Zaid Shakir – Community At The Crossroads

Zaid Shakir
AI: Summary © The importance of community at the crossroads is highlighted, along with the need for healthy eating and educating people on Islam. The challenges faced by Muslims in achieving change and achieving a globally accepting society involve feeding people, greeting them with Islam, and creating strong, viable, and positive institutions. The importance of strong institutions for alleviating human suffering and empowering young Muslims is emphasized, along with the need for strong institutions to ensure young people are not harmed by their actions.
AI: Transcript ©
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great honor, great pleasure to be here. It's such a beautiful Masjid such a stately

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or inspiring edifice May Allah tala protect it. The law may Allah tala bless all of the youngsters here to assume their proper role as the years and decades past in managing, organizing and maintaining the masjid so that it's never in a situation that befell the community that preceded the Muslims were there young people turned away from the religion by and large, and the church was sold to the Muslims so we pray that there never comes a day when the Muslims because the masjid has been abandoned will be sold to who knows the whatever

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discotheque I don't know. We pray that they never comes in they'll love preserve this place preserve this community are the title of the talk tonight is community at the crossroads.

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And in a sense as Muslims, we find ourselves at the crossroads and that can mean many things. Of course, one thing it means can be taken directly from the core n where the Crossroads are mentioned. So Allah subhanho wa Taala mentions we're heading now who Nage Dame

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Falak, Tamil acaba, Juana Dora camel aka Sakura cada Atitlan CEO Mindy Mesaba, your team and Maka raba are miskeen and much Robotham can Amina Latina Amman. waterwell Saba Sabri tawassul Bill Maher, Hannah

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ecos, hearable name Anna. So a lot of times cities guided the human to the two roads, the two paths, but had a no niche thing. So he's guided each and every one of us to a crossroads. And he's guided our communities to a crossroads

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and then he mentions that there's a steep path that few people tread to walk on felucca, tamela acaba is made no progress on the steep path will madaraka man Ababa and what will let you know what the steep path is fat Cora other liberating the slave.

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So, we can be a community

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that looks at the problems or to continue liberating that the slave felt karaca or miskeen and to me human the the the mess about giving food in a day of starvation, your team and makara that to an orphan who's related or Myskina and then the throbber or to a poor person dust covered

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and rejected food they can Amina Latina am and then and only then will he or she whatever the case is generic language he here specifically but encompassing females also.

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Then and only then will he be amongst those who truly believe

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from that can Amina Latina and then

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what was all the Sorry, what was all been more Hannah, and they counsel with patients and they counsel with mercy, who let us have in a manner these are the companions of the right hand.

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as a community,

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we find ourselves at a crossroads.

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We can go on the low path. The low path is the path every other communities walking.

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Generally speaking, and there are good people in all communities as we all know from our personal experiences, but we can go on the path in our context of consumerism

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We can value ourselves based on how many labels we can affixed to our body.

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We can value ourselves based on rather not what we're wearing conforms to the current trends and fads and fashions and styles.

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We can be a community that is the other communities are find themselves burden

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with the burdens that accrue from consumption of alcohol, consumption of drugs, illegal illicit activities such as drug sales and heroin and cocaine and things that other communities find themselves burdened with, of course, not everyone.

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So we can have the Muslim drug dealer and we have the Muslim * merchant, we can the Muslim selling alcohol and

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his or her store, we have the Muslim who's obsessed with fashion, making sure they have the latest this that or the other on their backs or their feet, or their noses, even the proper glasses that reflect the styles. So if the style is the narrow glasses, we get the narrow glasses and if the style is the big fat white glasses, we throw the narrow ones out and get the big fat wide glasses, so that our noses are properly or adorned. So we can be like everyone else.

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Or we can walk this deep path.

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What is the steep path is the path of service

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is the path of sacrifice

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is the path of denial.

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Because to liberate the slave means we have to give up some of our wealth. Abu Bakr radi Allahu Han. He was quite wealthy. When the call to the prophetic office came to our Prophet Mohammed salah and he was sending

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one of the things he used his wealth for was to purchase the freedom of Muslims who have been enslaved to the courage. And the most famous story story that we know of is the story of Bill al

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in the rubbish but there were many others like below whom Abu Bakr radi Allahu, and used his wealth to purchase their freedom. So Abu Bakr had to give up something

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in order to have the wealth necessary to purchase the freedom

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is feeding people in a day of starvation.

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Or a time on film and the other

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a day of famine.

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We can be a community who's one of our primary functions

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is to feed people,

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not just locally, but certainly there's a local need. And like many of the great churches that still exist, they have food pantries and feeding centers. We can perform those functions and they're valuable functions some people they challenge that Why are Muslims feeding people?

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Well we can say in return number one

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because a lot Allah says this is what Muslims do. In and then not only what Hitler was fed them for the sake of Allah literally for the face of Allah for Allah, the face in many valid interpretation that will not

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be fed them for Allah. Learn to Read them in Kinshasa, Allah Shu Cora, we don't want any Recompense. We don't want anything any thanks. Why? Because this will erode the reward we have with a lot of we get some of it in this world, we get less than the ashera. So we want it all in the Acura. We're doing this for Allah subhanho wa Taala.

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That's why that's why we're motivated to feed people. And our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam when he's asked some people say why are you feeding these people? You don't know who they are. When asked sallallahu alayhi wa sallam au Islami have gone for Karla Salalah end he will send them and put them at Tom will talk to the SLM Island and arafa woman in Paris, that you which manifestation

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of Islam is most virtuous. For Karla sallallahu wasallam the Prophet May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him said that you feed people and that you greet people, those you know, and those you know, not Allah men are after a woman named Tara. That's why we see people. There is no underlying agenda.

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There is no

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there are no extenuating circumstances, we feed them for Allah.

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And we feed them influence seeking the best one of the most virtuous manifestations of Islam.

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And we don't just feed them here, wherever there might be starvation, wherever that might be famine, then the Muslim should be there.

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And it's interesting

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that these are two

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of the purposes of this act. And the Masada Caitlyn fukuhara. Will Massa King, these academies for the poor people, the needy people,

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when when Amina they have one more left at Hulu. Those who work together dispense, disperse it and run administrate

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the worth off of the gathering dispersal those whose hearts to be strengthened.

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When we're left at Colombo,

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people all over the world are being bombarded with negative images of Islam and Muslims have have false information about who we are as a community. Think of the impact. Wherever there's famine, there's starvation amongst Muslims or others, that some of the first people on the scene are Muslims.

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And they're arriving with Zach cat that's being gathered and collected from Muslims in the Western world. This is what the national Zakat foundation and similar organizations are trying to do. Think of the impact on the hearts Think of how much the propaganda will be diffused.

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These are things we need to begin to rally our young people to do we can be a community again, we can sit back and blame our young people when they fall into the traps that are set for them. And those traps might be set by Muslims, they might be set by people aren't Muslims,

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we can complain or we can provide healthy avenues of activism.

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We can organize our young people to go to these places with this Acad to be the people working to dispense it working to to make sure that it reaches the places it should reach working with young people in those communities to build bridges between Muslims in this part of the world and Muslims in other parts of the world that might not be have the resources that are available here.

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This is these are some of the challenges we face. So again, that's a crossroads, we can settle for the status quo. Or we can stand up rise up as a community and begin to do those things that will provide healthy outlets for our children, healthy outlets for the energy that they have, provide avenues for them to build on the vision that they have, like all people for a better world. As Rumi said a pair of a phrase Rumi that when I was in my 20s I wanted to change the world. When I was in my 30s I wanted to change my lens. When I was in my 40s I wanted to change my family when I was in my 50s I wanted to change myself.

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And then If only I'd reverse the order.

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That's how life usually progresses. But it's the nature of youth to have a broad vision to want to change the world. It's only when you grow and mature and you realize how the world works and how challenging change can be that we begin to scale down. And then at the end of the day, we realize that really change starts with ourselves.

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But it's up to us to put the word wall where we thought in place so that the vision can become more realistic and the idealism can find a healthy outlet because if there aren't healthy outlets there

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There'll be unhealthy outlets will become very attractive,

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they'll become very attractive. So as a community, it's up to us to provide those outlets. And so these two paths the path of the status quo and the path of

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implementing and actualizing, the principles that we hold. They're put they're laid out before us. If we're going to actualize those principles, we're going to have to organize ourselves. Because there are daunting challenges. For people who want to make a meaningful difference in the world. There are incredible challenges. They're the challenges that are associated with the gathering the necessary resources. So we want to have organizations that assist people both locally, and then far off far off lands, who needs food, who are undernourished. That takes a tremendous amount of resources to do it consistently. And to do it effectively.

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those resources require a collective effort, and collective effort has to be built on an institutional foundation.

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Individual initiatives and collective efforts is immediately seen to be oxymoronic.

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There has to be an institutional Foundation, not an individual foundation for a project that requires a collective effort that requires the critical mass of human and material resources.

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And as a community, if we're going to demonstrate our principles, in the realm of reality, this is something that we have to do. I can refer you to a book, The American policy advisor, who's a genius, but sometimes the devious genius genius, speaking of Brzezinski

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was a high level official in the Carter administration and other administrations, who wrote a book in the 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The book was called

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out of control, global security on the end, on the verge of the 21st century. In that book, he said that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union,

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people of the world have no alternative system

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to pin their hopes on.

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And I'm paraphrasing him. And he says in more than one place in that book, Islam could be that alternative. But Muslims don't have a state level actor that embodies their principles. In other words, a state level actor that translates the ideals of Islam, into viable institutions that people can see. So we all know pious individuals, we know righteous individuals who are Muslim, we know charitable individuals, but societies are affected by institutions.

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Society societies are, are affected by institutions.

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And as Muslims, if we're going to have a positive impact on our societies, we will have to have strong, viable, positive institutions. Because what institutions do was speaking about this earlier, they amplify

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the principles that an individual might articulate.

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So I can stand on the corner and I can talk at nausea.

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About we need to feed people,

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I might get a little crowd in front of me for a little while.

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And I might move them to tears. But then at the end of the day, not too many people are going to be fed,

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because I have limited resources. But I can say nothing. I can gather the people in this crowd together. And we can organize ourselves. And we can put in what money we do have five pounds here. 100 pounds there. someone's doing really well that 1000 pounds, and we can rent out a building in one of the poor neighborhoods of this city. And we can

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establish your feeding center. And every month we're all contributing whatever we can, we can stop that center with food.

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And we can set up tables and we can buy a stove, and industrial, commercial stove. And we can cook every day and we can feed a whole lot of people. I couldn't do that by myself.

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That's a an illustration

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of the power of collective collective action placed into an institutional format, because what we did was established an institution.

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So it is incumbent upon us, if we want to walk on that steep path, that first of all, we commit ourselves to it. We commit ourselves to making a difference. And then we come together and establish the institutional infrastructure that can support the vision that informs that our commitment informs Allah subhanho wa Taala

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are let me word this another way.

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In other words, we can be an ordinary community. And that's the low role

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or we can be an exemplary exemplary community. That's the high role.

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If we're going to be an exemplary community, we should understand this is what Allah subhana wa tada is calling us to.

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A lot of talent isn't, isn't calling us to ordinary.

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Allah tala is calling us to extra ordinary Allah tala mentions in court and whom to hire omitted of regional leanness, you are the best community. Are you quantum higher Alton omoton of rejet lenez you are the best community brought forth for the people.

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Some of our ex judges comment on that and they said Amy hit mutton ness brought forth to serve the people

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brought forth to serve the people.

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This is this is what the Quran is calling us to

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to be servants of the people. And that's an extra extra ordinary station.

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That's the station of leadership say you do home demo of how the model home CEO him which is a stronger narration. The leader of a people are the servant of people is their leader.

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Leadership lies in service.

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There is a popular book. Some of you might have heard of axios a lecture that's based on a book. The leader is the last to eat.

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After the Prophet sallallahu wasallam who's one of the most renowned leaders of the Muslim community.

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Abu bakkar after Abu Bakr

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Omar rhodiola han was Omar famous for whenever some new food fresh fruit came in Medina with Omar like the kings of the day be the first to get it. Maybe the only one to get it put the rest in the fridge for future use. Would he be the first to eat from it or the last? He'd be the last three four from it. And if it was all gone and dispensed amongst the people would he pout and say, you know Where's mine? I should have got mine first. I'm the leader. I could have taken it all it said hamdulillah

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the people are satisfied as the people are satisfied I'm satisfied. This is the ethos of leadership

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as Muslims will call to be leaders. Quantum Hira mutton rejects Lynette's

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work a delicate Jana, mutton wa Sapa de Taku shuhada and an se where your Puna rasuluh alaykum shahida thus we have made you a balanced nation,

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in order that you will be witnesses for the people balance, meaning not a nation that goes to extremes.

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And there are two extremes people who do more than what's required and more than was asked of them and go beyond the acceptable limits. And people who don't do enough.

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One of the meanings are indeed

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Raul Constantine,

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the great professor for hygiene or Razi great scholar, he is more than professor and it has Tafseer method overlaid. He explains, when we say Dino Surat on starteam we're already Muslims

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making this prayer. We're Muslims, we praise the law. People aren't Muslims don't praise Allah. They might praise God in a general sense based on their religious profession, but they don't specifically praise Allah. Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen R Rahman Rahim nadie Kyo only D cannot Buddha, we worship you. Were already Muslims. We worship Allah. We can Stein and your help. Do we see already Muslims we seek the help of Allah in the north are all tolerance. So we're not asking Allah to guide us to Islam. We're asking ALLAH, amongst other things, and there are a lot of explanation to guide us to the middle path between extremes

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between the extremes of those who go beyond bounds and transgress limits. And the extremes of those who don't do enough that were in the middle.

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She had that island ness. Primarily this refers to the

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Yamaha piano, any people claim we sinned and we were rebellious because no Prophet came to us. We are the people that will bear witness indeed, a lot Tyler Almighty God didn't did send you a messenger.

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While your coonara sulamani come shahida if any of us say we didn't know what to do,

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we're in the dark.

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The Prophet the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, Mohammed Abdullah will bear witness against us, I came to you.

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And the Quran was revealed to me.

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And the Quran was

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written down by my Sahaba.

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And my sooner was articulated everything you needed to succeed, I left you Salalah while he was settling,

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but it also has a worldly application a lot of time and mentions concerning the Prophetic Mission you had. Yeah, you had nabee and northenden a cache hit on one mubasher on one era, where dianemo had beaten, he was urogen muneera, the Oh Prophet, we sent you as a witness, as a giver of glad tidings as a warner these are worldly manifestations as a witness, so we are to be exemplary witnesses and amongst other things to show people yes, it is possible. It is possible to maintain a strong connection with God in a postmodern materialistic world. It is possible to build a life around around worship and devotion

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as Muslims are doing,

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Ramadan just passed the whole month where Muslims are defying even their very nature, our nature demands sleep. Some of you are coming to this Masjid praying taraweeh

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going home one or two in the morning,

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in a sawhorse sleeping for two or three hours getting up going to work for an entire month. And you did it.

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But you did it for a loss of Hannah wattana.

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And what does a lot to intone. So rely on soracom if you help allows religion who will help you?

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And being witnesses for the religion and standing and fasting and praying for Allah tala, we survived. It's possible that's a *. That's a witness for those people who say you can't do it.

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For those Muslims who might say you can't do it, we're doing it. We did it.

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young guys, some of these young brothers and sisters, like this young brother here. What's your name young man? Jamal. Jamal, did you pray some taraweeh some nights?

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Like No comment.

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Did you fast some days Ramadan? You did it. days were long wasn't it long day. Summertime. But you did it right jumbo? Some days.

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You still did it? How old are you?

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Seven years old. That's a witness if ever there was a witness. Allahu Akbar.

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seven year old Jamal fasted 1718 hours in Ramadan. Allahu Akbar IBV Milan Bless you. Bless your parents. Give you a long life. Plus should be big brother us Big Brother. Yeah, best question Big Brother

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hamdulillah witness share hidden one mubasher on Vieira de anila, loi beaten, he was the Raja Munira. So we can be a witness, or we can be witnessed against.

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That's the crossroads. That's one of the Crossroads where we can make excuses. Or we can defy the reasons that call us to make excuses.

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That's one of the Crossroads that we're at, as a community. Our time has truly blessed us to be able to have the spirit to not make excuses. Because it's a bad habit. Because if we make excuses in this world, we might attempt to make excuses in the next when the excuses will be rejected.

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The excuses will be rejected.

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As a community,

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we're at an historical juncture

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in terms of humanity at large,

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and other religious communities. This is true for them also, is true for their Anglicans in this country is true for the Catholics, wherever they might be, is true for the religious Jews.

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We are challenged with capitulating

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and reforming our religions out of any recognizable existence, in terms of our epistemology, how we see our knowledge and how we see revelation, as a valid and legitimate source of knowledge, or just materialism, and empirical verification,

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or even

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beyond empiricism,

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but still rooted in natural phenomenon that we might discover in the natural world, some things that are unseen, in terms of beyond, empiricism, empiricism, what we can see, taste, smell, feel touch, there are things we can't see that we're learning about. But those things return to a physical existence beyond immediate sensory perception, such as electromagnetic waves, etc.

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So physicality versus trends, physical, metaphysical reality, which we believe is more real than the physical and more enduring, and has deeper and deeper implications in terms of who we are as human beings. So we can reform our religions to conform to a physical epistemic or, we can continue to believe in the unseen, which is our first description, and the core and and let the you know, you mean una bella, right?

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And the trans physical, the metaphysical, and the truth and reality that emanates from that realm of existence. That's very real, and manifests itself in incredible ways. And one of the manifestations from that early Middle Age is revelation itself, that these are valid sources of knowledge, in terms of ontology, that these are valid realms of existence, that are more real than what can be eventually physically perceived.

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Or we can abandon that view.

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And then on the basis of physical verification, physical methodologies for unlocking and discovering the physical world, apply that to God.

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And then, like, many atheists enter on the slippery slope because that which is greater than physical reality, that which precedes physical reality, that Rome realm where revelation emerges from divinely revealed truth emerges from the prop calls to Prophethood in the prophetic office emerges from

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can't be immediately verified by the methodologies by which we verify physical existence therefore, it doesn't exist. No, it exists. But it's revealed to us not through us

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electromagnetic mic atomic microscopes is not revealed to us by some instruments that measure physical phenomenon is very revealed to us.

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When we fast and when we pray, and when we ponder on the meanings of the messages that were brought to us by the prophets, and we as Muslims believe, the final prophet muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and we dedicate ourselves to that truth, that's when the reality

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of these aspects of existence, that's when the veracity of these foundations of knowledge reveals itself to us. And as a community, we have to decide, are we going down this path? Are we going down this path, that's another Crossroads that we find ourselves at. And in conclusion, in negotiating all of these various crossroads,

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we will need strong institutions. We need institutions, that if we are to be serious about the call to walk on that steep path, the call to liberate slaves,

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and the the we mentioned that cat

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was furious

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for the liberation of slaves, literally, I had at lunch,

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I was informed about Muslims who are bringing girls from back home wherever that might be, and

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putting them into ly into brothels as sexual slaves.

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We should be, we should have institutions to liberate these girls.

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Funded by zacha. This should be a project that the national Zakat foundation can undertake.

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Why there is a cow for cob for the liberation of slaves, these girls are slaves. And one of the most demeaning forms of slavery is sexual slavery.

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These are our callings. This is the high path. The first thing on that steep path for lofta hamanaka. Wanna adorar Carmel, aka Sakura Cava, will let you know what this deep path is liberating the slaves.

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And we can join forces with those organizations that are working against human human trafficking and all of this manifestation, not just in this country, but all over the world. But that takes institutions that takes collective action that takes a grand vision.

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as Muslims, we should have a grand vision.

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We should have a grand vision. And young Muslims buy into those visions.

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Buy into those visions, dedicate yourself to those pursuits, because it will lead to good after good after good fulfillment after fulfillment after fulfillment. So

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if we're going to do that it takes

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institutions, we're gonna feed people in a big way that really makes a dent in terms of alleviating poverty. And hunger in this world is going to take strong institutions.

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If we're going to effectively present the message of Islam, and we'll stop here, that takes strong institutions, we need media institutions, we complain the media's misrepresenting Islam

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with the media is controlled by people who don't like Islam. The media is only doing his job.

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The people financing it don't like Islam, the Rupert Murdoch's of the world.

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So the media institutions they own and control are only doing their job.

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We need media institutions that are doing our job.

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And to do that, again, it takes strong institutions. It takes collective action. And so as a community, we are going to if we want to see things change, we're going to have to dedicate ourselves

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to fostering that change. And this takes a long this takes the commitments of decades. There is no one mentioned that a great educational institutions, those multi billion dollar endowments they didn't occur overnight.

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They weren't built in a day. They weren't built in a decade. They weren't built in the century. They were built over the centuries.

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And so we have to understand that to a certain extent, we're planting seeds and the fruit we might not eat from. But if we plant the seed and fertile ground, if we nurture if we irrigate and fertilize that seed, it will bear fruit for future generations. And so we have to have a long vision. And some of the things we do will see the fruit of it in our lifetime, some fruit, some trees, the food after many, many years, some fruit one season, some trees rather fruit after many years, some trees they come to fruition immediately the next season, we'll be eating from them. And this is how we should see the work that we have to do in terms of institution building, that some

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things will see the fruits immediately and some things we might not see the fruit in our lifetime. But those coming after us inshallah, Thailand, they will benefit from those fruits and conclusion. The National Zakat foundation is an institution that's trying to bring about both immediate fruit in terms of the work they're doing to assist and alleviate some of the hardship that Muslims are experiencing right now and long term fruit where others can benefit. One of the categories of Zakat when we're left to palooka home is intended to benefit amongst others, those people who are Muslim, those whose hearts are to be confirmed

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and strengthened. People might have a negative opinion of Islam of we're alleviating some of their suffering is very difficult for them to continue to have a negative opinion.

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If we're assisting them to alleviate some of the hardship they're encountering, those opinions can shift very fast. That's a valid use of zakat.

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So the avenues are there. The challenges before us in sha Allah tala as a lot Allah so wills will rise to the challenge. And from this gathering great men and great women will emerge. Those who do great things, those who are instrumental in establishing strong institutions will emerge from this humble gathering. But we have to make up our minds and dedicate and commit our hearts that this is indeed something that we want to dedicate our lives our resources towards. And if we can do that, we'll see the fruit both in the short term, midterm and long term, Salaam Alaikum.

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