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How to Live More Fulfilling Life

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Yasmin Mogahed

Channel: Yasmin Mogahed

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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As to nature's beauty

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knowing gay everything dawns on you.

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Out of la mina shaytani r rajim Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah Allah le wasabi edge main Bish, roughly Saudi Arabia Siddeley Omri Lok, the Tamil is any of Gokhale.

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I want to start out by saying that I already love this crowd.

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You know, Subhana lives, I've spoken to a lot of different groups,

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for many years, and, you know, all over the world, really. But each crowd is different, and has, you know, a different sort of vibe. And I just want to say that I already feel such a warmth, and welcome, you know, when I'm in the south, and I love the South. But it really is beautiful. It's a beautiful crowd, it's a beautiful event. It's a beautiful cause. I was told that almost exactly one year ago, today at this exact event my sister spoke on so it seems to be a family tradition.

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And it's a great tradition, I, I stand here in front, you know, before you supporting nine different organizations, all of which are doing amazing work, work, which is very much a part of our Islamic tradition, and that is social work, that is social services, providing social services for the community. See, the thing is about service is that, you know, whenever I get a chance to stand up here and speak with a group of people, for a cause that has to do with service,

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I always hope my goal is to, is to have people leave the room with just a couple concepts. And if people leave with just a few concepts, then I'll feel happy, I'll feel I'll feel content. And one of those concepts is this is that when we give to others, we are essentially and first and foremost giving to ourselves. Anytime I reach out, and I help another person up, I am actually helping myself first, and helping that person second. And I'm going to spend the rest of the few minutes that I have with you telling you why. Why is it that when I give to others I am essentially giving to myself, I'm going to make two arguments, or rather two types of arguments.

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One is just a is a purely psych secular psychology argument. And the other is the Islamic argument. Now, if I look at this question, from just a purely psychology, secular psychology perspective, this is what you'll find. And that is that. So there's traditional psychology, which tended to look at what's wrong with the human being, the focus with traditional psychology had been for a long time, looking at abnormal psychology, you know, the different things that can go wrong? And then what are the symptoms? And then how do we treat it? But more and more, we now are coming out with this sort of a new wave of psychology, which is called positive psychology. And positive psychology isn't so

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interested in looking at what can go wrong with a human being but rather more focused on how can we improve the well being of the human being? How can we just be happier people? How can we live more fulfilling lives. And here is what's very interesting about what they found. They found that in essence, to sort of summarize, every person is essentially motivated towards seeking more happiness. People want to be happy. Pleasure is something that's just a human motivator. Everyone agree that no matter what religion you follow, no matter what, you know, race you come from, no matter what your background is, there's something that we all have in common and that so we all want to be happy.

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Yeah, everyone agree. All right. So this is a this is a shared human motivation and shared human experience. So what they found in their studies is that people essentially have something like a baseline happiness, all right, everyone wants to be happier. But what the research shows more and more is that people kind of hanging out around their baseline, and it's not so easy to go up from that. And what's interesting is they find that even when really amazing things happen to you, you know, people who win the lottery, people who get a new job or a promotion or a raise, or you know, they get married or they have a child these kinds of you know, nice things that happen to people.

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what they find is that this will provide a spike in that happiness.

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But essentially, it's more or less, it's sort of temporary, that that it's a spike, but then people end up coming down to their baseline. So what are they looking for? They're looking for, well, how can we do what? increase our baseline? Because it seems like these things are happening. And you know, we always think that, once I get that job, right, then I'll be happy, right? When I marry that person, right, then I will be happy once I have a child, right. Or once I become, you know, a size four, or whatever it is, if you know, depending on which culture you you live in.

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I was just joking, but I was telling my husband this, that it's no matter, this is a side note. But

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no matter what a woman looks like, no matter what size she is, no matter how much she weighs, she always wants to be thinner. And the reality is, is kind of like we are so socialized, in general, to think that no matter where we're at, we could always go less as women, and this is an unfortunate consequence of the media. All right, but that's a side note. So this idea, this idea and and, and, and that's also because of something called Photoshop, the women don't look like what they look like, it's like, we want to look like these women, but these women don't look like these women, you know what I'm saying? Because the, the photo is photoshopped, it's it. I mean, there's,

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there's something called a thigh gap, but then there's just an abyss, and it's like,

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it doesn't exist. Um, but anyway, um, the reality is that we have this idea that when I reach, you know, this particular destination, then I will be happy. But really what the research finds is, that's not how happiness works. Happiness isn't a destination. And even when we reach these, so these so called destinations and these milestones in our lives, it doesn't actually make us overall more happy. But it's this very temporary spike. Long story short, what did they find? They found that there are, although it is extremely difficult to increase your baseline, there are, they found two very reliable ways to increase that baseline. And one of them is service to others. And that is

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very powerful. Because what it teaches us about human nature, is that when I give to you, when I serve you, when I help someone else who's in need, when I reach out, and I you know, pick someone else up, I am actually making myself happier. And that's amazing. And the interesting part about it is very few other things will do the same for my own happiness and well being. That's a powerful reality. You know, they tell you that

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money doesn't buy happiness, right? They all told you that, but it's a lie. Okay, in fact, money buys happiness, and you're going to be like what's happened to her? Right?

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But But what the studies have found is that money buys happiness when it is spent on others. And that's amazing, right? That when I spend money on myself, it actually does not make me happier. This is the result that they found in studies that people can spend on themselves. And it doesn't make them happier, there might be, you know, a temporary sort of peak and my pleasure. But that actual well being is found that the increase in well being is when I spend on others, and that has been found to reliably increase happiness and well being. Again, this is the design of Allah subhanaw taala. This is how the creator made our fitrah our nature is that it actually feels good to give to

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others more than it does to just be selfish. And if I keep that money, I may keep it I may get rich, but it actually isn't making me happier. Whereas if I spend it on others, it makes me happy. Now, so far, I haven't talked about religion. So far, I'm just talking to you from a purely psychological secular point of view, that this is just the design of the Creator, that the Creator has made us in such a way that it actually feels good to help. And that one of the ways in fact, this is so powerful, that one of the most effective ways to pull a person for if a person is is dealing with depression. If a person themself is struggling, one of the most reliable ways to pull themselves up

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is to pull up another person is to help another person who is suffering to help to lend a hand to another person is one of the most reliable ways to pull myself up and that's, again, that's the design of Allah subhanaw taala service to others. Now, I told you there were two ways to increase that

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Well being right. And the second is gratitude. It is the practice of gratitude. It's when we,

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you know, there's this.

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There's this cartoon, it's sort of like a meme, right. And it has two pictures on it. I think it's very illustrative of this concept. At the top, it has a little kid. And the little kid is holding a plate with one slice of cake. All right? Now, if we think of, Okay, so this cake, this one slice of cake, he is looking at this slice of cake, and he has a huge grin on his face. He's extremely pleased. All right. And then underneath him is another picture of another child who's looking at an entire cake, missing one slice, and he's looking very sad. Why is the one on the bottom sad and the one on the top happy, it all has to do with what they are focused on. You see the one on the top,

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the one on the top only has one slide, let me ask you this question. In terms of, of actual quantity of cake, who has more,

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the one on the top or the one on the bottom,

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the one on the bottom, the one on the bottom has the entire cake. So maybe this, the one on the bottom has like nine slices out of 10. All right, the one on the top only has one slice, but the one on the top is actually happy. And the one on the bottom is sad. And the reason for this is simply because of what is being focused on. The one on the top is focused on what he has. And the one on the bottom is focused on what he does not have what is missing. And this is another reality that we find very, very powerful reality psychologically. And that is what you focus on grows, what you focus on grows. So whatever you focus on, if you focus on what you have, it'll start to look bigger

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and bigger in your eyes. And if you focus on what you don't have, it will also start to look bigger and bigger in your eyes. And so the practice of gratitude is one of the other reliable ways to increase this baseline happiness. Now I want to take a moment and just sort of switch

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to the the What does the Quran and the Sunnah say about service. So I've given you guys an argument of how the designer, how Allah subhanaw taala actually made the human being that we are motivated to give because not only do we get the reward in the Hereafter, but he actually has designed it so that we get an intrinsic, immediate reward in this life from serving others is that we actually feel happier we get our own our own happiness and our own increase in our own well being by by giving to others. But now I want to sort of switch gears a little bit. And that is talking about what does the Quran and the Sunnah, what does Allah and His Messenger say about service to others. Now,

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when you look at, and you kind of do a scan of the text, when you look at the hotel, and you look at the sun, and you look at the examples of those who came before us, you'll find that there is a principle that's throughout the text. And that principle goes like this, the way in which we treat the creation is how Allah how God will treat us. So I'm going to repeat that, the way in which we are with people. And in fact, it's not only people but all of creation, even animals. There's the eggs, many examples of treatment of animals. But this is a this is the principle, the way in which we are with the creation is an is an indication of how God will be with us. You guys understand what

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I'm saying? So for example, the prophets I sent him teaches us that if we are merciful with people, then the creator will be merciful with us. And he also teaches us the other way around that if the one who is not merciful to people, the one who does not show mercy to people will not be shown mercy by God.

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And we have other examples of this, you know, one of the most powerful stories and and SubhanAllah. It's a story it's a timeless story about something that we many of us know about. But sometimes we don't really, really look deep and see how this story teaches about this principle and about the principle of forgiveness and mercy.

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During the time of the prophets, I send them as you know, I showed the line How was accused and when she was accused of being unchaste. Her father ebook, the line found out that one of the people who was accusing his own daughter was a relative. And not only was he a relative, but he was a relative who ever walk down the line was financially supporting. So can you imagine that you find out

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They're not only your you know, your neighbor or your friend, but your own relative, who you are giving and supporting is one of the people spreading this awful rumor about your own daughter, slandering your own daughter. So what does he do? He doesn't go out looking for revenge. All he does is withhold the financial support, I quit if we put ourselves in that position, we I mean, you can only imagine what how we would react. All he does is withhold the financial support. And Allah subhanaw taala reveals in a a, at this occasion. And this is a timeless lesson for us. And Allah subhanaw taala tells us, tells Abu Bakar Golan and teaches all of us, let them pardon and overlook.

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This is what Allah says, Let them pardon and overlook. Now, I want to pause for a second and think about this. What is it that keeps us from being merciful to others? What is it that keeps us from giving to others? What is it that keeps us from forgiving others? A lot of times it's things like well, they don't deserve my forgiveness. Does that sound familiar? He doesn't deserve or she doesn't deserve this forgiveness from me this generosity of forgiveness from me. But what's very interesting is that Allah makes a completely different argument in this area. He doesn't say for a buck to draw the line to pardon an overlook. Because this man deserved it. He says something else he says Allah

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to help buena and you're ferula hola calm. The question is this, do you not love for Allah to forgive you? You see, that's a completely different paradigm that he is being told to treat this relative in the way that he wants to be treated by God. You understand? And that's a different way of looking at things. Because typically we think of our interactions with the creation as sort of transactional between me and you. I do for you, you do for me, right? Like I scratch your back, you scratch my back. But CSM came to teach us a different transaction. He allowed came and and in the prophets I send them came to teach us a different type of transaction. And that is I do for you,

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because Allah will do for me. And that's different, right? I use this example of like a customer service representative. Has anyone ever worked in retail or customer service?

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Okay, so, when you work in customer service, you learn this very, very early on? Well, first, the customer's always right, right?

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No matter how rude the customer is being to the customer service representative, the customer service representative has to treat the customer kindly. Right? The customer service representative has to be kind has to be polite to the customer. Yeah. Can anyone tell me why?

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because they want to get a check at the end of the month.

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As simple as that, okay? It's not because they're gonna get paid by the customer, you guys following. They aren't getting Do you know what I mean? They're on like an hourly, or, or whatever. They're not getting paid by the customer. But they're getting paid by the boss Are you guys following. And so the whole idea is that they treat the customer, not for the for what they're going to get back from the customer, they treat the customer for what they're going to get back from the boss. And their pay comes from the boss, their their their reward comes from the boss. And if they are not good with the customer, then they don't get their their reward at the end of the month, you

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understand what I'm saying? and allows high above any analogy, but ally makes the best kind of transaction with us. And that is this, he has told us that no matter what we should treat the creation with mercy. And we should reach out and give to the creation not for what the creation is going to give back. But for what Allah is going to give us. You see. So the transaction is not between me and the creation, but it's between me and the Creator. And when I give to people, I'm not expecting the people to pay me I'm expecting that reward from Allah subhanaw taala. And this is that concept. This is that concept of service that we have in Islam, that when I give and I help, my my

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hope is that I'm going to get that help and that and that service, that service is going to be rewarded by Allah subhanaw taala. And if you think about it this way, if you think about it this way.

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If I made a deal with you, suppose I made a deal with you. You go out and you find a house I noticed that in Atlanta y'all have really big houses, like the South is like, is like I don't know it's intense. And what for what you can get a castle

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So here like you could get like a one bedroom suit like a studio in California, but as a different story. So suppose you see a castle, right? Like a mansion out here. And you find out from the builder or from the owner, that it's actually worth $10 billion. Say, alright, I don't know if you have houses that expensive 10 million, let's say, okay. But today you find out that it's your lucky day. And it's on sale for a cent. Okay, so this house that's actually worth $10 million. You get it for a cent, you pay one cent you get the house for that's worth $10 million. Would you feel like you got a deal?

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Okay, even if you have food coma, you know, you got a deal, right? You know, I just it's very interesting to study the psychology of Black Friday. Have you guys have you guys ever like studied Black Friday, Black Friday, you know, the day after Thanksgiving. If you see what a person what a human being will do to get a deal is pretty intense. It really is. And in fact, you almost find that every year someone gets killed. Because people want a sale at Walmart. And that's how it works. Human beings are very motivated for a deal. They'll stand outside in the freezing cold, right outside Best Buy. There used to be people who would who would camp outside Best Buy, because they

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want to get a sale on a laptop. You guys understand what I'm saying? One time, there was this lady going around Walmart with mace. Because she wanted to get the I think it was like a video game or something first. I mean, this is the psychology of people to get deal. Now why am I saying that? Because God is making a deal with us. You know, and Allah says that he makes he he knows our nature He created us. But look at a loss deal. Here's a love deal. allas deal is I help the creation, God helps me. See, I give to the creation. Right The Creator gives to me. And now this isn't remember my example like about a few minutes ago, when I said the $10 million house for a cent, you're getting

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something worth a huge amount for a small amount you following. Now think about the reward of Allah. Think about the think about now there's a hadith in which the prophets I send them says that the most beloved person to Allah is the one who is the most beneficial to people. So now we're not talking just about a $10 million house, we're talking about the reward and love of God. And this is by me lending a hand to the creation something that is maybe easy for me to do something small. And in responding in and and then as a reward for that small action that I make. I get something infinite forget $10 million. You see, the prophets I sell them said that if you help a person in

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need, guess what happens? God helps you when you're in need. Now, can you think about that for a second?

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God, I'm not talking the president. You know, I'm not talking about some, you know, some big politician who has some power. I'm talking about God, I'm talking about the the Lord of the Universe, that he will help you out that if you help another person, the Lord of the universe will help you. And he goes on to say, every time there's, you know, there's an action that you do to the creation, God will reward you with that action for you. So you help a person in need, God will help you when you're in need. You, you you, you know you'd help get someone out of a difficult situation. Guess what, newsflash, we're all going to get into a difficult situation at some point in our life.

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And forget for a moment the difficult situations of this life. Let's look at something more difficult. And that is the next life. The Day of Judgment is something intense, right? And we all know this. We all know we're going to stand in front of Allah. And that's going to be a difficult day. For everyone, it's going to be a difficult day. And on that day, Allah says that if you helped people out in this life alone will help you out at that time when you need it the most and when I need it the most. And you know, it's very, very important to note this.

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You and I are in desperate need of the mercy of Allah. You know, sometimes we forget this but even the Prophet, even the prophets of the lotto Salim said,

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even the Prophet silent solo it was seldom said that no one enters Paradise by their deeds alone, except that Allah has mercy on them without the mercy of Allah. We will none of us will enter Paradise, and they asked him his companions asked him even you odo Sulu

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But even you, He's the perfect human being, you know, as as perfect as a human being can be. And he said, Even me. So we know that if he's in need of the mercy of Allah, what about us? And this is one of those ways in which Allah subhanaw taala gives us almost like, you know, a shortcut to the help and the mercy of God is help another person, be merciful to another person, when you see someone in need, give to them, and God will give you infinitely, that's what I call a deal, right? We're not talking one cent for 10 million Follow me, this is infinity, this is an infinite reward. So what did Abu Bakar Golan do when this verse was revealed? So remember this relative, right, this relative who

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had accused or who had spread the rumor about his daughter, and he was financially supporting so when he this verse was revealed? And And Allah is saying, Allah to hit Buddha and yoke for Allahu Allah? Do you not love for Allah to forgive you? And Abu Bakr Abdullah, and because of this, and he wanted the forgiveness of Allah, not only did he continue that financial support, he increased it

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for this man, why did he do that? Like, how could he do that? Is because it wasn't about him. And the relative It was about him and Allah, and every single time you give, every single time you serve, essentially, it's about you and God. It's about showing Allah subhanaw taala I'm doing my best to help your creation. And the law when Allah pays you. It's not like any boss, you know, a last paycheck is infinite. So this is why Subhana Allah, everyone who usually stands up here, and encourages you to give, they may make you think that you're doing someone else a favor, you guys understand? And yes, you are you are helping others. But I want you to realize that essentially,

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you're actually doing yourself a favor, that when you give to others, you're making yourself richer. Even when you give any amount of money. You're making yourself richer, and this is an amazing phenomenon of God. You know, if a person is struggling financially, you know, the best advice I can give to a person struggling financially this this might sound counterintuitive. Gift charity. Isn't that weird? But wait a minute, you're telling me that I'm struggling? And you want me to give? And I say yes. Because you know what? Any accountant knows this. If you want to grow your money, do you hold on to it? Or do you invest it?

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You know, this, right? But see, to a little kid, they don't understand the concept of investment, it looks like it's being lost, right? If I tell the little kid, give me give me, give me $5. And I'll invest it, they'll think they're losing that money. They don't understand the concept, right. But to an adult, especially an accountant who understands the way it works, they know that if you want to grow your money, you don't hold on to it. It's keeping your money in the bank isn't going to grow it. You're only making the banks, you're helping out the banks, but you're not helping yourself, right? How do you grow money, you invest it, meaning you give a portion and then you get back, you

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get a return. And when you get a return, it's not in the same amount that you invested. It's grown, right? That's how it works with sadaqa. That's how it works with giving charity. Now you've made an investment but not with, you know the stocks but with God. Yeah. So you've given an amount to Allah in order to grow your own money. And that's actually how sadaqa works. When you give to a lot, it doesn't decrease your wealth, it increases it. And this is this is something that, like those who've tried it can bear witness to it. That anytime you give for the sake of Allah sincerely for a law, you will always get that back times some factor, you will always get it back and more if you want to

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grow your wealth, give it for the sake of Allah. And by the way, it doesn't only work for wealth, it works for anything, any kind of gifts that you have. If you have some extra time. And you give a portion of that time, to Allah, meaning for the sake of Allah, you're volunteering, you're helping in these kinds of services. You know what will happen to your time, it will increase. guys know what I mean? Allah will put blessing in your time, because you gave a portion of it for for you know, for the sake of Allah, Allah will give you blessing in your time because realize that time at the end of the day is a creation of Allah. Time allows not constricted by time, Allah created time, so a lot

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can expand or contract his creation. A lot can put blessing in your time when you give it for the sake of Allah. And it's the same with money. It's the same with wealth. It's the same with your abilities. If you want to protect

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Any gift that you have, you know what the secret is, give a portion for the sake of Allah use the gift for the sake of Allah. And that's one of the best ways to protect it. If it is your wealth, give a portion of it, and that will protect it and increase it. If it is health, use your health to help others and a low will protect and increase it. If it's time, same thing, any ability that you have, if you give, you will actually get back and you will protect it. So panela the profits, I sell them in a hygiene.

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He says that one of the ways to protect ourselves from calamity is through sadhaka. Sadako is so powerful, there's an A in the Quran that says that after death, or at the time of death, rather, people are gonna beg to be able to come back to this life to have another chance. Right, people are going to want to be able to come back and to get it right. And you know what people are going to want to come back and do the first thing that they say is so that is subducts in order for us to give sadaqa that this is how powerful South Africa is. That one a person's soul is being taken and they want to go back when they're dying, and they want to go back to this life. To get it right. The

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first deed that they say they want to do is that they want to give soda. This just shows us the power of soda, and how beloved Allah subhanaw taala how beloved soda is to Allah subhanaw taala. Now, I'm going to wrap up with this.

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If I were to ask you this question, if I were to ask you

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to think of the person who you you know, if you think of the prototype of the one who's most beloved to Allah, right, someone who's really, really pious, typically what comes to mind? Traditionally, usually what will come to mind is maybe a person dressed a certain way, right? Someone who spends most of their time, maybe enact a calf in the masjid, right praying, staying, you know, in seclusion in a mess. This is the type of image that we might come to. But what's very interesting is is the Hadith, in which the prophet SAW Selim says

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that the most beloved person to Allah is the one who benefits others the most. And that's

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this, this, this is the part that really blew my mind. The prophets I send them said, that it is more beloved to me,

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to help my brother in their time of need to help my brother in their time of need, then to make Atticus in this semester. Now, hold on for a second when he's seeing this message in which message is he talking about?

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He's talking about the message message the nabawi and Medina. All right, so he's saying that it is more beloved to me to help my brother or my sister in their time of need to walk with them in their time of need, then to do X a calf in the masjid and Nebo we in Medina, and this is the masjid where one prayer is equivalent to 1000 in any other question, and he's saying that it is more beloved to me to stand and help to help my brother or my sister in this time of need, than to then to do attic calf. And not for one day but for a month. In this Masjid in mustard in Nebo. A t calf is seclusion in the mess you know in Ramadan, when we really want to get closer to Allah, what do we do? We go

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and do attic F. He is saying that helping and serving another person in need would be more beloved to him than being an attic as for a month in meshes and nabawi and we have that opportunity. We have that opportunity and that opportunity when it's given to us we should realize that Allah subhanaw taala is honoring us. Allah is blessing us if we're in a position to help another person in need of who nikoli Heather was stuck for long enough. Lee will come in over funan Rahim subhanak will obey Him Dr. Shadow Allah Allah Allah and a stockbroker to Blake was Salam alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

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