The Secret Path To God

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Yasmin Mogahed

Channel: Yasmin Mogahed

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

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That was the funniest introduction I've ever gotten. Especially when no one knew my book.

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Recommended Rahim wa salatu salam ala rasulillah.

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My rubbish roughly. So today, we assume

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that I'm in the center of the whole cloning.

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So I just have a couple minutes up here, and I have a few goals. I think, obviously, before we do anything in life, we should know where it is that we want to end up, what's our goal. So I have a couple goals in my short time up here. And one of them is I want to change the way we think about service the way we think about giving. See, we come a lot often to these types of events, and Mashallah you guys, may Allah reward you for taking the time out of your schedule, to care to care enough to come to something like this and to and to want to listen and to want to give. But oftentimes, when we stand up here, speakers will oftentimes try to convince you why it is that the

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people in need, are in need of you to give, well, it seems pretty obvious if someone is in need, and they're the needy, and you're the one giving so therefore you are the one who's in the awkward position, and they are the ones in need of us. Now, while that is in a sense, true, it is true that the people in serious Syria need us it is true that this organization is doing amazing work in Syria. And it is true that these people do need our help. But I actually want to tell you what convinced you of something very, very, you know, a different way to look at it. And that is this, that when we are in a position to give, we are actually the ones forgiving to ourselves,

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essentially, when I serve another person, when I help another person in need. Yes, I am helping them. But first and foremost, I'm helping myself. And this is a principle that you truly, truly, if we are wise, we will understand that there are many reasons why this is the case. And I could actually stand up here and give you and stand and give you 74 hours. In fact, giving you text after text after text explaining to you why it is that when you give you are the one who's becoming more rich. And that in fact, while you are helping another person, you are essentially helping yourself. But I want to begin by by telling you this, there are two ways to look at this issue. One is from a

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just a purely psychological point of view. My background is in psychology as some of you know. And

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there is one way to look at this. There's there's a body of research that talks about service. And once again, I'm just going to very quickly summarize that because I want to take more time to focus on something else. And that is the perspective of what Alon is messengers say about this. But to begin with, let me just actually look at what psychology says about service and about giving. So there's this thing that every single person in the world agrees about whether you're Muslim, or you're or you're not, whether you believe in God or you don't, every single person agrees that we want to be happy. Everyone wants to be happy. No one in this room. If I asked you no matter what age

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you are, no matter what, what walk of life you're in, if I asked you, would you like to be less happy, nobody will raise your hand. So how many people in this room would like to be less happy? Surprisingly, no one's raising their hand and I don't have any jokers on the line. Well, except for notes. Okay. So, so no one is raising their hands. It's surprising how many people want to be happier. Everyone wants to be happier. And in fact, everything we chase in life, whether that's our careers, or whether it's money, or whether it's power or status. Essentially, we chase these things, because we believe that they will make us happier is everyone really everyone agrees that everything

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cheesecake to make us happier, right? And y'all feel a bit happier just now because the cheesecake. But the point is that this is our ultimate motivation in everything that we do is to become happier. And as believers, we believe in not only being happier in this life, but we believe in working to be happier in the next. But essentially that motivation that God put in us is the desire for happiness. Okay. Is everyone in agreement about that? Yes. All right, great. It was like one person in agreement, but that's fine.

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So happiness. Psychologists now studying how can we become happier? How can I have a higher How can you increase my well being and have a greater sense of, you know, just a greater quality of life. And what is so amazing in their findings is this they find that people live around a certain what they call like a baseline happiness.

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And what this means is that no matter what happens in your life, you're always going to end up back at your baseline. So people have a baseline, something amazing happens, they get a promotion, you win the lottery, whatever it is, and they get a spike in that happiness. But it has found that it is quite temporary. And that eventually, they'll come right back to their baseline. So this idea that we have that when I reach XYZ, then I'll be happy and everyone has a different fill in the blank. Some people, it's when I get this job, when I get this career, when I make this much money, when I fit this type of size, or whatever it is. The point is that we all have these goals that we believe

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will make us happy. But what's interesting is that research shows that these goals that we put these, these events that happen in our life, they aren't really making us happier, that it's a very temporary spike. But here's the amazing thing that they find. They find that one of the few ways it's essentially impossible to increase your baseline. But there is a way to increase your baseline. And this is the way they found is that one of the most most effective ways to increase your baseline not just to get these temporary spikes and happiness. But one of the best ways to increase your baseline is service to others. It is in generosity. In fact, it is so powerful that by the way,

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you've been lied to everyone ready for this?

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Okay, two people are ready. Is everyone else Ready? Okay, I sometimes get people when they're in a food coma, I tend to I mean, they put me after food, or they put me in Ramadan, right before it's gone. It's like they're either in anyway. But basically, here, here's here's what, what, what they found. And actually, you have been lied to because people told you that money doesn't buy happiness. You've heard that right? It's a lie. It's not true. Money does buy happiness. Don't have everyone's attention, though.

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Because they're like, whoa, wait, tell me where I can buy that. I'll tell you how money buys happiness. money buys happiness when it's spent on others.

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This has been found in studies, that when a person spends their money on themselves, it doesn't increase their happiness. They can buy themselves, all the gifts, all the amazing things they want. And yet it has not been shown to increase their happiness. But when they spend on others, it makes them happier. And even just recalling something you spent on another person will make you happier. So look at how Allah has designed us, he's designed this in such a way that it feels good to be in the service of others, it feels good to be generous. And in fact, it is it is so deep, that it's one of the few ways to increase our entire baseline happiness, just to be a happier person, you need to

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be a generous person. This is the divine design. It's actually the way Allah has created us that if a person is selfish, that if a person is miserly, and does not want to give that person will, in fact, be more unhappy. And this is just secular psychology. This isn't I haven't even started talking about the text or the Quran or the summer. This is just secular psychology, if you want to be happier give.

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Simple as that. That's just without even getting into the text. Now, I want to switch quickly to the text. And the reason I want to do that quickly is because there's so much about service and so much about charity. But I just picked a few things. And I want to quickly go through them. First of all, the thing about charity is that the prophets I send that told us that our charity, whatever we give in this life of Southern Africa, is going to be a shade for us on the Day of Judgment. See, the day of judgment is a scary day, which we don't oftentimes like to think about. But every person in this room believes it to be a reality. And on that day, there is no shade except for the shade of Allah

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that a law provides. And there's a hadith that tells us that our charity provides a shade for us on the Day of Judgment.

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There's another Hadith that says that every limb of our body, every joint of our body, is must give some sort of charity every single day. And so you might wonder, Well, how do I do that? And why? Because if you think about it, the fact that we were given eyes and we were given ears and we were given the ability to think and walk and talk and, and and do all the things that we're able to do. These are gifts that we have to show gratitude for. Part of our gratitude is giving back is giving back and the prophets I send them is telling us that the way in which we give back is through charity. Now what's the charity that we give the prophets I said and told us that there are

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different kinds of charity that you can get

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For example, even helping a person who you know helping a person up onto their mount, right, so in this case, they were they were riding horses or camels, just helping a person that's a charity, smiling is a charity. And that this is something that we're actually required to do. As part of giving back for all of the things that we have, and all the gifts that we have, there's a really beautiful quote of Muhammad Ali. And he says, the service that you do for others, is the rent that you pay for your room here on Earth. That is that part of our part of, you know, the the giving back, almost like the pay the rent, that we that we have to give back, is that we have to give this

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service to others.

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Now, there's something else that's very important. And that's this, the prophets I said them said,

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that give charity,

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without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity. And I was actually very blown away by this headache. Because every single one of us, as I said, from the beginning, we all want happiness. But there's also something that we all agree about. And that's we're all we all want to avoid pain. This is just how a human being is designed, that we we are motivated towards happiness. And we are motivated to protect ourselves from pain. The prophets I sent him tells us that one of the ways to guard ourselves from calamity is through charity. So he's telling us he's advising us to give and to not delay, because that charity itself protects us from calamities, towards ourselves and towards

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others. Now, one of the reasons why a lot of times, we don't want to give, one of the reasons we don't want to give is because we believe that if we give we lose, now this is something which is which is a little bit difficult to change the way we view but I'm going to give you guys an analogy, because analogies are my thing.

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Here's my analogy. If I have a five year old, and I count that five year old $10, a $10. Bill, that's a lot of money for a five year old and a five year is gonna be pretty excited. Now if I tell the five year old, take that $10 and go invest it, right? Does the five year old even understand what an investment is?

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No, okay, what will the five year old feel is happening to his or her money when he or she invests it,

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that child will believe what?

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That they've lost that money. So you see a child because of the child's understanding. So long as the money is not in the child's hand, or is temporarily taken out of the hand, the child sees it as a loss, you get where I'm going with this. What happens is that when we don't have a deep spiritual understanding, we see it the same way. We believe that when we give charity, we're losing that money. But it isn't a loss. It's an investment. And it's not an investment with a with an investment firm. It's an investment with the creator of all investment firms and all actually the heavens on Earth, that when we give something for charity, we aren't losing that money. We are investing and

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growing that money. If someone comes to me, you know, people come and ask for advice about various different issues. And one of the issues I've had questions about was,

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you know, what, I'm in a lot of financial trouble. I'm in debt, or I need to take a loan or you know, issues like that financial issues. Honestly, one of the best advice that I can give to a person who's having financial trouble is give sadaqa which seems sort of counterintuitive. You're telling me that I have little and you're asking me to give? And my answer is yes. For the exact same reason that when a person wants to grow their money, what should they do? What, okay, anyone who knows about financial, financial growth, will tell you that if you want to grow your money, do you hold on to it in the bank? Or do you investment? Do you invest it?

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invest it right, this is like ABCs it's exactly the same thing with regards to charity is that the best way to invest in our our provision, the best way to increase our risk is to give it for the sake of Allah to give a portion for the sake of Allah. So the irony is that while we think that we're losing that money, we're in fact, investing that money, and in fact, it gets returned, you know, more than what we've given multiply.

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But if there's anything I want you to take away from this very nice dark room. It's this and that is there's a principle that you will find across the text. Whether whether you read the end or you read the Hadith or your study, the sooner you'll find that there is a there is a principle that

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A common denominator across the text. And that principle goes like this. We are taught to treat others as we would like the creator to treat us. I'm going to repeat that, because it's very important. The way in which we treat the creation, the way in which we are with the creation is the way in which a creator will be with us. And you find this again and again and again. That's why if we are a people who don't like to give, if we are a people who, who are stingy with people who are not generous for not giving more not forgiving or not merciful, then that should scare us. Because what it is, is it's an indication that that is how God will be with us. Do you understand what I'm

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saying? That when a person is merciful, for example, there's a hadith in which the prophets I send them said, show mercy to those on the earth, and the one in the heavens will show mercy to you. Another Hadith that says, He who does not show mercy will not be shown mercy by Allah.

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And one of the most powerful examples is that there's a hadith in which the prophets I send them, he goes, and he lists it after I after item about and making these parallels that if you do this, for people alone will do this for you. If you do this for people, Allah will do this for you, and so on and so forth. And it's one after the other. And I find this to be so incredibly powerful, because oftentimes we fall into this myth, it's a sort of myth of what it means to be righteous. So if I asked you right now,

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to think about a religious person, what does a religious person look like an act like in your mind? What is righteousness look like? What is righteousness? What what what do you imagine when you think of holiness, and oftentimes, what comes to mind is, you know, if it's a man, it's Yes, it's a man who dresses a certain way, has a very long beard, short pants, and spends a lot of time in the messages. This is the kind of impression we have in a woman, you know, similarly, and we think of righteousness, and holy, a person who's who's who is very religious, as a person who is very involved in these kinds of rituals. Now, while that is very, very true, I find this especially

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interesting for this reason Exactly. The prophets I send them says, and I have youth,

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that the most beloved person to Allah, that the most beloved people to Allah are those. And now what do we expect is going to come here, we might expect if we were to say, the one who spends the most time in the masjid, or the one who spends the most time standing in prayer, or the one you know, we're thinking of rituals. But in fact, the Hadith says that the most beloved people to Allah are those who help and benefit others the most.

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And the most beloved, actually, to Allah is pleasure and happiness that you can cause to enter the heart of a Muslim

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and to solve one of his problems and to pay off his debt and to prevent him from being hungry. Now listen to this this is what really blew me away the profit side sudden, he's he's standing it, not just any investor. He's standard investor the number we have Medina, how many of you have ever visited this measure?

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like three people, okay, or you're sleeping? The messages in Medina, y'all, I'm not more than that visited. Now. The prophets I send them is standard in the message that nubbly in Medina, okay. And this is, this is a message where we're told one prayer in this message is equivalent to 1000. In any other industry, okay? This is where we're standing over now. But we will soon, but the prophets, I said, I'm standing, and you know what he says? He says, working to help my Muslim brother is more beloved to me than making anti cat meaning seclusion in this message. And he's pointing to Mr. The Netherlands, not for one night or two, he says for a month. Do you understand what he's saying? He

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says that, for me, it is more Beloved.

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working to help my Muslim brother is more beloved to me that they can actually care being in seclusion in this message for one month. Now, that's something to really absorb. Because a lot of times we miss this aspect of our Deen and we sort of narrow the concept of what it means to be religious or what it means to be righteous. But in fact, we have to really widen the lens because the prophets I send them again and again and again, explains to us that true righteousness has to do with and it will matter.

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assessing how we treat people. See the thing about rituals, the thing about praying and fasting. And these other types of ritualistic the rituals of worship is that they are intended to make us better people. They're not just, they're not just we don't just do it just to do it. But there is a purpose in doing it. And one of the manifestations of that transformation internally is how we treat people. That's why the prophets I said it, for example, says play to

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the best of you are the best to your families or to his, the best of you are, are the best their families. And that's because all of this work that you're doing in praying and studying, it should actually be making you a better and more compassionate and more merciful person. And if it's not, then there's something that we're doing wrong, if that makes sense. That the the outcome of our work, the outcome of our worship should be that we are kinder to people that we are more generous with people that we are more compassionate and more merciful. This is the type these are the qualities that the prophets I send them had exhibited. And these are the qualities that should come

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out of our worship. But see if we're a people who only talk about about praying in the masjid, but we don't teach about the importance of how we treat people, then we've missed a very, very huge aspect of our Deen.

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The Prophet Denzel, I send them says this. He says, That alone will conceal

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the faults of another person so long, so long as we conceal the faults of people alone will conceal our faults. And whoever controls his ill feelings alone will fill his heart with contentment on the Day of Judgment. Whoever strives

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to help fulfill a need for his brother, a law will make his feet steadfast on the Day of Judgment. I want to end with this.

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We are all at home tonight at the moment quite comfortable here at a very nice Hall sitting and eating. We're done. We're satiated. But everyone in this room knows that there's going to come a day where we meet Allah subhanaw taala, that the Day of Judgment is is is hot, it's the reality. And if we are not preparing for that day now, then when we come on that day will come as poor as actually that's the true poverty.

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One of the things that the prophets I send them taught us is this is that when we help another person in this life alone will help us in the next life and who will be at our aid in this life. And Allah subhanaw taala says, He tells us when the Prophet said and teaches us that alone will continue to be at the aid of the servants so long as the surgeon is in the aid of his or her brother who nicoli help I was stuck for a long time when I'm home in Nova una Rahim subhanak Hello, they have done a shadow net you know in the ancestors broke way too late. And yes, my book is called reclaim your heart and it's available outside that I want to include