Channel: Bilal Philips
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Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah. Welcome, everyone to this podcast with a most distinguished guests, we kind of overuse this term distinguished just like we have used the word legend, but in this case both labels apply, although his modesty may not allow him to agree. We have with us the chef, the eminent professor, Dr. Abu Meena, Bilal Philips, Salam Curatola. How you doing, Doctor? Well, I like him Salam rahmatullah wa barakato. I'm gonna lie and find Barak myFICO. And I pray the same for yourself, as well as to our viewers. Welcome. Thank you very much. So of course, your youthful looks belie the amount of decades of hard work you've put in to serving this religion Allahumma barik. So
we want to adjust this to it. Of course, in one hour or so 90 minutes, or one hour, have a discussion, we'll we'll do our best. We'll try to pick your brains as it were, to see if we can reflect on the the state of Islam and Dow around us and where you think Muslims can benefit and improve the situation. So if we can start with on a macro level, the big picture as it were, if you were to look at the lay of the land, the state of the OMA dear, how would you describe the situation there in the West in general, and in the Muslim world, which you're familiar with? What comes to mind was the first first things that come to mind.
Well, what comes to my mind is that the field and the ability to operate within the field has been constructed,
you know, with the demonization by the Indian government of Dr. Zakir Naik, for example.
And forcing him to leave the country and, and set up residence elsewhere, you know, canceling his passport and all those other kinds of things, that's the that is the most extreme to the most visible, and active die on a global scale that's reaching out to people in aspects of Dawa through Peace TV. So, you know, that that direct attack on him, basically quietening him, you know, you know, putting a seal over his mouth, so he can't continue or decrease forcing him to almost go on the ground. I mean, that tells us something about the overall status.
and the and, of course, he's not alone, you know, I have been banned from a number of different countries, you know, attacks have been directed towards me also, you know, I was jailed in the Philippines is not really jail that was held in detention in the Philippines. And, you know, all of this are part of the global attempt to silence the dour, you know, at least on a big stage scale, you know, where the message is being
physically in the presence of, you know, many 1000s of people 10s of 1000s and more
the attempt to to restrict that, in general, you know, has reached all the various areas of Dawa in Western countries in the English speaking, dour
as well as other languages in Europe, etc. So, there is, you know, a massive amount of pressure being placed on those who are involved in Dawa in that you virtually can't speak about
problems which exist in the society and make people aware because then you are labeled as a hate preacher. You know,
for example, you know, I, I gave some lectures before in the past back in the 90s, where I addressed you know, common we call them contemporary issues, issues that, you know, I keep coming up time and time again, where that are being raised about Islam and Muslims and these types of things. And among them is, you know, the the issue of homosexuality
Tea and how Islam deals with homosexuality. And of course, you know, Hamilton,
just recently, you know, had to speak out.
Because he's the Formula One racer driver, he had to speak out against the Saudi Arabian position on homosexuality, you know, that it's a crime, you know, which couldn't you could be jailed for you could even be executed for.
Okay. So, I mean, that is a frontal attack, on the contrary, but on on the scale of the two art, those who are calling to Islam, you know, my presentation was basically clarifying Islam stance, you know, to the arguments that were raised by the homosexuals in defense of homosexuality and these kind of things, you know, I responded to them and explained why we don't accept this, so and so on. So and, you know, of course, yes, the ruling and Islam is such and such, etc. But that explanation, made me or listed me caused me to be listed in the UK as a hate preacher. And of course, then they're trying to dig up as much as many other things as possible. And, you know, they came out with
this thing, or I defend suicide bombing. And they take, you know, from the same series of lectures that I did, and a book book was produced for it, for this course, in contemporary issues, you know, where I mentioned about suicide bombing, I told I explained about in a war, time circumstance, you know, on the battlefield, etc, you know, acts may be done, which is even even the West refers to as suicide missions, you know, so it's, you know, it's not something uncommon, so in these kinds of contexts, but I've clearly stated in the article in the chapter that, you know, where people are blowing themselves and killing other people, you know, innocent people in airports and supermarkets
in, you know, in nightclubs. And then I said, this is totally forbidden in Islam. This is evil, you know, so they only took the part where I said that, you know, it is a part of warfare,
you know, or something to that effect that they took out of it out of context, and then made it seem as if I was giving a blanket, blanket, blanket approval to
suicide bombing, and that's based on something said back in the 90s. And they're using that, you know, 10 years later, 15 years later, 20 years later, to accuse me of being of that persuasion, and banning me from the UK, etc. So, you know, this is it, I'm just giving Dr. Zack and myself as examples, you know, Dr. Zakir in one global scale and the the attack which came after him and myself, you know, on a more individual scale, but the same thing, you know, everybody else now has to walk a tightrope. You have to be very careful about what you say. And one of the things they attacked me on was in defense of problems or Salamis marriage to Asia. I clarified, you know about
it, historically, and all the different things connected to it that you know, this is not something you can't call the professor Salama paedophile This is not acceptable. Now, you know, because he doesn't fit the mold of a pedophile at all. He married pedophiles don't marry children that they abuse etc etc. They're just abused them you know, so it's not so but in the UK they had channel four I think it is you know? Yeah in the
recording be it defending the province ourselves marriage of marriage to a shed the age of nine, and
bringing her to live with him, you know, at the age of
they said 1113 or 13
Plus, the World Health Organization's definition of pedophilia is prepubescent was what we know of many the mother or the believers. She'd already passed that stage.
You have a background or you used to be into into communism. So you're
Be aware, of course, of how the communist state operates and George Orwell's dystopian 1984. It seems like you know, the band that you're discussing and almost like thought crimes, like the police in people's minds, would you say this is due to the as a knee jerk reaction without really understanding what they're hearing? Or would you see? Would you say it's a deliberate attempt, because they see the effectiveness and the efficacy of Islamic preaching? No, I think that it's mainly mainly, it is the openness that the secular West has taken.
So because they are permitting remember, now, the West and the East, at one point, adultery was a crime.
In the, in the West, it's been removed from the law books as a crime, it's not a crime, you know, so the idea that any country is still going to punish people, jailed them, killed them, you know, that is execute them for adultery, this is looked at as being hideous. So you have the permissive West, opening up the doors, you know, we're even incest is removed from the law books of various countries of Europe is now you know, with a few exceptions, they've, they've removed it, it's no longer a crime, you know, having relations with your mother, your sister or your daughter, you know, as long as you are consenting adults, because that becomes the determining factor, it's about consent, you
know, and your adult, you're allowed to do whatever you want to do. So, Islam stands in opposition to all of that.
So naturally, this clash of civilizations is inevitable, it will clash the clash will be there on different levels. You know, this is one of the the major levels in the in the area of morality and that's why the Prophet SAW Solomon said in the Bible has to do with me Mama karma, the clock I was only sent to perfect for you the highest of moral character traits. Lamb is about morality. So naturally, the society that says morality, is whatever the majority agree on, whatever the majority agree on as being acceptable, then that is morally okay and defensible. Whereas Islam says, No, the moral principle has been been fixed, you know, from the beginning of time.
And it's reinforced in the books of Revelation which were sent, whether even the look in the Bible, you know, whether the Quran etc, it's, they're
fixed, but it's only Islam, you know, as a nation, a global nation, that stands in the way of
society, which is developing an open culture, you know,
freedom, this freedom is the folk main focus. So
why? I think on one hand, yes, there is the attitude towards silencing the dour because of the spread of Islam. But in the West, you know, the amount of people who are converting to Islam, it's not enough to threaten the whole
well, so I don't see that as, as really, so much, they're focused on Islam. They're just focused on anything which
restricts or blocks, the freedoms which they believe that human beings should have, you know, Western civilization is looked at as being the peak of the pyramid of human civilization, they're at the top, you know, survival of the fittest.
So naturally, what brought them to the top, you know, whatever it is, they believe in, this is what took them there. This is how they see it. Of course, we believe that, you know, this is the will of Allah, you know, he is
rulership and conquest and ownership power as he wishes in the world as part of the just with the slide into decadence and Hedden ism and the rejection of objective morality, right is a reversion to mob rule that this difference between practicing Muslims and the rest of humanity becomes very, very stark because even practicing Christians, they tend to bend under pressure. And you know, Kevin on certain things, which you would have thought are a solid foundational principles for them, to the extent that even in the UK, when some of these issues about certain things getting taught in school regards to sexual relationships, etc. Some of the Christians were praising the Muslims for being at
the forefront and saying that we need to follow them. And they almost like what, you had the canaries in the coal mine, yeah, they would, they would notice there's a gas and they would die quick. So it's like when the Muslims are onto something that this is going to harm your family, then the rest of the world should take note. So do you think there's an opportunity here, whether proactively managed or just naturally, for Muslims, specifically duardo, or call us to Islam and scholars of Islam to take a leading role for the world at large in terms of having a solid moral grounding?
Well, it is an opportunity, but the question is whether the dewata able to capitalize on that opportunity, because the opportunity
accessible to people from the West, you know, who are
you know, a
similar background, to those that are propagating these ideas right now, you know, they can have people amongst them speak against or challenge or whatever, but when it's people from who are not amongst them, you know, from the Muslim communities and others, you know, when they reach and they try to challenge then, you know, it's, as they say, all hell breaks loose.
Come down on you like a ton of bricks.
And you mentioned that we haven't had the impact in terms of conversions, let's say acceptance of Islam by the broad abroad section of the West, unlike what happened historically, in certain places in Europe, such as Bosnia, Albania and certain parts of Russia, although you could say they thought they were for political reasons, or they had political power behind them. I was speaking to a friend who works on the ground, if you like in, though, with our stalls and, and training and dealing a lot with non Muslims. And he mentioned to me recently that this thing about most of Washington speak about Europe, right, but let's say the UK that most of the working class of the UK atheist, he said
that we find when speaking to the the working class, anywhere, that the average, you know, no Muslim, it's not actually true. There's somewhere between agnosticism or actually belief in a god but the issue is they don't see God has relevance to their lives. So when you question them, they will say, yeah, maybe this Yeah, I think there's someone it makes sense an intelligent designer or he is, yeah, but but they see that there's no connection for them. What does he do for me, right? I've got to go to this soccer game. I'm going to get drunk on the weekend. I've got my works in life to live and so how do we potentially bridge that gap? How do How does one make God relevant to
people who feel that they have everything without needing God to give them anything else?
Well, convincing deists you know, who already believe in God is obviously much easier than convincing atheists. So, you know, when you have a deist
in your sites or, you know, willing to discuss etc, etc, then, you know, it's much easier to, you know, bring them to some further reflection that hey, you know, if you believe that God created us and put us here, he obviously put us here for a purpose.
So then get them to question themselves, yeah, there must be a purpose because it doesn't make sense that an all powerful all knowing God, etc, etc. You know, it's just gonna create us and leave us to figure out figure it out for ourselves. You know, that's, you know, that's, that would be,
you know, an exercise in futility because we
Most people will just not even bother to think about it, or whatever. So, you know, you give them logical reasons, examples, etc, you know, which can bring them to the point that yeah, there must be a reason. Okay, so what are you saying? Is the reason? You know, because they don't have a reason. There's no cake, no clarity there, even if they go to church, and you're asking, well, what's the reason of our creation? So well, I didn't think about it recently. You know, I'd love to think about that one, you know, whatever. The point is that
we can capitalize on those who have a sense of, of God, of God's creation. And that's why the Quran, all of the arguments of the grinder to deist, they're not to atheists, only a few spots where the Quran talks about, you know, talks, addresses the atheist who doesn't believe in God at all, you know, because they've, they're a minority, they've always been a minority. And always the whole world
has existed as believers in God from the very beginning. So those who deny God's existence all together are a very small minority. And that's why the Quran just touches on a few points for them to reflect, but most of the reflection that the Islam and the Quran calls to his for this, to reflect on the message which was brought, you know, the logic that is in it,
the idea of worship, other than the true God, you know, that this is obviously misguidance, and falsehood, etc. On all of these types of arguments to clarify for this, that Islam is the true religion of God.
And what would you say it would take for Islam to become mainstream, we're not necessarily saying the majority but to reach critical mass whereby is acknowledged that this is a part of our indigenous culture, not just an immigrant religion, but part of in this case purchase, it could be any country normal some country we think of, I mean, we know there's mass conversions do happen in some cases, like a particularly in parts of Africa, Malawi, I'm aware of another place where or Philippines where an entire village or Hamlet or group of people households will convert. And I know that historically, you're involved in with the US troops stationed in the Gulf and that you're able
to oversee a lot of those mashallah conversions, and others have said maybe requires a Malcolm X moment, right, you need some kind of leader to bring over a whole community? Realistically, what do you think may work or what we could potentially contribute towards making Islam more mainstream? Well, I think that if we can, you know,
activate the mass of Muslims to realize, you know, the dour imperative, that hey, it's a sin for you, not to give Dawa.
To live with neighbors who know you play with you grew up with you, work with you, and all these other things. And you don't say anything to them about Islam? It that's a crime, you will be asked on the Day of Judgment. Why didn't you? When the Prophet SAW Selim Metolius, believable and he will convey whatever you've learned from me, even if it's only one verse of the Quran, you know, so we need to raise that consciousness of Muslims to understand the dour imperative, that this is not just,
you know, if you feel like it, it's good. It's good thing to do. But you don't really have to do it. No, you have to do it, and you will be held accountable. Allah talks about cursing those who don't and the angels cursing them and the whole of humanity cursing them.
So, you know, this is not we have to get across that
requirement, that obligation, and all those what Jama tablet, you know, they have made that
you could say driving force getting people to to spread Islam, but their focus tends tends to be on just helping those Muslims
who strayed bringing them back to practicing Islam. But the point is that the dollar has to go beyond that. It's that as well as to those who haven't heard the message of Islam. And they have even the greater right to receive that message. So it's about
activating the community, letting them understand that responsibility. So that whatever position they are in,
in relationship to non Muslims, they feel it's an obligation on themselves to share something of Islam with the people around them.
And in terms of now, of course, we're in the digital age we've been, I mean, we're saying that as if it's something recent, but already it's been a few decades. But certainly, it seems that with every few years, a new platform comes up. You know, there was a time when there was MySpace was the thing that died out Facebook took over Facebook's changes name to matter. Then you had YouTube Instagram, Tik Tok. And it seems that people's appetite for these kinds of soundbite type of you know, interaction, not nearly two way but downloading and viewing, or even messaging on Twitter, for example, this seems to be this seems to be something that is for many people, whether lapsed
Muslims, as you mentioned, who we want to bring back to religion, or non Muslim want to invite religion, this seems to be the first interface interaction many people have with religiosity with Islam.
Is that something you've seen seeing, seeing that transition from traditional learning, print publishing? Something, of course, that you pioneered very greatly in English language, at least with orthodox Sunni knowledge right now to this modern digital age?
Isn't being exploited enough? And how should Muslims particularly those who have classical learning better engage and exploit these platforms and fora?
Well, my belief is that
we now have the means to make
the most basic level of Islamic scholarship available to the masses on a scale that has never been seen before.
Which is the motivating force for me to start the International Open University, which was originally called the Islamic online university.
That's where it started. The idea of providing a platform for people who want to learn about Islam, they didn't have the opportunity while growing up when they went to school, etc, etc, but they want to learn, they want to learn and understand the religion to be able to be more effective in sharing their religion with others. So, you know, I think that the current status of the internet, and what opportunities are there, there's an opportunity to learn knowledge on a scale, which was unthinkable
30 years ago, 40 years ago, totally unthinkable. People were still traveling to other parts of the world, like myself when I accepted Islam in the 70s, you know, not being able to find the knowledge there in North America lacks access to knowledge, the books that were available or Qadiani athma the books mostly, you know, a few writings of Molana Molana.
And, and, and others Yeah, so, you know, the, the availability of material was so limited,
so limited, that I had no choice but to leave North America wanting to understand Islam from its sources, to go to Medina in Saudi Arabia and start to study Arabic formerly and go through my
courses of study. So today, still, of course, much of the Muslim world wants to go and study in Medina, you know, many, but reality is that only a few are gonna make it there. And, and in most countries around the world, the availability of
top quality or high level, Islamic educational institutions are not very limited, very few. So, with the advent of the internet, you know, this Allah provided for us as a means of making it
lamb studies, formal studies accessible to the general masses to whoever wants it. So this is why, you know, we pioneered in this field went ahead, and, you know, Hamdulillah we have students from 229 different countries around the world.
And you, you've had many 1000s of people pass through through that university, over half a million, over half a million. Well, well, subhanAllah did you expect that when you started, surely that that number, so almost astronomical, what do you put down to its success? If that is have surpassed your expectations?
Well, I can't say that, I imagine that there would have been half a million
students who registered with the intent to study.
But potentially, I knew that potentially it was there. But that potential is still not realized. Because only, you know, 10% of that number actually go into the study's
follow through with the full registration and start classes and everything else. You know, and from that, 10%.
And from that, 10%, you know, we also still have even dropouts, you know, about 30% of those who end up registering and actually taking the classes, etc, about 30% of them now, you know, drop out before, higher, it sounds like a real university. That is that's that's the kind of thing that happens, right? people drop out?
And what about the actual curriculum itself, the actual subjects, do you find that that's also had to change with the times and with these issues that you mentioned, these controversies that whether the Western liberalism or whoever it might be might might interfere or impose certain constraints? Do you have to factor that in in terms of teaching? Or is it the fact that because it's online, you're kind of free from from those restrictions?
Well, basically, as you said, we're free from those restrictions. I mean, but what we what we have done from another perspective, is that, you know, in order to ensure
that if we focus on the Islamic Studies side, and our Sharia program,
that students who study with us
should graduate fully equipped to benefit their community.
What was happening with students graduating from Medina, in the 1000s, yearly 1000s and 1000s of graduating every year, going back to the communities, but they were, as I would call it, half baked.
They came back, yes, they had a bachelor's in Sharia.
But then people asked them, to counsel them, counsel families, you know, divorce issues, you know, all these other kinds of things, where they're called upon, but they had no training and counseling. You know, they're, they're asked to be teachers, okay, we're gonna put you as the head of the school, or a local school, and you teach and etc, etc. But they weren't trained teachers, they didn't know how to teach, you know, or, you know, we have finances and finance problems, etc, we need to, but they didn't study, Islamic banking and finance, you know, we need you to do this and that on the computer, I didn't study computers
and so on and so forth. You know, there are key areas of knowledge today which need to be incorporated in the Islamic universities. So the student graduates with a, a wide range of skills and knowledge. So that's why for our program or bachelor's program, we included education they have student has to take so many courses in education, they have to take so many courses in psychology, counseling, etc. They have to take so many courses in it, they have to take courses in Islamic economics, you know, and so on and so forth. So, we tried to add these other areas which which I felt were critical areas of learning that graduates need to be
to have had a holistic approach to Islamic education.
So, on one hand, we gave these additional subjects to our Sharia graduates. And then on the other hand, these additional subjects which were important in and of themselves, we turn them now into degree programs, and degree programs, which would be or should be taught from an Islamic perspective. So I was directly involved in handpicking, choosing professors to teach the various subjects in this, we could say modern subjects, the courses in these modern subjects, you know, making sure that they were capable, they had enough Islamic knowledge to guide them in the course of teaching their various subjects, there are going to be areas where there are shady areas, no doubt,
you know, because morality has been taken out of education. This is the secularization of education in the West, morality is taken out, there's no morality, or it is whatever your people at that time, in that place, say is morally okay. So it's, you know, you learn without morality, so we need to put morality back into education. So obviously, in the Islamic Studies department, we don't need to do that, because it's an intrinsic part. But in the other areas, whether it's psychology or sound bank, and finance and education, you know, you know, in all of the various because we're in introducing, we just introduced agricultural economics, using also public health, and, you know, mass
communication, all these areas have Islamic guidelines. And so we want to make sure that the teaching staff, you know, would be conveying, clarifying for the students not just teach it as it is, you can do this, you can do that you can do the other No, but there are things here, which you cannot do,
even though the skill or the area allows you to do it, Islam doesn't allow you to do it. And why does Islam allow you to do because of so and so. So they, so the students are not just told haram? Don't touch it, leave it carry on? No. But why? Why is Islam opposed to this form of
teaching or understanding? You know, why is the best salesman, not the man who is able to sell snowballs to an Eskimo? Right, you know, or sand to desert Arabs? Why isn't that the best salesman because for them to do it, they had to deceive those people, how can you sell sand to somebody sitting and living in the middle of you know, a desert or sand, sand desert, you get into by sand from you, you have to deceive him. And deception is not allowed and
so on and so forth.
You know, in the West, more specifically than that, so many Eastern countries, the obviously overriding cultures, individual liberty, and so many Muslims maybe have a skewed perception of what they should and should not perhaps get involved in as Muslim. So we have this thing is broad umbrella term of activism. Of course, you have a history of activism in some ways that you came to Islam, via communism, or rather you were communist, interesting communism before Islam. So you and you've lived in both worlds, and what would you say about about this kind of this split of focus?
What we need both.
But Simple as that, you know, if we don't have political activism, to defend our rights, and protect Muslim communities, etc, then we'll be overwhelmed. You know, we have to have voices that can stand up, you know, and these voices to be able to stand up in these circumstances, obviously, they have to make some compromises. Because otherwise you won't even get a chance to say anything, you know, so they may have to go along with this and go along with that. And of course, people then attack them and all those who are Islamic, you know, the concern with education and these kind of things, they attack those people look what they did they they're in a party, you know, what the Constitution
of that party says?
They've agreed to this stuff, you know, or they're useless, you know? No, that's not the point. You know, if in an ideal world, yeah, they should be able to say this without having to make any compromises. But we're not living in that ideal world. We're living in a corrupted world, right world where, you know,
it's not in our hands, you know, people
Like Erdogan, who's gonna stand up and defend Islam, verbally and physically,
in the way that he has done, you know, he's a rarity, the mass of the Muslim world today, and now it's just submerged. Neocolonialism is reality,
the wealth of the country is still being plundered, but just
under rulers that are, for the most part, you know, in the pocket, or the pockets of the colonial masters.
So I mean, that that situation hasn't really changed. So for us, for Muslims in the West, especially to be able to
tackle some of the issues, the dangerous issues, you know,
then they have to have, you know, some political
means, to put them in a position to defend, to protect, to prevent harm from the Muslim community as a whole. And, you know, as much as we may not like,
what kind of
constitutions the various parties have, and you know, what is in those constitutions, and for you to be able to get a platform to be able to speak, you know, you have to take on this, and then turn a blind eye to it, so that you can speak, this is the reality that they have to face, you know, Alon, you know, a lot knows their intention, we pray that a lot of protects them, and that
they can create a future where our generations to come Muslims will not have to make the kind of compromises that they've had to make.
And in that regard of compromise, and moving forward and unity, one of the things that blights unity and progress in the political sphere or in religious preaching,
let's say crust sectarian disputes, because of course, we acknowledge right that there has to be a distinction between the heathen [???]can and Sunnah and bid up at the same time. Or rather, what complicates that is when people get embroiled in petty fighting of legitimate differences, but they make them issues of splitting, and of course, everyone who spent any years engaging in that would have would have been affected by this have been pulled into it yourself, of course, as well. I know there was this, this text that you translated general issues of faith,
which was authored by shake such as Chef Halaby, Musa nurserymen, primo Milan, and, and those scholars. And it dealt with one of these controversies which
kind of got imported into the West. I mean, we don't need to get into the issue itself of, of the distinction between actions and demand and the relationship between the two. But that was one thing where you saw people splitting over issues that they really should not have been splitting. And hence, I guess one of the benefits, and the motivations of that book is to say, look, this isn't an issue that deserves or justifies Warren's splitting between the community. So how does one navigate between that between being distinct and clear, quote, unquote, the term which gets overused, clear in one's methodology at the one hand, and not being myopic, inward looking backward, in cross
Well, I think that we have to be clearly focused on on the goals
and the goals.
Or the main goal is to spread Islam in its original purity.
Now, you may not be able to do that right? At the very beginning, it may have to go in stages, and you have to be prepared to be patient and work with those who want to achieve similar ends, etc. You know, that compromise where your basic principles of Islam are not being compromised? among Muslims, you know, it's something which
Muslims were called to and had to do in various times through the history of the Islamic
empires and, and states etc, you know?
So, this ability to
keep focused on the main goal
and doing what is necessary to be able to achieve that goal without compromising
foundational principles, you know, this is a tightrope that the die has to walk, you know, because if you know as people are saying, Oh, no, Bill, ah, Philip T, he sits
on the stage with a quanties
or with Giamatti Islam is or with W visa, etc, you know, where I've been invited to give a talk. And of course, my talk will, you know, try to address issues that's beneficial to the community, you know, and call to unification on the Quran and the Sunnah, you know, this is the essence of the message, but the fact that you sit with them, and you're talking to their people, no, you should just go to the, to the, to the, you know, practicing Muslim communities, this is where you should be,
as they call it, preaching to the choir,
this is, it's just,
this matters of just not being sought out, you know, properly is not properly understood. So, of course, those who have that greater understanding that wider understanding, they have to be patient, as you know, these people will pop up and attack, you take potshots at you, and whatever, you know,
you just have to be patient with it.
And that's one of the reasons to why you know, I, I let my focus be in the area of education, because
this is where I felt most comfortable, as a lecturer, teacher, etc. And in this area, there's so much that you can do,
there's so much Allah's blessed, that
relationship between the teacher and the student, you know, in the well known Hadith, in which suppose Solomon said that this world is cursed dunya maluna. And whatever in it is also cursed. Except for the remembrance of Allah and what helps you to remember a law and the teacher and the student. You know, this relationship, either we should be a teacher, the scholar,
or we should be the student of a teacher or scholar, we should, because if you're not Hershey, if you're a scholar, then your responsibility is to teach what you learn about Solomon said that the best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it to others. So that teaching is what elevates it to the higher level. And then teaching actually is an area that has been widely neglected amongst Muslims. And I've been to so many countries and visited so many Islamic schools, etc. In many of these countries, whether muslims or muslims are in a minority or whatever, in or non Muslims dominate the education systems, etc. What you find is that, in many of these schools, have the
teaching staff for more than half are non Muslims, as I asked them, why was because we can't find any Muslims are qualified to teach, you know, so it's a real problem, because teaching is looked down on it's a profession, which is looked down if you can't get into engineering and medicine, you know, dentistry or whatever, okay, if you can't get into any of this, okay? become a teacher. It's like, last resort for survival.
So it's so of course, it means that the quality of those going into teaching are, you know, the bottom of the barrel, they couldn't get any jobs elsewhere. And the other fields are further studies or whatever. So they rely on teaching. And, you know, as they say, garbage in, garbage out. So, you know, if your teaching staff are garbage, their qualifications are garbage qualifications, then that's the students are going to be producing from that institution will be garbage students. Yeah, they got the marks, they got the A's, B's, whatever. But did they really get
an Islamic education? No. So this is a big challenge that the Muslim world is facing today. It's one of the reasons why we added in education as one of our disciplines, our faculties, colleges, because we do need to
upgrade our approach to education to producing teachers who
are highly skilled and Islamically conscious, so that they can impart whatever knowledge they're going to teach from an Islamic perspective. Also, even the area of of
memorization of the crime, and it's teaching, this is an area which, you know, I've come to understand, you know, needs a lot of focus,
because in many schools madrasahs around the world, children are being abused,
you know, beaten by their, the Quran, the court is teachers, beating them, turning them off to the Quran. And to Islam actually, what comes with it, if you go to any of the sites on, you know,
apostates from islam.com, you know, you listen to the, or you read their stories, all of them talk about, oh, he used to get bitten to learn the Quran.
You know, it's a common feature, you know, that so this, this is a sickness, which has crept up on the OMA and it's become so you know, fossilized, and, and, and deep rooted, that you can't, it's very difficult to break it. I mean, I've tried to speak with groups of, you know, teachers of Kryon and told them, Listen, you have to teach without the stick, you need to put aside the stick. This thing is, is dangerous, it's destroying a big chunk of our OMA, you have to start, they say No, how can you teach without the stick?
And that's it. I said, it's destroying our world. Okay, we studied through the system, we came up, you know, look at us, we're fine. You know, we don't have any complexes, we don't have any issues. And,
hey, okay, you came through, okay, what about the other 10 who didn't?
Or everything 10 Nine are the other nine out of the 10 that you are in? Who didn't? You know, that's, that's we don't see that we only see those who came. So it's half is is, you know, is the share is the query milanesa whatever.
But huge damage is being done. So one of the things that we've incorporated, you know, an IOU that we're finalizing it now as a, as a degree qualification, you know, a degreed or certified qualification that we because we have a program in what we call
a fifth program, which provides an ijazah which is the standard way it's been going on for centuries to get the jobs after you've been checked out, you know, all of your restoration, the hologram, but now and technically speaking, the Java is you know, it jazz a bit require a permission a jazz is like a permit, you know, to convey what you have learned, you know, as having memorized the Quran and properly and etc, etc, attention, proper digestion, etc, etc. But are you a qualified teacher? Yeah, you can have that he just put you in a group of kids that you have to teach and, you know, you're throwing things at them, you're sure whatever, they want quiet down and you know, it could be
chaos. So, what we are developing is what we would call
teaching certificate. So, the students who complete the Java along with his completion of the Jaza he has to study 12 subjects from the
College of Education, which puts them in the proper frame of mind, you know, so they come out with an educational teaching qualification, which would then inshallah make them better teachers, and protect them from falling into that, you know, negative
category of those who ignorantly abuse, our youth, our young children, how many of my friends as adults told me about how they had to run away from the,
from the mature side,
back and they would next thing again, they run away. And I remember visiting when madressa did that, that brought students from the West, you know, and they're being taught there in the Gambia and the brothers who are running the program, number of them dead relatives in the West.
As to send money to set up the school and all this, and they tried to set up an ideal
factory in school, you know, notch above the couple of notches above the other schools that were there.
But the institution got burned down twice. Wow. You know, they're wondering what happened, you know, and, you know, I told him listen, you know, what I suspect because after going through and talking to some of them, I said, I think it's the kids burning down and
this I wasn't built up, you know, because, although yes, they improve the living standard, maybe the food in their, the building, you know, but the same teachers that were teaching in the other addresses, which are of lower standards that are teaching in the same address. So, you know, this, so maybe people from the east are more tolerant, you know, of that kind of whacking and hitting knowledge kind of stuff. Whereas kids that have gone to school in the West, you know, what, these schools were set up for people to send their children, you know, to take a year off school, they're ready been in school and studying, etc. They take a year off school, they go back, they learn the
Quran, and they come back again, right, this was the plan. But, you know, they had so much difficulty in, in getting the children to adjust, who had been exposed to Western education to adjust to the traditional, you know, method of teaching. When I told the
grand teachers that, you know, you know, the sign that they have over the teaching colleges in the West, you know, it's a big sign, which
many of them have, which, when you go in there, it says, make learning fun.
Yeah. So now, when I mentioned that two grand teaches, how can you make learning the Quran fun?
Because, you know, you're encouraging these kids to learn the Quran. So how can you make that fun? It may be fun for you.
But for the kids, how can you make it fun for them? You know, so this is the mentality that we have to challenge, you know, we have to correct it, we have to
protect our youth.
And give give them the proper access to reliable Islamic knowledge and
bring them through with a moderate perspective, you know, able to deal with people from different walks of life, not an exclusionist
mentality where they don't have to have anything to do with these people, or those people, this one or that one, you know, but to know their responsibility of Dawa to convey the knowledge that they learned in the best way. I guess a lot of what what you're discussing, or what you're indicating, is the problem of critical thinking or people not thinking for themselves, or not being encouraged, even allowed to think for themselves. And that's if I could take it now right back to where we first became introduced to Dr. Abu Zubaydah, Phillips, publishing your books were, you know, to be frank was somewhat revolutionary, in that they weren't just a translation of a text, there was few
translations back in the day anyway, few and far between. But they also evidenced on author writing, speaking to his audience with cultural references. I mean, one thing I remember, for example, when I first have your book, I read your first book fundaments of the heat. And it was the first time I came across these terms, you know, that he does mostly follow he do hear Obeah. And it was a struggle, because you're not the first time it's like a foreign language, right? And how to process it and understand. And then later on, you'd see Shirley MacLaine being referenced, right, and some ex, you know, experience that she felt she had with the other side of the spirit world, and it kind
of made it real, you know, because you could relate to popular culture. And at the same time, you get to a vast amount education in within within the cover of that book.
So you obviously, I guess, you consciously made the decision not to do a pure translation of an existing classical textbook to adapt it for for a western audience.
To speak to that, please, if you will.
Well, you know, as a teacher, you know, having experienced being in the classroom and the need for clarification, you know, and bringing understanding to the students
It was clear to me that, you know, as I,
I wrote, I began writing in the early 80s. And
started publishing by the mid to late 80s, you know, that
that was the way to go, you know, because I, my, my responsibility, as I saw it, then was to convey the knowledge which I had gained from having studied in Medina, for that time, six years, five, six years, you know, and now teaching, studying, doing my masters in Riyadh, you know, that my duty was to take the knowledge which I gained, and convey it to people who didn't have access to that knowledge. So, putting it in their language in the language they could understand, and in the context, that they were living and the cultural experience that they grew up with, etc. This was critical. So I understood that from the very beginning, I mean, there were still some classical
texts, which I did translate, you know, but these were on particular topics, and even with those translations, I would write, you know, extensive commentaries, which would bring those points
to the, the current or cultural circumstances of people in the West, you know, because, of course, my main concern was Muslims in the West. So, I would always try to take things back and make it understandable from a Western background. And I realized that that was essential.
And so all of my writings, you know, lectures, etc, you know, have been from that perspective, I'm done over the course of this discussion, you mentioned, the clash of civilizations, and you wrote about that, you mentioned, presenting people the purpose of life, and you've wrote about that, as it seems that you've been conscious of gaping holes, if you like in people's knowledge base, or in what's required for them to put strings to their bow of how to apply their faith through the actions. Is there any theme or topic, if you have the time you'd like to research or get into a Popsy perhaps even translate?
Well, I'm currently working on the 99 names of Allah, you know, I'm giving live
nearing the end, just finished off I think, name 83.
So it's another, you know, 16 left.
This area, you know, is is a massive area, which we don't we have very little writings on in English, in Arabic people have written encyclopedias on this, you know, but in English, we don't have much and direct translation from Arabic and a lot of cases, you know, is he wouldn't be able to follow it people just be confusing for them, those things which have been written a few writings like Doctor
Maria, Dr. Lemon, Lashkar, you know, his, his, the, he has brought across the names and something about the names in the sense that focus mostly on the different verses in which the names are mentioned and then giving you know, a brief translation with commentary on those verses, but actually going into the implementation of those names. You know, like if you go to Sufi sites, you can find such things you know, like what, you know, relevance is these names, of course, they're giving formulas you know, if you say 10,000 times after fajr and you fast for three days, etc, this will happen for you and that will happen and you know, you'll be elevated these manifestations
forever, you know, they are, but they have their whole body of literature on this kind of stuff, but we need legitimate So, what I did was you know, I first explained about the 99 names and went into it and allows Greatest Name and then then went to the to the names, name by name using the plan for application
By Imam even Paul 12th Century cordovan scholar.
So he also did the first
commentary on Sahil Bukhari, which had been Hajin has also taken a lot of his information from anyway, the point is that he laid down four basic principles. And so I applied these use these principles to determine, you know, how the names should be applied.
Right. And going into the derivation of the names, and their linguistic
status, etc, you know, issues like that, it's section is given to each area, and then you know, going in at length,
with evidences from Cranston, etc, etc, and writings of early scholars in real time and others, you know, to give a full
presentation on each name. So, you know, each name, for the most part,
you know, it's covered in
approximately, you could round it off, say, in about
eight to 10 pages,
you know, so, it gives a full person goes in there they come out, you know, with a full presentation of that name, you know, as it is understood relative to Allah, relative to us as human beings, etc, etc. How can we implement this name in our lives, you know, what are the principles that we should follow, you know, etc, etc, you know, so this, this is, hopefully inshallah Allah will allow me to live long enough to complete it. But I hope, you know, the beginning of next year is next year in January, February, you know, we should be able to publish it. So this is one area, I felt, I mean, I've been on it for about the last 10 years off and on, I've done programs, Huda TV, and also on
Sharjah TV on the 99 names, you know, but shorter versions,
and on limited names, I never completed it. So when I got stuck with COVID, in Ethiopia, in 2020, you know, I gathered up what I'd done before, and try to see if I could complete the 99 names there. So that process began from there, it's extended here, this Ramadan, just passed from one of this year, I also started again, revising what has been done back in Ethiopia, and before expanding on it, and
decided deciding to stick with it until I finish it. So this is, you know, one major project, which
which I hope to finish and benefit OMA with.
There are other writings and projects that I'm engaged in, one of the things I wanted to do, you know, and I've been wanting to do was
a translation of the Quran
and there are so many of them out there for this Oh, why do we need another translation, you know, but, but again,
you can see from the translations there, that
the Western mind to a large degree is not addressed.
You know, so, there are issues there in the translation, because people have sought to be true to the Arabic
but the point is that being true to the Arabic You know, being expressed in English, to non Arabs
there is you lose readability for started. Yeah, readability or if you if you go like Mohsen hands, oh my goodness, all these bracketed stuff are
very difficult to read. Or, you know, even you know, Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Ali, you know, the, you know, it's archaic English and, you know, and then all of this other stuff there. But, I mean, even something so basic, as the royal we
you know, which people constantly ask about new converts to Islam, people who converted to Islam years ago, but never got
John stabbed this explained to them, you know, it remains there. You know, Allah refers to himself as we
is it along the angels? Is that what we mean? What is it? You know, because of course the Christians would say, Eric, this is the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, that's the way three, three and one, you know, so
that can simply be resolved by just
making it singular, remove all the ways is, how can you that's not being true to the Arabic Arabic says not new, not new in Arabic means we.
But what does the tafsir tell you about this week? It tells you it is Allah saying I.
But in order to give weight to the eye,
it is pluralized like saying salam alayka is on you, that literally you you want.
But we don't say that of all you can perfectly okay. Sonica everybody says what said I like, but it's just one person you're talking to commend you all. But you and your angels. What is this?
What I'm saying here? You know, in English, sound Aiko has to be translated as Peace be on you, not you all.
Because you're talking to one person unless you talk to a group.
So, you know, that distinction is it's the norm for Arabic. People don't even think about it. It's not a question in their mind. But for people who are dealing in English, you know, when a law says we It boggles their mind. mind boggling why? Why is the law using me and us
that can be removed, simply, but nobody
has done it, or is ready to do it
to take the heat that would come from changing we to i.
So it means that there's still a need,
need a Quran that people minds will not be played with and, you know,
confused, etc, over this petty issue, which can so easily be dealt with.
So, that's just one example. And there are other things, of course, in the Quran, which is commonly translated this way or that way, and you know, needs to be re expressed.
So, that thought has come back to me again, I was gonna do it, maybe about five years ago, 10 years ago, I was thinking about doing it. Even before that, back in the 90s. You know, it was propose people try to arrange but then I got busy in the 90s with the dollar situations, you know, setting up our centers in UAE, II and
Setting it up in Saudi as well as UAE and, and also in Qatar, etc. So just
too many things basically stopped me from doing that. But otherwise, that plan was back in the early 90s.
So show the world looks forward to developers eventual Quran translation inshallah.
Well, you've been very generous with your time. So I will just ask you one more question.
A reflective question than if you do look back. If you were to speak, let's say to your younger self, after you became a Muslim, back in the day, what advice would you give yourself?
Rarely, I would
perhaps be more patient
as they say, Haste makes waste
the haste to try to achieve
certain goals etc. You know, ended up wasting time and energy at different points along the way.
The Destiny belies other lessons to be learned and just You just had to learn it anyhow school of hard knocks.
I would say that
that is something we we do need in the Dawa patients
in our lives.
as Paul Solomon said, Whoever has been blessed with patients has been blessed with a great gift Mala.
I mean, I've tried to be patient.
you know, impatience is, as I said, the hooligan Insano. As
human beings were created, with a hasty nature,
Smaller, very poignant advice that we all need to, of course,
of course pay attention to. And as we close, we would advise everyone who hasn't studied Islam, and even if they have, but they want to add some extra modules to the, to their repertoire, do enroll at the International Open, open university, okay, international, Open University. There'll be links abound, I'm sure, on everyone's platforms. And, of course, the books have stood the test of time, from right from the beginning, they were the only books in fact we, we would we feel comfortable with and, you know, you kind of set the scene if you like trailblazing and pioneering And subhanAllah still still there on everyone's recommended reading this essential text in English
language. So Parma so great benefit, as well as of course lectures, I look forward myself, now that I've learned about it to the 99 names of Allah, lectures Subhanallah, you had a great impact in the dour in literature, in online teaching, in actual teaching. And, of course, so many of the projects that you've been involved in, I just like to add, perhaps, you know, one project, which we are currently working on,
which may be of interest to our viewers, or listeners, and that is our 1 million scholarships for African youth, you know, for Muslim African youth,
where the continent, like other developing parts of the world, you know, lag behind in the area of education, access to higher education is just not there, you're talking about less than 10% of high school graduates finding places in universities. So you know, we've been very active in trying to promote the IOU, the International University, you know, as an opportunity for those who don't have the means to access higher education, to be able to study
for free, if they are in the category of those who have the right to receive Zakah. So, we have
provided besides the fact that the school fees that I owe you, in any case are extremely low. Yeah, as low as you can go.
Still, there are people even with those extremely low fees to Cat many, still can't afford it. So we have, you know, regular campaigns, you know, raising funds for the scholarships of such students. And we have set up over 20 centers, learning centers, we call them across Africa, east, west, north south.
And, you know, because just giving that students a scholarship is not enough. You have to give them a computer. You have to give them electricity, you have to pay for internet, you need to put them in a classroom. You know, all of this comes along with it, you know, it's a it's a big project, and we hope that it will continue to grow. And our start with our 1000s of students now studying this program, and we pray that we'll reach the million mark and beyond in the years to come soon inshallah.
So anyone who would like to participate, it's on the website, you can go
They're in terms of projects, charitable projects, etc you can find the page where they're explained etc. and are if you have a school from the continent and you have a school and you'd like to open up a learning center there for people of your village or your town or your region, you know, do contact us because we do this as a collaborative project where we
take benefits from existing Islamic schools or institutions, you know, can provide space or
necessary equipment, computers etc
Shala for us to achieve this goal, in the near future.
Inshallah, Inshallah, let's
hope that people will enroll that and preach that will go well beyond the 1 million figure. So all that remains then is to say, just a colloquial manner, would you share Dr. Abu Mina Billa Phillips for your time and your efforts. And also to the viewers, thank you for listening and tuning in. And we hope to be visiting you again, some online at least a snack or after a workout while they come. So
we're going to get