Growing Up In America – The Search For Inspiration

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Yasmin Mogahed

Channel: Yasmin Mogahed

Episode Notes

Sister Yasmin Mogahed speaks at the Dar-un-Noor Academy Fundraiser (Atlanta, Georgia) on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

Episode Transcript

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Salam aleikum.

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You always know a child who goes to an Islamic school by how they say why they come to them. That's awesome. I will never let him in a shaytani r rajim Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim are salatu salam ala rasulillah who Allah Allah savage mine, rubbish. rocklea sadri we are steadily Omri melissani. of Gohan calling.

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I am talking about a topic today that I feel very passionate about. It's a topic I don't get the opportunity very often to speak about. And so I hope, and I asked Allah subhanaw taala to allow me to give it it's it's due. It's the topic of

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finding guidance, finding inspiration growing up in America, and specifically about the need, and I'm going to, and I'm going to use the word need the absolute imperative need for Islamic education, and specifically Islamic schools. I know there's a lot of opinions out there about

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when it comes to Islamic schools, when it comes to, you know, do we need to send our children to Islamic schools? Or should we send them to public schools? Or should we send them to other private schools, but I personally and I'll, I'll begin to tell you why I personally am a huge advocate and supporter of Islamic schools, and specifically full time Islamic schools. And what I hope to do is to explain why, and to talk a little bit about specifically this school and the things that I've heard about the school which I think really allow, you know, which really make it stand apart.

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So first of all, a little background about myself. I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, I myself, did not have the opportunity to go to a full time Islamic school. However, I currently send my children to full time academic school and I'm a big supporter of Islamic school and I'll tell you why. But before I tell you why I want to tell you something that Allah subhanaw taala told us in the Quran, Allah subhanaw taala in the hood and addresses the believers. Yeah, and when Allah subhanaw taala addresses the believers, he says to the believers, he's he's advising the believers. And he's telling the believers first and foremost, to have Taqwa.

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And when he said first he says it the whole law. And after saying this advice, he says, well, thunder, nessa Malka, de medlicott. He says, enlight every person know what they put forth for tomorrow. So what Allah here is telling us to do is to make sure that we're not just planning for what we're going to do tonight, or what we're going to do tomorrow and 24 hours, but he's reminding us to be conscious of what we're planning for the tomorrow capital T, that we should be conscious of what we've put forward for the next life.

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Now, recently, we were just talking, my husband was talking about

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an individual that he knew from the UK, who who went through an experience and after, you know, he spent his life seeking education. And he spent his life kind of working for his career. But after some time, he said something really heartbreaking. And that is that as he was sort of focused on these other things in his life, he said he came to the UK, and he was focused on on making money. But what happened along the way is that his children got lost.

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And he said it in like such a profound way. He said, I came here

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to find gold, and I lost my diamonds.

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I came here to find golden I lost my diamonds. And the reason why this was so touching is that I think it's summarizes what a lot what happens to a lot of people. We're chasing after things in this life. And many of these things are perfectly halen, right? A good job, money, status, right? We want we want these things. And then we want these things for our children as well right? upon a good job, status and money. But in this seeking, in this in this rat race, sometimes we lose something much, much more precious. We lose the heart and soul of our children. We lose our children. And that's one of the scariest things because at the end of the day

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every single person

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is going to enter their grave, right. And it doesn't matter what you believe it doesn't matter whether you're a Christian or a Jew, an atheist, you cannot deny the fact that you will enter your grave. Now, when we enter our grave, and every one of us know, this knows that this will happen. All of the things, we chased all of the money and all of the status and all of the degrees,

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because this man actually had a lot of degrees, he was chasing his degrees. He had a PhD and however, and many other degrees, but he said that in seeking gold, I lost my diamonds. And so when we enter our grave, all of these things that we chased, they don't come with us, to our graves, our money doesn't come with us, our degrees, our status, our title, whether you are called doctor or not, will not come with you to your grave.

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There's only three things that will come to you in your grave.

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And one of those things, is a righteous child who prays for you that this is actually what you're leaving behind is your children, you're leaving behind. That's, that's what you not only leave behind, but that is what will continue to follow you when you leave this earth. And when you meet Allah subhanaw taala, from the beginning in the grave, is that a righteous child who you left behind, who is making to offer you that this is what you left behind. Second, is a soda kajaria. Now a soda jatiya is a charity that you gave in this life, and it continues to benefit others, even after you pass away. So you're in your grave, and you're continuing to get good deeds for this

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charity that you left that continues to benefit others. And third, is some knowledge that you passed along some knowledge that you gave another person that continues to benefit others, even after you've entered your grave. Now, I want you to think for a moment about an investment that encapsulates all three of these things. Think about an investment, that not only raises righteous children, it is a charity that continues to benefit others long after we pass away. And it is a means by which we disseminate knowledge that continues to benefit others long after we've passed away. And that is the investment in an Islamic school. The investment in the education of a child.

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That to me, if you're thinking about it from a business perspective, right, you want to maximize your return, right? Whenever we invest, what is the goal, the goal in our investment is that I'm gonna put in some, some some, you know, work or, or money, and I'm gonna get something back, right? Isn't that what an investment is? Now, if you want to maximize your investment, you want to get the most return. And if you're thinking in that way, just about your own your own effort, how can I maximize it, there is I cannot think of a better way than to invest in a school than in to invest in the education of a child than to invest in raising another human being, because that encapsulates

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the righteous child, the sadaqa jariya, as well as the knowledge that Allah subhanaw taala goes on

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to say,

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well, that's a cool new kaladin. And so love and sell home and fulfill. Now this one, this a, I want to focus on for a moment, the meaning of this area is Do not be like those who forgot about Allah. So he made them forget about themselves. This is very profound. This is a very profound concept, that when we forget about Allah, when Allah is no longer a part of our lives, when getting closer to Allah, knowing what Allah wants from us reading and studying his book, when this is no longer part of our lives, not only do we forget him, we forget our own selves, that why is it that we get lost? Why is it that we face identity crises? The answer is because we've forgotten a lot. And it's a very

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simple answer, that when a person forgets a law, a lot actually makes that person forget themselves. Why? Because what is our purpose here?

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Our purpose essentially as Allah tells us, what malloc to general ins

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inelia one, we have not created Jinan human beings for any other purpose except to know, worship, love,

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enslave ourselves to Allah subhanaw taala. I say that because the word obaldia is not just worship, it's not just praying a lie is not saying that we created people just to pray No, a bad that is bigger than just prayer, it includes prayer. But it also includes all the other actions that we do for the sake of Allah. It includes service to others. It includes putting a lot at the center of our lives, it includes being the best husband, wife, parent, that we can be. And that's our purpose. So when we stray from that purpose, and we forget a lot,

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that is the definition of being lost. That's why we lose our identity. Now growing up in this country,

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growing up in this country, without direction without roots, in our identity, and I don't just speak in our identity as Muslims or our identity, as you know, Arabs or any other, I'm talking about in our identity as human beings that this is the purpose of our, of our being who of our creation. When we lose sight of that, we lose ourselves. And and the reason I want to remind you with about that is, as parents, we have a responsibility to our children.

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Allah subhanaw taala tells us that every single person is going to be asked about their Amana, what's an Amana and a man as a trust. So if I were to entrust you with some money, for example, then you would be responsible for that taking care of that money, right? Allah subhanaw taala has given us a trust, Allah, in fact, has given us many trusts. And one of the most precious of them is our children. Allah will ask us what we did to give our children their right of an Islamic education. It's not just something optional, it's something that is fought it is it is obligatory upon us to give that to our children. And if we don't, if we fall short, for whatever reason, for whatever

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illusions we are chasing, we will be asked by Allah subhana wa, tada, we will be asked why we did not give them that education, and that environment that was there, right? It's a right upon that upon us. Right? That that it is actually an obligation rather upon us. And it is there right. Now, I want to just move slightly to the concept of environment. So someone might say, Okay, I'm going to teach my children, um, over the weekend, right? They can go to school, you know, at any other school during the week, and I can give them tutors or I can send them to, you know, Sunday school, Saturday school is semi school over the weekend.

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Now, while that's wonderful, there's a very important problem there. And that is, you are overlooking the absolute powerful influence of environment. Now, this is something that I can I can tell you from an Islamic perspective, but also from a psychology perspective. You are you are you are your environment. The prophets I send them says el mar O Allah de la was I mean, very simply put very profound, a human being is on the way of their closest friend. What does that mean? It means that whoever we take close to us, as a friend, companion spouse, you become like them, you become like them. And you'll notice this with your bestie right, you see two people who are very close,

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they start to become almost like the same person. They talk the same, they think the same things are funny, right? They're just they're almost become like they morph into each other right? This is the nature of the human being you become like those you take close to you. In another Hadith the prophet SAW Selim says that a person who has good companions or good environment is like someone who enters a perfume shop. How many of you have ever gone into bath and Bodyworks?

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Like zero people? Okay. You don't want to enter bath and Bodyworks you just come out smelling good even if you bought nothing, right? Because you put on the samples. Am I right? You're like part cucumber part vanilla, part flowers.

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So the idea that the prophets I sell him is conveying to us is that when you're around, good company, it's like entering a perfume shop, that even if you don't buy anything, you come out smelling better. You come out, it affects you.

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And you said that company is like entering a blacksmith shop. And what happens at a blacksmith shop? Well, one of two things will happen. Either you will get burnt, or you'll come out smelling bad. Have you ever been around someone smoking, that just being in that environment makes you smell bad. And that's what happens is that even if you are not okay, but I'm not doing what they're just being in that environment affects you. It affects the state of your heart. And at the very least, and I'm going to tell you now, this brings me to the psychology aspect. And I want you to just listen carefully to this, please. Many of us are under the impression that because there's some sort of so

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called separation between church and state, no, no, no, my children, they're not being taught about Jesus at school, they're being taught something more dangerous. Don't think that because there's a separation between church and state, that your children are not learning morals at school, they are being taught morals, and believe me, they're not your morals, they are not your morals, they're a different set of morals, and they are forced down the throat, for example, these children are forced to accept that homosexuality is perfectly fine. I'm just telling you the truth, that this is a moral teaching, you cannot go through the system and come out. You cannot you cannot go through the system

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and come out, not believing that or else you're called Islamophobic, or rather very homophobic. This is unacceptable. So even though they're not teaching them religion, realize they are teaching them a religion in the sense of it's a way of thinking and believing. And it's the only thing that's acceptable. You're not allowed to say that this is morally wrong, because that actually makes you that will that will ostracize you. So that's just one example. But there are countless examples, that even though you're not being it's not, it's not like they're teaching about, you know, Jesus or the Son of God. But there's, there are beliefs that are being taught.

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And, and and you may not, you may not realize it, but there's a certain way that that you're, you're taught to think, and this is the only acceptable way to think. Second is that when you're exposed to something consistently, this is now psychology. Have you guys you guys know about desensitization, right? Do you know what that means? So for example, okay, I'll tell you,

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for example,

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when you take when you take a certain medicine, right? When you first take the medicine, there is like this dose that will work, right? But then over time, what happens to your body, it becomes desensitized essentially, to the Met to that dose. Right. So now, as you have to take a certain medicine chronically, you will have to take a higher dose for it to have the same effect. Yes, you know, this right? is how it works with drugs is how it works with medicine. It's the same thing psychologically. So what happens is when you become exposed to something a lot, use your heart starts to become desensitized. In other words, you become numb. Okay, so say you're always seeing

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some sort of shamelessness. What's shamelessness, shamelessness in Arabic, it's called fascia. Okay, fascia is basically these things that are just,

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you know, these sins, things that Allah subhanaw taala dislikes. And they're, and they're shameless, okay? And I don't have to get into detail about what I mean, the way that people behave, the way that people dress, the interactions that you have to be exposed to the language, the the types of things people are doing, you know, on the weekends, or maybe just right in front of you in the hallway, if you understand what I'm saying, yeah, that when you get exposed to that, again, and again, this is now going in your eyes, your ears. What it does, is not only is it putting a black spot on your heart, but it's starting to numb your heart. It makes you become less and less

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sensitive to the fact that this is wrong. And now over time, you'll be able to see it and it has no influence. It has no effect on you. Let me give you just one example. We in America

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have become desensitized to the sexualization of women. That's just one example. What do I mean? I mean, we've become so used to seeing

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semi naked women everywhere, on Billboard's on magazines and movies and commercials. It doesn't even flinch us anymore. We don't even get bothered by it. We think it's almost like, it's normal. We see it in the grocery stores. We see it on the billboards. But this is something that should flinch us, the fact that women are being sexualized. In other words, they're being used as sex objects. This should disgust us. But we've gotten so desensitized to it. Why? Because it's everywhere. This is what happens when you become exposed excessively to something that is sinful, that is wrong, or that is shameful or shame, you know, this, this these these fascia?

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And the problem is when you're in an environment that literally has no concept of Hey, can I tell you, the prophets I send them told us that one of the most important qualities of our Deen is higher, what's higher? modesty generally said, right? Do you know we live in a culture that finds modesty to be something disgusting, almost something, something that's almost like a weakness? It is shunned, we live in a culture where modesty is shunned. Can you can you imagine that conflict? How does one deal with that conflict, that modesty is considered a weakness?

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And that is what you're exposed to? You might think but we're practicing, right? Me and my spouse are practicing. So we'll have an influence? Well, that's beautiful. But if you actually read the research about children, teenagers, you will find that the biggest influence is not from you. It's from the peers. It's from the people around them. It's from the friends, it's from the people they see.

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And finally, if you just look at it, how much time do you spend with your children per day? And how much time are they spending at school, these are things we have to think about. And we can't turn the other way. Because the reality is that you are sending them to an environment for eight hours a day, five days a week.

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And imagine that you're sending your children every single day to an environment that is not that is not wholesome, that is not clean. And then you say that, but they're going to come home and they're going to interact with us for an hour or two, because you know what they're doing their homework, they, you're they're not, it's not like you're you're interacting in terms of like an Islamic type of influence that much every day, but what they are getting is a good eight hour dose, every single day from school. And finally, I want to tell you this, and this is a big reality we cannot ignore. Right now, the most the the group who is most bullied, most harassed, most abused at school is the

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Muslim children. We are being attacked in schools and I mean, various different ways, both physically, as well as mentally and psychologically attack. The statistics are actually quite scary. And what we have to do is realize that this is what we're putting our children through. We're gonna be asked, What did we do not only to teach our children, but to protect them, to put them in an environment where they are being abused and bullied regularly. It's something we're going to be asked about, if especially if there's an alternative.

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I was actually quite shocked when I heard about the numbers that attend this school. I was shocked. Because this is a school that I was like, you're accredited. Yeah, we're accredited. You have you have this system. And yet you have AP classes you have. I mean, these are things that the top schools have. And for a price that is a fraction of the price that we are spending to send our children to private schools. I couldn't understand it.

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I honestly I couldn't understand it. And I honestly believe there is no excuse for it, to not support this effort, when it is both strong academically as well as as islamically and given

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are children that their rights, which is to give them the best environment possible? And by the way, everything I've said so far, I didn't even talk about drugs.

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I didn't even talk about drugs. Okay? But

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there's a big problem with drugs. A big problem with drugs. And I'm telling you that you're putting your children in this environment. How can you think you're not going to be asked that you didn't do your utmost best to give them the best environment to give them their best opportunity and to protect them the most you can I understand you can't protect your children from everything I get that only Allah subhanaw taala can protect them, but will lie you're going to be asked about what you did. You're going to be asked about did you do your part to give them the best protection and the best opportunity to know Allah subhanaw taala that they can and if they get lost, you will be

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asked what part Did you play in them? What part Did you play in that and if Allah subhanaw taala guides them and guidance only comes from Allah, you will you will be rewarded for doing your part. I ask Allah subhanaw taala to protect our children, to teach our children to guide our children and allow us the means to continue to support these efforts. If we don't support these efforts, they won't be able to sustain themselves a holding call he had was stuck for a lot he will come in over for him. So panicle ob ham Decker shadow net Illa Hill and stuck to require to Blake was Santa Monica from A to LA he Rebecca