil, then we're using a slab and some writing and they would have the children write it down. So this white guy comes through he shocked what type of technique is this? This is the technique used to this day in West Africa, Nigeria, in bidding and all of these lines. He saw this happening in Brazil, another traveler goes through and he happened to be there in Ramadan. And he mentioned that on their Holi festival, they sacrifice goats and and lambs and they

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distributed so they're actually celebrating Eid as slaves in Brazil is unbelievable. So the quantity is a lot. We don't know exactly how many but like I said, probably 20% of the slaves are Muslim. Now what we do know around this time, there was one particular share who was highly respected. We know his name only chef biller. That's all we know, Chef Bilad he had a Portuguese name in the documents in the Portugal a registrar he is known as pacifical Lisu. Tongue Pacific Hola, SUTA. And they get so they gave Muslims Portuguese names, right? So every person has to be given Portuguese names. So in Wikipedia, he's listed US Pacific or blue tick and you can look them up but his name is Chef

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Bilal. So they're forcing these names on the people. Now we know the chef Bilal was the one who was giving an Eid and Joomla as a slave. And his master was particularly cruel because his slave was respected by all the other slaves. Whenever the chef biller would be walking in the streets the other slaves were

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Say calling my dear madam, which is the African trim why Lim, I use a chef in Africa, the term chef has not come in my name is common. Milan means more alum. So they would call him Marlon Billa, Marlon Billa, wherever he would walk, you will be given a lot of respect. We don't know his biography, we can assume he was an actual chef and Adam, and he had been caught. And now he's trapped over here. And the slaves give him an immense amount of respect his, in fact, what is truly amazing, the slaves raised funds over the course of 10 years to try to free him. And they gave the master the price that was typically given to slaves. And the master out of spite refused. They did

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it again after five years, and the master still refused. When I read the story, what truly shocked me, slaves are fundraising to free another slave. Slaves are not fundraising for themselves. They're fundraising for the shift that they love. And they want him to be freed and the master refused, because again, just spite in this regard, the master dies. And he's in debt. We know his name is biography. He's in debt, the laws of Portugal who goes to jail, his wife, his children, no, the slaves go to jail. Because the laws no white person is gonna go to jail for their crimes. So who goes to jail, the slaves are put in jail because the master doesn't have money to pay his debts. And

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then the court rules, the slaves will be auctioned to the highest bidder. And you know, Marlon Ababa, Marlon Bilal is going to be given to the highest bidder. This appears to be the catalyst that caused the slaves of Bahia to now say we have to revolt on a massive scale. The love they had for a scholar, the love they had for the Sheikh was so much this was the catalyst that now we have to do once and for all a final stand. This is not we're not going to let our ship be sold to another province that are lovely Enough is enough. And so plans begin. Now the researchers that have researched this they have assumed legitimately so that this plan could not have been enacted in one

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week. Rather, the plan was for years, but the arrest of Bilal the rest of Chef Bilal was the catalyst because it's impossible that this entire strategy could be done in a few weeks. And so the arrest of Chef Biddle was the catalyst. And they decided on the 25th of January 1835, that is almost 200 years ago, 25th of January 1835, is going to be the day what was special about this day, two things happening on that day one on the Christian side, one on the Muslim side. As for the Christian side, 25th of January for the Portuguese in Brazil was a holy day and a festival 25th of January was a vacation, everybody's going to be partying and getting drunk and whatnot. So the guard will be

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down. And it coincided with Leila to the cover of Ramadan. The 25th of January 1835 coincided with a little closer. And so they said on Leila, to cuddle, Derek going to have the holiday we're going to have a bother, they're going to get drunk, we're going to be praying to her. And we are going to once and for all just revolt and get rid of the Portuguese. Now, as we said, so a little bit of background here in this province. Very interesting. There were a lot of freed slaves as well. And there were probably 20% whites 80% blacks of the 80% blacks, more than half were freed slaves. So Brazil was a little bit more open and disregard for freeing slaves in America. So more than half

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were freed slaves, what was the plan, the plan was that they will overpower the prison and the small contingent of guards that would free shift belong, and then they would call publicly for all the slaves to join them and the freed slaves, because the freed slaves know what slavery is like, against the 20% of the population. They cannot go public to the 80% That's gonna give their plot away. There's a small group of people, the goal is to be the catalyst. The goal is to light the fuse and to show them that hey, we have done this, we have gotten rid of one fortress one contingent now we need the rest of the population to rise up and overthrow the 20% we are more than them were 80%

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We can get rid of them. And the Muslims took the charge in this. However, Allah is other this is it, we have to accept it. They were betrayed who betrayed them. The story goes that there was a Christian lady who had divorced from her Muslim husband, and she came to discuss some issue monitor whatever it might be, and she paid an unexpected visit to her ex husband who was a part of the elite or the guards in this and she overheard them discussing the plan. She wasn't supposed to be there she's outside. Now she sees all of these slaves together. she overhears them discussing the plan for the next day. Immediately. She alerts the authorities the authorities will already troubled for the

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last 30 years. They know that Muslims are not going to be peaceful in this regard.

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So within a few hours, this ex Christian slave lady, her report goes straight to the governor himself within a few hours, which is very rare. This report all the way goes here. And the governor immediately sends into action, a plan, what is the plan, nobody has vacation tomorrow, actually, we bring in extra troops. And this prison where the chef believes they were going to station hidden troops inside, they're not going to be aware of them. And all the other all the other slave owners, they are told the next morning, do not give any holiday to your slaves, keep them busy in the field. Because there's no technology, there's no WhatsApp, the most of the slaves have no idea what's going

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on. The goal was they're going to be holiday and the news will spread, come join us, they will leave the plantation join the revolt, and the majority will be with the Muslims. So the command came out slave owners, keep your slaves busy today do not give them any vacation guards, no vacation and extra guards in the prison. So the Muslims did not know this. And so they did in fact attack the the prison thinking they would free check it out. When they came to the prison. They were surprised by an entire cavalry of forces. And so they had to retreat to the Muslim quarters. And what followed was an entire day long of back and forth and skirmishes over 500 slaves were active in the revolt

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now 500 is a massive number back in the day when there's no WhatsApp, no Telegram, no nothing to have 500 people sworn to secrecy to have 500 people leading a charge there probably would have been 30 people guarding they would have easily overcome that they would have done use that as a catalyst to get more and more people. The goal was to get the entire population but the cavalry was setting and so for an entire day and night there was vicious battle back and forth, but you have an army against 500. Now what is interesting here, we have actual clothing of the people there we have the remnants of the people that were there, all of them were wearing Quranic talismans, they had written

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ITIL kursi they had written Surah NAS they had written I actually saw one myself in for Dianella fat ham movie and they had written the beginning of surah Fatah and they had put it in their pockets that they were thinking this is you know this is job is to write Quran, this is Jason This is Yanni nothing, a problem and they think this is going to be something and it is a source of Baraka, there's no problem here. And this is super interesting. When they launched the attack. They did not wear the clothes of the people of Brazil. They had manufactured their African Islamic garments, which is the long robe and the turbans. It's just bizarre. I want you to think about this. In Brazil

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in 1835 500 people are yelling took a beat and they're wearing the Islamic garb and turbans other reading Quranic verses, and they're saying enough at that time will be enough and they're jumping in attacking the Portuguese will Allah He bizarre and yet this is exactly what happened. And it was ALLAH Iranian, you know, Allah knows what would have happened even if they had one over one cell. In reality, it's ambitious, but how can you win against an entire country in this regard, but still, they didn't want to live like slaves anymore. And so obviously an entire day of fighting, many dozens were killed, many were captured alive. And then of course, you can only imagine the backlash,

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right? You can only imagine what's going to happen. Brutal executions brutal with things, some of them were whipped. It's from the records I read here. 1400 lashes given in public with a biller 1400 lashes over a period of days you just keep on whipping in public one of the ladies the Muslims that was caught here may Allah Yanni give them what they deserve stripped and 400 lashes in public a lady 400 lashes, because you know they don't want to kill too many people. Why? Because they're slaves in the end of the day, and they want to keep the property right. So they kill the ringleaders they give brutal sentences to the next 10 Come on, and the bulk of them they whip brutally and then take back

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into slavery. And of course, eventually the revolt is quelled. But was that the end? See, here's the point I want to bring here. You could end the story here and say subhanallah failed, revolted didn't happen. But see these types of of enterprises, these types of

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examples of courage and bravery, they actually inspire others, and they lead to changes even after the death of the people who were involved. Some bizarre things happen of them across the entire Americas, including USA, panic gripped the elite, especially panic against the Muslims, mores, they would call us back then. And they realize the Moorish slaves are different category than the Christian slaves. The Moorish slaves are not going to be beaten down. And this actually led to believe it or not a reduction in bringing Muslim

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slaves, can you believe one of the bizarre effects, right? Overall, we don't like slavery. And doubly we won't like it for our Muslim brothers and we don't like it for anybody. But doubly obviously, for our Muslim brothers and sisters, this revolt actually resulted in a trickle down policy. Don't don't take these people they're going to they're going to be problematic. SubhanAllah. Another effect that happened here is that eventually the governor of Brazil, they cracked down brutally as I said, they punished. And then eventually, in a year, he sent out a decree, anybody who is sympathetic to that revolt get rid of him. So over 500, Muslims were discovered, because it was

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illegal to be Muslim, they shut down the madrasa shut down the messages, and Muslims went into hiding, just like in Andalusia, this happened in Brazil 500 Muslims were discovered how were they discovered the spear prayer caps, copies of the Quran says, you know, spot checks anything like this, and guess what was happening to those Muslims. They were, of course, you know, put into jail, but not then they were sent back to Africa. Now, that's actually a positive, being a slave. They sent them back to Africa. And interestingly enough, they kind of gained their freedoms, this group of people, this 500, their descendants are still known because some elements of Portuguese culture

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and language remain in them. You know, there was one thing that again, so much to be said, Here, you have to realize what I'm talking about here, the Portuguese Muslims in Brazil, this wasn't one generation. This was three generations and Dawa is being given. And one of the things that was discovered by the Portuguese police, many of the people who revolted were not born Muslim, they had embraced Islam. And what this means and this is unbelievable. Slaves were giving Dawa to other slaves while their slaves and slaves were converting to Islam from paganism, because, you know, the there is animism, there's paganism in Africa. So most of the tribes that came with these paganistic

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they weren't Christians, because, you know, from Africa, they weren't any Christians. So they're bringing in these animus tribes, these tribes that have paganistic beliefs, the Muslims as slaves are giving them Dawa. So the Portuguese discovered a good percentage of the rebels were not even born Muslim, but they had embraced Islam. And this shows us even a slaves that were giving Dawa. So 500 People were sent back to Africa. Obviously, they were, you know, Peyton beat and put in jail. But eventually they were sent freed after having been slaves. So the end result, interestingly enough, 500 people got their freedom. Even though that wasn't the point. The point was just to get

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to get rid of them. Another interesting point is that, even though 500 was expelled still, some Muslims remained secret and hidden. And in 1900, we have a number of visitors who recorded practice, as we now know as Islamic meaning up until 1900 100, something years ago, there were still secret Muslims in Brazil, obviously, there are no longer that generation, they're completely destroyed. But in Brazil, we had more Muslims than in America. And the final point I want to mention here, and this is probably the most important one for the what is going on in the world today. And that is, when this incident occurred. The people almost universally viewed it with one lens, and that is the lens.

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These are rebels. These are evil people. These are, you know, terrorists, whatever it might be. And a similar timeframe. By the way, a rebellion occurred here in Virginia, much smaller, not 500, but 5060 people, it is the rebellion of not to Turner, not to Turner, every single child of yours who goes to middle and high school knows not Turner, it is in the curriculum of every American history textbook, the rebellion of not Turner, much smaller, Around 6070 people participated. And it was in Virginia around the same time, it can't be causally related because it's too far away roughly the same year, a year or two apart, not Turner rebelled in Virginia, and he gathered together and the

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name of Christianity not Muslim. He gathered together on 60 slaves, they rebelled, they killed their owners and their families. They killed women and children by the way, they killed because at the end of the day, they want their freedom and anybody there they're going to be a problem for them. So they killed every white person. They found 5060 people, obviously what's going to happen? This country went into panic mode, literally panic mode, the president, the governors, the senators, everybody went into panic mode. They sent in the army militias mobs came in and hundreds of black people were lynched unfairly not just asked for not Turner, he was flayed alive. They made I'm not

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even joking here. They made bags and purses out of his skin. To make an example of him. They cut him up Allah they tortured him to death. Obviously, they captured him after a few months and whatnot, and they tortured him and his followers. And then the mob mentality began. What is the mob mentality, any black person whom they thought might be they just killed him on the spot lynching, hundreds of people were lynched because of not

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Turner because of the fear what if this guy might attack? What if this guy and at the time go read the New York Times, New York Times, operating? Go read the Virginia quarterly go read any newspaper? The sympathies are all with the white folks. There is not a single positive How can not turn to be described as a hero not Turner's given the worst adjectives just like the Bahia revolt in Brazil. But then Subhanallah now when you read not Turner, when your kids read not Turner in high school, go ask her high school children who have taken American history. Have you heard of not Turner, not Turner is considered a legend, a hero, the first slave who revolted for independence and freedom,

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the first slave who fought for his freedom and dignity, and all of a sudden, there's no adjective of terrorism, there's no adjective of evil. Everybody has to acknowledge when you are a slave, you have the right to fight back for your freedom. When you're treated worse than an animal. Don't be surprised when you're going to fight back and for your rights, you're going to do things that it's not good. Nobody's justifying what not Turner did, but how can you ignore the context that Nat Turner was in? How can you ignore you who are the guys who made him a slave you were the guys who treated him over 40 years like an animal whipping beating no life to live when he revolts and when

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he attacks back? It is fully understood. You understand exactly where I'm heading with this right now we know not Turner was the hero and his slave owners were evil, vile, cruel, inhumane people at the time. Who could have said this? Nobody. But this is the Sunnah of Allah subhanho wa taala. And I want to give good news and good tidings Glad Tidings to our youth here that eventually truth always separates from falsehood. Eventually, real courage, and real values and real morality will always rise up. So do not be swayed by the rhetoric of the media. Do not be confused by the brainwashing of those who have no morality, think long term, fight for the truth, stand on the side of justice

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always be with the oppressed against the oppressor, and eventually, not just in the ark era, of course, in the Ophira but even in this dunya the oppressed will always be the victor and the hero, even this dunya the oppressor will always live in economically and infamy and people always despise full and injustice. It just takes time sisters and brothers, it just takes time. Do not lose hope. Do not falter. Aim High, be with those who are oppressed against the oppressor and realize Allah subhanho wa Taala will always sift truth from falsehood. Li Amis Allah will Hubie thermadata Yep, Allah will separate the Hadith from Papa Yep, you will be from the Torah Yep, you support the pure

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you are with the pure and Allah azza wa jal will bless you because of that. Zach Mala who Clara was salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.

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Anjali either call

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me Mr. Heaton doll Seanie.

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Doesn't show

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me what to

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do Sunday. What

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feels

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to me.

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me down