Channel: Abdullah al Andalusi
Toronto university lecture: Culture vs Islam? How the word “Culture” today pushes Secularism
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Assalamualaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh
I'd like to thank you for for coming the MSA. Now.
One of the many challenges I've faced is people always insistent, quoting me chair for addressing issues, Misha You see, because about respectful, you can be respectful. And I appreciate that. However, I don't really deserve the title for very obvious reasons. But one of the obvious reasons that I don't deserve the title is because I don't think someone should be called chef for pointing out the obvious. And pointing out facts, which are not ones concerned with advanced fear, or evidences. Reason being is, I believe that most Muslims have enough or not enough observation of the world, they have all these dots in their head, they just don't connect the dots. And I suppose I'm a
glorified connector. And that's pretty much what I do. That's pretty much what I see I do. I mean, occasionally, I do research, but the research is really about waqia the reality that we live in, so I would point to history, I would point to, as Okay, sister, the exception squeaky
please come in and relax.
University doors. So, in essence of going back to connecting, all I really do is connect dots. And I might point out, or research facts about history, about sociology, about psychology, that just re emphasizes the static beliefs that you really hold. And so hence, never think you could be cool to share for let's say, studying the physical sciences or studying history or sociology, per se, unless you want your share for that subject. But that's essence what I do. So.
So let's think about it. I mean, definition of culture shift, also kind of asked that question of you, what do you think culture is?
And most people would generally say, I'm going to use this
So, all right. So culture, what is culture? And why do we use this term? Well, generally people when they refer to culture, they refer to
forfeits, they refer to
So if a practice happens to be in one particular locality for known that kind of practice, like for example, in England are known for the practice of queueing and being very patient in queueing. In New York, they have queuing, but they're not very patient in the queue. So they have certain practices, then you have communication.
So that would be language also communicating respect. How do you show respect in Japan, it's obviously in, in Muslim lands, you wouldn't be buying or God unless you're connected with the ruling family, dynasties, that most people seem to like, buy into.
Then you have
which objects which are connected to people's practices or culture, they might be, for example, a style of clothing. Generally speaking, other objects might be for example, in India, it would be a cultural artifact, so to speak, to, to, to refer to the stone idols that they created, for example, that would be a cultural artifact of certain people that live in the Indus Valley. And this is why historians refer to these things when the uncovering dig up. Let's say stone statues or
People's Old Gods, they refer to that as cultural artifacts. So, objects of course, lastly, very importantly,
So, people and the political thinking can mean a whole number of things, it could be basically, what that culture believes is good
It can also be
what that culture believes is what is connected to good and bad. So, what is a good way of forming families? Is it can you have marriage good thing is a good thing or not can be a good thing. So, good but very important. All the beliefs that are connected to culture might be what you would call a worldview.
Which is, they might believe in particular, gods or a god or a creation myth, or, or any kind of understanding how they came to be, this would be their worldview. Now, the thing is, objects, objects here. So is it cultural, that let's say people have a vase of faces of people uncover, you know, archeological digs, and they find faces from ancient Greeks and find pages from ancient Romans and they find phrases in ancient China they find basis in Islamic civilization is a vase
or cipher is basis connected to particular beliefs and worldviews? No, it just happens to be objects that people use for utility. So we will we find that there are what I call universal
were called technical to Universal utility, such as water carrying devices, for example, which is phases.
So are not really connect to people's beliefs, per se, they're not connect to present beliefs. So you can, you can have a vase and be an atheist, and be a Christian or a Muslim, you can own a car, and you don't have to be an atheist, or a Christian to own a car or Muslim car. These objects are connected to Universal, universal design, universal design, but it's basically trunk and trunk rotation to carry water, so until it so here's the thing, when we look at this in terms of culture,
people think that culture is one thing.
And religion is something else.
Now with the exception of aspects of objects that are connected to Universal things, and objects that are connected to
the cultural objects,
objects are universal ones are cultural, like stone statues, or
let's say a Masjid, or church or synagogue, these are built objects are connected to a worldview and of religion. What do you notice? Can anyone tell me what the difference then between a religion and culture is?
What do you think is the difference between religion and culture?
So, I was gonna say, so, religion to be used at a justifier right. So, us as a justifier of a certain culture is not is not the least of the beliefs
and beliefs that go against a particular religion or that religion as
beliefs that go against a particular religion. But surely, then, you might be in many cultures that go against particularly, yes, but that would be a separate culture. Could you argue to separate culture so to go to contradict each other? Yes. of different practices and beliefs and worldviews? What is the difference between a religion and culture as a as a as a catechism category?
Anyone would like to watch the original culture, anyone like to venture you
can have different regions.
So you can say
this country has this religion is separate. I think it needed to separate thing from the culture though because it does affect your culture
that affects the culture.
I can be
too much but I do care about the religion.
We were talking about
we really assumed a premise which is that culture religion are separate, but I'm asking what makes culture separate in the first place? Religion, religion is an ideology right. So it so like cultural ideology of one is divine one as
well approach and believe that it is, it is a different way of living.
If you had a question, religion can be like a filter for many of those things, like telling you what is acceptable and what's wrong.
But culture has been bad
answer is actually really obvious. And hence, and hence most people don't get it,
which is the human condition system has?
Basically, I think she she basically said, if there really is no difference between religion and culture, as a prior to secularism, there was no understanding or separation between digital culture.
Everyone has always assumed that and to be fair, in common parlance, we use it, I use it, I say, religion, culture, so Muslim practice, and then following a British practice, we use it. And of course, as the purpose of our discussion today with religion culture, but you see, the thing is this.
The Arabic language and the words in the Quran and Sunnah haven't been secularized, yet, haven't been taken out, remove the change, because you can't. So it retains a really interesting word, which benefits these discussions and is called Dean.
Right? A Dean, what is the dean that comes from has two applications and which are both complimentary and both true at the same time, which is the dean is both beliefs.
And it is both a way of life practices and a way of life and beliefs aqeedah an army and Mormon art and all these other things, actions, transactions,
and see what I said with communication. And this also leads to what is good and bad communication, we have concepts such as showing respect, right.
And also showing the result.
We have also what you expect from people,
which is in terms of rights,
So if I say salaam aleikum to you, and as an adult in an individual capacity, and you say, and you don't say, well, it comes along, even though you acknowledge I say to you, this would be viewed as insulting, or at least disrespectful, or at least you're not feeling your obligation. Because if I give a salon, you have to say,
right, that's expectation. In this culture in the West, if someone shakes that puts the hand out to you, that generally they're not your enemy. And you know, they know, you know, they're your enemy. And they just say, oh, pleased to meet you, and you don't shake their hands. And you just keep your hand like this. It's used insulting Why? Because there's an expectation that when they give a greeting, you have to give a reciprocal greeting,
which, which involves the shaking of the hand. But the thing is this, after Muslims were colonialists and colonization, around the world was really the West's method of spreading its culture and worldview, all around the world to make clones many clones of itself in different countries, we started to use to view religion and culture to be two different things.
Now, there is there is a distinction in the Arabic used by many sociologists and people who've been thinkers in the world.
between objects, which are universal objects, which are late culture which is objects which are universal are called madonia. Which comes from the linguistic kind of meaning pertaining to the city. Like Medina writes, things which are pertaining to a city because city was a was a industrial base, you if you're a Bedouin, you don't really make you know, your metal implements and tools, your meat and leather, well, maybe you could but if you want to get the real professional stuff, you go to the city where they have dedicated workshops and production lines that makes high quality metal implements and also high quality
Then you go to the city and so objects or technological objects that pertains to the city millennia are not urbanization, urbanization, yeah, urbanization. But yeah, but for Medina, meaning the city and of course code objects which pertain to culture is called Pathak right by objects which are cultural objects. So for example, you as a Muslim you can have the car was Muslim, you can have a vase in your house on your mantelpiece if you want. But as a Muslim, you can't have an idol of Ganesha on your, on your mental piece, because that would be contrary to your worldview to own such an object and to put it in a position of veneration in your house. Right, so that is an object they
So in Islam, and certainly in the Arabic language, and certainly normal civilizations prior to secularization, they didn't see a difference between culture and what you call religion, they would see as one of the same thing, look at how Hindus described, but they didn't call themselves Hindus before. But before that colonialism, but how they describe their religion they called it dharma. Dharma means law, or that pathway. What about
Japanese Shinto, Shinto means their way, means way.
And every the Torah, which is the Jewish book means law, also similar in Arabic language, means low as well. They'd say, Oh, this is our religious book. And then we have culture we have laws and things No, this was your deed.
If you have a way of life, and you have practices and so on, relate to all these things. This is your deen there's only one thing that that Dean would be would become independent or semi city independent from a team which is it doesn't matter what language you follow what language you use, so as a Muslim, you can speak Arabic speak or speak Turkish you can speak Persian, different languages meaning for different things.
You can eat brownies, or kebabs or burgers, doesn't change your deen.
You can have if you're if you're Muslim, to Muslim male and you cover your older using kind of like jumpers and hoodies and things like that. And baggy pants or whatever you can wear in Canada. That is acceptable and doesn't mean you have a different Deen just because your style of clothing that comes over is different. Whereas for sisters, if they cover their owner, they're
not meant to be exposed. According from this Islamic worldview, will they use hijabs or they use
turbans, which are turbans, for example, which was also used by Arab Arab women in the seventh, eighth, ninth centuries as well, they had a type of turban as well, not just the men's like a smaller version of men male turban, but it covered everything would run the chain, and they wore long robes, or you want to wear a type of shoe or komiza, and really baggy trousers and really kind of a loose shirt that didn't cover it shake. It doesn't matter the style of clothing, you'd be following the same? Do you still be following the same thing? You can have variation? You can have variation when a country does not matter? No, no one would say you're falling.
But because we have separated out religion, from culture, we create the kind of schizophrenia in our mindset.
And this schizophrenia, schizophrenia mindset about the
multiple personality disorder to be technically correct.
causes us to have conflicts caused us to have conflict. Because if you say to a Muslim, let's say Muslim doesn't want to marry their daughter or their son, to someone of a different ethnic group, and you say, Ah look your religion, you know, you're choosing your culture or religion. You still say now this is your culture. Was it you're saying? Today if you if you said to them, if you do that, then you are not you're not on the deen of Islam sounds much more serious and is much more accurate.
Or that if you believe that your your nation state is better than others and that you can even have a nation state. This is not the deen of Islam, not on the deen of Islam.
You're not following the deen following a different Deen that might look similar in some aspects but a different deal together. Why? Because Muslims, the prophet Mohammed slaughter them forbade Muslims to have also via which is pride or even loyalty to a separate group other than the oma.
The Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said he who calls for our Serbia, he fights for us to be he who dies possibly he's not one of us. Not one of us. Not
Basically one of the Muslims quite serious, you think about it.
Because Allah Subhanallah didn't create you to be loyal to your own separate groups. I mean, sure, you can have identities, as identities as in, you can make it known that you're from a certain area, that's not a problem.
Because he actually helps you to recognize people, if you know, someone's from, let's say, let's take this off, if you know someone from Edmonton, Canada, right, they might have slightly different kind of ways of thinking than someone who's a torontonian.
Or if someone's from, if you're in United States, of course, someone from Texas, they have a bit of a different culture from four different mindsets and tastes, from someone who's from New York. Right? quite different. So knowing where someone's from, helps you to communicate that because you can, then you can then modify how you speak to that person so that they can understand you, and that you think you can understand them. And you can have that communication. That's why the first thing you ask when you meet someone is where you from,
where you from, what what policy you're from, because you're then use your knowledge of that policy to that part of the country, that part of the world, that then inform how you communicate better that person, so you can actually have a big connection with that person.
if Muslims, Muslims, need to be different, you are already secularized. You have already made a separation. Whereas Islam, the only thing I know in English language, I mean, English language, religion and culture. And culture is a very broad term anyway, in each language, and religion. Religion comes from the root word, people think of the root word to bind in from religious or Latin, which is the same similar route as what the winner Qaeda means. And the reason why that the use this term is because if this word just means al Qaeda,
right, which is whether the Latin root is where it comes from. And this one means practice, you can have a separate belief and do a separate practice.
Whereas as Muslims, we believe that your practices come from your beliefs,
in essence, what you Now you might say, but if you stay and you're like happy, you don't care, you're happy about it, then people say you don't have any money.
If you said you can sit, as in as in, you can sit without invalidating your belief, as long as you know, and you accept that it's the wrong thing to do, and you shouldn't be doing it. But if you do it like happily, and I see no problem with it, then it said that you don't even have a mustard seed of the mind, in your heart of belief.
or beliefs or actions come from beliefs, when you say face in the hot
day, faith is in the heart, and it manifests by actions,
you know, that no smoke without fire.
So the actions of smoke and the phases, if you don't have any faith, then you won't have nothing good coming out of the interactions anyway. So that's one of the fundamental problems that Muslims make make assumptions. And
the other aspect that
kind of Muslims problems that kind of arise
is that we have something called I'm gonna try to level this off.
be efficient. Right. So
the other issue is,
I would say, what do we mean by we say cultural Muslim? I really
like the cultural Muslim.
So people say someone's a cultural Muslim, we use this term quite a lot.
And we have religious Muslim.
So when people use these terms,
what do you think cultural Muslim refers to? What do you think religious? Anyone have an idea?
Please tell me what happened during the time I'm not sure the three moments moments.
continue is a continuation of our compartmentalization. Right. So what you just mentioned right now, was poor prior to this, he said culture and our idea of having things
culture and religion are separate is a continuation of,
I guess colonized way of thinking, okay?
I'm going to,
okay, so you have
to wait and looking at motivations and understanding and practice.
A cultural Muslim is someone who's motivated by, they say, I live in I was born, raised and didn't have a particular belief, culture and practice. So I follow it, because
whatever it is, is what people do, everyone else is doing it,
I will do it to
Hence, they could be their cultural, they follow it, because that's what they were raised into. And they imitate everyone. And that's what we do. And when you take them out to say, a Muslim country, will even double some countries still have problems as well. They've taken into the West, and they they grew up here, they will begin imitating the West Western culture and traditions, because they just imitate what their surroundings whatever it is, they're surrounded by motivations are real, this person will say, I am Muslim, because I believe is the truth.
But you think okay, so there's a clear delineation, we should be we should be this one. And not that one. Well, yes, when it comes to motivations, but it doesn't always mean that this one can be secular as well. Why is that? Because understanding and practice
in understanding and practice the code, the cultural Muslim looks at Islam, like it's a checklist.
It's like, Alright, as a Muslim, just make sure I fast during Ramadan, I pray five times a day. If anyone asked me, I'll just say I'm Muslim, because that's what I was told to say I am. And so by, I'll just say I am one of them. Why not? And
I will basically in public,
especially in public, I will basically just follow Islam as a bunch of things that you have to sort out you have to do.
The religious Muslim
can go two ways.
A Muslim understand Islam as an Akita, a belief of itself in spiritual practices, but nothing more,
will actually be no different in practice to this person in terms of chickens in terms of looking at some of the checklist, that is the truth. And God wants me to be a good person by doing this, this and like I fasting, and maybe I should have good,
good behavior matters. But the difference between individuals and culture Muslim is that in this, if they were to view in that manner, is that they also keep it in private. So they follow the checklist in private too.
And of course, you'd say, Well, this is hypocrites, right? I know, the one believes in it. And so it keeps the checklist, but there's still secular,
right people who say, I'm a good Muslim, and as Muslims, we should protect ourselves and not worry about the world, the dunya you know, the Koran says not to neglect your portion of the world and the cornea, these people might be might be following Islam in public and private for only part of Islam,
the individual personal aspects of Islam,
whereas the other understanding the other people call this side.
The other understanding is they are ideological, as they view Islam as a
which means as a principle behind it, not just a checklist, this, the ideological Muslim
beliefs not because it's the truth, but then when realize that God exists, there is a creator, the creator, make everything in this universe. All this assigns the stars of the sons of the stars, different
solar systems, applies mountains,
humans, different creatures, even
micro organisms, everything was made by the Creator.
Why is that? Why was it made what is and then they want to know that they would study the purpose. They read Revelation, they say that there's a purpose behind everything. And this purpose doesn't just affect me, but affects every living thing. And even inanimate objects have a purpose behind them, even the rocks and the stones and everything, everything has a purpose. So now, what do Hi, and society and the world all things? What, how are we meant to fulfill this purpose? What should I do to fulfill this purpose?
That's an ideological Muslim. And I don't want to give is proactive, an agent Muslim, Muslim, tries to improve, tries to look at the world through the objective of how do I achieve the purpose of creation that we will make full,
diminished Muslim, who just understand Islam in a secular way, just use it as a checklist of things. So you live your life? Yeah, you get married, and you try to do a good job, and you try to have kids, and then you die. I was doing that. Just make sure that you don't like lie, and you don't move fast, as much as you can try as much as you can. That's all while you're doing that, just make sure that you don't break some rules. That's what the checklist most mostly abuses. And that's how many Muslims understand Islam as a checklist, where a judge says, How do we transform this world?
To attain the purpose of God, the purpose of God is made for us. What do I do? What do I campaign? How do I, you know, what technologies we look at? What studies should we do? Or like in astronomy, and in biology and chemistry and mathematics? What things can we do to better improve and get closer to make the ideal that was intended for our creation? That's an argument.
So when you talk about culture versus Islam, to finish up? It's not one where there are two competing forces?
And that we have to have both, but they're fighting each other? No, because the only thing that you would that we would allow that culture is within Islamic limits, of course, the food you eat, and I don't think eating brownies, or eating kebab burger is a conflict between you and your mom,
I guess you had an issue with like, are extremely obese in it, and the doctors are saying that it's going to kill you. And then the chef has said it's going to kill you. And
that is that. But normally, any of these foods, there's no there's no, there's no clash between you and your mom? Or should I get a vase? Or should I get a lamp? Or should I get whatever these are like universal objects, they don't clash between your demand and
your way of life. But the reality of the world today the clash is between different deeds. And in this case, even though first might be called a religious Muslim. There is a clash between the secular understanding of Islam as a checklist
and ideological Islam being a way of life based on a principle that an ideal
and that's really a clash of culture. But the clash between two themes, the themes of Islam in Islam, and the post colonial kind of Deen that was given to Muslims and taught to Muslim men and unfortunately don't know any better. I'm not saying we shouldn't say that they're not. They're not Muslim, because most Muslims don't know any better. You're born into this world.
You don't know anyone any better. And so this is a situation that is not there is no clash, there is only one Deen and we should tell Muslims that they must follow this one thing and not follow all the things and only make their obedience obedience to Allah, Allah and nothing else.
So since we do have to rush to Waterloo, we can take maybe two questions only and the answer would be restricted.
We'll get to the two questions.
First, what to do and to give it a chance for the UTM students first and then we'll go with rather than after anybody wants to any questions. Okay, good.
So, my question is,
in what way can affect Metallica right? And there is the burqa here and where do we draw the line between that and the shadow but
this is also the question.
You can comment on one minute,
Basically, from an employee perspective, he basically sets them here and the
marine is basing the measurements of the ACA. So
I have never ever changes that have been generated based upon the most. And the most is basically what generates the karma, which is the disliking or the
step that which is sooner or recommended? Or would you or karma, which is basically how long vacation. So in terms of the hukou stays the same, for example, the only the the map is a
cornerstone within the context for marriage, right, let's say, a brother and a sister, you know, verbally kind of agreed upon a manner. And then there was a agreement, what happens if neither parties can actually prove their point, they'll go to the judge, the judge will use an oath, which is the customs and traditions in society for the average member given for those people based upon maybe, let's say, their class or their wealth, and so forth. And they will assign something to the effect on the dinner party and the measurements that are supposed to be implemented by the Hong Kong charity, which is only and only gets extracted from the
And when where do we draw the line? Sorry, between that and just because of time? Yeah, sorry, we'll discuss the word long language and later trauma will take over
every presentation. Just comment is that, I think, and I don't like the word, I never liked the word religious, Muslim, or cultural Muslim. And I think when we're posed with that question, we shouldn't say, oh, it sounds like cultural Muslim, or we'll just say no, I, I
like my way of life a certain way of life. And I can tell you, is that a
Muslim is a Muslim. So one more question just before we leave, because we have to go system?
I guess, again, I think that's gonna be it's gonna be more than a minute. And plus,
they might be specific circumstances that if I give a general answer, yeah, it would cause trouble for that person, correct. Knowing all the different details and facts. But suffice to say, if we lived in an ideal situation, let's say, if an African example, the mom is the belief of those who don't have one. And if someone falls foul of going outside as part of their condition, and saying, like, I don't want you to marry this person, because for Japanese reasons, then it should usually be able to go to the local party, representing the mom of the Khalif
using his representative marry off her to the person that she wants to marry. But the problem is that the parents would probably cut her off, if we give her the sauces today and be very quick. What we can do as a society as a Muslim communities, and I was hoping that sounds very harsh, but I felt a very harsh saying it is that we should go to a mosque, and we should tell them in there.
As well as have a campaign amongst us that we need to shame people who exhibit Japanese, they exhibit janelia, they should be publicly shamed in the community because many people many parents make decisions based on what other people think they make everyone agree that anyone who acts on Japanese should be shamed by their community, until they comply with the what they're worried about what people think, then target that. So that's a practical thing. But as to hurt her situation I couldn't possibly come up with I don't
know what I
guess I'll just add one more thing. This is a real situation, she basically get counseling from the moms. And you can basically give her my contact if she wants to. And then the proper way of dealing with this actually on a practical level is to speak to the parents and try to basically gather the parties together and bridge the gap. That's the first step that we would take explains the parents This is a rules of Islam and the consequences that could basically happen here to this and so forth. And management database, you can make your heart's Sharla lenient and your genuine heart, but also we need to understand basically who this person is, who this girl is trying to marry. And does he
really fit basically the the Latin Deen basically category that Islam basically would promote? Because then the data said there might be might be, but it's not definitely there might be a leeway basically, where a judge or a person will basically present the judge in today's case, which is a member of the message who is knowledgeable in this area.
And there's a man who is a puppy. So the amount of puppies basically will play the role of the public who is actually missing in today's society for for unknown reasons. So we'll try to basically figure things out based upon the hukou sharing in that case, so there's a real case
Letter insha Allah either in contact one of the moons that she trusts or you can basically give her my contact Mashallah and we'll do basically this in a real and practical situation.
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