Channel: Bilal Philips
on Zain Khan Live
Welcome design con live where everything is discussed and nothing is censored today the topic of our program is changing the nation through education. Today, the guest of our show is Dr. Bilal Philips. He is the prominent academic, a PhD, Islamic scholar, and also the founder of International Open University. Welcome to our show. Dr. Bilal Philips. This is an Han it's such a pleasure, pleasure having you on our show, sir.
Optical optical, it's my pleasure to be back on your program again. And we can only pray that the program is of benefit
to our viewers, our audience, insha Allah, and will be put on a scale of good deeds in the time when we need it most. Inshallah,
the first question, you're the founder of an incredible online university, I like to ask you questions regarding education, and how it positively affects the society.
What is the philosophy of education, according to you?
Well, when we look at the definitions of education,
and there are many
the philosophies are expressed in these various definitions. And the one which I felt best summarizes what is education
as the one which states that education is the transfer of the culture of a civilization to its next generation.
That sums up the essence of education.
It's not just the facts and figures,
the dots on the dashes.
It's the package, the whole package, which represents education, education, is not devoid of the cultural context in which that information is being conveyed. Now, so if your civilization is a secular civilization, then the education that you will be given will be in accordance with the principles of secularism.
But if your education
comes from an Islamic civilization, then it should be expected that the same bits and pieces of information which are conveyed in the secular educational system will also be conveyed in the Islamic system, but with an Islamic cultural bias or Islamic purse cultural understanding.
Speaking of secularism, and I'm glad you brought it up. Now, when we look at their two sorts of subjects, if we look at theology, or you know, that's religious, if we look at in the Islamic perspective, we look at these sciences, that's an Islamic
it hasn't it's, it's an Islamic Studies subject. But if we look at other subjects like sociology, we look at psychology and your university also teaches, you know, it offers a degree on psychology. When it comes to these subjects, do you personally believe in the secularization of education? If not, why, if yes, give us your reasons.
Well, the second realization of
education was a proud product of the secondary ideation of the civilization itself of governance, when governance
involved in the 20th century, the global removal of the influence of religion, on education.
So right and wrong, your morality, your ethics, your system of character building
The one which is devoid of critical elements
necessary to create complete human beings who are morally driven.
Oh, who have a sense, a real sense of right and wrong,
which is not just based on what is convenient.
So, the secularization of education came after the secularization of governance.
And we know what happened with the secularization of governance, you know, all of the things that you're considered sinful prior to the 20th century, whether it's fornication, adultery, and all the other well known sins, these were secularize, they're no longer sins.
So all once you've removed the
stigma, then people can do anything. And they don't have that sense of right and wrong, right is what is convenient, wrong is what is inconvenient.
Whereas from the Islamic perspective, then right and wrong has a basis in Revelation,
divine guidance, which determines ultimately what's right and what is wrong.
So, as a civilization, the Muslim civilization,
the Empire of faith, which existed 4400 years, no weak today
still has, at its foundation, the same ethical principles, guiding the educators and the educated
in today's world, as well as in the world to come.
Dr. Bilal Philips, you've rightly pointed out your perspective regarding this.
But I want to ask you a question. Now you have subjects like computer sciences, we have subjects like psychology. Now, how do we unset colorize them? Do we start teaching what all has Ali opinion about a certain thing was regarding psychology? How do we how do we teach that to our kids? If not, by secularizing it and talking about Freud and other psychologists? How do we teach that to kids?
From an Islamic perspective, sociology, psychology.
are taught with the guidance that exists within the Quran.
We could write about the psychology of the Quran,
or the sociology of the Quran
where we analyze psychological and sociological principles in the light of Islam and Islamic teachings, but we also study Western philosophies as well and Khan. Yes. Regarding psychology, no harm. Of course, we should. We don't want to teach the students only half of the picture. No, we have to teach the whole picture. And when we say that, one aspect of sociology or psychology is not acceptable. We have to explain why why is it not acceptable? We live arguments, yes, they should understand they should not just be denied. For example, let me give you an example in another area, which you know, I've discussed at length before with others in the area of
business administration, business management. When marketing is being taught.
The instructors of marketing will inform the students the second or instructors that could best salesman is the one who is able to sell snowballs
or sand to a desert, Arab, in his tent, living in sand. This is the ultimate salesman. He convinces that are sitting in his bedroom and sitting in his tent,
that he has some sand, which that
Bedouin must have, even though he is sitting in a sea of sand.
So, we say, yeah, that is a real salesman, you know, or the Eskimo in his igloo, he's living in a house of ice. His bed is made from ice, you know, and here comes somebody selling him a snowball, you know, some ice rolled up into a ball, and he's gonna buy that ice because he feels that his life is incomplete without that ball of ice.
You know, that's a super salesman.
But how does he manage to do that? How does the sales man manage to do that he must deceive that Eskimo or the Bedouin, he has to deceive him,
he has to lie to him. He has to create an image which is false.
So that he will be convinced to buy what he doesn't even need.
So, from the Islamic perspective, deception is forbidden.
You cannot falsely Advertise your product, you have to tell it like it is.
With the negative the weaknesses, whatever you clarify, this is what made Muslim business people unique and caused Islam to spread through business through trade.
Muslims who have been trading in the
east, from Arabia, from Africa or going to India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, they have been going prior to becoming Muslims for centuries and centuries. And they traded in the normal way of trade which involved that deception.
However, when Islam came, and these traders now obliged, not to cheat, not to deceive, not to conceal and hide the weaknesses of your products, etc.
Those people who they dealt with
their business partners in these lines, were shocked why you're selling me cloth, and you're telling me where there is weakness in this cloth.
Why? Because maybe I won't buy it. Obviously, I'm selling too. And I haven't given it to you at a cheaper price. So if that is what is most important to you, then you will buy it with its no defects. So otherwise, you can go to my neighbor, who was selling along with me and get
cloth without defects. Yes, wow. Oh, what caused you to do this and of course, they told this was Islam. Because the prophets as Alan said, My LaShana, fillet Samina whoever cheats us, wherever deceives us is not about us. It's not a tombstone. So that principle, how we have included in the process of marketing and sales, and this is going to affect the whole process of how we market our products. In the same way, we can go back to psychology, and other fields of whether it's, you know,
banking and finance, or it or wherever, and include
the ethical principles, which Islam is governed by, which summarizes the essence of the messages the prophets, Allah said, in my breath to live with me my Makara flock I was only sent to perfect for you the highest of moral character traits. So morality has to be there.
It needs to be in every class.
The professors who teach in
my university, the International University,
I insist that everyone was hired understands this principle that in every class, they should develop some element of moral principles. moral guidance should be there.
It should not just be an exchange of information, there shouldn't be beyond that, how is this information to be used? When is it to be used? When is it not to be? Etc, etc.
Dr. Block flips when we study the history and philosophy of science,
we learned that the Muslims were on their peak in Islamic Golden Age, what was the reason of their regression? Was it lack of education, lack of rationality? What's your opinion on that?
Well, you know, a lot of talks about, you know, the change of power and, and dominance of societies as something which takes place in accordance with his
So, behind the jaw is a MAS destiny. But what is obvious to us is that when the Muslim states or the Muslim state
began to crumble, as a result of internal corruption,
then the Muslim world became dominated by the non Muslim world.
And in the dominance of the non Muslim world, they extracted all of the scientific, useful, good, from the Muslim world, put their
scholars names on it, and erased the Muslim contributions from the books which we use for general teaching. Of course, in research, this information still remains there, in most institutes around the world, but it's just not accessible to the mass of people.
So Muslim contributions to civilization were written out of the textbooks. That's why and hamdulillah in the beginning of the 21st century,
in the UK, they, they did a major
festival, or we could call it a major event, which was
dedicated to highlighting the contributions Muslim contributions to world civilization, especially in the fields of the sciences, etc.
and trauma, they made a book called 1001 Muslim inventions, which every Muslim should have in their own little book.
They have a kid's version, and then adult version, and they have now been DVD on it. I mean, now it's
can be saved without DVDs, the days of the DVDs.
The point is that they gathered together scholars, etc, who explained all of those contributions, how they contributed when they contributed, who learned from them in the West, and who took over there, where they left off and all of that they've brought all that information. And as such today, there is no reason why any Muslim child should grow up without knowing who and has an imminent, Haytham is they know Zainuddin, the done they know football prayer,
big time, became head of clubs, etc.
But they don't know who hasn't. Even Al Hassan YBNL hatefulness and he was the genius.
He described the world workings of a camera he showed it from way back in the 12th century. You know, he was dealing with things that
We're way beyond his time. He described how the AI worked, he had taken apart the I looked at all the parts and pieces and set up artificial versions and showed how the light was refracted and all kinds of things incredible stuff.
We should know him.
But we have a generation now a graduating who no idea that Muslims even contributed. They know, Sir Isaac Newton, they know Einstein, they know.
Madame Curie, they know what they know and they know. But
the many Muslim
scientists, scholars, etc. They don't know.
So we have to rectify that. We have to bring them back in contact with their history, history of science. So they understand that Islam is relevant.
I totally agree. Dr. Bilal Philips, I mean,
Imam because Ali's Kalam Cosmological Argument is still used by a Christian philosopher of the name of William Lane Craig, and to fathom the fact that a philosophy theory that was by Allah zali is still used in 2021. To explain the existence of God. That is an achievement by Muslim philosophers and thinkers. I want to get to the next question. You're an academic, you are the founder of International Open University.
In your opinion, what is the importance of education
for an education for an individual for a society, the world's
of the differences between
the developed countries and the underdeveloped countries concluded
in the UN analysis, that the difference between the two is in education
that is the essential difference
that if we in the Muslim world and the developing world are to come on par with the developed world, the only way is through education.
There is no other solution.
And that is why the motto of my university is changing the nation that is the Muslim nation OMA through education.
Dr. Bill offers many motivational speakers consider degree based
education to be outdated. We even see intellectuals and philosophers like non Chomsky, who considers institutionalized education to be outdated and have no use in the future. And those intellectuals consider skill based education to be the future especially after COVID-19 skill based where you learn how to either fix a car or make shoes or make a software, you know, skill based training, what is your opinion on that? Do you still consider degree based education or university to be relevant?
Well, of course, I believe that the degree based that is academic study based
system of conveying information and knowledge
to be relevant not to say that, in the future, there may be a shift, you know, where new ideas are coming up.
The mode of education may change.
We may give another name to those who graduate, rather than calling them PhDs, Master's or bachelor's may give them some other name, which is indicative of their
practical hands on skill based learning systems. You know, but in the end, it's just a matter of making
And if we say, and as we're trying to do in an IO in IOU
that we do want our graduates to be relevant,
to have the necessary skills to
provide for the gaps that are there in the society, or to provide guidance to the society in one way or another.
Based on their acts, their skills, the skills which they have gained through internship, which is why we have included this element as much as possible into our various departments, you know, linking up our students with the industry, global industry, in the various fields that we are educating them in, you know, that they do have more of a hands on understanding, then a purely academic understanding, like, you know, you go back 50 years, and you look at the textbooks, where they're teaching science, there are a lot of drawings and explanations, written stuff, and many places didn't even have laboratories. Now, in the West, anyway, you know, all the schools have
laboratories, with all the chemicals and all that. So, you can see, this is an evolutionary process ongoing, anyway. But did it make that knowledge, which those who studied without having access Amazon, access to this, the scientific
experiments and, and experiences, they make their knowledge less relevant now, for that time that they were in, it was useful when
things evolved, and schools could all afford now to have laboratories, then the level of education moved up, you know, and that is hands on, from simply what was in the textbooks before. So you can see that trend happening, and, and that people become more involved. The concept of internship, you know, is spreading through many different areas of study, that hands on experience being important, but it doesn't eliminate, eliminate the theory behind it.
Still, just dealing with things as they come without understanding the whys whens house, it's not going to be useful. So it's purely
experimental or purely skill based, no, can be, it will always have a theoretical foundation, which those who are studying have to have this like check.
If you're only going to deal with the circumstances, in which foot is applied, without understanding where the foundations of fifth came from, then you will always be dependent on others, you will not have the ability to do HDR, and to develop other alternatives or answers to new circumstances that arise. So, this is, I think,
playing and play in reality, which
educators know well,
I want to get to a very technical question when I study philosophy and that is my subject. I understand in the realm of ethics and moral philosophy, that without religion,
a person cannot attain objective moral values, objective moral values. What do you think is the relationship between
morality, and religion. Now, for example, if somebody is an atheist,
we can go on and on and argue about what is moral and what's not. And eventually, a person who doesn't believe in religion would eventually attain a position of moral relativism, that nothing is right and nothing is wrong. It's all perception. It's all cultural based or perception based, but religion is what gives us
objective moral values. So in your opinion, what is the relationship between morality and religion?
Well, you said it.
I agree with what you said that,
you know, unless the one who decides what is morally right, and what is morally wrong,
is not from among us.
Where we are looking at everything from a subjective perspective,
then our morality will be in constant flux, which is what has happened to the west, when they remove the Bible and teachings, you know, Christian teachings,
guy in Morocco, but you saw it when they threw that out. And it's still said, Well, we will justice, then morality went, you know, it just became
whatever was convenient.
Whatever the majority agreed on, or preferred, you know, and as such, what can be right today can be wrong tomorrow. And what's wrong today can be right tomorrow. That's where you end up. And that's what we're living today.
This is a very important question. And I know that our viewers would want to know, like, let's, let's imagine I want to join your university. Please tell us a little more about university if somebody wants to join or if I want to join, how could they proceed? And what are the major courses that you are offering in the university?
Well, joining universities pretty straightforward, you know, it's just going to the website, i o u.edu.gm. And everything is there, everything opens up for you, you choose your area of study of the areas that we have seven
or eight areas are Islamic based. So we have Sharia, da masters PhD,
taught in English media,
with Arabic as a subject which student has to take,
is combined with a bachelor's in Arabic.
Students can take with English help in explaining the language
but bachelor's and monsters
that represents the purely we could say, Islamic or you know, Arabic, you could say is not necessarily Islamic in and of itself, but it's thought within the context of Islam, there will be examples from the Quran or from the Hadith and things that is to, to show and to teach the various principles, grammar, grammatical principles, etc. Then, the modern subjects we could call the modern subject, or somebody want to call it secondary subjects, we will but we don't teach them. You know, from a secondary perspective, though, we do look at the secondary perspectives, we have education. And what is being taught in our department of education is
what is normally taught in any department of education around the world, but from an Islamic perspective. So the Islamic connection will be developed there. So students will understand they will see something of the prophetic method, prophetic approach to education.
if we move on to
banking and finance? Well, it's Islamic banking and finance. These both areas, we have bachelor's developing masters currently.
the Islamic banking and finance Alhamdulillah is addressing a critical need
in the Muslim society today
to deal with the challenge of Riba and I should go back to education just to emphasize that this is also a very, very important area, as Muslims to a large degree, have neglected it today, so many Muslim schools are visited in countries which are multicultural societies, where half or more of the teachers are non Muslims in the schools. Why? Because they don't have teachers, Muslim teachers. Why? Because teaching is the subject that people go to when they can't get into anything else. And this is terrible. Because the browser, Simon had said that the whole world is cursed, except for the teacher and students. And what was he but the teacher,
a prophetic teacher,
but a teacher, nonetheless. So we have neglected this field. And it needs to be revived and lifted up back to its
position of honor, which it had in the earlier generations not moving on. These are like very interesting subjects, how much is the degree? How much does your university cost? And are these degrees globally recognized? Like if in Pakistan, I want to do a degree from your university, if I like one of the courses?
Is it recognized?
the university is accredited as an institution, as well as its courses are accredited
in the Gambia.
So, technically speaking, it should be
accepted, the degrees should be accepted worldwide. However, some countries have conditions. For example, in Pakistan, the university commission there
states that for an online institutions degree to be accepted in Pakistan today.
The same subjects which are taught online must also be taught offline.
In a branch of that institution, it must be taught offline, for the online to be acceptable. That's a condition they've made.
Most countries in the world don't have this condition.
So what do you do in such a case? Well,
don't stop at the initial degree level.
Make sure that if you graduate with a bachelor's from us, which will be Islam ized.
Then you move on
to a Masters do the Masters in Pakistan.
Forgotten and Islam is the foundation on which to build your masters from your eyes would have been open, your mind would have been
so you can understand the our advice,
because there are situations
around the world
where our degrees are accepted as online degrees, and they teach also offline, and their degrees are accepted in Pakistan.
So what I'm suggesting, just to clarify that point, is that if you did the bachelor's with us, then you would do your masters with one of the universities for example, in Malaysia, Asian II University recognizes our degrees and accepts our students in their master's program. It's a very big university, one of the most rigorous
top universities in Malaysia
And so from there, you want to be a PhD, you can bring it back to Pakistan and do your PhD in Pakistan, because Asian is accepted. So you may do it, you know, following that
those steps, how much is this? How much does the degree these courses cost? How much does your university could say that the the standard
price for a four year degree is $1,000.
Not per year, or per semester. But total $1,000. That is not exactly
that is virtually free in many countries in the world. But not in all obviously, there are some countries where the fees are very low, but it's nice to have the low.
And we do have it scale, because though you may pay 1000.
In Pakistan, for the same degree, somebody in the US pays 4000. Still 4000 is very low.
Still, 4000 is very low, to the idea of getting a degree in the US, for $4,000 would laugh on him, you pay more than that for one semester.
it scaled according to the
UNESCO breakdown of nations, and their GDPs and etc. You know, we scale the fees accordingly.
And we do have scholarships for those people who can't afford, you know, we have 1000s of students studying with us. For example, in Africa, we started a a, two years ago, three years ago, we started a
project to provide 1 million scholarships to African youth.
Because in Africa, less than
N percent of those who graduate from high school, find places in university. So, because education is so critical, as we said in the very beginning,
it's very important before going to change in all the conditions for a million a billion people there on the African continent, it has to come through education. So we're trying to provide, you know, the means through scholarships, given across the continent, to needy students, students who normally would be eligible for DACA.
So we're trying to bring that segment of the society up
to be a part of the future for the countries of Africa, and we have extended similar programs in other parts of the world.
We will I wanted to do it also in Pakistan, but because
the position of the accrediting body is such that they wouldn't accept our degrees then it wasn't possible.
Thank you so much, Dr. Bilal Philips for being on Zen con live it was such a pleasure having you discussing education.
My pleasure. hamdulillah May Allah make it beneficial to all who have viewed it and
we hope to be with you again in future programs for the sake of Allah in service of the OMA.
Inshallah, this was Dr. Bilal Philips, a prominent academic, a PhD Islamic scholar and also the founder of the International Open University we were discussing how to change a nation through education. Until the next episode of Zen Han live keep on watching Zen pond live this is an fun take care of Salam aleikum, take care goodbye. Ah