Channel: Yasmin Mogahed
Finding True Identity in Chaos by Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed @ NICC Youth Conference 2018
Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed,
IRON FAITH – Have you build yours?
9th Annual Youth Conference 2018
NICC @ Saturday April 21, 2018
is invested in TBI in people in in in the youth. And so I just want to begin by saying how much I applaud that and respect that. And I and I have seen you know, I know some of the the youth who have grown up in this community and the work that they're doing so there is a fruits that are coming out of this of this, this investment. So I want to applaud this this cultural center and nude Islamic Cultural Center. Mashallah. So, yeah.
Now, that brings me to my topic, and that is, um, you know, when they asked me about the topic of identity, I gave them this title, because I think it's so important right now. And that is, how can we find out who we really are among the chaos? So what what am I talking about? We right now, we live in a world at many different levels that we can describe as chaotic. What does that mean? Well, there's so many different sources telling you who you are. So you have your, your peers, your friends, giving you you know, this is who you should be, you have the media telling you, this is who you should be, you have your parents telling you, this is who you should be, you have the cultural
norms around you. So there's all these different voices coming at you telling you that this is who you should be, this is how you should dress, this is how you should act. This is what should matter to you, these things are being actually thrown at us every single day. Right? And there's so many dead You know, every time we open up the our computers, or our phones, or social media or the TV or even just drive down the street, we're always being bombarded by images and messages of this is how you should be in fact, we are being told this is who you are. When you watch the news. Yeah, you might think I'm just watching the news. I'm getting informed. No, you're not just getting informed.
Sometimes you're just getting misinformed. But you're also being told this is who you are. Right? There's images of Muslims, Muslims doing this Muslims are this way. And these are all almost just being thrown at us, telling us this is who we are. So the question becomes, how do we figure out who we really are among all of this chaos. And so what I want to do is, I want to take a section from the core end, and a section that I believe gives us a prescription in and that prescription is a prescription for holding on to our true identity. Despite the chaos, okay. And in it, it gives us various different
parts of what will what will allow us to hold on to our identity. So this section is from suta Hush, and it begins in 18. Okay, so Allah subhanaw taala tells us and now realize that when Allah addresses the believers in the court, and so sometimes Allah subhanaw taala addresses the believers, and in this case, Allah is addressing the believers on Allah subhanaw taala says,
Yeah, you have levena M and otaku la whelton. Dora nafsa Makka demat live hot. So the first part of this AM, Allah is addressing the believers and he's saying, Oh, you who believe the first instruction that Allah gives is fear Allah. Now I'm going to take a moment and talk about taqwa for a second. Yeah, you're Latina am an otaku Allah I'm sure you guys have heard this word have Taqwa of Allah. And if I asked you to translate the word taqwa. Everyone in this room would say what?
Okay, one person would say that, but most of the time we hear fear Allah. Yes. You heard it before. So we're being told we are told that taqwa is to fear God. Okay, this is true. But when you think about fear, think about fear for a second. When you think about fear, do you usually associate fear and love?
Typically, sometimes we tend to associate fear with just wanting to sort of avoid something or stay away from something right. So it's very important that we properly understand taqwa. It isn't just fear, like you fear an enemy or that or even that you fear and authority. It isn't just fear, like you fear the police. It's it's something different and I want to give you guys to help you understand the concept of Tacoma and give you an example. Okay. Um, thanks.
For a moment about the person in your life that you love the most. Okay, everyone thinking about their mom right now.
Whoever you love the most I that was just, that was just a message for my kids in the audience right now. But
think about the person that you love the most in your life. Okay? Now I want you to imagine for a moment,
that person being so upset with you that they don't want to talk to you again.
Now, imagine that scenario. And imagine how that feels. Now think about how does that make you feel? Now, I didn't say that that person is going to beat you up. I didn't say that that person is going to throw you in a big ditch, or a big pit of fire. I haven't said any of that. I just said that that person is going to be angry with you. And that person is going to be so angry that they don't want to speak to you. Can everyone think what emotion does that elicit
anxiety, fear, right sadness. See, that gives you a concept of taqwa is that when you really love someone, you are afraid of displeasing them, you're afraid of disappointing them. And most of all, you're afraid of them cutting you off, right?
And it's not that they're threatening you. But it's simply because of that love, you don't want to disappoint. That one that you love. You don't want them to be angry with you. Make sense? Now Allah subhanaw taala says that frizzle on the Day of Judgment, the people in paradise will get to be with him, the people in paradise will get to see a law. And scholars actually say that this is the greatest reward of Paradise, even more than the palaces and and the rivers is the fact that you get to see a law.
And on the other hand, Allah says that those who do not get to paradise, those who have angered Allah subhanaw taala, Allah says that they will not see him. And Allah actually describes that there will become a barrier between them and Allah.
And Allah says specifically that he will not want to speak to them.
You understand? So this, scholars say is the biggest punishment of Hellfire
is that being cut off from Allah subhanaw taala. Remember the example I gave you of thinking about the person you love cutting you off? And how much fear that put inside of us? Well, this is a law saying that if we, if we displease Allah subhanaw taala we will be cut off from him. And that is the biggest fear for a believer.
That's the biggest fear. So taqwa is to love Allah subhanaw taala so much, that you are afraid of displeasing him. You are afraid of being disconnected from him. And you're also afraid of his wrath. taqwa includes all of these things.
The reason I'm emphasizing this, is I feel that a lot of the way we've been teaching about Islam has been in this sense wrong. And I'll explain why. I think we have used fear in a way that is counterproductive when it comes to Allah subhanaw taala. So I'll explain what I mean. We teach children who can't even pronounce, I'd recommend Rahim. But the first concept we teach them is what harem and Johanna hellfire. You guys understand what I'm saying? It's like we're teaching fear of Allah in a way that is making children and youth. Just think of Allah subhanaw taala almost like you think of, you know, imagine like you're growing up. And your parents are always telling you, you
better watch out. If you make any mistake, even a small mistake, the police is going to come and throw you in jail.
Or worse yet, you better watch yourself because they may shoot you.
You know, I'm saying and you're constantly hearing this about the police better watch yourself, one slip up and they can shoot you one slip up and they can put you in jail. Right? fear, fear fear. If you grow up hearing that all the time about the police. How are you going to feel about the police when you grow up
and moreover, what kind of relationship
Are you gonna want to have with the police?
It's gonna be a relationship of one thing and that's avoidance.
So what is what? What does that leading me to? is the fact that we have a lot of us growing up in this type of fear culture when it comes to Allah, right? You better You better not. It's like, it's like you better do what I say, or God's gonna come put you in hell, right? You better You better not mess up, or else God's gonna do this to you. God's gonna do that to you. It's constantly teaching the Wrath of Allah subhanaw taala the anger of Allah subhanaw taala. And, and the idea is, this is how we can control behavior. But this is the wrong approach. The reason it's the wrong approach is it's eventually these children grow up, these people grow up, and they just don't want to have
anything to do with religion. Just like you're not gonna want to have anything to do with the police. If you've just been taught to fear the police.
It's you're just gonna want to avoid the police. And so unfortunately, we have a lot of people who have that idea about Islam is that Islam is just haram haram Haram. So I don't want any of that.
It's fear, fear, fear. So let me just leave it all together. We have to come back to roots roots that are based in the love of Allah. Here's the thing about Islam. If you look at the Sierra, you look at how the Quran was revealed on the to the Prophet size center. There's a hadith where I shuttled it on her says that if the first verses to be revealed, were do not drink alcohol.
These are companions. But she said, if the first verses were stopped drinking alcohol, people would have said we'll never give up alcohol.
If the first verses to be revealed work, stop committing fornication. You know,
the people would have said, we'll never give up fornication.
But the first verses to be revealed, we're not about rules.
The first verses to be revealed, we're about the consciousness of Allah, we're about the attachment, the love of Allah, what who Allah is basically attaching us to our Lord, allowing us to know Allah, to realize that there's a hereafter. If you study the Quran, and you look at the order that it was revealed, you'll find that the first verses were not rules.
They were not the prohibition of alcohol and pig, and and fornication. They didn't get into the rules until later.
Why? Because Allah knows human nature, that what happened is, first you build a love of Allah, a consciousness of a law and attachment with a law. When I asked you to think about the person you love the most, why did it make you scared that they'd be upset with you? Because you have an attachment? But what if you thought about a stranger? What if I said, see that person over there? You know, you never, you don't even know? What if they told you they were upset with you?
You'd say I don't care. Right? You don't even know them. You have no bond with them, you have no attachment to them. It's because of the attachment and the bond and that you know, this, this person that you're afraid of displeasing them? Does that make sense? And so we have to go back to this prophetic model, this actually divine model of building a bond with Allah, we know Allah.
We are attached to Allah, we are grateful to Allah realizing everything Allah did for you. You know, when you're raising your children, instead of telling them every day, you better watch yourself or you're gonna go to hell, you better not do this, or you're gonna go to hell, or you better not make a mistake. Instead of doing it that way when talking about Allah, we What if we told our children every single day, you know, you see the, the air that you're breathing, that's because of Allah, the fact that you have eyesight, that's because of Allah, the fact that you have shelter and, and you know, there's some people they don't have shelter. That's because Allah, what that will do is it
will build a sense of, of gratitude. And then we appreciate and we start to love a lot more and more when we see what he's done for us. So we have to change our approach and go back to the approach of the Prophet so I send them there's a hadith in which the prophets I send them says how many people know this hadith? How many people know that Hadith about that? What's prohibited? What's how Thomas clear
And what is halal is clear and between them are doubtful matters how many people have ever heard this heavy? A lot of you, okay, I knew this had these growing up. But I will tell you that the moment that I realized that this hadith has a second half, it blew my mind. Most of you check this out, most of you know this hadith as this, that what's lawful is clear, this is the head, what's unlawful, how long is clear, and between them are doubtful matters not too shabby heads. And the prophets I send him says that whoever stays away from the doubtful matters will protect themselves from going into the home, Everyone follow. And he gives an example which is like a like a, like a
sheep herder doesn't allow the sheep to go near the area that he doesn't want. Right? And so similar, we shouldn't go close to the harm by avoiding the doubtful matters, everybody. Cool. You all think that had it ends there? Don't you? I know I did.
I know I did. So it's a discussion about rules, right? Everyone with me? It's a discussion about heroin and heroin. But it doesn't end there. It goes on to say the second half of the same Hadith is ineffable Jessa de moda in the body, there's a lump of flesh is a solid solid hell Jessa dokolo it is set right? Then the whole body will be set, right? Where is that either faster that faster than just Sudoku. And if it is corrupted, then the whole body will be corrupted. Ella Hale calm? Indeed, it's the heart.
That's deep. The prophesize lm starts the discussion by talking about rules.
Rules, like it's how to do this. It's how to do that you understand, you know, these rules that were taught?
He begins by talking about rules. But what is he linking it to the heart. He's saying if you fix the heart, then the whole body gets fixed. Essentially, what he's saying is that you fix the heart, and then the rules become easier to follow.
If you fix the heart, the rules become easier to follow. Let me tell you this, when you really love a person,
and you guys are, many of you are too young to really know this yet. But when you really love a person, maybe maybe you're actually you know, this way with your parents, which would be wonderful, y'all.
if they say jump, you say how high
you feel me? When you love someone. When you love someone, they say jump, you say how high? What does that mean? It means that when you really love someone, you do what they asked you to do. Right? They say you know what? I would really love for you to do this thing. You run and do it. That's what love does. It motivates you to obey. That's why they say you are a slave to what you love most.
Yeah, and you have to be careful what you love most because if it's money,
you become a slave to money. Yeah. If it's power, you become a slave to power. So when love is a powerful force, and it motivates you, you will become a slave to what you love most. So, when you really love someone, and they ask you to do something, it's easy to do it.
But if you don't love someone,
and they asked you to do something, it's a burden. understand the difference. And it's all about love. It's about the heart. So when we love Allah when our heart is connected to law, and he says Get up and precision on time, we can do it easier. But if we have no connection to Allah, it's like a stranger coming and telling you get up from your warm bed at five o'clock in the morning. You're gonna be like, no,
it's a burden. But if it's someone you love is different. Does that making sense? So it's very important that we understand. True taqwa has to be connected to love. It has to be connected to the love of Allah subhanaw taala.
And that's the balance you know it no Chi and Rahim Allah, He gave this analogy. He said that a believer in the past to Allah is like a bird.
And for a bird for this bird to be able to fly straight.
It has to have a head and two wings, right? What happens if you cut off one of the wings of a bird? It's not able to fly. happens if you cut off its head. It's gonna die. Right? He says that the head of the bird is the love of Allah.
That is the driving force of the believers journey. And without the love of a lie, it's like cutting off the head of a bird. That's how you kill a bird.
And what are the two wings? The two the two sides is fear and hope. We have to have both. We have to Yes, have a consciousness of a law. And we have to fear displeasing him. And we have to fear His wrath and his anger. But we also have to have hope and they have to be balanced. Fear and hope and gratitude to Allah subhanaw taala.
So taqwa, Allah subhanaw taala begins by saying, Yeah, you're letting me know. Yeah, you live in
LA. Now, the second part of the advice is, he says, well, tumbler, Neff, some academic literate, he says, and let everyone know what they have put forth for tomorrow. What is that talking about? Allah is telling us he's addressing the believers. And he's saying after having taqwa. He said, make sure that you're planning for tomorrow.
What's the law talking about? Is he talking about planning for Sunday? like today's Saturday? He's talking about Sunday? What's Allah saying when he says, When he's saying tomorrow? Allah is talking about tomorrow, capital T, which tomorrow is that?
The tomorrow of the hereafter.
Allah is saying, make sure that you know what you've planned for tomorrow, in the hereafter.
Let me give you guys an example.
If I told you rather, your parents told you that you're going to be moving to a new house. Yeah. And you're going to be moving to the new house, maybe next month?
What are you going to start to do and what is your family going to start doing with your furniture?
packing it up to move it to the new house? What are you going to start to do to prepare that home? You're going to get furniture, you're going to get food? You're going to prepare that home? Why? Because that's your destination? You're moving there, right? Yes, no, you're not really sure. Yes. Right.
Who in the world is gonna plan to move somewhere? And then when they get there, realize that they made no investment in furniture they made? No, there's no food there. There's no, there's no furniture there and it's empty.
Right? And not only is it empty? Who is gonna go and say, You know what, this is the house. I'm moving into? Let me go burn it down. I think that's a good idea. Right? That's insane. Right?
Every single one of us are going to be moving to the hereafter. Like that's a fact. Work are grave is the home we're moving to. And then the Hereafter, that's your that's the home you're moving to. That's a like, that's a guarantee. You just don't know the date of the move. That's it. You just don't know what day you're moving there. But you're for sure moving like you know, your address. You know, you're going there, but you just don't know when. So the question is, what have you prepared in it for you? You know what I mean? You're moving there. But some of us gonna get there and find it empty.
To understand, no furniture, no food, and some of us are going to burn it down. We're actually burning our home down. It's your home, there's no, there's no way to avoid that destination. It's where you're going. But some of us are actually burning it down by our choices today.
So Allah subhanaw taala is reminding us make sure that you know what you're set Well, enough Samantha demonstrated, make sure that you know what you've put forward for tomorrow, that you're furnishing that home that you're putting food in that fridge so that when you get there you don't you don't starve you don't you don't suffer. Does that make sense? So this is a lot of telling us this is what Allah is advising the believer. Welcome donessa man, God dammit, God, what the Hola. Watch this. What did we begin with? What was the first piece of advice? Allah gave us?
Actually, it's not really advice. It's like it's it's it's a command. Right? What was the first one? It was to have what taqwa then Allah ends again repeats taqwa. So do you see how important to boys. Allah begins with taqwa and then ends with tuck. What repeats it again. What
Hola, inilah habido matam alone. And then Allah says have Taqwa of him because he knows what you're doing.
He knows what you're doing.
You know, when we when I was like in middle school, we had I was in this class, a French class. And the class was so misbehaved, like we, we were like, very misbehaved. All right. I didn't throw stuff at the teacher, but other people were doing crazy stuff. So what one day the teacher got so frustrated, poor guy was like Russian trying to teach French and English, it was a disaster. So he got really frustrated. And he called the principal in to the class. As soon as the principal walks in, everyone's on their best behavior. Right? The same people who are just throwing things are just sitting there like angels. Right?
And the guy actually got frustrated, I still remember is like, in seventh grade. And he was like, Come on, show principal, be bad.
He was like, so frustrated that we were all of a sudden pretending that we're good.
He's actually telling us show principle be bad. But why did why did the class do that? Because the principles in the room, you understand? Like, when you know you're being watched, by an authority, you put on your best behavior.
That's what he was telling us. He's telling you, you're being watched by the authority. So be on your best behavior. That's what Allah saying. Because Allah knows what you're doing. Right? Allah knows what you're doing.
In the law could be Don't be mad tomorrow.
Then Allah goes on to say, Well, after kuno Kela Vina, Nestle la huff and sell home and foster and foster home. Now, this brings me to the second point, allies warning us of something. And this brings me to the topic of identity. Allah says, and do not be like those who forgot a law. So he made them forget their own selves. That's deep.
Don't be like those who forgot Allah. So he made them forget who they are.
If you want to understand why people forget who they are, why people lose their identity. It's simply because they forgot about Allah.
It's because they disconnected from Allah. And when you disconnect from Allah, you're disconnecting from yourself because your purpose is about connecting with Allah. Allah tells us why malloc to general ends olalia Buddha, we've not created jinn and humans except for one purpose. And that is to fulfill obedience to Allah, to know Allah to worship Allah to love Allah to be a slave of Allah.
That's actually the purpose of our creation. So when you disconnect yourself from your purpose, you forgotten who you are.
That is how we forget who we are. Allah says well letter Kunal Cal la Vina Nestle LA, they forgot Allah for Anselm and Fujifilm. So Allah made them forget their own selves. So the second part here, of being able to hold on to who we are,
among the chaos, is we have to remember Allah
and remember him a lot. I'm going to leave you guys a prescription.
And it's absolutely essential in order to be successful in this life in the next, the remembrance of Allah. So it has three parts. I call it the Vica challenge. The first part
is the Salah, Salah is like spiritual oxygen.
If you're not praying, you're not breathing. There's no other way around it. If you're not praying, it's like a person who stopped breathing. And no one in the world says
I don't need to breathe today. Because I'm busy.
Or I'm taking an exam. So I'll you know what, I got finals this week. So I'll breathe next week.
Right? anyone say that? anyone tried it?
Exactly. Because you wouldn't be sitting here today.
You cannot not you cannot postpone breathing, right. You can't say you know what I'm traveling so I'll breeze you know.
Maybe maybe tonight once or or I'm in an important meeting, or I'm taking an exam. So let me just
I'll breathe tonight. It doesn't work, you have to continue to breathe to stay alive. And salaah is exactly that it is the oxygen of your heart and of your soul.
One thing I'm just going to add here is that we as human beings have this tendency to put the needs of our body over the needs of our soul. can give you guys a funny example.
So Ramadan is coming up right
now in Ramadan.
Can I ask you what happens if you miss veget in Ramadan?
It might have happened to you once in your life. And it was the biggest trauma of your existence.
You woke up
and you saw the sun. And all of a sudden tears started to come down your eyes. You're down your face rather.
Because you missed the whole.
Let's be honest,
you missed the whole, basically, you didn't get a chance to eat. And now your chance is over. The window is closed, you didn't eat, you missed the briyani. You missed it. And now you got to fast for another 16 hours and you are realizing this. Okay.
So what happens after Ramadan is over, when you wake up, and you realize you miss fetch?
Maybe you didn't even notice.
Right? No problem, you just go on with your day.
What is the lesson here?
We're really worried about missing a meal for our stomach, but not at all concerned about the needs of our heart and our soul. And that's really a problem. Because guess what? Does anyone in this room know what's going to happen to your stomach or to your body 50 7080 years from now? Anyone it's gonna become part of the dirt.
And even that Briana that you eat,
or the food or the Tamia or the falafel or whatever it is.
Do you know what happens to it? Few minutes after you eat it, it ends up in the toilet.
So my point is that these things that are so important to us are absolutely temporary. Right, you eat it lasts a few minutes. And then it's it's in the it's in the sewage, right.
But that's the law. It's not temporary. And it could decide whether you
go to Gen. Argentina to understand. So it's a very important thing that we start to focus that we as humans, we've lost our priorities. We've lost our priorities, we're worried about meal for our stomach, but not worried about our hearts and our souls. And the reality is, our body is temporary. I'm not telling you to starve yourselves, obviously, if Take care of yourself, but your body is temporary, but your soul is not temporary. Your soul is going to continue to go on to the next home, right we talked about your next address is going to go to the grave. And it's going to go to the hereafter. So your soul isn't going to pass away. It's just gonna leave your body and go to another
realm. But Joseph in this in the grave, and then the Hereafter, it doesn't become part of the dirt like your body does. So our investments, we need to we need to reassess our priorities.
So salon is number one. And number two is this. I advise you to download an app, you don't need to do it now. an app called my job. It's a great app MYDU a, what it is, how many have ever heard of fortress of a Muslim? Or a Christian and Muslim? Yeah. All it is, is it's an app form of fortress of a Muslim.
As many people have heard me say best 99 cents you ever invest it? Right and I don't get a cut. So when you download this app, what you have to do is use it every single day. This app is a collection of all the supplications that the Prophet used to say Salaam Salaam and from the Quran for every single thing you can imagine in your life. Right? You leave the house, there's a supplication. You come into your house. There's a supplication you drive there's a supplication. You travel, there's a supplication you eat you finish eating, going to the bathroom coming out of the bathroom. There's a supplication for everything. You're scared. You're
Worried you're sick.
You're, you know, you got new clothes, there's a supplication for everything. So the more you can incorporate these in your daily life, it's like feeding your soul.
It's actually food. And what it does for you is I actually don't have time to tell you all the things it does for you. You know, scholars like a million Rahim Allah have entire text just talking about the power of victory, just the benefits of remembering Allah. But I'll tell you this, just to summarize,
it strengthens your heart. It purifies your heart, and it protects you from all harm. It protects you from the harm of the seen and the unseen. Anyone know what I'm talking about? the harm of the seed are like, you know, the things that happened to us in the scene world. But there's a whole other world that's unseen, right? There's shaitan, and his army that protects us from that. And all that comes along with the unseen, the harm of the unseen includes other things, too, right. We know it may have heard has said that is the head these things, all of these things are part of the unseen. It's a protection from all of that. So this has to be a part of our daily routine. Now
there's a lot, right. So you might be overwhelmed. Which one do I do? I'll advise you with this. Okay? The app has a function where you can star and that star gives you your own personal list. So my advice to you is to go into this app, and create a starred list. That's going to be your daily routine, just like you, you drink water every day you eat, you know, you have to eat a certain number of times a day. This is part of your daily routine. All right, and what I advise is that you make the starred list, and make sure that it includes some supplications for forgiveness, some supplications for protection.
And make sure that you're doing it in the morning after vision. And in the evening after us. Got that morning after fetchit. And, and meaning after you pray Sajid and preferably before the sunrise, but if you can't make sure you do it in the morning as early as you can, and the evening one should be between technically between us and McRib. And then there's ones for before you sleep.
These are the most important times to do your escort. And this is from the Sunnah. All right, this is advice of the Prophet seisen. Is that all clear? So you got your starred list. You got your morning, evening, and before you sleep, and then the little ones like leaving the house, beginning to drive eating, just memorize those, they're like really short, and very important. Okay? Lastly, number three, in this challenge is the How to end that make sure you have a daily connection to the book of Allah. And realize that it is quality over quantity. This is gonna become more important in Ramadan, right? Because in Ramadan, everyone wants to just cut them, cut them, cut them, right? You
want to finish, but but the goal isn't how much you read. The goal is, do you understand and do you apply?
Does that make sense? So make the goal to to not just read a lot, but to read and understand and to live the core and didn't come down just to be recited. It didn't even come down just to be memorized, it came down to change us. It came down not just to decorate walls, but to change us. Alright, so make sure that you're understanding what you're reading, even if it's a lesser amount.
Okay, so that's the end. And of course, along with that supplementing that is learning about the life of the Prophet sighs lm and because obviously the quarter n the prophet SAW Selim is the walking Quran. He's the example of how to live the Quran. All right. One last thing I want to say about Vicodin
is that a lot of us misunderstand how to protect ourselves. Everybody wants protection, right? Right. But sometimes we think that the protection comes from wearing a certain type of necklace, or putting something hanging something up in our house, putting something in our car. The protection that comes from vixen is by reciting it by reciting it tongue in the heart. It's not just by hanging it up or wearing it, if everyone understanding what I'm saying. If you're wearing a necklace that has a too cozy, that necklace isn't what's gonna protect you. If you have it up in your house. That physical thing isn't what even have on this house in your car. It's not the most house that's gonna
protect you. It's by risk.
Citing these things, this is what the prophesies taught us. He used to recite, these things weren't even necessarily written or put. They were they were reciting the vicar. They were just hanging it up or wearing it. Alright. Okay. I'm finally
I said first taqwa, I said the second is a vicar.
Third is we have to be mindful of our environment. And I'm just going to leave you with this. The prophets, I seldom said that a person is on the way of his closest friend.
He actually uses the word Dean, and Elmer Oh, Allah de Khalili that the person is on the way, the Dean of their closest friend, Dennis. Now what that means, means you become just like your closest friends. So you have to be mindful who you take as your closest friend, because y'all are going to become the same. That's prophetic. That's not my words. And you see this because when you start to be you see two people who are like, really close, this start to talk, like they move on. Like, they their gestures are, like, you know, when when sometimes you know that everything starts to become shared, like the same stuff is funny, right? It's like, you start to actually become like one
person, you become very similar, right? And you find this amongst spouses too. It's like, you start to just pick up, some of this starts to look alike. It's like crazy, right? But my point is that you become like the one who is closest to you. So you have to be very, very picky, who you take to be closest to you. Because it has to be someone you want to become like. And of course, a person who reminds you of Allah is going to be good for you because you want to become like that. And someone who makes you forget Allah, someone who takes you away from Allah is someone that you should avoid. The prophets. I seldom said that good company is like entering a perfume shop. Have you guys ever
gone into bath and Bodyworks? Right? Every
recently like, went to a perfume shop cuz like, you know, you go through like, these shops, you come out smelling like every single, like, like cucumbers and melons and flowers and everything, right? Because you put on all the samples, you didn't buy anything, just run every sample. So you come out smelling really good out of a perfume shop, right? The prophets I send said that you enter a perfume shop, you come out, he says good friends are like going into a perfume shop. You come out smelling good.
Yeah, even if you don't be exactly like them, you they will affect you in a positive way.
And he said bad friends are like entering a blacksmith shop, either gonna get burned, or at least you come out smelling bad. Because you have smoke in your clothes. There have been around someone who's smoking.
Even if you weren't smoking, you still smell bad. Right? Right. So the prophets I send him is telling us this, and he's warning us that we we become like those that are closest to us. Um, one other thing I want to warn you about before I wrap up, is that in the end, Allah gives us snap shots of things that are going to come in the future. Right. So he gives us snapshots from the Day of Judgment.
And one of the snapshots he gives us is of the people in hellfire. And you know what they say? There are two things I want to point out. One is that one of the things that they say in Hellfire is I wish I had not taken so and so as a friend. That's going to be one of the biggest regrets of the people of Gehenna is I wish I had not taken this this one as a friend.
The second I want to point out of what the people in jahannam are going to say is lamb neck, bone, mineral muscle lean, that we were not among those who prayed.
You see that? Those two, we were not among those who prayed. And we wish that we had not taken this as a friend this so and so.
All right, to wrap up.
In order for us to be successful in a world that's constantly bombarding us,
we need to be conscious of Allah subhanaw taala we need to have Taqwa based in love of Allah, attachment to Allah and a bond with Allah subhanaw taala. We need to plan for tomorrow. Just
Like we would plan for that move to that other house.
We need to remember Allah subhanho wa Taala
and we need to guard our company. Clinically, Heather was stuck for a while you and I come in often Rahim. subhanak alaba Hamza shadow Allah, Allah Holland, South Africa to blue lake.
Sure, how much time do we have?
Okay, excellent. So what I'm going to do now is
I'll read, I have a short book reading that I'm going to do. And then I want to have a chance to take a few questions. So if you can hold on to your questions, inshallah.
So this chapter,
right, and it's about
empowerment of women.
It's the empowerment of women. Chapter. All right.
When the companions of the Prophet sallallahu, wasallam, entered a town, to bring them the message of Islam, he put it very beautifully. He said, I have come to free you from the servitude of the slave, and bring you to the servitude of the lord of the slave.
Within this statement lies a powerful treasure. locked within these words, is the key to empowerment, and the only real path to liberation.
Because you see, the moment that you are I allow
anything other than our Creator, to define our success, our failure, our ultimate happiness, or our worth, we have entered into a silent, but destructive form of slavery.
That thing which defines my self worth, my success, and my failure is what controls me and it becomes my master.
The master that has defined a woman's worth has taken many forms throughout time. One of the most prevalent standards made for women has been the standard of men. But what we so often forget, is that God has honored the woman by giving her value in relation to him, not in relation to men. Yet, as some philosophies erase God from the scene, there is no standard left, but men. As a result, these Western feminists, for example, are forced to find their value in relation to a man. And in so doing, she's accepted a faulty assumption. She's accepted that men are the standard. And first, a woman can never be a full human being, until she becomes just like a man, the standard. When men cut
their hair short, she wanted to cut her hair short, when a man joined the army, she wanted to join the army. She wanted these things, sometimes for no other reason than because the standard had them. What she didn't recognize was that God defines both men and women, in their distinctiveness, not in their sameness. When we accept men as the standard. Suddenly, anything uniquely feminine becomes by definition, inferior.
being sensitive is an insult, becoming a full time mother, a degradation. In the battle between stoic rationality, traditionally considered masculine and selfless compassion considered feminine. Traditionally, rationality reigns supreme. As soon as we accept that anything A man has and does is better. All that follows is a knee jerk reaction. If men have it, we want it to, if he can do it, I can do it better, right?
If men pray in the front rows, we assume this is better. So we want to pray in the front rows too. If men lead prayer, we assume the Imams closer to God. So we want to lead prayer to somewhere along the line, we've accepted the notion that having a position of worldly leadership is some indication of one's position with God. But a Muslim woman doesn't need to degrade herself in this way. She has God as the standard. She has God to give her value. She doesn't need a man to do this.
Given our privilege as women, we only degrade ourselves by trying to be something that we're not, and in all honesty don't want to be a man.
As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men, and value the beauty in our own God given distinctiveness. And yet in society, there's another prevalent Master, which has defined for women their worth. And that is the so called standard of beauty. Since the time we were little, we as women have been taught a very clear message by society. And that message goes like this, be thin, be sexy, be attractive, or be nothing.
So we were told to put on their makeup and wear their short skirts, instructed to give our lives, our bodies and our dignity for the cause of being pretty. We came to believe that no matter what we did, we were worthy only to the degree that we could please and be beautiful for men. So we spent our lives on the cover of Cosmo. And we gave our bodies for advertisers to sell.
We were slaves, but they taught us that we were free. We were their objects. But they swore that this was success. Because they taught you that the purpose of your life was to be on display, to attract and be beautiful for men. They had you believe that your body was created to market their cars, but they lied. Your body your soul was created for something higher, something so much higher.
God says in the end, verily, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the one who is the most righteous.
So you are honored. But it is not by your relationship to men either being them or pleasing them. Your value as a woman is not measured by the size of your waist, or the number of men who like you. Your worth as a human being is measured on a higher scale,
a scale of righteousness and piety and your purpose in life. Despite what the fashion magazines say, is something more sublime than just looking good for men. Our completion comes from God and our relationship with Him. And yet from the time we were little, we as women have been taught that we will never reach completion until a man comes to complete us. like Cinderella, we were taught that we are helpless. Until a prince comes to save us. Like Sleeping Beauty we were told that our life doesn't fully begin until Prince Charming kisses us.
But here's the thing, no Prince can complete you and no night can save you only God can. Your Prince is only a human being. God may send him to be your companion but not your Savior. The coolness of your eyes, not the air in your lungs. Your air is in God, your salvation and completion are in his nearness, not the nearest to any creative thing, not the nearest to a prince, not the nearest to fashion or beauty or style. And so I asked you to unlearn I asked you to stand up and tell the world that you are a slave to nothing, not to fashion, not to beauty, not to men, you are a slave to God and God alone. I asked you to tell the world that you're not here to please men with your body.
You're here to please God. So to those who mean well, and wish to liberate you just smile and say, Thanks, but no thanks. Tell them you're not here to be on display and your body is not for public consumption. Make sure that the world knows that you will never be reduced to an object or a pair of legs to sell shoes. You are a soul, a mind a servant of God. And your worth is defined by the beauty of that soul, that heart and that moral character. So you don't worship their beauty standards and you don't submit to their fashion sense. Your submission is to something higher.
Therefore, in answering the question of where and how a woman can find empowerment, I find myself led back to the statement of our Prophet. So I said lambs companion, I find myself led back to the realization that true liberation and empowerment lies only in freeing oneself from all other masters
All other definitions, all other standards.
As Muslim women, we have been liberated from this silent bondage. We don't need society's standard of beauty or fashion to define our worth. We don't need to become just like men to be honored. And we don't need to wait for a prince to save or complete us. Our worth, our honor, our salvation, and our completion lies not in the slave, but in the Lord of the slave. Does that come a level heighten?
All right, well, before I take these, does anyone have questions from the floor?
Um, the book I read. Yeah. Um, so the book I read is reclaim your heart. Those of you who have who might have had an older version, this actually the new edition has four new chapters. And then my new book is called love and happiness. Um, the
actually love and happiness it led me Actually, there's the introduction of love and happiness. I'll just read really quick because some people kind of wonder what's the difference between the two books. But this one's a short intro that kind of explains not just this book, but pretty much my work.
Things Fall Apart, and they break sometimes, like many of you, my journey hasn't always been easy. Pain is very real and soul is loss. Sometimes it's hard not to let the weight of what we carry, or the memory of what we've lost take over. Many of us know the reality of struggle, and so many people suffer in silence. It is hard. It is hard not to give up. When we face the repeated disappointments of life. Like some of you, I have known loneliness, I have known defeat, I have fallen many times chasing mirages and broken many bones, building castles in life's fading sense. Sometimes all it took was one solid wave to destroy what I had spent years building. And so I decided to give it a
voice all of it. The tears, the pain, and the lessons, the things that I saw and learned and gained along my life path, needed a voice. I wanted to give back in hopes of helping myself and others survive. But then it wasn't just about surviving. I didn't just want people to survive inside their storms. I wanted people to thrive inside their storms. And so I wrote as I walked through my own, the words found in this book became my voice and my letter to the world. They became my deepest attempt to not just pick myself up, but others along the way. I wrote because just as we will fall in life, so will we rise. That's the thing about this world, it never gives us only one kind of
path. There is pain, yes.
And loss, and even darkness. But there is also light, there is hope. There is beauty. And there is also love and happiness. So that's the introduction for that.
So any, any other last questions? Yes.
So how you keep hope? Okay, great question. She said in these challenging times, when people are losing hope. How can we continue to have hope? I literally just posted on Facebook, on my both my pages, a talk that I gave last week on that exact subject. And because we have literally like four minutes, I can't give it justice. But I can point you to that, to that talk. And in that talk, it's just about that question. How can we continue to have hope, even in darkness, right. And I use two stories from the Quran. And and and those are this well, you can listen to it, it'll be a cliffhanger. But
how we can extract lessons from these two stories. So that's an and I have also a lot of talks online on my YouTube page about hope because I believe that, as you rightly said, that is one of the biggest challenges that we're facing is the loss of hope. And honestly, that's where shaitan comes in. And hope
despair is one of the most beloved tools of shaitan. It's one of the most effective and beloved tools of shaitan. So we cannot allow despair to take over. Before I wrap it up, let me just give you guys this advice when it comes to hope and, and and avoiding despair.
Allah did not create us to be perfect.
And I just want everyone to kind of absorb that.
Allah did not create us perfect, alone knew what he was doing when he created Benny Adam, and he created angels, they are not the same. A lot did not make a mistake by creating Benny Adam. Human beings are not perfect. And Allah Subhana Allah tells us again and again and again in both the Quran and the Hadith, that Allah is not expecting perfection from us, because we that's not our nature. There's a hadith that says that all the children of Adam are going to make mistakes.
And the best of them are those who repent.
There's another Hadith that said that if you did not sin and repent, Allah would remove you from the earth and bring up people that would sin and repent. That's the design. Now the design is not to sin on purpose, that design is that we are fallible. And so inevitably, we will be imperfect. But we have to continue to, to repent to Allah subhanaw taala. Let me just give you guys this example. Okay.
an Olympic Coach,
an Olympic coach who's teaching gymnastics or figure skating. Now that coach, if he or she went to the Olympic athlete and said, just go fall?
How good is that training?
Is it isn't it? Is it possible, no matter how how good an athlete is that they will never fall? Will a gymnast never in their life fall will will know that even if they're an Olympic, there will be times they will fall? Have you ever seen what happens when they fall? Like Like, like a figure skater? Or have you seen what happens when they fall? They in they have learned how to gracefully get back up. And that is half of the skill. We as Muslims have to be able to learn and we have to teach our children that skill of being able to get back up. Our problem is that as soon as we fall, everyone wants to keep us there by shaming you. Right? Oh, did you see what she was wearing? Oh,
look at her. She wears hijab. And she does that. You don't say, Oh, she might as well take off her hijab, these kinds of things that we say that is aiding shaitan against each other. Because it's trying to keep people down when they fall instead of helping them up. If someone makes a mistake, and they slip and they fall, you don't tell them you know what you might as well just stay there. If you see someone drowning in the ocean, or in a poll in front of you, right? And you say, Oh, you know what? I think you should just stay there. You know what? I think you're good. Just you know what you might as well just stop trying to swim. That's how we act when we see someone who's
slipping. When we see someone who's drowning, who's getting off of the path who's doing something wrong? What do we do? We talk about them, we shame them and we basically tell them, You know what, don't even try. Right? You might as well take off your hijab, stay there, stay there in the water, you don't say instead of throwing them a lifeline instead of trying to help them, right. So we also have this idea of, of, if someone slips, we don't have a concept. We haven't been trained of how to get back up. We just lose hope right away. And that's a big mistake and that's shaitan against us, and then we aid shaitan against each other when we do that. We need to be a people of teaching
others how to get back up. No, don't lose hope. No, don't lose hope. Repent and get back up. And if someone you see someone struggling, you don't tell them Oh, just you might as well stop trying to swim just drown. Get over with. Right. That's ridiculous. You should be trying to help them up. So that was how the profit was I set them right? When the man was urinating in the masjid. Right. How did he approach him? When people were when people made massive mistakes. He taught them how to repent and continue to have hope. And lastly, I'm
Just going to end on this note, when you study the story of shaitan and add them and Islam, you'll find something very interesting about this story. What did shaitan do wrong? Everyone is gonna say he didn't bow. Right? I understand he didn't bow. He did something wrong by not bowing. But can I ask you a question? Wasn't Adam also told not to eat from the tree?
Did he eat or not? He did. So now we have Adam who ate what he wasn't supposed to. And Iblees who refused to bow when he was commanded? Yes. Allah is telling us both of their stories for a reason to show us. Why are they different? What did they do different? In essence, they both disobeyed. You can call Adams a slip as alone. But the bottom line is he was told not to eat from the tree he ate from it yes or no.
So the difference between them isn't that they slipped? It's what they did after they slipped. Do you understand? Because the reality is let me ask you this question. shaitan did it make one such that? Have y'all ever missed one digit in your entire life?
Don't Ask Don't answer how many you've missed. Okay. But if you missed one digit, how many such says have you refused to do?
shaitan refused only one folks.
You feel me?
But why is shaitan going to hell for just missing one such though.
He never asked for forgiveness. And he continued to rebel after. That's why. Yeah. Do you guys understand? And what did Adam do? Robin of alumna and fusina takfiri. Lana was Ramadan, an akuna? nominal, Casa de. That's what Adam did. He said, Our Lord, we've wronged our own selves. One thing I really, really like, appreciate is that he doesn't even try to blame shaitan. He takes full responsibility. He says, we did this to ourselves. You know what I mean? We're always about blaming someone, right? It's Israel's fault. America's fault. It's my brother's fault. My husband's fault. It's always someone else's fault. It's never your fault. Right. So the reality is he took
responsibility. And then he said, and if you don't forgive us and have mercy on us, we'll be among the losers. Okay, according Callie Heather was stuck for too long. He will come in no sooner Rahim subhanak Alavi ham Dhaka Shalala