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Importance Of Giving And Serving Others

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Yasmin Mogahed

Channel: Yasmin Mogahed

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Episode Transcript

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Mina shaitana rajim Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah while he was at the edge mine, rubbish, roughly sadri way acidity, Omri wash Lola, aka salmon, lasagna, Falcone. So the thing is about giving and about service

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is that there is a concept within our Deen, that teaches us about the importance of giving and being in the service of others. But what I want to do is actually come at it from a different angle as well. Because a lot of times, you will come to these events, and you'll have someone standing up here, and this person will be encouraging you to give. And that's a wonderful thing. But a lot of times when we are encouraged to give the narrative is that you need to give because others need your help. And that's true. The Syrians need our help, the people who are you know, the orphans need our help. The people in these refugee camps need our help, etc, they definitely need our help. But But

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the only focus becomes, this person is in need of us that this person is in need of my help. And therefore I will be doing that person in need a favor by helping them and serving them, I actually want to tell you something completely different. I want to tell you that when you give to someone else, you are in fact, first and foremost giving to yourself. And that's a completely different way of looking at it. That when I serve others, I am serving myself. And you might ask why why is that the case? I'm going to make an argument of why that's the case. And not only will I look at what does the line His Messenger say about this? What does our Deen say about service. But I mean, I'm

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even going to talk to you from a completely secular psychology perspective of why it is that when you give and when you serve others you are ultimately and first and foremost serving and giving to yourself. So I'll begin there by telling you this.

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Currently, there is a new wave of psychology and it's called positive psychology. Now positive psychology has a bit of a different focus than traditional psychology used to the differences. This traditional psychology used to focus on what's wrong with the person? What are the symptoms? And then how can we fix it? Or how can we treat it? So things like abnormal psychology, looking at, okay, here's a disorder. Here are the signs of the disorder, here are the symptoms. And then here's the treatment. That's sort of the traditional way of looking at things where you're looking at what's wrong with the person? And then how can you fix it? There's a whole new wave of psychology

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called positive psychology. Now, positive psychology doesn't look any more focused on what's wrong with the individual, what diseases Do they have, but instead, positive psychology is interested in simply how do we improve our, our well being? How do we improve our quality of life? Positive psychology studies, things like happiness? Studies, what is happiness? And how can we just be happier people? How can we be more have increased our quality of life and our well being? Now in this research, they find a few interesting facts, they find that some of the findings that they that they've come to, are very interesting, one of the findings is this.

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A lot of us think that as soon as I get that job, or that promotion, or buy that house, or that dress, then I'm going to be happy, or rather fit into that size of a dress, you know, I'm saying, then I will be I'll finally be happy. That's where happiness is that happiness is that this destination that when I achieve this thing, then I will be happy. But what's interesting that they found in their research is that every individual has something called a baseline happiness. It's sort of that place that people are at in terms of their happiness level. And no matter what

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event, what positive event comes to them, they win the lottery, they get a new job, they get a promotion, what happens that they find is that there will be a temporary increase in their happiness. So what will happen is you'll be at this baseline happiness, something great happens, something that you really wanted, you get that job, you get that promotion, you get that, you know, you win the lottery. And then what happens is there's a spike. And a person will then you know, have that spike in their happiness. But what's very interesting and they find is that it's very temporary. That after a short amount of time, people will come back to them.

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baseline no matter what, and how amazing that event was. So people are finding that it's really very difficult to be above your baseline. Similarly, they find that when something very bad happened, something tragic a loss,

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people will have a dip in that happiness level. But it's also temporary. And essentially, people end up coming back to baseline. So you see, the issue is that each of us are kind of staying around this baseline, and it's not very easy to have this sustained increase in happiness. So what are they looking at? They're looking at within How do you increase the baseline, right, so that I'm just a happier person, in general, my well being is generally increased, not just temporarily, and you know what they find, they find that it's almost impossible. It's actually very difficult to increase your baseline, with the exception of a few things, and essentially found two things that will increase

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the baseline. One of them is the practice of gratitude. That just simply being grateful, keeping a gratitude journal, that these just simple actions will increase your your happiness, so much so that they found it to be a treatment and effective treatment for depression. Just keeping a gratitude journal, five things every day that I'm grateful for. And of course, we know this from our Dean weather in Chicago, Toma Azzedine nakoma says that if you are grateful, if you are thankful, then I will increase you. Allah subhanaw taala is saying that when we focus on what we're thankful for, he will increase us. And that increase is not only in what we get, but in the perception of what we

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have in our own hearts and minds. Because you see what you focus on it grows. So if I focus on what I don't have, if I'm always focused on what I don't have what I'm missing, then I will always feel poor.

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But if I focus on what I have, I will always feel rich, even when what I have is small, it's little, you know, there's this, there's this meme, it's very, like, it's very illustrative of this point, at the top, there's a picture of a little kid holding a slice of cake.

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And this kid is just staring at the slice of cake with a huge grin on his face. He's really happy with this slice of cake, okay. And then underneath it is another photo of a kid holding an entire cake. missing one slice.

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Okay, who has more cake,

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the guy in the top or the bottom, the one on the bottom has more cake. But the one on the bottom is sad.

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The one on the bottom is sad. Why? Because he's not looking at the cake, he's looking at the slice that's missing, you understand very deep. And because he's focused on the slice that's missing, even though he has more than the one on the top. He's sad, and the one on the top is happy. And that is the reality of gratitude. That is just the base reality of gratitude. That when you focus, whatever you focus on grows, and if I'm focused on the slice I have, it looks big in my eyes. And if I'm focused on the slice, I don't have that, that they can see looks big in my eyes, what I'm missing becomes big. So that's one of the things that they find will increase your baseline happiness, to

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the extent that it can be a very effective treatment for depression.

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But there's something else that they found to be one of the most effective ways to increase your own happiness, not just in temporary spikes, but your entire baseline. And that is service to others. That is to give and serve others to be generous. You know how you've been taught? since you were little that money doesn't buy happiness? You've been lied to.

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It's actually not true. Wait, hold up. But wait a minute. Everyone's like what?

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Money indeed buys happiness. And studies have shown that money buys happiness, you know, when when it's spent on others? Isn't that amazing? That they found in a study many studies that if you ask it when they when they look at how if like when a person spends money on themselves, it does not increase their well being or their happiness. But when they spend on someone else, it does, Suppan, Allah. This is the design of Allah. The design of the Creator is that when I give to others, it makes me happier. It makes me feel good. It's an intrinsic reward for giving to others. And they found that it's so powerful.

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Just remembering a time you spent on someone else will make you happier. Just remembering that one time I gave this to someone, I spent on another person, it will make me happy. But when they thought about when they spent on themselves, it didn't make them happier. This is just science. This is just, this is just, I mean, this is research. This isn't a cliche. It's not like a Hallmark card. This is actual research. So what we find is this, a law

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has designed human nature in this way that we feel good when we give to others, we feel good to serve others, one of the most effective treatments, I told you that, that one of the most effective treatments, even to treat depression is gratitude. Another is service, that when you yourself suffer when you yourself are in pain.

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One of the best ways to pull yourself up is to pull up another person is to help another person who's suffering and to help another person who's in pain. And this is something that's shown again and again in research. And you'll find it from personal experience. It's one of the best things to to prescribe to a person who's suffering and who's dealing with depression is, is start volunteering, start giving to others, start serving others go to a soup kitchen, go to a, you know, a shelter, help those who are in need, and it will actually help you. So this is this is just a purely secular lens, right? What is just pure psychology. And this is something that is this applies

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to all people regardless of faith. All people regardless of faith, why do you find even atheists who sometimes will just be in the service of others? They will, you know, they'll be involved. You know, one thing I was amazed, I was amazed. This the reaction of people to this so called the Muslim ban.

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Do you guys know what I'm saying? The reaction of people to the Muslim ban was amazing to me. We had people

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camping out in airports. We had people protesting we had we had lawyers giving up their time, staying up, you know, just to help these people who they have nothing. I mean, it's not their own family necessarily, right. It's just for the service of others, seeing someone in need, and going out and helping. This is something even a disbeliever can do and feel good about. Why? Because Allah has designed the human being in this way that it feels good to give to others. This is our fitrah This is our nature.

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Now,

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if Allah has designed us in that way, why would a lot design us in that way, unless he wanted us to be in the service of others. This is the intent of Allah is he wants to human being, the creator wants the human being to be in the service of others. And so he makes it feel good, because human beings at the end of the day, we do what feels good. That's how we are we want to we want to avoid pain, and we are motivated towards pleasure. So something that feels good, we're going to do more of a law made it feel good because this is the design we are meant to help one another. We are not meant to just be thinking about ourselves, isolating ourselves from others and the needs of others.

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Now want to switch for a second on what is our Deen say about service? What is our Deen say about giving and about generosity.

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If I could just summarize one thing,

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if I could just summarize this this topic in one way I would say this.

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When you when you look at the text, when you look at the Koran and the Hadith about this topic, you'll find that it basically here is the message across the board. It's this

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how I treat others is how I should expect God to treat me.

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You know, there's this saying treat others as you'd like to be treated. I'm going to add something to that.

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Treat others as you would like God to treat you. That's how it is. Treat others as you would like God to treat you. And I can give you example after example after example of that. The prophets I said and told us have mercy on people have mercy on those who are on the earth and the one in the heavens will have mercy on you that parallel that if I am merciful to people, God will be merciful to me, right. And on the other hand, the prophets I send them warns us

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That he who does not have mercy, he who does not show mercy to the creation will not be shown mercy by the Creator. So there's that parallel. And it goes on. In the end. In the end, you know the story of our shuttle Dylan when she was accused of being on chest, we know this story, she was accused. And for a while there wasn't a revelation regarding this. So what happens is that her father, Abu Bakar, the line, he finds out that one of the people spreading the slander about the DA about his own daughter is a relative. And it's a relative that he's financially supporting. Can you imagine what that would be like? someone saying the worst thing about your daughter, and it's your own

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relative who you are giving financial support to? So all that he did, I mean, we can imagine ourselves in that situation. All he did, he didn't go and try to get revenge. He didn't go and try to get him, you know, killed or beat up or anything like that I was Avila All he did was withhold financial support. His Oh, he's giving financial support to this relative, all he did was stop the financial support. And, you know, a law reveals in a a reveals a verse to this in this case, and tells abubakr of the line,

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a very, very important principle. And this is a timeless principle, that principle is this, he tells him to pardon and overlook. But why is he being told to pardon and overlook and to help Bona and your fellow law calm? This is the principle, he's being told to pardon and overlook. Why? Because Do you not love for Allah to forgive you?

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That's the principle. The principle is treat this relative with forgiveness, and mercy, because you yourself want forgiveness and mercy from God. You see what that does? It almost takes the person out of the equation, and it just becomes about me and God. So forgiveness doesn't become about the other person anymore. It becomes about me and God, do you understand what I mean? What's the reason why a lot of us don't forgive? One of the most common reasons is so and so does not deserve my forgiveness. Right? Simple as that. But why should I forgive him? or Why should I forgive her when she or he don't deserve my forgiveness? Well guess what? Apple buck held the line didn't forgive the

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relative because he deserved His forgiveness. He forgave the relative because he wanted the forgiveness of Allah. And that's completely different. That's a different way of looking at the world, right? Because that's interacting with people, not for people, but for Allah. Do you understand the power of that forgiveness doesn't become about me. And that individual forgiveness becomes about me and God. And because a Baba was so in need, and knew his need for the forgiveness of Allah. Not only did he continue that financial support, he increased it.

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Do you understand why he did that? Because he under he knew that this transaction was not about him. And that other person, this transaction was about him and Allah. And he increased it. Now. See, that's a different way of looking at the world, if every one of us treated others, and I don't only mean people, but all creation.

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You know, there are stories that we have in our text of a woman, she was a prostitute, and she ended up going to Jenna to heaven. Why should Why was she forgiven because she gave water to a dog. So she's having mercy on a dog. And Allah showed mercy to her because of it.

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And another case was someone who was at who was in fact, abusing a cat. And that person was punished for it. So you see, the way we are with the creation is how we should expect to be treated by Allah. If we are a people who are stingy, stingy. If we are a people who refuse to forgive, then we should be afraid. Why should we be afraid? Because it means that what what what it what it shows is that if I am refusing to forgive others, and if Allah does that with me, then that I am doomed. You see, if Allah does not give us his mercy, if Allah does not give us his mercy, every single one of us is doomed. How do I know that? The Prophet himself so millennia send them who's the perfect human

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being? The most perfect human being are the prophets right? And the Prophet Mohammed sigh Sallam said that no person enters paradise.

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By his actions alone, by his deeds alone,

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except, except if Allah gives that person His mercy, except by the mercy of Allah. So think about it for a second here. This is the man sallallahu Sallam who has the most perfect of actions, the most perfect of deeds is his right he is the one who has the best worship. Now imagine if his worship is not enough by itself to enter agenda without the mercy of Allah. What about you and me?

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What about you and me? What does that say? It says that you and I are desperately in need of the mercy of Allah. And so if I want the mercy of Allah, but I don't show mercy to others, then I should be afraid.

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Because for me to get the mercy of others. I need to show I for me to get the mercy of Allah, I need to show mercy to others. I'll tell you guys something. How many of you?

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How many of you know what Black Friday deals are?

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Number of Black Friday deals, it's the day after Thanksgiving sales. Let's talk about that for a second.

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Black Friday deals are a really interesting psychology experiment. Because it shows I'll tell you why. It shows the lengths that a human being will go to get a deal.

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I'm talking like, like killing, like murder. I mean, people die during Black Friday deals. Almost every year, there's at least one person who dies in like a Walmart. Yeah, because what happens is, people are so crazy about getting a deal. Getting a deal. So what they do is one time, they're all storming in, and the the worker is unable to like open the doors fast enough, the door actually falls in on him and he gets killed. This is because the human being is crazy for a deal. We have people standing in freezing cold weather, camping outside Best Buy, right? I mean, it's like it's like serious PM, you know PM, but they're doing pm outside of BestBuy.

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And it's what time two o'clock in the morning. It's actually to hedge in time, right.

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And then they're doing a walk around the mall.

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But the point is that this is and this is all being done. For one reason, because we love to get a deal. We love to get a deal. So the reason I'm saying this is because look at the deal that alone makes with you. Just look for a second here. Okay? If I come in, I tell you. You see this house, this house overlooking the ocean, it's actually worse. It's actually worth $10 billion.

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But you know what, today's your lucky day and it's on sale for one cent. You can buy this house for one cent only today. Would you feel like you got a deal? Yes. food coma?

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Yes, right. Okay. Now imagine this. Imagine that Allah is saying, Here is not a $10 billion dollar house. But something worth infinity. the mercy of Allah and Jenna, these are not things that are just $10 billion, or even 100 billion or any any quantifiable number, this is infinite. And he's saying to us, this is the deal he's putting forward is that I will give you something infinite in exchange for something finite. What is that finite thing? serve others? serve others? give to others, and then I'll give you something infinite. forgive others, and I will give you something infinite. My own mercy, my own forgiveness. A loss of Hannah Dinah is telling us that he so forget

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Black Friday deals, right? This is a deal. This is a deal. This isn't a $10 billion for a cent. This is infinity. For

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me forgiving someone, for me giving to someone.

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This this woman who gave water to a dog. It wasn't her agenda. She got something infinite for giving water to a dog. Why? Because she served the creation. I understanding what I'm saying. So in fact, the law is making a deal with us. And it is a major Good deal. Forget getting a laptop that's worth 2000 for like 1000 this is a real deal. Because you're gonna get forgiven in exchange for what you give to others. Now, there's two Hadith that I want to share with you. But before I get to that, I want to tell you one other thing. When you go to your grave.

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Can you take your money with you?

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Can you take your money with your grave

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Wrong answer.

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That's actually the wrong answer. You do take your money to your grave. Why? Because the prophets lie. Selim said that after a person dies, three things come back to their grave. And what's one of them. So the kajaria, a sadhaka, jatiya, actually comes back to you see, you're all taught that money doesn't buy happiness. And you're taught that money doesn't come to your grade, both which are wrong, money will come back to your grave, but not the money you kept. The money you gave away. Isn't that powerful, that the money you gave away is what's going to come back to your grave. So you're actually keeping what you give, and you're losing what you keep? That's deep.

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You're keeping what you give, and you're losing what you hold on to what you keep. Because the things that we give for Allah, the things that we give for a law, the things that that South Africa that we give sadaqa jariya is that is a charity that continues to benefit others, even after we pass, even after we die, it continues to benefit others. And that will come back to us in our grace.

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And knowledge that we give that continues to benefit others will come back in our grades.

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These are things that we're doing in this life that do come back in into our grades, but believe me know, nothing that you bought from the mall for yourself. Nothing that you spent this money on for yourself, that's not going to come with you to grade. But the things that you give in southern Africa, as as long as it continues to benefit others will.

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There was one time when the prophets I send them I shadow the line had tells him that she gave charity. And she said I gave a portion of this animal to charity. But I kept your favorite part.

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I kept your favorite part, that's a sweet thing to do. You know what he teaches her, it's such a, like, powerful teaching moment just now is he says to her, the Actually, we lost my favorite part, that's the part that was lost. The part we kept is what you gave for charity. That's the part we're actually going to keep. This is the reality we have to understand. See, if I ask a little kid, if I asked a little kid, if I give a kid $10 if I give a kid $10. And I say, okay, son or daughter, go and put that $10 into an investment into some investment.

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That child will feel what

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that child will feel that they lost that money, right? Because to a child's mind, putting the money leaving the hand means it's lost. That child is not sophisticated enough to understand what an investment is, what's an investment. And investment means that you're temporarily parting with the money, but it's actually going to give back more, right? Yes or no? That's what it needs to give to Allah. Giving anything to Allah is an investment. But see, some people feel that it's being lost, just like the child, right? That No, I'm losing that money, but you're not losing that money, you're investing that money. And it's not in a in a temporary investment bank or investment firm, it's in

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the infinite one, it's the one that gives back infinitely, this is Allah who you're investing with. So that money is actually not lost. That's what the prophets I send him is teaching her that the the part that he gave away that she gave is the part she's keeping. That's the part she's gonna, she's gonna see and is gonna be saved for her. And the part she kept, okay, you eat it, you enjoy it for 30 seconds, and then it's gone. And then it's gone.

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So the prophet SAW Selim tells us

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in this hadith.

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Now, listen to this hadith. And I want to show the end with these heads. Because they really summarize this point of what I was saying that how you are with the creation is how Allah will be with you. Abu hurayrah relates that the prophet SAW Selim said, Whoever removes one of the hardships of a believing soul, Allah will remove from him one of the hardships of the hereafter. Again, that parallel, Allah will remove from him one of the distresses of the Hereafter, and then whoever solves someone's problem, so someone's in a difficulty and you solve that problem for them. Allah will make things easy for him in this life, and the next, Allah will continue to serve and be at the aid of

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the slave of the servant, as long as that servant is in the aid of his or her brother. Look at the deal Allah is making here. He's saying I'll continue to help you. This is infinite Sir, this is this is infinite house.

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This isn't like, you know, the president coming and saying i'm gonna i'm going to help you I'm going to give you support. This is the Lord of the Universe saying I'm going to give you support so long as you continue to support and serve others. That's the deal guys, right? Forget Black Friday, right? That's a deal. And then lastly, look at this. The prophet SAW Selim says that the most beloved of people according to God, is the one who brings the most benefits to people and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah, as the agenda is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or take hunger away from him. Now watch this, listen

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to this. This is that this part is just blows your mind. It is more beloved to me that I walk with my brother in his time of need. Then for me to be an ad t calf xe calf is when you're secluded in the masjid, in this Masjid, and he's not talking about the masjid in South Carolina. He's talking about Mr. de nabawi in Medina. He said it's more beloved to me that I would walk with my brother or my sister in their time of need than for me to be an advocate in the masjid and never we in Medina for one month. A holy holy has our stuff for Ali. Welcome in our funan Rahim subhanak Elohim samdech a shadow in La La Land istockphoto A Salaam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh