Seeking Knowledge – A Path to Reviving the Ummah

Bilal Philips

Channel: Bilal Philips

Episode Notes

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© Transcript (Experimental)

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Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala Lila

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on behalf of the International Open University committee in Canada.

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This is Mubarak Ibrahim, I'd like to invite Welcome everyone to join our session today our program

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in entitled, seeking knowledge, a path to reviving the oma.

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Just we're glad to see everyone join us today, and welcome to our event. Just a quick outline of our event and the program for today. inshallah, it's not going to be a very long program. handler, we have our beloved chef, Dr. Bill Phillips, joining us today, he was able to join us from overseas.

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We're going to be starting with a quick introduction about the international Open University also known as formerly Islamic online university for those of you who have met us somewhere at a program or anything and been involved or you know, heard about it, we will be doing quick introduction, inshallah. And then Dr. Billa, will be taking over and, and speaking on this topic that we have chosen, inshallah, and then right after that, we'll be having a question answer session. So, if you do have any questions, as you go through this program, feel free to type it into the, in the chat forum and YouTube, and we'll be taking notes. So inshallah, we'll, we'll begin.

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So just to give you a quick introduction,

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the International Open University hamdulillah has been established, it's been about over 10 years now.

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And it offers quite a few programs in different areas of not only Islamic knowledge, but other areas of knowledge, hello, we started off with the program,

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Islamic related courses. And then we switch over to

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humblot. Like we started with just free online courses. Then we introduce humla. At the at that time, it was started off, known as the Islamic online university, we switched, we started the bachelor's degree in Islamic Studies. So the VA s degree, which is modeled after well known universities, such as Medina University,

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universities in such as as her and so forth, with some alterations, and of course, in the English language to reach out to as many people as possible. And the whole, I'm sure Dr. Bilaal could express this a lot better than I can. But the whole idea here is to make Islamic knowledge, authentic knowledge available to Muslims across the world in an easy, affordable manner. And this was the original idea of the is still

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the idea of the IOU University. And the humbler later on. There were many other components added, such as the,

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you know, the master's program more recently in Islamic Studies. There's different departments, psychology, departments, psychology, education, so teaching methodology, but of course, all of these from the framework work of Islamic knowledge, and not just what you get from conventional universities that we're accustomed to here in Canada and the West. So hamdulillah we have many teachers, many qualified instructors, who have expertise in different fields, fic, tafsir, and so forth. And

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these are and there's many other programs, we've also started a Quran memorization global memorization program. There's also many other areas such as finance, Islamic Finance, and so forth.

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So I want to give you a quick introduction to the Islamic online versity now known as international Open University.

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Other than that, I want to introduce to you Dr. Bill Phillips, and I'm sure most of you, most of us don't need an introduction. However,

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those of you who have just joined us for the first time, inshallah, we'll give you a quick introduction about Dr. Bill Phillips.

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Jimmy can he's a Jamaican Canadian Islamic scholar, born in Jamaica, but migrated his family migrated to Canada.

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He accepted Islam, the early 70s, humbler in Toronto and

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Then pursued Islamic Studies and went overseas for this purpose. He he got his BA from the Islamic University of Medina completed his master's, from King sogi inversing Riyadh and then also completed his PhD in Islamic theology from the University of Wales in UK.

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So he spent quite a few years teaching Islamic Studies and in schools in Riyadh high schools, and hundal. After that, many of you probably have seen Of course, I'm glad he's very, very well known by his books, to a lot of us over 50 published books. I'm sure the numbers increasing as we go. He's also been a part of programs on Riyadh channel Sharjah TV peace TV, who the TV, Islam channels, various conferences. He's also included in the 500 most influential Muslims barakallahu Li, and

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hamdulillah. This university which was I'm sure Dr. Blows speak more about it. But you know, it was first opened in 2010. With over 650,000 registered students in 220 different countries around the world. And humbler we're still continuing and Sharla without further ado, I'll I'll have Dr. Bill, take over and discuss this topic. seeking knowledge. A path to reviving the oma Joseph Hyland is talking about

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hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen

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wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah al Karim,

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Allah Allah He was Harvey

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many standard suniti he Eli Ahmed Dean,

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All praise is due to Allah and me a lot peace and blessings be on the last prophet muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam

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and then all those who follow the path of righteousness until the last day

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as was introduced,

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the topic

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is focused on reviving the oma

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through education

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and

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this puts education at the center or the core of the whole process of revival

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because that process obviously, is not limited

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to education.

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There are so many other aspects whether political, economic,

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psychological,

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philosophical, etc.

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But at the core of it

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is education.

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The old man, the Muslim oma for the most part

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is in the developing world.

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There were

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countries colonized by what is now the developed world.

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And they are trying

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to catch up

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to

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be able to function on par with the industrialized and advanced countries.

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This is the struggle which the oma is faced with today.

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On a political

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level, especially, along with economics, connected with the politics

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and

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dominance or being dominated

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by

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forces outside of Islam.

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This is a challenge

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which the Muslim oma has to overcome, for it to proceed forward in the 21st century,

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where we are right now

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In terms of the importance of education,

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the UN

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in studying the factors which

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differentiate between the developing world and the developed world, they said

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straightforward without any

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need for clarification, that the key is education.

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What makes that difference between the developed world and the underdeveloped, underdeveloped world or the undeveloped world?

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It's education, this is the key factor.

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The higher the levels of education,

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the greater

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the

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countries are in terms of their political

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dominance

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or impact, as well as their economic

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impact on global civilization.

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So, we can never,

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we can never

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emphasize

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the importance of education, enough.

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Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu wasallam was fundamentally an educator.

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This was his core role,

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the educated

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generation,

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which conveys the message, which he brought from a loss of data

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to the known world at that time,

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and beyond, it continues to spread till today.

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Of course, the fundamental education which was brought was

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education with regards to

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religious life.

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And religious life, at least from the Islamic perspective, encompasses actually everything. It is not only limited to religious rites and rituals,

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but it extends into

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the establishment of the family

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and its components, identifying the head of the family,

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or the different heads of the family,

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the role that is played by all the people in the family, all of that is part

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of the

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message, which was brought by Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Sallam

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and that structure which he spoke of the foundation of societies, the family.

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That structure was solidly built

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from his time or rebuilt, because of course,

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with Adam came the first instructions

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as the first human being along with his wife, how or if

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they established the first family.

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So the problem homicide Sallam

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revived what had been lost.

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Because we know in history, the

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Arabs in Arabia at the time had sunk to the lowest levels. In terms of

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family. Yes, they were strong in their

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tribalism,

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their clan ism.

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Their family ties.

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They were strong, but at the same time,

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they were killing

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girl, babies, children

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at birth, or shortly after birth,

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having no qualms about it.

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So

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we know that their concept of family had become worked

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And so on and so forth.

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So the educative process brought by Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu wasallam

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was one which covered

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all aspects of society.

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And that is why the Prophet sallallahu Sallam had no hesitation

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in stressing

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the obligatory nature, the religious obligatory nature of acquiring knowledge.

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When he said Bala will enemy for $1 Colin's seeking knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim.

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We've all heard that heavy, 1000 times, but it's the core.

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This is 1001.

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It's the core.

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And that instruction encompasses all aspects of useful knowledge. Because, of course, he used to seek refuge from knowledge which was of no benefit, allow me now to become an ailment lion five used to make this dog while I seek refuge in new from knowledge, which is of no benefit.

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So why do we seek to acquire knowledge which is useful and beneficial, we also seek to avoid

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to identify and classify and sideline knowledge which is of no benefit.

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So all of that works together.

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So

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this is Islam.

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Islam,

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promoted education, and elevated the whole process to the highest possible level.

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When the prophet SAW Solomon said, dunya meluna, this world is cursed, mother own mafia and whatever is in it is also cursed in the crew law, except for the remembrance of Allah.

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Well, my why law and whatever helps us to remember a law, why lemon, scholar, teacher Amata alima. And the students

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these are the only two who are not cursed, telling us basically that each and every one of us should either be a teacher or a student, or both.

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no two ways about it.

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on whatever level

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is appropriate for us, or possible for us,

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or not needed, obligatory on us.

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It varies. We can't say everybody has to be an alum, a great scholar, everybody should be struggling to be great scholars.

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There should be among us, those who are with scholars in Islam.

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And as well at the same time, those who are

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gaining knowledge in the process, maybe they will stop at a certain point and focus on some of the aspects

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or

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they are

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aware that it is necessary to reach out to the bodies of knowledge that exists in our society, and take from it to guide ourselves.

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As allowed Thomas

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decree in quantum Latta, Allah, as those who know, if you don't know.

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Don't go ahead and do things that you don't have knowledge of.

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And then afterwards, go and try to find out well, should I have done that? That's not the way to

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get the knowledge first. Reach out to those around us and get that knowledge. And having gotten that knowledge. We use it to guide us.

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We don't necessarily have to have all of the knowledge ourselves. We reach out to those around us. Those who are allies, blessed with greater knowledge and take from their knowledge to guide us.

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This is the Islamic way

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with a high trust, high respect for knowledge.

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So Muslims today

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And we look at our situation today. Most often, you know, people say we are at the worst level, Muslims are degraded, they are hunted, their countries are bombed.

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They are rife with

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chaos and confusion and internal. You know,

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disorganization, oh, the worst possible thoughts and ideas can be

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put on the Muslim Omar today.

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But we're not at the worst state.

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We are far better than we were 100 years ago.

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Better than we were 50 years ago.

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And still better than we were 25 years ago.

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These processes, the process of gaining knowledge, education, the educational process,

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it has made a difference. More Muslims are aware and conscious today than there were 100 years ago.

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100 years ago, women were marching in the streets in Egypt,

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burning the mail.

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Today, more Muslim women are wearing the veil than ever before.

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In recent times,

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of course, when Muslims rule that region, and that that's that was another story. But since those days since the period of colonization, etc. More women

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are wearing the hijab now than ever before.

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As one scholar, mentioned to me

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a number of years ago, you can judge the level of Islam of people by the hijab of their women.

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And it's true.

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Because if the women are wearing a job properly,

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means that the men are doing their job.

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If the women are not these the men are ignorant and not doing their job.

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And as such, the whole society is backwards from the Islamic perspective.

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Anyway,

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the bottom line is that

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the situation is not going to change

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our situation, current situation which people look at as being the worst, as I said, it's not the worst. It's far better.

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It has been getting steadily better and better over the last 100 years, far better.

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Yet, then still people who are conscious of Islam etc. aware of what Islam

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is and teachings are Muslim should be functioning and our not and all these

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when they look at the situation, and they wonder

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Will we ever

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be able to change ourselves? Change this situation. And of course, a lot of times Allah had said

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Allah Allah have a roommate the common a lot doesn't change the condition of people had died

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until they change themselves what is inside themselves.

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And this is why the

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Islamic online university, now known as the international Open University,

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took as its motto or I chose as its motto.

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Changing the nation through education, the nation being the oma

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and this is at the core of

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the International Open University.

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What we're seeking

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and what Muslims need to seek

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is to bring morality back into the classroom.

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This is the core issue

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bringing morality

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back into the classroom with the secularization of the Western countries that had colonized the world.

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Back in the 20s process, the 20s 30s 40s those years

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represented represent the years of secularization, at its peak peaking.

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They took morality out of the classroom. And that's why

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those were involved in building the atomic bomb.

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Had no qualms in building it

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and dropping it on innocent people. After America had already won the war,

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it was like a punch in the eye.

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Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

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How many 1000s died instantly

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obliterated

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those near Ground Zero just

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disappeared. Shadows remained on the wall. They were they were

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unthinkable.

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But

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because

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education has become secularized, then people could say I'm just doing my job.

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You know, my job is just to split the atom.

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His job was just to put it in a bomb.

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His job was just to drop the bomb, as he was told to do.

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morality is missing. And that's why we've seen the worst atrocities

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in the wars that have taken place since World War One and two,

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especially in the Muslim lands, but Muslims have suffered.

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The hands of

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Western liberators

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male are protected.

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Bottom line is that morality is missing.

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And as Islam

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is an empire of faith.

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It's an oma a nation, a faith nation.

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We need to bring

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morality back into the classroom.

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And my own personal experience, having traveled to

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Muslim communities countries visited Islamic schools from Mindanao, Philippines, southern Philippines

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to Guyana,

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South America

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and how many countries in between? Allah knows best.

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But in each and every one of these countries.

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When I approached the graduating students grade 12 were the 11th and 12th.

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And I asked them,

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whether they consider themselves to be Muslim students.

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true Muslim students, they all said yes, were true Muslim students.

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But when I tested

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the truth of their statement by saying if that is the case, then raise your finger

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and say after me while law II I have never cheated on any test or examination. See all the hands that initially started up dropped

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only out of 1000 students maybe five or six always keep it up.

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Why is that saying? Of course the principal you know in embarrassment principal Islamic school and bathroom sink. Well, at least you're truthful.

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What is that? But I mean, they're truthful. Yeah, okay. They told the truth they admitted.

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But

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what this is really saying

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is that the school has not done the job. It has not produced a proper Muslim Student.

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Failed schools from one end of the world to the other.

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And it's a shame.

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So

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in the course of my journeys, and that,

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I

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formulated this need and necessity to bring morality back into the classroom.

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I thought

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teachers, gatherings of teachers

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across the Muslim world,

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trying to instill in them, this awareness, this consciousness of the importance for having or reintroducing morality back into the classroom, whatever subject you teach,

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whatever subject you're teaching, whether it is mathematics, whether it is

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science, geography, whatever it should be introduced in every single class.

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So when I sought to establish University after being a teacher,

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for most of my adult life,

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being initially a biochemistry student in university,

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converting to Islam, and having converted to Islam, I realized that I needed to leave Canada, where I'd accepted Islam. Back in 1972, I needed to leave Canada and go overseas to study

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because the knowledge of Islam was not there.

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At that time, in 1972, on a few Muslims that were there were immigrants that had come from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Pakistan, etc.

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And they tried to teach me and the other converts whatever knowledge they had, but they're not as he was garbled.

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They are contradicting themselves, I can see there was a real problem.

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So I meant that I had to leave Canada

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in search of knowledge, proper Islamic knowledge. So that set me off. No, I could say that. Prior to that I was in the political movements of that time, that period.

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And

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I was something of a speaker. So I was involved in educating people, at least on certain

00:33:05--> 00:33:08

topics, certain, a certain level.

00:33:10--> 00:33:14

But I didn't really see myself as a teacher.

00:33:15--> 00:33:17

It's not until I began to study

00:33:18--> 00:33:19

in Medina,

00:33:21--> 00:33:23

and came back

00:33:24--> 00:33:25

to the west,

00:33:26--> 00:33:28

during the summers

00:33:29--> 00:33:30

and traveled

00:33:31--> 00:33:34

in Canada, in the US,

00:33:36--> 00:33:38

in Central America,

00:33:40--> 00:33:44

and South America, the West Indies cetera,

00:33:45--> 00:33:48

and tried to share that knowledge which I was getting

00:33:49--> 00:33:52

this a walk in me

00:33:54--> 00:33:56

teaching spirit,

00:33:58--> 00:33:59

one which

00:34:01--> 00:34:05

was inherited from my parents, because both of my parents were teachers.

00:34:09--> 00:34:10

And

00:34:12--> 00:34:17

in the home, they taught me and my brother and my sister, they taught us

00:34:19--> 00:34:24

in different ways, not formally classroom, etc, but they

00:34:25--> 00:34:25

taught

00:34:27--> 00:34:34

as they would teach in the classroom, they continued to teach us as their children

00:34:36--> 00:34:37

in a different

00:34:38--> 00:34:43

with a different approach, etc. Because, you know, it would come out

00:34:44--> 00:34:49

in different circumstances than a classroom. Anyway, the bottom line is that

00:34:51--> 00:34:59

with my studies in Medina, graduating with a bachelor's in Islamic studies are Sunni

00:35:00--> 00:35:02

Dean Gower, also the dean.

00:35:05--> 00:35:11

I started my masters in arcada, in Riyadh. And at the same time I joined an Islamic school.

00:35:12--> 00:35:13

So I began to teach

00:35:16--> 00:35:24

high school and junior high school students out about some primary students for a while, until a teacher was gotten.

00:35:26--> 00:35:26

But

00:35:28--> 00:35:31

I started to gain experience in teaching.

00:35:33--> 00:35:45

With my parents helping me, you know, as the need would arise, they would help me. If I had difficulties, I could call on them to guide me.

00:35:47--> 00:35:56

I learned more and more how to teach effectively.

00:35:57--> 00:36:00

And at the same time, I was involved in Dawa.

00:36:01--> 00:36:11

I had a program on channel to Saudi Arabia for a long time. It was called why Islam I call it why Islam,

00:36:13--> 00:36:13

basically,

00:36:16--> 00:36:20

interviewing those people who converted to Islam,

00:36:22--> 00:36:29

focusing on their turning points, why did they end up choosing Islam

00:36:31--> 00:36:46

as a means of Dawa, to those people who may who are watching and maybe among them, those who had similar experiences, and they could relate to the points, which my guests would speak on.

00:36:48--> 00:37:01

At the same time, I started giving talks to foreign workers were there in Riyadh, car companies and farms, garages, in

00:37:02--> 00:37:06

hotels, a variety of different circumstances,

00:37:07--> 00:37:24

explaining Islam to them is a teaching process. So all of my you could say the input which is coming in during that period, and my output was all educationally inclined.

00:37:26--> 00:37:28

After graduating from

00:37:31--> 00:37:35

King Saud University in Riyadh, in arcada, in the

00:37:37--> 00:37:40

School of Education, College of Education,

00:37:42--> 00:37:46

I was started to do a PhD, I completed it.

00:37:47--> 00:37:55

And that knowledge which was being gained was constantly being disseminated.

00:37:56--> 00:38:05

I was continuously involved with that process I started to write during that same period. So writing books, putting those ideas down on paper,

00:38:06--> 00:38:13

writing at a time when there were very few people who are converts, why didn't

00:38:15--> 00:38:15

you know,

00:38:16--> 00:38:18

there were some translations of the Koran

00:38:19--> 00:38:20

by

00:38:22--> 00:38:25

Muhammad Asad, Mamadou pixel,

00:38:28--> 00:38:36

or both of them had written a few novels, etc. Most people never heard of them. But I read

00:38:37--> 00:38:38

number of them.

00:38:40--> 00:38:44

And because I was involved in Dawa

00:38:45--> 00:39:03

and as a convert Muslim myself involved in teaching people about Islam, then my writings tended to focus early writings on the key areas where there was a shortage of knowledge. There was a knowledge shortage.

00:39:05--> 00:39:07

So I started to write on

00:39:10--> 00:39:13

topics like polygamy in Islam.

00:39:15--> 00:39:16

Because

00:39:17--> 00:39:32

Muslims, converted to Islam in America and Canada, UK, etc. And, of course, polygamy is something very attractive, you can have two wives. Mashallah. But the point is that

00:39:33--> 00:39:41

you should know how to manage, you know, a family, which has two wives, one husband and two wives.

00:39:42--> 00:39:44

And there was nothing available

00:39:45--> 00:39:57

on the market to explain, we could learn what to do it we'll just guessing, I think, and so on. So said, no real knowledge. So, I wrote a book on

00:39:58--> 00:39:59

polygamy in Islam.

00:40:01--> 00:40:02

polygyny

00:40:05--> 00:40:06

some more accurate term.

00:40:08--> 00:40:12

And so on, so forth. I mean, I took other topics and

00:40:14--> 00:40:19

wrote them, wrote on them. And in the 90s,

00:40:20--> 00:40:27

I joined the American University in debate as the Islamic Studies teacher,

00:40:28--> 00:40:32

and would teach students,

00:40:33--> 00:40:37

mostly Muslims, but they were non Muslims who attended the classes also.

00:40:38--> 00:40:40

I taught there for almost 10 years,

00:40:42--> 00:40:49

preparing materials, etc. And at the same time, I was managing a press for

00:40:50--> 00:40:52

English literature.

00:40:53--> 00:40:54

So I was publishing

00:40:56--> 00:41:01

at a greater and greater rate. During the 90s. This was the period of

00:41:03--> 00:41:12

the publishing explosion there at the press in the UAE.

00:41:15--> 00:41:15

At any rate,

00:41:19--> 00:41:23

in after 2,021st century began,

00:41:24--> 00:41:43

I opened up a department of Islamic Studies was in the American University, I was just a single teacher teaching a subject which all the students had to take. But it's different from having that and having a department so I opened up a department at Preston University, in Japan, UAE,

00:41:45--> 00:41:47

and started

00:41:48--> 00:42:03

to put together a curriculum for bachelors in Islamic Studies, and hired teachers, etc. and began the process of teaching out that curriculum. It was based

00:42:04--> 00:42:11

on that of Medina where I graduated first as well as other universities, from the Muslim world like lasar,

00:42:14--> 00:42:15

Mecca, etc.

00:42:17--> 00:42:26

So, this was all connected with education and the need for higher education.

00:42:27--> 00:42:35

And in those early years of the 21st century, questions started to arise on the internet for me

00:42:36--> 00:43:13

whether such sites were good sites to study Islam from or not, I went and found that the most active sites that were there, and I will claim to be teaching Islam were actually sites which had deviated there was deviance in their teachings. Some of it was okay. But then a chunk of it was not. So it then became a responsibility for me, not just to tell people No, no, no, don't go there. I mean, I would tell them, okay, you can take Hadith, studies, etc, but you know, avoid areas of aqeedah or theology,

00:43:14--> 00:43:16

because they have some issues.

00:43:18--> 00:43:22

But at the same time, in the back of my mind, I realized I needed to set up something

00:43:24--> 00:43:25

online.

00:43:27--> 00:43:34

There was distance learning going on from London open college, as well as from the

00:43:35--> 00:43:37

American Open University in

00:43:39--> 00:43:40

Virginia, us.

00:43:41--> 00:43:45

So there was distance learning taking place.

00:43:47--> 00:43:59

But accessibility now, through the internet was had taken off to a point where sites were popping up left and right.

00:44:01--> 00:44:02

I was invited to India

00:44:04--> 00:44:04

in

00:44:06--> 00:44:14

2009, to set up a university in Chennai, which I went to do based on

00:44:15--> 00:44:19

efforts, which I had made with

00:44:21--> 00:44:23

the international

00:44:25--> 00:44:26

or

00:44:27--> 00:44:30

what's the name again, I forgotten the

00:44:33--> 00:44:35

university developed in Riyadh

00:44:37--> 00:44:59

forgotten the name, but you know, I had set up their department of Islamic Studies. In English medium, they had the Arabic and based on the experience and combined with what had happened in, in admin in setting up the university there, we set up a university in Chennai

00:45:02--> 00:45:05

However, not University, you know, was

00:45:08--> 00:45:08

could say,

00:45:10--> 00:45:26

surrounded by forces which didn't want it to expand and become a truly international, Open University, International University, because it wasn't really open, it was on the ground on the ground full time teaching.

00:45:28--> 00:45:33

The university in Riyadh is called key knowledge International University

00:45:35--> 00:45:39

and hamdulillah still going as students, etc.

00:45:40--> 00:45:45

Anyway, after a year there in in Chennai,

00:45:47--> 00:45:54

I realized that I needed to launch an online university completely.

00:45:55--> 00:46:13

in Qatar, where I was based, I'd only gone to Chennai for a year, while maintaining my residency here in Qatar. So on returning, I launched the Islamic online university

00:46:15--> 00:46:17

to get Islamic knowledge

00:46:19--> 00:46:23

in the into the cyberspace, the internet,

00:46:24--> 00:46:27

make it accessible to as many people as possible.

00:46:28--> 00:46:35

And the intent behind that was to influence the oma

00:46:37--> 00:46:42

for change, changing the nation through education.

00:46:43--> 00:46:44

So

00:46:45--> 00:46:51

rather than robotic, and given the history of the evolution of the departments, etc,

00:46:52--> 00:46:55

to what we are now offering today.

00:46:56--> 00:47:00

But suffice to say that, from the very beginning,

00:47:02--> 00:47:14

and this began, actually even in admin, and was implemented also in Chennai, that when we started with Islamic Studies,

00:47:17--> 00:47:21

I added to that course in Islamic Studies, other disciplines,

00:47:23--> 00:47:30

which a graduate in Islamic Studies would need to guide his or her community.

00:47:31--> 00:47:37

So there are courses in it, normally not taught at universities.

00:47:38--> 00:47:42

Maybe now they're starting to do that. But I started from the beginning.

00:47:44--> 00:47:47

We had courses also in management.

00:47:48--> 00:48:03

As graduates, from Islamic universities, they usually asked to manage the community, we will make them the head of the community. But without any management training, then they make a mess. Oftentimes, they create chaos.

00:48:05--> 00:48:27

Or they're asked to teach so I had added education courses, which is students in Islamic Studies had to take as well as courses in psychology because there'll be asked to counsel to guide to help people with their problems and issues. But without training again, they were like Bulls in the china shop.

00:48:29--> 00:48:30

Similarly,

00:48:31--> 00:48:59

in the field of Islamic banking and finance, which was a very new field, we which is also a part of turning around the situation which the oma faces today, where the world is drowning in Riba based transactions, interest based transactions.

00:49:00--> 00:49:06

We need to change that and establish an alternative because we in Islam haven't altered.

00:49:07--> 00:49:10

So I added courses.

00:49:11--> 00:49:23

In that discipline also that all of our Islamic Studies students had to take. Then, after the first four years of operation, our first graduates came out of the

00:49:24--> 00:49:38

Bachelors of Arts in Islamic Studies program, then those additional subjects, which had become miners, were now turned into majors and actual departments were set up for all of them

00:49:40--> 00:49:48

with the plan to add even more, I will be launching also Agricultural Economics.

00:49:50--> 00:49:56

Something you can teach online agriculture, you don't have to be you know, in a laboratory, etc.

00:49:57--> 00:49:59

But Agricultural Economics you know,

00:50:00--> 00:50:26

teaches the farmers and those in the field of agriculture in the how to operate economically, in a way which is beneficial to the communities. Because we have we are producing the developed or underdeveloped world, the developing world is producing most of the food stuff for the rest of the world. But

00:50:28--> 00:50:30

they don't know how to manage it.

00:50:31--> 00:50:33

You know, from a

00:50:34--> 00:50:36

finance perspective,

00:50:37--> 00:50:48

economics perspective. So they're exploited, they're getting the least amount of money for products, which are then resold for huge amounts of money

00:50:50--> 00:50:51

in the developed world.

00:50:52--> 00:51:19

So make key subjects which we plan to add, we plan to also add, you know, public health, and mass communications. These are all key subjects, which needs to be added to the curriculum of the university in order to meet the challenges that the Muslim world faces in the 21st century.

00:51:21--> 00:51:23

So we hope,

00:51:25--> 00:51:32

because all of our teachers, our instructors, were informed.

00:51:33--> 00:51:34

And we're required

00:51:36--> 00:51:39

to Islam eyes, whatever subject you're teaching.

00:51:40--> 00:51:42

So there is a difference between

00:51:43--> 00:51:44

a BBA from

00:51:46--> 00:51:48

IOU and a BBA from anywhere else.

00:51:52--> 00:51:55

Bringing morality back into the classroom.

00:51:57--> 00:52:03

This is the challenge. And this is what we have been working on.

00:52:04--> 00:52:05

And this is what

00:52:06--> 00:52:09

personally I've dedicated my life to

00:52:11--> 00:52:12

changing

00:52:13--> 00:52:17

the nation, the oma through education.

00:52:19--> 00:52:24

So that summarizes the process

00:52:25--> 00:52:30

and the evolution of the university.

00:52:31--> 00:52:34

And its role in

00:52:35--> 00:52:38

educating the masses. And what we have done.

00:52:39--> 00:52:48

From the very beginning, is we tried to make our courses as absolutely cheap, and as possible, as close to being free as possible.

00:52:50--> 00:52:52

Because we, I understood from the very beginning,

00:52:54--> 00:53:03

that 100 people paying $1,000 is the same as 1000 people paying $100.

00:53:04--> 00:53:07

The same in the end,

00:53:08--> 00:53:16

except that 100 people being $1,000 or less hassles, you have less to deal with, it's much easier.

00:53:17--> 00:53:24

With 1000 people, you got 1000 people and all the problems that come with them that you have to deal with. But in terms of benefits,

00:53:26--> 00:53:31

the 1000, paying 100 is 1000 times better than the 100 paying 1000.

00:53:34--> 00:53:43

from a financial perspective, you know, solely financial perspective, and the 100, paying 1000 is best.

00:53:45--> 00:54:02

But from a belly, Ronnie, well, I convey whatever you learn for me, even if it's only a single verse from the brand, as opposed to as Alan said, from that perspective, 1000 paying 100 is better. So that's what we've gotten.

00:54:03--> 00:54:04

We've kept our

00:54:06--> 00:54:09

fees as low as possible.

00:54:11--> 00:54:14

And we hope to remain that way.

00:54:16--> 00:54:25

Though people advise me from the very beginning, no, no, people see it so cheap. They think it's a fake University they want you know, that's too cheap. You have to

00:54:27--> 00:54:35

sometimes, you know, I felt like maybe I did make a mistake. I should have put more in no charge more. But

00:54:37--> 00:54:38

the shade bond

00:54:39--> 00:54:48

coming Yeah, if you'd done that, then then you would have had this much more and along with this. We've stuck with the lowest possible

00:54:49--> 00:54:50

costs.

00:54:51--> 00:54:52

And

00:54:53--> 00:54:58

what has happened in the course of our evolution,

00:55:00--> 00:55:06

Is that Alhamdulillah we have brought together in IOU

00:55:09--> 00:55:11

a number of academics,

00:55:15--> 00:55:16

managers,

00:55:18--> 00:55:22

professionals, in so many different fields,

00:55:23--> 00:55:26

all share the same view.

00:55:28--> 00:55:32

And as such, we have functioned like a family.

00:55:34--> 00:55:37

Not to say that we didn't have some hiccups here and there.

00:55:38--> 00:55:49

But hamdulillah we have managed to continue on now in our 11th year of

00:55:50--> 00:55:52

existence functioning

00:55:54--> 00:55:54

and

00:55:56--> 00:56:04

completing our accreditation, have been gotten institutional accreditation from the Gambia and of course, accreditation

00:56:06--> 00:56:07

promises.

00:56:08--> 00:56:12

process has been finished. We're just waiting for the paperwork.

00:56:13--> 00:56:27

No, we have had accreditation from other countries, the Gambia has accreditation right now, it's the most outstanding achievement for us who spent over eight years working on it.

00:56:29--> 00:57:00

And Hamdulillah, you know, our courses are up to par, we have tried to improve the quality of what we're giving based on latest developments in online learning, etc. And of course, it's an uphill battle, because there are countries around the world, which don't believe in online education. So it means they become hurdles, blocks roadblocks, for us that we have to try to find some way around,

00:57:01--> 00:57:07

especially for the students coming from those countries. But we believe that eventually

00:57:09--> 00:57:10

all will come around.

00:57:12--> 00:57:26

Because this is the future of education. But I just like to conclude with one point concerning our biggest projects, which we started some two, three years ago,

00:57:28--> 00:57:34

which is called a million scholarships for African youth, Muslim, African youth.

00:57:35--> 00:57:38

The African continent, having over a billion people

00:57:39--> 00:57:44

has some of the lowest levels of education in the world.

00:57:46--> 00:57:51

Less than 10% of high school graduates make it to university.

00:57:52--> 00:57:56

So they're suffering and so many Muslims are there and

00:57:57--> 00:58:16

they're suffering terribly. So we began a project, this 1 million scholarships project in order for the students who couldn't afford to go to university to have access to us.

00:58:18--> 00:58:38

So this project now has reached around 20 different countries, we have centers opened up in these different countries we have 1000s of students are studying with us. And we hope that it will continue to grow and continue to benefit.

00:58:40--> 00:59:16

scholarships for these students, when the scholarships had to come along with also laptops, or desktops, centers, we have to establish learning centers to equip them, we got to also get the internet because many of these countries internet is costly, more costly than studying and I owe you. So we've had to, you know make the necessary adjustments in order to keep this project going. And we would hope

00:59:17--> 00:59:24

that those of you who are attending the session would share this information and on the website.

00:59:25--> 00:59:36

We do have a page dedicated to this project specifically this project and we hope that you would support the project in any way that you can.

00:59:37--> 00:59:43

Barca logical. So why they come to my Bearcat.

00:59:45--> 00:59:56

Why ecommerce to appreciate all the information all the knowledge does Aquila phailin shakila handler

01:00:00--> 01:00:18

very insightful. We appreciate also the history behind your effort in education, in the field of education in, you know, starting this university hamdulillah. May Allah bless it, and bless everyone involved in it. We do have some questions.

01:00:20--> 01:00:28

I'm glad we don't have that much time, but I will take some of these questions before we go, if that's okay. Dr. Billa.

01:00:29--> 01:00:30

You're welcome.

01:00:31--> 01:00:34

So the first question

01:00:36--> 01:00:42

it's a bit long, but I'll read it and the main idea here is Islamization of knowledge in North America.

01:00:44--> 01:01:03

The person mentioned the importance of Islamization of knowledge seems to be understood by very few Muslims in North America. For those involved and understand the importance of this, how do we convey the importance of the topic to the wider Muslim audience, especially in North America where Muslims struggle with basics of their Deen?

01:01:06--> 01:01:08

Well, let me say that

01:01:10--> 01:01:25

when I was faced with Islamization of knowledge, which is a concept promoted by Dr. Ismail Faruqi back in the 70s and 80s,

01:01:26--> 01:01:31

and taken up by other people,

01:01:33--> 01:01:38

thinkers, and Muslim thinkers in various fields.

01:01:40--> 01:01:42

I came to the conclusion that

01:01:44--> 01:01:48

that topic is more philosophical

01:01:49--> 01:01:50

than then

01:01:51--> 01:01:52

practical.

01:01:53--> 01:02:03

Because I saw a set of encyclopedias, which had been written back in the 70s from meetings which took place in Makkah.

01:02:04--> 01:02:06

Now at the Muslim world week,

01:02:07--> 01:02:08

they had written up

01:02:10--> 01:02:11

encyclopedias on it.

01:02:13--> 01:02:20

But in the 70s 80s, the 90s 2000 there was no impact.

01:02:22--> 01:02:32

Yes, the scholars did speak and eloquently and they wrote and everything else, but it wasn't translated into reality.

01:02:33--> 01:02:43

Reality which would affect then schools around the Muslim world. So as a result of my analysis of the situation,

01:02:44--> 01:02:46

I concluded that

01:02:47--> 01:02:55

more practically, we needed to focus on what was happening in the classroom.

01:02:57--> 01:03:12

The philosophy of mathematics, or science, or, you know, geography, oh, these are the areas, the philosophy of it, you know, is beyond the students

01:03:13--> 01:03:16

and even many of the teachers.

01:03:17--> 01:03:19

But if we

01:03:21--> 01:03:28

just focused on Islam maizing, the educational process

01:03:30--> 01:03:42

that this could produce a generation would then tackle the philosophical aspects of Islamization of

01:03:44--> 01:03:53

the subjects themselves of knowledge, the Islamization of knowledge, the concepts of knowledge, etc.

01:03:54--> 01:03:55

So,

01:03:56--> 01:03:59

you have to teach two plus two equals four.

01:04:02--> 01:04:06

Teach it from an Islamic perspective. How do you do that?

01:04:07--> 01:04:11

You tell the students, your grade one students.

01:04:12--> 01:04:14

When you pray, fudger

01:04:15--> 01:04:18

prayer, I just lost a lot of budget.

01:04:19--> 01:04:23

You have to pray to rock out of Santa

01:04:24--> 01:04:34

followed by to rock at a firm, they all learn this. So what is the total number of regard that you've prayed for?

01:04:36--> 01:04:37

So

01:04:38--> 01:04:43

I've simply Islam eyes that class,

01:04:44--> 01:04:59

without going into the philosophy of mathematics from an Islamic perspective, you know, it's done. So this became my focus, what I call lesson plan Islamization. So you

01:05:00--> 01:05:12

We need to get to those teachers are teaching. Listen, you need to follow some principles to introduce Islam into every class that you teach. Most important principle was the moral principle.

01:05:13--> 01:05:19

So okay, how do you teach morality in two plus two equals four?

01:05:20--> 01:05:28

Well, we tell that because you teaching mathematics to kids, etc, you know, you teach it with stories,

01:05:29--> 01:05:31

you know, word problems.

01:05:33--> 01:05:35

Why men had to realize

01:05:36--> 01:05:41

he was playing soccer with his friends and his story out fell out of his pocket.

01:05:42--> 01:05:42

And

01:05:44--> 01:05:46

so I picked it up and put it in his pocket.

01:05:49--> 01:05:49

Okay,

01:05:51--> 01:05:54

after the game mama is looking for is to realize Christmas

01:05:59--> 01:06:01

from Red is turning his head away.

01:06:02--> 01:06:04

Doesn't want to look at my message.

01:06:06--> 01:06:15

But eventually, he felt bad. So it took out two years. I found your two rails moment.

01:06:16--> 01:06:20

I'm happy that okay, but you take one,

01:06:21--> 01:06:23

get one. So

01:06:25--> 01:06:43

what he did was the right thing. That was morality and the reward for good. As I said, How did you start with the assignee in Lenexa? Is there any reward for good other than good? So I've brought morality in there, the classroom teaching two plus two equals four.

01:06:44--> 01:06:47

You know, this is just quick and simple.

01:06:48--> 01:07:14

All the subjects, every class can be tackled, and we can bring morality back into the classroom. That is step number one. And that's where we need to be. We need to have hold school when they when their school are asked, Who can say, you know, well, I II, I've never cheated on any test or examination. The whole school puts their hands up, then we have the Sahaba.

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We have the generation of the Sahaba. And with that, we can change the world.

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That Oh, yeah.

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The next question?

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What resource do you recommend resources? For example, books do you recommend for Muslims? To understand the impact of secular secularization and secular education? On the Muslim world? Do you have any particular resources? I think that's a question.

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Um, many, many scholars have spoken on it.

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I can't recommend a specific book. But you know, many of the scholars, people like Modi, and others, you know, have spoken on this topic. And

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I'm sure that

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any search on Google Now we have shared Google, you know, just put the topic

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look out for the authors. And then of course, get advice from your local scholars, you know, as to whether these authors are genuine authors, because otherwise, you know, maybe they've written nonsense, you know. So, there's also that side of the internet that we also have to be careful of.

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The other question

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has to do with

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your approach to studying Islam in western universities, and the person mentioned is quite different from, let's say, because of the I guess, the orientalist tradition or background. So how did you encounter these challenges? And how did you face them when you studied? I guess, you know, you studied two degrees under Islamic scholarship and guidance. And then you say University of Wales, I think the person's questions has to do with, you know, how would you know, if there is a need to take that kind of education? How do you deal with some of those ideas and thoughts and influences?

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Well, we can say that university of Well, when I studied there, the Department of Islamic Studies,

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which is in the department of

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religious studies.

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It was headed by a Muslim.

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And the instructors in it were mostly Muslims.

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So I didn't face what others

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have faced

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in western universities, Wales was University of Wales was, was unique in that regard. And that's why I considered, you know, doing my PhD there.

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Because I'd heard of the horror stories of other students who have graduated and tried to do their PhDs at McMasters. And, you know, in the in Canada, and in other universities in the States, and, you know, the trials that they went through, because the instructors, non Muslims or Lebanese Christians or, you know,

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Jewish Palestinians or whatever, you know, people of Palestine or Israel know,

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they had an agenda, they wanted the students to think as they thought to think neutrally.

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So, they would reject, you know, you could say subjective thinking, you have to be objective.

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And really objective meant really rejecting, you know, the Islamic

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approach or the Islamic understanding, etc, you had to put that aside, you know, and just be objective. That's what it was repeated over and over again. So those who just couldn't get over that hurdle, they ended up after years writing theses, having it rejected and me writing and he

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finally gave up said, Hey, I just can't do it, you know? So, yeah, it's a big challenge. I mean, but there are, you know, some universities in the West, where there are sufficient practicing Muslims puts in professors in the departments that, you know, you can get through your studies without being bombarded with orientalist thoughts and whatever comes along with it.

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Sounds good.

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Oh, so we're reaching 3pm here, and I'm sure it's pretty late for you there.

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So it's got their time, so we're going to be ending inshallah, there were some other questions. Before we end though, I wanted to mention two things or present two things to you. Some of the questions, I'll read quickly that are specific to programs or studying at Islamic online university. For example, can you elaborate on the scholarship program for Bachelor's degree?

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Also, there was a question about Currently, I'm doing Bachelor of Science in psychology. Can I also do the newly established Diploma of clinical psychology?

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There was also another question that I guess it's a takeaway for us, we would like you, Dr. Bilal, to organize a lecture on etiquettes of seeking knowledge. So that's something shallow, we could look at possibly in the future, depending on your ability. So some of those questions that were sent, what I'm going to do is I'm going to present our

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email address here. So you can take a note of it. This is for our Canada committee. canada.sc for Student Committee at IO u.edu.gm. That's canada.sc at osu.edu.gm. So feel free to contact us on there. Most of you already have that information from our flyer for this program. And you could always reach out to us on there. And we could answer those specific questions related to studying at Islam, International University, IOU and its programs and scholarships and so forth, we could provide you more information about that.

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And before I end, the other thing I want to just present quickly, is just, again, we want to keep this I know everyone here in the West, we have very hectic lifestyle. So we don't want to make the program too long. So we didn't do an elaborate presentation. But just to give you a quick idea of how it looks. This is one of our posters. So this is some of the programs that we talked about Dr. Bill law, mentioned in his talk. And here are some of the some a lot of By the way, we did also release the Ph. D. program. Right. Something we didn't mention, just started in the last semester, I believe, and it's it's getting is launching now. And of course, there's masters ambassadors and as

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long studies program, and there's also there are also other options such as degree certificates, where it's not a full four years.

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degree, but let's say a two or three year, Associate degree or certificate. So all of these are different, including our Bic language. So if you do have any questions, inshallah we as Dr. Bilal said, we encourage you to take this path to seeking knowledge, whatever manner that you're able to, of course, Islamic online university, now known as international Open University is one of those options you could do online. It's a comprehensive program myself studying there for so many years. That's one of the benefits you get knowledge from the basics, the most fundamental parts of your deen and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us again. I'll leave it with our

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actually brother Feisal, who's on the YouTube chat he'll put down the email address as well.

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So with that, we'll inshallah we want to thank you again just Sakuma heighten for joining us today taking your time out. I'm sure everyone benefited with this talk. handler and will end doctor blog will be able to close for us please

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subhanak Allahumma Hamza shadow Ella and the star Federica on a two leg. We ask Allah to accept this effort by the Student Committee from Canada.

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And we pray that all who have attended have benefited and will carry the knowledge which they have gained from this session to those who are not present. And barakallahu tickle salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah.

Seeking Knowledge - A Path to Reviving the Ummah
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