Divine Commands – Meta-ethics and Moral Epistemology in the Islamic Tradition

Hamza Tzortzis


Channel: Hamza Tzortzis

File Size: 81.51MB

Episode Notes

Share Page

Transcript ©

AI generated text may display inaccurate or offensive information that doesn’t represent Muslim Central's views. No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever.

00:00:00--> 00:00:17

Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim, Al hamdu lillahi wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah. For those who don't know, that means May the peace and blessings of God of Allah be upon you all. Now we're going to be talking about divine commands. And we're going to be talking about meta ethics and

00:00:19--> 00:00:25

moral epistemology from an Islamic perspective. And what does all this really mean? Let's clarify some terms.

00:00:26--> 00:01:10

What we mean by meta ethics, we mean, specifically moral ontology, which answers the questions referring to what is the nature of a moral value is objective, it's subjective? What is the nature of a moral value? And what is its foundation? And what is the source of the moral value? So that's what we're really aiming to talk about today, when we're referring to meta ethics. So when we're talking about meta meta ethics, we're talking about the kind of foundations and the nature of the moral value. Why is it objective? Or is it objective? And where did it come from? What is it source? What is its foundation? The other thing we're going to be talking about is moral epistemology, which

00:01:10--> 00:02:00

basically is, how do we know what good is? How do we know what bad is is essentially referring to moral knowledge? How do we acquire moral knowledge? How do we know that something is good? And how do we know that something is bad? So why we're gonna do today is start with meta ethics. And refer to a medical example, because we're in a medical school. And from that, hopefully, we're going to show that God God exists as a result of what we're going to conclude I don't want to give it away now. And then we're going to go into more epistemology, and talk about the Islamic stance on moral epistemology. And I'm going to contrast the Islamic stance with something called ethical egoism. And

00:02:00--> 00:02:17

I'm going to apply this to a medical scenario, which is voluntary euthanasia. Okay. And hopefully, I'm going to give you the kind of conceptual tools and the principles that you can think about further to continue your intellectual spiritual journey.

00:02:19--> 00:02:59

Just a quick note, you have to understand that everything that I'm talking about, there are volumes of responses and counter arguments and philosophical nuances. So don't think I'm giving you everything, okay. I'm not, I just, I've designed this presentation to give you the kind of principles to give you the kind of conceptual framework that you can basically use in order to continue your intellectual and maybe spiritual journey, because many of you here are hopefully going to be future doctors or dentists. And you're going to be faced with some ethical dilemmas. It's part of life. And then you'd have to basically understand some of these principles. So you could

00:02:59--> 00:03:12

basically maneuver in the most ethical way possible. Okay. So, we've discussed what meta ethics is, we've discussed what moral epistemology is, just to remind you, meta ethics is about the source nature foundations of the moral value.

00:03:13--> 00:03:23

More epistemology is about how do we know what is moral? How do we know what is good any concerns, moral knowledge, the acquisition of moral knowledge? So look at this,

00:03:24--> 00:03:26

right, this picture, who knows what that is?

00:03:28--> 00:03:39

Hopefully, I took it from the right source on Google Images. Basically, it's invasive spinal surgery, correct doctors.

00:03:40--> 00:04:16

It looks like you're right. Good. So it's invasive spinal surgery. Now, I want you to imagine that you're observing one of the senior surgeons in this hospital. So you're observing as a student, one of the most senior Surgeons of this hospital, and you see him consciously with intent, snipping the spinal cord, for no reason. He does snips it doesn't like the guy doesn't like he smells or something just snips it? I don't like q patient, they may just snip your spinal cord. cord. Yeah.

00:04:18--> 00:04:23

Is that morally wrong? Put your hand up if you think is morally wrong?

00:04:24--> 00:04:28

So you all think it's morally wrong or morally wrong? Good. Put your hand down. Now another question.

00:04:30--> 00:04:51

Is it objectively morally wrong? Put your hand up if you think it's objectively morally wrong, with intent to snip the spinal cord of a patient that doesn't require it to be snipped? Now, put your hand up if you think is objectively morally wrong. It's not a trick question. Is it objectively morally wrong? Okay, all of you. Good. So

00:04:54--> 00:04:59

I've just tested your moral intuitions here. Because when it comes to philosophy, generally speaking

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

You can we can reduce everything just to an intuition. And the whole philosophy is justifying your intuitions essentially right?

00:05:08--> 00:05:25

Generally speaking, so not only did we think that snipping the spinal cord or cutting the spinal cord of a patient with intent is morally wrong, we've all agreed it's objectively morally wrong. Now, let me help you in the definition of objective him because we may have different definitions, okay?

00:05:27--> 00:06:15

When we're talking about something being objective, it's considering or presenting the facts without being influenced by personal feelings or opinions. So in the context of morality, objective morals, something being objectively wrong, or objectively good means it's not dependent on someone's limited mind, limited mind, or limited emotions and feelings. For example, one plus one is equal to two. That is an objective fact. Regardless, if you don't like maths, I hate math, right? Generally speaking, I'm like, you know, just because I hate maths, it doesn't now follow that one plus one is not two, right? And if I somehow tried to convince you that one plus one is equal to seven, you'd be

00:06:15--> 00:06:55

like, No, you're wrong. So this is what we're talking about. When we're talking about objective morals. We're saying it's not influenced or dependent on someone's personal feelings or emotions, or even limited mind, just like mathematical truths. One plus one is equal to two, regardless of what you say, if you tried to convince me just because your medical students that hey, Hamza, you're wrong. One plus one is actually five. Avec No, you just just just what drugs are you taking? Yeah. Do you see my point. So this will mean by something being objective. So if these moral values and facts are objective in this way, they sit outside of the human self in some way, because they're not

00:06:55--> 00:07:36

dependent on my limited mind, or limited emotions. They're outside of me in a way that like, you know, just imagine I'm holding a moral fact. Not that you can, because it's not really tangible. And this is meta ethics. This is metaphysical stuff. But generally speaking, if this moral value this moral truth is objective, and it's not dependent on a limited mind, or limited emotions, therefore, it's outside, so to speak. If it's outside, so to speak, it requires some grounding. It requires a foundation rubber method, meta ethics, what is its foundation? Why is it objective? How do you explain its objectivity? Where did it come from? What is this? What is the source of this moral

00:07:36--> 00:07:42

value? Do you see the point? So requires some kind of foundations? so far? So good? You with me? Good.

00:07:44--> 00:08:30

So one would argue, hold on a second, Hamza don't need some evidence to prove that most objective Yes, we all believe it's objectively morally wrong, with intent unconsciously to snip someone's spinal cord. We know it's morally wrong, objectively. But where's the proof? Well, this is about meta ethics, you don't need proof, you don't need some kind of empirical justification to prove that a moral value is objective, because it's about meta ethics you need first principles are the lenses that you put on your eyes to understand your moral intuitions. So when it comes to things like this, you don't need proof that is objective, just like you don't need proof that causality exists.

00:08:30--> 00:09:07

Because it exists, we observe causes, and we observe effects, fine. We might not know the nature between the causal link, what is the causal link? What is causality itself, but we don't need empirical proof to prove that this internal notion in our minds of causality actually exists. It's a metaphysical discussion. Okay. So you don't really need proof for things to be objective. If you could start with a first principle. That's why it's called an axiomatic argument. You start with the first principle, its objective is based on my intuitions. There's nothing wrong with that, by the way. And if you study Western philosophy and Eastern philosophy, there's a hell of a lot of

00:09:07--> 00:09:18

assumptions going on. Anyway. Yeah, there's first principle, there is no first principles, free philosophy, even science, if you studied the philosophy of science, you'd understand that there are some assumptions, some first principles, namely

00:09:20--> 00:09:52

that the external world exists, that there are external causal relations. That's a first principle. Another first principle or assumption that science has is that nature is uniform. If we observed 50% of the universe, and there's gravity, then it would follow that gravity permeates the whole universe based upon the assumption that nature is uniform. Anyway, that's a lengthy discussion, but neither here or there, but you get my point, right. So we don't really need proof for the fact that, you know, we believe that morals are objective. However,

00:09:53--> 00:09:59

if you're talking about proof in a non empirical way, you're talking about is it coherent, then yes, we could start discussing

00:10:00--> 00:10:27

If belief in some most being objective, is that a coherent first principle, or a coherent assumption, or a coherent axiom in order to really understand our moral intuitions, we could discuss that. But that's a separate topic. So from an Islamic point of view, although I have to be intellectually fair, that not all the theological schools actually agree with objective morals, for example, the

00:10:29--> 00:10:48

school of creed known as the Shai era, the group of of Muslims that adopted the Ashanti creed, they generally speaking, I know there is a spectrum, they didn't basically agree that there's anything more about the universe, generally speaking, it's just

00:10:49--> 00:11:07

arbitrary divine commands from that point of view. Okay. We have other schools of creed, like the majorities, for example. They said that no, the human mind can rationalize and can actually understand using the sound reason that you have moral truths in the world.

00:11:08--> 00:11:41

Then you had the authorities, who basically said No, well, generally speaking, there are more values that are objective, and they are grounded in God, but the grantor in his commands, and those commands are not arbitrary, because they link to his nature, because he is good. He's above the source of goodness. And I'm gonna discuss a bit later. Now, I'm going to basically talk about, I can't talk about all the schools and we'll talk about the School of creed that I adopt, especially for the moral arguments, I think is more coherent. But just to be intellectually fair, wanted to give you a taste of all the schools of Creed's from that point of view, okay, so you're intelligent

00:11:41--> 00:11:44

enough to basically navigate this effectively. So

00:11:45--> 00:11:51

why do I think from an Islamic perspective, there are morals that are objective, or it's very simple, because

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

the worst sin or the worst, evil, if you like, the most evil thing from an Islamic intellectual, spiritual perspective, according to the Quranic discourse, and the perfect prophetic traditions, is actually polytheism is actually worshiping other than Allah is not worshipping God, that is considered the highest

00:12:13--> 00:12:54

evil, if you like, or the worst evil. Now, what's interesting, can we actually say that subjectively morally wrong? No, because the Quran makes it in such an objective way that it is wrong. It is one of the greatest injustices from a spiritual perspective and one of the greatest evils to worship other than God, right, to associate partners with him. So can we really say, Oh, yeah, God says that by in a kind of subjective kind of sense. I don't think that's the most appropriate Oh, he says it because it is based on his command and his command, that command is based on some kind of rule power. I don't see how you can navigate that. If you look at the texts, what I would say is look,

00:12:57--> 00:13:39

part of God's nature is the fact that he deserves to be worshipped Allah, Allah, Allah, the One who is worthy of all worship, worshiping God is a necessity by virtue of who he is. worshiping God is a necessity, by virtue of who he is. So therefore, you can't really say this moral command to worship God is actually subjective as it normally is. Its objective, because it's done in such an objective way. So that's why I would argue that there are objective moral values, especially in the Islamic tradition, not only that, when you look at the meccan Suras, the chapters of the Quran that revealed in the meccan period, you would see that God mentioned seems like justice and compassion. does good

00:13:39--> 00:14:20

define them for us? No, I don't see a lengthy definition in the Quranic discourse on what Rama is, and what compassion is fine. We have a linguistic definition. And we may have some prophetic traditions that show that behavioral expression of Rama and mercy, but does the Quran really elaborate on what is missing? What is justice? Especially in the meccan period when it was addressing the polytheist? Arabs? So if Allah if if God in the Quran is saying to polish, the Polish, the polytheist, Arabs, this is justice, this is mercy, then there is an assumption that they know there is a common moral denominator, they understood what justice and mercy was. So it's as if

00:14:20--> 00:14:58

it was referring to some kind of objective sense that we can see or perceive in the universe it was it was targeting their moral intuitions, their objective moral intuitions in some way. You can't just claim all that justice is God's justice. Well, he defines and God's mercy Well, he defines really, but the whole Quran is like a conversation with people and telling them to be just to be merciful. And he wasn't alone wasn't talking just to Muslims, he was talking to the polytheist Arabs. So they must understood what justice and mercy meant in some way Otherwise, the most of the discourse would be absolutely meaningless. And I find that very problematic if you say there are no

00:14:58--> 00:15:00

objective moral values from

00:15:00--> 00:15:02

Point of View makes sense of Islamic theology. So

00:15:05--> 00:15:34

objective moral values exists, it makes sense exists, it makes sense of a moral intuitions. Now, I want to now start to talk about if that's the case, then God exists. Think about this, right? If snipping the spinal cord of a patient that doesn't require his spinal cord or her spinal cord to be snipped with intent and consciously, if that is objectively morally wrong, as we've all agreed, as we all have agreed, then it follows God exists.

00:15:35--> 00:16:19

Sounds like a crazy claim, right? It does, isn't it? Okay, let me explain to you, right, don't worry. I'm not that crazy. So listen, here is the basic logic of the argument. It's a axiomatic arguments. We start with the axiom, the first principle that there are objective morals, if you start with that in necessitates God's existence. Okay? Are you ready for this? It's not a leap of faith. It's not kind of, you know, some kind of false logical inference. No, it's actually it follows logically, let me explain. Number one, if objective morals exist, God exists. Number two, objective morals exists three, therefore God exists limitless elaborate Why? So? Why is it the case

00:16:19--> 00:16:47

that if we believe axiomatically first principle that objective morals exists, that God must exist? Because God is the only foundation to rationally explain objective morals? Why? Because God number one, is not subjective. He transcends human subjectivity he's outside of the universe, he can make the universal moral claim.

00:16:48--> 00:17:20

God is an alien and hacking as Bob he is the knowing the wise and he is the good the source of all goodness. And Gods names and attributes are what you call maximally perfect, they are to the highest degree possible. Right? They are to the highest degree possible. They have no deficiency and no flaw, and they are perfect. So it follows when he commands, then his commands are good. And goodness is actually an essential part of his nature.

00:17:21--> 00:18:07

as Professor Ian Malcolm, he explains, God explains the mysterious ot pressing down our lives. And God explains the universal nature of the moral claim, as God is outside the world, God, the Creator can both be external, and make universal commands. Also, he's an objective source for morality, because he has the totality of moral knowledge from that point of view. Not only this, his commands are not subject to anything. He's not limited by anything external to him. So by definition, he is an objective source. So from this point of view, it's fine to make sense that if there are objective moral truths and objective moral truths are outside of limited self limited mind, outside of social

00:18:07--> 00:18:22

consensus and peer pressure, and they're outside so to speak. They require some explanation and grounding. Remember meta ethics to explain the nature of this moral value and where it came from its foundation. Well, the only way to explain it rationally is actually God's existence.

00:18:23--> 00:19:03

From the perspective that what explains the moral value that objective moral values are God's commands, because God is outside of the universe. He is objective, he's not subjective. He has total moral knowledge, and all the things that we just mentioned, what else can ground objective morals, how else can you explain objective morals? And what's interesting Allah says in the Quran, verses in the Quran say, indeed, God does not order immorality. So one would argue, well, Surely there's alternatives. It can't just be good to rationally explain objective moral truths and values. There must be something else. Well, there is there are alternatives, but I'm going to dress why those

00:19:03--> 00:19:33

alternate alternatives are false. And those alternatives include biology, the Darwinian mechanism for example, social pressure, moral realism, and constructivism. Now these are met meta ethical approaches, or some people claim they can be meta ethical approaches to explain objective morals. Now before I go and deconstruct them, if you're philosophically minded, you know that there is a key response to what I've said so far. I don't know what the key response is.

00:19:37--> 00:19:59

It's a dilemma. Was it called you three false dilemma? Yes. Excellent. So what would I get hold on is Hamza, this is fuzzy logic. Let me try and break down what you're saying here. God can't be the kind of rational foundation for objective moral truths and values. Because here's the dilemma. And this is you three false dilemma or sometimes known as Plato's dilemma.

00:20:00--> 00:20:32

It basically goes like this. All right, so you're saying God exists because of objective moral values exists. If objective moral values exist, God must exist. objective moral values exist, therefore God exists. God exists. Why? Because God's commands are the only foundation for objective moral truths. And therefore, if God's commands are the only Foundation, therefore he must exist too. Okay, fair enough. But let's break it down. And this is what the dynamic is saying, is something morally good because God commands it? Or does God command it because it's morally good?

00:20:34--> 00:20:55

Here's the dilemma and repeat to you. Is something morally good because God commands it? Or does God command it because it's morally good? Now, one would argue this is a dilemma. There are two horns that to the dilemma. You have the arbitrariness horn, and you have the independent standard standard horn, let me explain what this means. So if you adopt the first part, which is

00:20:57--> 00:21:18

morality is defined by God's commands alone, then there's a little bit of a problem, you may be thinking as Muslims or as a religious people has that problem, because you just explained that objective moral truths are based on God's commands I have, absolutely. But there is an assumption here, when this part of the dynamic is basically saying that morality is defined by God's commands.

00:21:19--> 00:21:53

It's just the command in an abstract sense, divorced away from God's nature is dislocated away from God's nature. So what they're saying is, well, God could say that you should kill all 55 year olds, and it would be morally good because God just said it. We don't really appreciate that it does not doesn't make sense of our moral intuitions. Also, if we take this out of the dilemma in this way, we would have to believe that there is nothing in the universe that is objectively morally wrong, or objectively morally good. So we can't accept that part of the dynamic.

00:21:55--> 00:22:30

Because they're assuming they just God's commands. And those commands are not linked to his nature in any way. They've dislocated God's commands away from his nature. So we can't say morality is defined just by God's commands in that way, because it makes it arbitrary. And it also makes us understand that there should be nothing in the universe that we should even consider as objectively morally wrong. Well, let's look at the other side of the dilemma. Well, morality is now external to God's commands, because it says, or does God command it because it's morally good? Well, if it's more really good, then you already know what good is to judge God's commands by so therefore, good

00:22:30--> 00:22:34

is outside of God's commands, game over argument done.

00:22:35--> 00:22:39

So what the saying is that moral standards are not completely outside of God.

00:22:40--> 00:22:51

So we're not going to accept that part of the dilemma either. So what's the solution? We can't take the arbitrariness horn. And we can't take the independent standard horn of the dilemma. What do we do?

00:22:52--> 00:22:56

We can't say that in an abstract way, morality is just based on God's commands.

00:22:57--> 00:23:06

Because we don't believe God's commands are disappeared from his nature. And we can't accept the fact that morality is external to God that good is external to God.

00:23:08--> 00:23:09

So what do we do? Here's the answer.

00:23:11--> 00:23:12

Who has the answer?

00:23:14--> 00:23:15


00:23:16--> 00:23:19

put the two together. Mm. Interesting. How?

00:23:31--> 00:24:12

Good so objective good is based on God's nature good. It's something what I said in the beginning. So here's the response, there is a third option, it's a false dilemma. Why? Because God is good. As Bob, he is the source of goodness, as Professor Acton in his really good, interesting, really interesting book really good book called The Crown in the secular mind. He says, there is a third alternative, a morally stable god of the kind found in Scripture, a supreme being, who would not arbitrarily change his mind about the goodness of compassion and the evil of sexual misconduct. Such a God always commands good, because his character and nature are good. Let me explain the response a

00:24:12--> 00:24:20

little bit further. So what we're saying is, there is indeed a moral standard, but it's not external to God.

00:24:21--> 00:24:42

So there is indeed a moral standard, but it's not external to God. It's, it necessarily follows from God's nature. Goodness is part of God is not external to God. So we do have a standard but our standards not external to God. It's actually part of who God is as part of his reality because he is a bar he is the source of all goodness.

00:24:43--> 00:24:59

So his nature contains within it, the perfect the maximally perfect, non arbitrary moral standard. So when he makes a command, that command is a manifestation of his will, and his rule does it contradict his nature

00:25:00--> 00:25:12

Which is good, wise, loving, merciful. So we have a standard by snow external to God and is based on God's commands by it's not arbitrary. It's actually part of God's nature SHABOOM microbe as we say.

00:25:13--> 00:25:44

Yeah, there you go. We've solved the dilemma. Now a natural response from someone who doesn't agree with this, like an atheist or an agnostic or whoever. They may argue, well, you must know what good is to define God as good then if we haven't solved the problem? Well, this is a big philosophical discussion about the kind of necessity of God's goodness I don't want to get into that. But a good a good response to this would be, well, God defines what good is because he's the only being worthy of worship. And the only being worthy of worship is the highest moral being.

00:25:45--> 00:25:46


00:25:47--> 00:26:12

we've solved the kind of response here, the kind of receivers dilemma doesn't break down all arguments. So God's commands and God himself being the kind of rational foundation to explain objective moral truths. It still says truth, it's still a strong argument is still follows. If objective morals exist, God must exist. But as I said, there are alternatives. Let's adjust the alternatives. We reticular tentatives. Good. So the first one was biology.

00:26:15--> 00:26:56

I'm sorry. It just doesn't work. I do apologize, Darwin and everybody else. It just doesn't work. And this doesn't dismantle the Darwinian mechanism. No, I'm not don't make that false inference. But you cannot use it as a as a basis for your meta ethics. Okay. You can't use it for moral ontology. You can't use it to explain the source of objective morals and to explain why morals are objective. Why? Well, let me quote you, Charles Darwin, Charles Darwin gave an extreme example as well. He basically said, If men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive bees, they can hardly be adult that are unmarried females would like the worker bees think, a sacred duty to kill their

00:26:56--> 00:27:01

brothers. And mothers will strive to kill their fertile daughters. And no one would think of interfering

00:27:02--> 00:27:03

is true.

00:27:04--> 00:27:15

Because if we as human beings were reared under precisely the same conditions as the high B's if that's the case, then we wouldn't think it's morally wrong to kill offerto daughters.

00:27:18--> 00:28:00

Now, if you extend that example, and you start talking about the nurse shark, if you watch National Geographic, it talks about the nurse shark. And they did some studies or some observations, and they found that the nurse shark male, I believe, bites the fin of its mate and wrestles with it before it mates, that's tantamount to rape. So if we're, if we're read precisely under the same conditions as the nurse shark, who think rape, no problem, right? God forbid, right? But you get my argument here. So if morals are just about this rearing you read, based upon certain biological conditions, then what happens? Number one, morals are not objective anymore, because they're subject to inevitable

00:28:00--> 00:28:41

biological changes. Also most on objective anymore because they lose their meaning. There's actually no meaning behind any morality, if it just happens to be a kind of biological reaction to certain biological conditions, where's the moral value and meaning behind most they're gone? It's finished, as we say, right. So from that point of view, I don't think biology or the Darwinian mechanism is very strong. To explain the objectivity of morals. By the way, it can explain how we have the capacity to formulate ethical rules, of course, like natural selection, according to the moral philosopher, Philip kitcher, you could basically use natural selection to come to the conclusion

00:28:41--> 00:29:12

that yes, you know, this is a basis for why we formulate ethical rules, fine, but that's not our discussion today. So biology is out the window. What's next? Who remembers what next? What's next social pressure, wave all human beings. And this is the kind of humanist approach to to moral values, because a lot of humans believe that moral values are actually objective. And so yeah, when you know, rational human beings come together, will decide and it will be objective in that sense. Well, I don't think so. I don't think so. Because think about a lot of

00:29:14--> 00:29:47

more pressures in our society, for example, Nazi Germany in the 1940s, there was some moral pressure, sorry, social pressure in some way, some kind of consensus find it wasn't 100%. But there was something going on that really, you know, groups of people came together to think it was okay to kill Jewish people and to murder them and to think that they evil, which we know is objectively morally wrong. So if we use social pressure as the basis for objective moral truth, then we have a problem here. Because moral truths are subject to inevitable social changes. And if you study social psychology, society changes.

00:29:48--> 00:29:59

Just ask your grandma. Just look at TV like 20 years ago, MTV was like, you know, I don't know it was like, it's like reading the Bible. Honestly. Look at MTV today.

00:30:00--> 00:30:39

You know, that's like, almost porn 20 years ago now that I know, but you know, I mean, yeah, so is mobile and I'm being you know, it's hyperbole. So it's, you get my point, right. So, so there is a crude example. But there are inevitable social changes. Now, if you study social psychology, you see that social norms are developed in the developed because of two main things, informational social influence, or normative social influence, which basically is based on the fact that we have a need to belong, and we have a need to feel certain. So if I have a need to belong, and I have an idea that's alien to your ideas, I may suspend my ideas and throw them away for a while, and accept your

00:30:39--> 00:30:41

views and ideas just to belong.

00:30:43--> 00:30:46

Conversely, the other one is that basically,

00:30:47--> 00:31:17

we have a need to feel certain. So if I'm uncertain about something, I go to the consensus. And that's how social norms are developed, and social norms change over time. So far more values as a result of society and social norms, we have a big problem, because they're going to be subject to inevitable social changes. And for me, morality loses its meaning. objective morality loses its meaning and is subject to inevitable social changes. So from that point of view, it doesn't explain objective morals at all. social pressure doesn't explain

00:31:19--> 00:31:38

objective morals in any shape or form. We have another another alternative, which is called moral realism. Now, moral realism, agrees and it says yes, there are objective moral truths. There are objective moral values. more realism says yes, but they do not require foundation they just are.

00:31:39--> 00:32:19

I find this a little bit difficult because we require an answer to the question, why is it objective? But where did it come from remote meta ethics is about answering the question, why is this more value objective? And what's its foundation? Where did it come from? It's almost ignoring meta ethics in a way saying, we can't answer the question or the only way to answer is they just are get over it move forward. This is also known as moral objectivism as well. But for me, it gets a little bit more tricky when we understand morals as moral duties. Because when we're thinking justice exists, and compassion exists, we don't think of that in some kind of abstract way. Because

00:32:19--> 00:32:50

when we say yes, this is the compassionate thing to do, this is the just thing to do. We, we are obligated, we have a duty, right? I'm duty bound to be compassionate in certain context, especially you know, as medical practitioners, you have to show that compassion, you have to show that fairness etc. You have a moral duty, not only recognizing that justice exists somewhere in the world, and compassion exists. But what explains that drive to fulfill those moral duties? more realism doesn't explain that.

00:32:52--> 00:32:55

Because more duties are owed, owed, to whom?

00:32:57--> 00:33:16

Do you see the point, and that's why it makes sense of God's commands because it's owed to God. More the sense of moral duties makes sense of God's commands from that point of view. So more realism is not an alternative, either. There's another alternative, one would argue it's a rational alternative. And this is called constructivism. Now,

00:33:18--> 00:33:41

I've taken this from an academic encyclopedia, and you can find it online and mine I forgot the reference. I'll give it to you later. But basically, constructivism is the view that insofar as there are normative truths, for example, truths about what we ought to do so moral truths, there are in some sense determined by an idealized process of rational deliberation, choice, or agreement. Now you have to understand something.

00:33:42--> 00:33:45

constructivism doesn't say that.

00:33:46--> 00:34:13

As a result of using your rational faculties and irrational process, you're going to understand what is moral? No, that's epistemology to know, to find out what is moral. But what he basically says is, is that morality is construed through rationally meaning, the very fact that man is rational, that becomes a foundation for morality. And he explains the objective nature of morality. It's like the two sides of the same coin.

00:34:14--> 00:34:27

So it's not just like, I'm rational, therefore, I'm going to find out in my own way, what good is no, that's epistemology, but rather, constructivism says that the very fact of the human being is rational, that is the foundation for morality. And

00:34:28--> 00:35:00

it explains the nature of objective moral truths. Why the objective in the first place? And there's a big discussion, there are volumes of discussion, I want to get into it. But basically, one would argue what kind of more what kind of rationality you're going to use, you know, are you duty bound to even be rational? Right? Because if rationality and and objective morals are two sides of the same coin, then in order for objective morals to make sense, you should also be duty bound to be rational. But are you you don't have to be I mean, there was a really

00:35:00--> 00:35:21

irrational anyone there are many studies if you study the philosophy of the mind and you study for example cognitive science There are even theories that claim that human beings are not rational right even if you studied David Hume he said morality has nothing to do rationality which is we just try to intellectually justify our you know, emotions right but that's a bigger discussion and is more new isn't just expressed it, so do apologize.

00:35:23--> 00:35:34

Go Google it. No, don't Google it, go buy a book on it. But anyway, the point is, constructivism doesn't really provide a meta ethical foundation for objective moral truths. So

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

I think God commands and God's existence is the most rational foundation for morals for objective moral truth. They explain where they came from.

00:35:46--> 00:36:07

Because commands and they explain and in God's existence explains why moral truths are objective because of who God is. Game over. So if you believe in objective moral truth, like we discussed what objectivity is for moral point of view, it philosophically necessitates God's commands and God's existence. If you disagree with me, give me an alternative.

00:36:08--> 00:36:21

Now, before we get to the moral epistemologists want to address certain things. One would argue Hold on a second Hamza, but you know, in religious discussions and discourse, even in our own intuitions, you know, things are not objective because morals change over time.

00:36:23--> 00:37:13

Now, there is a conflation between two understands understandings of morality here, absolute morality and objective morality. Absolute morality basically says, killing is wrong, right? Or the cessation of human life is wrong. If there is a conscious with intent to see someone's life, that is morally wrong. Regardless, that's absolute morality, objective morality slightly different. It says, ceasing or stopping someone's life. Right? For no justification is morally wrong. So objective morals is based upon the moral variables is context sensitive. For example, absolute mind, I would say, it is morally wrong to kill a crazy guy with a machine gun, if that was the only option to stop

00:37:13--> 00:37:15

him killing 300 children in the school.

00:37:17--> 00:37:35

Absolute morality would say, We don't care if he's going to kill 300 kids, killing him is still morally wrong. objective moral morality says Hold on a second, if that's our only option, then it's morally good to stop this person's life. If that was the only way to stop him killing 300 children.

00:37:36--> 00:38:14

You may disagree with the example. But don't it's a logical fallacy to damn the example. You get the point yeah, to get the essence of the point. So there's a difference between absolute morality, morality and objective morality. Objective morals are objective, from the point of view, that they transcend human subjectivity and limited mind and emotions based upon the moral variables is context sensitive. So there's a conflation with different types of morality here. The other thing would be Hamza. In order for this to work. You have to believe that moves are objective. Remember, the first principles I spoke about in the beginning, the fact that it's axiomatic its first principle, you

00:38:14--> 00:38:23

just have to adopt the fact that some not all but some morals are objective? Well, if someone says, I disagree with you, fine. You don't have to agree with me.

00:38:24--> 00:38:28

But it becomes very interesting, doesn't it? It's like a double edged sword.

00:38:29--> 00:38:30

Because if you accept

00:38:31--> 00:39:14

the objectivity of some morals, like snipping the spinal cord of a patient, right, for no reason, deliberately, right, if you accept that some morals are objective, and necessitates God's existence, but if you don't like that conclusion, and you were like all morals are no objective anymore, there are no objective morals. What happens now is someone can snip, therefore, the spine of a patient and say, you could have your view, I have my view, I think it was ethically morally good to do it. And you can't point the finger at the KKK or ISIS in an objective moral way, from a philosophical point of view. Because Where's your foundation? It's a subjective now.

00:39:17--> 00:39:26

I have a son, welcome all different moral views. You could have a bit of the pie, I'd have a bit of my moral pie as well. They may contradict each other, but so well, that's life get over.

00:39:27--> 00:40:00

Right? It becomes like a double edged sword, right? So we've dealt with a meta meta ethics. Let's go to moral epistemology. So just to remind you, what does moral epistemology mean? Well, the word epistemology means the study of knowledge, how we get to know things, and moral epistemology basically is trying to answer the question, how do we know what is good? How do we know what is bad? So from an Islamic point of view, if the ontological basis of objective morals the fact the meta ethical basis of objective morals is God's commands that would follow to know what good is is to understand

00:40:01--> 00:40:06

God's commands. So where are God's commands? Where do you find them in the Islamic tradition?

00:40:07--> 00:40:19

Quran and Sunnah prophetic traditions generally speaking, right? The Quran in the prophetic tradition. So when we go into the Quran and prophetic traditions, we understand what now is good and bad.

00:40:20--> 00:40:22

It's actually that simple.

00:40:23--> 00:41:06

And why do we justify? Why do we say that's the right approach? Because think about God, by definition, knows, knows everything. He has the totality of wisdom and knowledge. He's attacking the wise and unnamed, annoying. He is about the source of goodness, he has the picture, we just have a pixel, he has the totality of all moral knowledge, if you like, we don't. So what would you choose someone with total moral knowledge and perfect moral knowledge? That is the social morality himself or choose something that is not? Right, it doesn't have total knowledge and is not the source of goodness, what would you choose? rationally? Right? It just makes sense from that point of view. And

00:41:07--> 00:41:13

there may be some commands that you may think, okay, I don't understand this. It doesn't. It's not directly in tune with my intuitions.

00:41:15--> 00:41:50

But that's neither here or there. Because object if some objective morals exists, like killing is wrong, and and you need to be fair, you need to be compassionate, then it necessitates God's existence, but doesn't mean now all of God's commands are going to agree with what you think I got the law says in the Quran, he says, and it may be that you dislike a thing that is good for you, and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows and you don't. We have a pixelated understanding of reality, even more realities. We have we have fragmentary knowledge. Don't get me wrong. The Islamic tradition appreciates that you have a sound intellect, you can use a sound

00:41:50--> 00:41:55

intellect, a refined intellect, that doesn't have emotional, intellectual baggage, and come to moral truths.

00:41:57--> 00:42:00

I'm in agreeance with that, but it hasn't, you have to be very careful.

00:42:01--> 00:42:35

But the main principle here is that Allah knows and we don't. They may be saying that it's bad for us, but it's really good for us. Maybe you're saying that it's good for us, but it's really bad for us. So again, this was a revelation of the Quran and the prophetic traditions. Now, generally speaking from an ethical paradigm point of view, when you look at the prophetic traditions, you have all these things that are in line with our moral intuitions, like don't kill be just be compassionate. But from a kind of legal ethical perspective, we have like the six mocassins, Sharia, the six maqasid, the high intense and objectives of Islamic law or Islamic ethical theory. And those

00:42:35--> 00:42:52

are generally speaking, all the commands in the Quran and the prophetic traditions, want to preserve religion, want to preserve life, want to preserve wealth, want to preserve your mind, your intellect, want to preserve your lineage or offspring and want to preserve your dignity or honor.

00:42:53--> 00:42:59

You have these kind of the earlier scholars rationalized the wisdom

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

that is that that you understand as a result of observing God's command. So if you look at all of God's commands from the Quran, the prophetic traditions, you can categorize these commands in categories of wisdom in a way, this is about preserving life. This is about preserving religion, that the intent for this seems to me preserves offspring or lineage, this preserves Well, this preserves one intellect, and they categorize them. And it was a human rationalization of the Hickman the wisdom of God's commands, essentially. So many of the LMS spoke about this and there's ways of using that in in the most orthodox and rational manner, but that's not the discussion for today. So

00:43:40--> 00:43:42

given that, that's Islamic more epistemology,

00:43:44--> 00:44:01

God's commands and we want to find out what God's commands are within the Quran and the Sunnah, then let's now apply more epistemology to a to medical ethics, because we're in the hospital with medical students and dentists and some engineers. Right. And

00:44:02--> 00:44:09

some other brothers. I don't I don't know what their background is. I do apologize. But I know they're not doctors. Yeah. You doctor. No.

00:44:11--> 00:44:12


00:44:14--> 00:44:46

we have too many doctors, right? Too many doctors, and you know what, and you're replaceable. Frankly, that you know, I know we may have a god complex. I'm a doctor Look, I save a life a lot saves the life right? What I'm saying is is very important Muslims to now and even just generally different peoples, right? But during the in the ethno religious context, is that the doctor, pharmacist engineer or dentist, isn't it then you're, then you're good to go. But I think it's very important that we study philosophy and policy and stuff like that, you know, things that shaped society. You know, I think that's very important. And doctors are very important. By the way, may

00:44:46--> 00:44:59

Allah bless all of you. Yeah, you're much better than me. 100% if you have the right intention. If you're doing it to save lives, you just like saving the whole of humanity. And that's why intention is everything in the Islamic spiritual tradition.

00:45:00--> 00:45:36

So if you really have the right intention, you refine, where your heart lies, you know, doing it for ego, you know, doing it for status, you're doing it solely for the pleasure of Allah, you're doing it solely because, you know, he's told you that if you save a life like saving humanity hamdulillah You know, that's, that's a phenomenal spiritual state to be in. But the hardest struggle is not actually saving a life is actually sorting out your intentions is actually I think, easier to save a life technically, then sorting out your intentions, because the high in Islamic spiritual context is the pub caliber, the thing that's always wavering, it's very hard to hold it down, you know, even

00:45:36--> 00:45:38

now, you know, why am I doing this lecture?

00:45:39--> 00:46:12

Well, yeah, you know, I made the auto Allah that I'll do it for his sake and, you know, get the reward. And they allow me to be sincere, but in the process of doing the lecture, why did I shift and raise my voice in this direction? Was it because I wanted a little bit more reaction from the audience? Or was it because it was the best thing to do for the sake of Allah? Do you see the point he's a noon spiritual parents is that you because Islam is all about diminishing the ego from that point of view. So that's the hardest struggle guys. And if you get that right at this stage, then by Allah, your whole career and if you keep on refining yourself, you know, you're gonna find

00:46:12--> 00:46:51

everything in the do judgment. You know, sha Allah, Allah bless you. So, let's apply to Islamic to medical ethical situation. euthanasia, voluntary euthanasia. So voluntary euthanasia is basically when someone may be terminally ill, or in a lot of pain. And the future does not the potential there's no potential pleasure in the future, in any shape or form, it's either going to go worse, it's going to stay the same, meaning that level of pain is going to continue that severe pain and suffering is going to continue, there's gonna be no well being or it's going to go get even worse, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. So violent euthanasia is someone who's a patient would

00:46:51--> 00:47:26

say, look, I have a right to basically stop my life, because it's going to be more suffering and more pain. So what I want to do is compare Islamic ethics with something called ethical egoism. Okay, don't get me wrong. There are different normative theories, like more epistemologies, if you like that try to explain euthanasia in some way for and against. But I just wanted at this stage as compared to just for you guys to understand the concept, I'm not going to go into detail about ethical egoism, because there's also as you know, in, in philosophy, there's lots of

00:47:28--> 00:48:03

here's a response, here's a counter response, here's some new answers and it goes deep. So don't think that I'm giving you everything here, I will give you the structure. So you understand potentially how to apply it and potentially the strength of Islamic ethics, right? So I would say there will be there will be like maybe five main principles when we're talking about voluntary euthanasia from an Islamic point of view. The first principle is and we know this in the Quran, the prophetic tradition is that we don't own our own lives. That's very critical here. We don't own our own lives. Allah owns our lives, right? This is a key part of God's one. This is the Tao heat of

00:48:03--> 00:48:21

Robo BIA, the Tao heed of the fact that a lot owns everything and is a master of everything and sustains everything, right? We don't own our own lives. That's right, this body is an Amana. It's a trust between yourself and a lot. So if I'm overeating and becoming obese, that's virtually blameworthy because it's not my body.

00:48:22--> 00:48:32

I'm not using it in the best way possible, right? So we don't have the kind of liberal assumption or the second assumption that hey, this is my body. It's not frankly,

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

fine legal theory, law rights, we have to live in a society that has these things. And they're important in order for us to function agreed, but our philosophy is that your body is not yours. It's a loss. So

00:48:46--> 00:48:56

we don't have any more justification. From this point of view, we can't You can't start a life from the point of view, you know, crave from from nothing, and you can't end a life because it's not yours.

00:48:58--> 00:49:31

I mean, I live and says, You can't even create a fly, which is so true. Everybody came together to try and create a fly, they would have been to create a fly and if the flight took something from you, you can never get it back. Study the biology of the fly. You know, when it was something that comes out, it's like that vomit. And it's enzyme isn't it? It just melts where it has and it just sucks it back in. Collapse is gone now. It's already been digested the minute the fly basically spews that fluid out that biological food I forgot it's called. And then when it does that, it's digested and it's inside and even if you were to catch the fly and trying to get that thing back,

00:49:31--> 00:49:59

whatever it took from you dead skin, who knows fungus God knows right? Whatever the case may be, it's gone now it's gone. So isn't it true that you know you could even create a fly and if a fight took something from you, you can never get it back? So if a fly landed on an apple and it flew way then you caught the fly so the thing that it took them an apple is gone. Now it's been digested because how flies digest stuff, they just like, you know, biologic fluid. There you go enzymes that work and you succeed backup now

00:50:00--> 00:50:04

Ask the fly, can I have it back please? It's well, I'm sorry. It's been decomposed. It's something else now, right.

00:50:05--> 00:50:13

So from that point of view, we don't own our own existence. So therefore, from that basic principle, you have no moral justification to end your life.

00:50:15--> 00:50:49

By the way, I know these are very sensitive matters. I don't want to come across time misrepresenting the emotions behind you know, people's feelings about euthanasia. This is a very philosophical discussion. I don't mean to make the false inference that I'm like, in in any way, shape, or form, belittling people's dilemmas in life, you know, mallamma keys on every human being has to face those kinds of dilemmas. And if we are tested with this, that we have the ability to pass those tests because it's not easy, and I appreciate that. Okay. So don't think that oh, you know, I don't want to come across into from a kind of intellectual arrogance thinking, Hey, here's

00:50:49--> 00:51:11

the answer. There's philosophy and applied philosophy, there's Islamic thought and applied Islamic for, and it gets messy when you start applying things here. So don't think I'm like, you know, belittling, you know, people suffering, absolutely not. Okay. So the second point, life is sacred, like life is not instrumental. It's not like it's not, you don't only live just to have a good life.

00:51:12--> 00:51:25

It's not instrumental. It's not a means to an end like having more well being or, or the potential to experience pleasure. That's not the case. From an Islamic point of view, life is actually intrinsically valuable, because it is life.

00:51:26--> 00:52:00

And that's very important to understand, as Allah says, In the Quran, do not take life which Allah has made sacred, except with legal right. Also, we have to understand that this life is not the only life, there is the hereafter. And this is the fundamental difference between many ethical or normative ethical theories and Islamic ethics, that we consider the afterlife, we don't have a secular paradigm concerning ethics, fine, you're going to be in pain, 80 years, 70 years, your life, you're going to suffer a whole lifetime. If you endure and you're patient,

00:52:01--> 00:52:18

then the Oscar is eternal, you're eligible for eternal bliss. But if you're not an NGO, you're not patient as a Muslim, then it has severe eternal consequences. So the net benefit changes when you consider the aka the hereafter. Like there was a scenario where

00:52:19--> 00:52:37

I think it's someone's sister was really, really ill, terminally ill and then went to have a discussion on whether or not to basically, you know, stop giving her the drugs that are that is prolonging her life, but the prolonging of her life was making a very sick and that and it was very painful. So they spoke to a scholar, and that's gonna give this advice. He said, Look,

00:52:39--> 00:52:46

you have to understand the Islamic tradition. When you're ill and you have pain. This only elevates you in the Hereafter, you get more reward.

00:52:47--> 00:53:17

That's the point. You get more when you get purified of your mistakes and your sins and your macom your spiritual status is higher, and have eternal bliss with your Lord. And if you know the prophetic tradition of the Prophet Muhammad upon me peace, and I'm summarizing, that the person has suffered all of their life, if they're destined for paradise, they will be they'll be dipped in paradise for a split moment, then they will be asked, Did you ever suffer and the person would say, a lie by Allah by god I've never suffered.

00:53:19--> 00:53:28

So we have to have an aka a hereafter mindset concerning ethics. It changes everything. Obviously, one would argue I don't believe in the Hereafter, but that's a different discussion, right.

00:53:30--> 00:54:08

fourth point, a lot decides how long each of us will live many verses in the Quran. And if you to speed that process up, then it follows the next point, which is you've just committed suicide. And suicide is forbidden Islamic tradition. For example, Allah says in the Quran, destroying not yourselves. Surely Allah is Ever merciful to you in the prophetic tradition, that authentic tradition found in the narrations compiled by Al Bukhari, the prophet muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, amongst the nations before you there was a man who got a wound and was growing impatient with its pain, he took a knife and cut his hand with it, and the blood did not stop to he

00:54:08--> 00:54:17

died. God said Allah said, My servant, my slave hurry to bring death upon himself. So I forbidden him to enter Paradise.

00:54:19--> 00:54:38

So these are the kind of five principles that that are based on the Quranic prophetic traditions that when you apply to the issue of voluntary euthanasia, then you would argue now it's very difficult to justify Islamic and ethically Okay. Now, Contrastingly, you have something called ethical egoism. Remember, this is not the only

00:54:39--> 00:54:47

normative theory in ethics that there are other theories, but I just want to use this as to just show the contrast. Okay, so what's ethical egoism now?

00:54:48--> 00:55:00

ethical is ethical egoism is the position that people should act in their own interest. It's not that people act in their own interests. That's psychological egoism don't conflate that that's something different because

00:55:00--> 00:55:13

People actually don't act in their own interests. ethical egoism basically says that people should act in their own interests. And it's and you can't conflate with being selfish. Let me give you a crude example. Say for example, someone has

00:55:14--> 00:55:15

a toy.

00:55:16--> 00:55:18

And his friend doesn't have that toy.

00:55:20--> 00:55:35

ethical egoism is not keeping the toy to yourself. That's being selfish. being selfish is not the same as being as adopting ethical egoism as your moral paradigm. Yeah, as your normative ethical system or theory is different. If you really

00:55:36--> 00:56:11

are in it for yourself from the point of view that you want your best interests, you would share the toy why this is about your net benefit. The net benefit is I've gained a friend. I'm having more fun because I'm using the toy in the way that should be used. Do you see? So don't think ethical egoism is you selfish? so and so? No, it's not. Okay. So the main point here is ethical egoism is that people should act with in their own interest and it's the net benefit. Yeah, the net benefit, generally speaking. So here are some principles. I'm going to mention the ethical egoistic, if you like an egoist principle, and I'm going to contrast it with Islamic response, just free to get

00:56:11--> 00:56:14

thinking morally now. Yeah. So

00:56:15--> 00:56:19

the first principle of ethical egoism is it's more to promote one's own good, right?

00:56:20--> 00:56:27

Yep. But the Islamic response will be we agree, but who defines good?

00:56:29--> 00:56:39

Exactly. You may think something good but it's not really good for you alumno Allah create you He knows you but the you know yourself. He has total moral knowledge you don't. Right. Second point.

00:56:40--> 00:57:15

And this refers to another type of ethical egoism, but we could discuss that another time. But there's another type of ethical egoism called conditional egoism. And this is the theory that egoism is morally acceptable or right if it leads to morally acceptable ends, okay? For example, self interested behavior can be accepted and applauded if it leads to the betterment of society. So sometimes if you're if you're an ethical egoist, from this point of view, you may want to be selfish and stop your life. Because remember, you want your own benefit. You've got too much pain, you know, why don't you euthanasia? I want to cease my life because there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

00:57:17--> 00:57:59

So they would argue that will actually cease in this person's life is better for society. So is conditional ethical egoism. Right? conditional egoism. But that's a problem. Because you're assuming that society is harmed just because there's a terminally ill patient. That's a false assumption. islamically, we will say, for someone being terminally ill, and you having the ability to take care of them is good for society, because you're expressing more virtues of being compassionate and kind. And this was a very kind of secular materialistic understanding of benefit for society, all but they're a burden to the taxpayer. And to me, nurses and doctors have to take care of this terminally

00:57:59--> 00:58:00

ill person.

00:58:02--> 00:58:05

I'm sorry, we totally disagree with your conditions.

00:58:07--> 00:58:14

If you have more spiritual or non secular mindset, remember thinking about the author of the hereafter. You see this in totally different way. But like actually,

00:58:16--> 00:58:41

you could argue from an Islamic spiritual point of view that taking care of your person is actually morally good, because it's a chance for other human beings to obey the commands of God, because what is good command when someone's ill terminally to take care of them to preserve the dignity and obeying the commands of God and in a metaphysical, metaphysical, spiritual sense is good for the whole of society. That's the point. But we don't see things in that way. Do you see it's a bit of a paradigm shift.

00:58:43--> 00:59:16

The third principle here is that some ethical egoists, not all of them, they would say, will individually have the moral right for self determination. And they have, they have a right to live a life as they see fit, subject to the constraint that they don't harm anyone else. If that's the case, then they could stop their life, if they see and they perceive that there is no future potential for any pleasure or well being, it's going to actually stay the same terminal and pain or suffering, or it's going to get worse. So they say was my moral right to end my life. But again,

00:59:17--> 00:59:55

goes back to the first point who owns your life? It's not you do you see, it's a false assumption, we would say from an Islamic point of view, so you see, have compared Islamic ethics with ethical egoism based on voluntary euthanasia, and you have two different answers. Now, I do appreciate one would argue, Hamza, aren't you assuming that the expression of God's commands are in the Quran and either prophetic traditions? What if someone doesn't believe in the Quran and the prophetic traditions? That's a different topic for another day? Because you'd have to prove the Quran is from God. And you have to show that the prophetic traditions are actually a source of Revelation. We do

00:59:55--> 00:59:59

have answers by think of Buddha enough. So

01:00:01--> 01:00:16

We're gonna stop now and have questions. I hope you've enjoyed it. I've given you food for thought to think about Islamic meta ethics to think about ethical epistemology from an Islamic point of view. Now, what's very interesting, I mean before and I want you to think about this,

01:00:17--> 01:00:45

if someone now says to Hey, that's so irrational to follow God, yeah, people do that such an outdated secular atheist cliche. It's not philosophically sound. I'm going to use ethical egoism or errors, Italian virtue ethics, or I'm going to use some deontological ethics like, I don't know, rights theory or whatever the case may be. I'm going to use this and I'm going to use the ones that you have to rely on your own mind right to reason about Okay, look.

01:00:48--> 01:01:04

It's a what you call epistemic epistemological. I wrote it down. I have the I love that word. I stole it from a scholar forgot his name now. Yeah. Dr. Chuck. Dr. Shadi, I recently got the day off for I'm gonna steal this. I tell what he said.

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

Where is it going?

01:01:08--> 01:01:09

Actually, no, I text my wife at night.

01:01:10--> 01:01:18

I texted her sometimes I just say it reminds myself what I need to say. There you go. There you go. is called

01:01:21--> 01:02:06

epistemological disqualification. Yeah, it's epistemological disqualification, say here, the limited human by the limited human mind is going to reason and come to an understanding of what good is or you're going to refer to God, who by definition, doesn't have unlimited mind right has total moral knowledge is LLM al Hakim Albert, he is the source of all goodness, he is good. From that point of view. He has all knowledge and two types of knowledge and wisdom. He has the picture we got the pixel. It's a an epistemological disqualification, to try and make them on par. Now, the person who disagrees with you, the only thing they should raise is, oh, I don't believe God exists and I don't

01:02:06--> 01:02:44

believe these are God's commands. So all you have to do is show them what objective moral truths exist God exists, then they'll argue, okay, fine. Maybe I agree with that, but what God's commands, then you just show them why the Quran is God's commands. But they have no right to say you go incoherent, irrational, normative ethical theory. No, I'm sorry. That's an epistemological disqualification because by definition, we've got the right we it's it's so sound because it comes from the one who has all moral knowledge. You don't and you will never have infinite knowledge from that point of view. It's a epistemological disqualification, the only questions they should they

01:02:44--> 01:02:54

should now address or ask is Does God Exist and what his commands were, if objective moral truths exist? As we discussed today, God exists. So the only question they should have is,

01:02:56--> 01:03:02

well, how do we know the Quran and the prophetic traditions are an expression of God's commands? That's another lecture. So

01:03:04--> 01:03:04

thank you very much for listening.

01:03:15--> 01:03:16

Yes, sir.

01:03:36--> 01:04:10

Look, let me just be very honest with you, oh, yeah. We're in a stage in the Muslim community in Britain that has a very, very weak connection to a classical tradition. Yeah, we read books have been translated by postmodern scholars in Islamic tradition, that use a certain language that doesn't understand the context of the West. This is absolute. This is my toe honesty. My dad not Muslim, and there wasn't one book I could give to my dad. Because we haven't we're not on that level to express good literature yet and to understand these nuances. So it's about the use of language. And I wrote about this in an article on Islamic hate.

01:04:12--> 01:04:16

The LMR the classical scholars never said philosophy was blameworthy.

01:04:17--> 01:04:19

If you find a statement in Arabic,

01:04:21--> 01:04:31

then let's discuss but you never find a statement. Forget the translations of the statements. They said what was blameworthy was blamed with the element Kellyanne, that's not philosophy.

01:04:32--> 01:04:59

Animal Kalam was a philosophy, a type of philosophy that adopted false assumptions that cannot be found in the Quran and the Sunnah. Okay, I try to give you a principle to understand that Yeah, so in the Islamic tradition, there was a scholarly debate that animal Kalam was blameworthy, which was speculative theology. Yeah. Because some scholars would adopt an argument or assumptions and premises that could not be found.

01:05:00--> 01:05:33

In the commands of God, the Quran and the Sunnah. So yeah, I agree there is blameworthy animal killer. Absolutely. But that's what they're talking about. So if you read, for example, explanations of the famous credo book in the Islamic tradition called arcaded here, you would see and I've read it myself I'm I've been studying a period where you would see Greek Hellenistic philosophy is blameworthy, and Imam Shafi said, I think it was his statement where, you know, he would tie him to a donkey and parade him in the street and stuff like that, right? You know, they had these, absolutely, but they're not talking about philosophy as we know it today. They are talking about an

01:05:33--> 01:06:11

aspect of philosophy that adopted assumptions that cannot be found in the Quran, the prophetic traditions. And that's why it's very important that we don't become people of quotations, we become people of concepts, because our pious predecessors in Islamic intellectual tradition, they were people of quotations, and content and concepts. But what we've done, we remove the content and concepts, and we just adopt what people say. But there's a way to understand what people say, why did they say to whom did they say in what context? They say, if you can't answer these questions, why give me the quote. So we have to be very enlightened when we addressing what our old past

01:06:11--> 01:06:33

scholars say, and I'm not sure if I actually agree with them. But I'm disagreeing with people's perceptions of what they thought they said. Yeah. And generally speaking, you could speak to any Islamic scholar on these issues a year, they'll be like, yeah, it wasn't philosophy in terms of thinking clever about something. It wasn't philosophy thing in thinking of trying to develop an argument. Of course, no, it's our books are full of it really being tinian.

01:06:34--> 01:06:53

I guarantee if you read him, you'll accuse him of adopting philosophy guaranteed. Yeah. And people who say otherwise, because I haven't read him, they just quote, they just quote the quotes of quotes. Yeah. Allah vasarely. For example, our dilemma was standing on the shoulders of giants, intellectual giants. Yeah. So the only criteria is that

01:06:54--> 01:07:29

what you articulate even if it's clever language, that you make sure that assumptions and premises can be found in the lesson, if it can't, and it's going to contradict itself by its very nature. That's the point. And what they meant by philosophy was a specific Hellenistic philosophy of that particular period. Today's not yet philosopher statics, philosophy of art thinking deeply about I don't know. Why is the rose smelling so sweet? I mean, he's a horombo we do that all the time. The Quran tells you to ponder and think you have perfect karoon for those who reflect right to the boat to ponder.

01:07:31--> 01:08:06

Do they not use the intellect and the intellect in Islam is a function of the human heart. The heart. intellect is a function of the heart so the mind and Islamic spiritual point of views as a tool for the human heart. So do you see my point, Bro, I do appreciate because I get this hate all the time online. Yeah. And I'm like, Man, you know, when are we gonna grow up, man. But it's, it's, you know, it is one of those things, and we're all on a journey. I got so many weaknesses as well in the 100 and million things. So don't think I'm coming across. You know, it says more passion. Yeah. So you know, and just because a scholar may have said that, and not understood it, it doesn't mean

01:08:06--> 01:08:41

they're not good in other things. Everyone's human. Everyone's got mistakes. But hopefully I've clarified is a principle based discussion. It's not about using two labels. Yeah. And making them equal when they have two different meanings. Yeah. Rather kind of it was a McCallum specifically blameworthy and McCallum because some cannon was good. Even even Timmy who was so against element Kalam, he praised other aspects of Kalam when they got it right. So it was not about even that field of Islamic knowledge either it was about the principle is your argument is your articulation is your premises is your whatever the case may be based on assumptions and parameters that can be found in

01:08:41--> 01:08:48

the Quran and Sunnah. If it can't then throw it away. That was also routine that was Islamic thought. So it was very more nuanced than that. Yeah.

01:08:51--> 01:08:52

Yes, sir.

01:08:55--> 01:08:56


01:08:59--> 01:09:00

the Quran as a resource.

01:09:03--> 01:09:03

How can we

01:09:06--> 01:09:08

then Brian has a different interpretation and

01:09:10--> 01:09:11

a different understanding. Yes.

01:09:13--> 01:09:49

You're right. One thing that I forgot to mention was, we don't dismiss the occurred we don't dismiss the intellect. But once we know something is the source of God's commands, for example, the prophetic traditions, we use our intellect to understand what the command is. So we ask the question, what does God want from us? Right? That's the question we have to ask when we're, when we're dealing with common or new realities in our lives. We ask, What does Allah want from me? What does God want from us? This is what it means to be a Muslim in a state of submission, right? You know, Muslim is not an ethno religious identity. It's not like a gang. Yeah. It's a state of being

01:09:49--> 01:09:59

we've made it into a game for sure. Yeah. But it's a state of being I am in a state of submission to Allah peaceful submission to Allah, which gives me peace internally and externally. So we ask ourselves the question why

01:10:00--> 01:10:40

What are God's commands? You have to use your article to understand the command itself. Right? For sure. So in many cases, there are absolutes, Allah says there are an ambiguous versus helaas killing is wrong, call us. Right. Right. in doubt about that. So you know, killing is wrong. Murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, right? Compassion is good. These are like an ambiguous realities in the Quran. There are other gray areas for sure. And those gray areas, we say Allah knows best. Allah knows best. I'm not saying everything is going to be absolute. No, that's not the case, every is going to be like, you know, here you go. It's right in your face. And you know, what God's command

01:10:40--> 01:11:10

is, in this particular issue. bowtie, maybe 70% we know it's very unambiguous, and there's some gray areas on certain issues, you know, differences of opinion, some differences of opinion are valid, some are not valid. So some are within the scope of the Islamic intellectual discourse somewhere outside and usually the you know, the ones outside because they adopt false assumptions. Yeah. So let me think of an example of an ethical disagreement in the this comes to mind

01:11:11--> 01:11:12

pregnant woman dies.

01:11:14--> 01:11:19

What do you do to the baby If she's already nine months, she hasn't started labor pregnant woman dies,

01:11:20--> 01:11:23

some ism is gonna say, they will go.

01:11:25--> 01:11:30

baby dies, mother dies. I think was that enough? The Hanafi jurists to say no, take the baby out.

01:11:31--> 01:11:35

And it's a famous statement of a Hanafi jurists scholar, he said

01:11:36--> 01:11:44

that, you know, I'm so happy to be a hanafy which is a school of thought and Islam because my mom died before she started labor. And they took me out.

01:11:46--> 01:11:47

You can't argue with him. guinee.

01:11:49--> 01:11:54

Like, fine, there you go. You see. So there's a there's a there's a ethical issue.

01:11:56--> 01:12:12

Yeah, so the, you know, I don't see the worst thing that we should do, especially in a Western context is that we come across to people as if we have all the answers in every single thing. There are some gray areas, man, you know, not tolerating ambiguity is a sign of authoritarian character.

01:12:14--> 01:12:36

I repeat, not tolerating ambiguity. gray areas is a sign of someone who has an ego, someone who's an authoritarian character, a dangerous person. And my evidence is in the Quran itself. Allah says in the Quran, there are ambiguous verses and unambiguous versus those who try to deal with the ambiguities they have a sickness in the heart.

01:12:38--> 01:12:44

And one will argue egoism and authoritarian, authoritarian disposition is a disease of the heart.

01:12:45--> 01:12:52

So be very careful. You know, sometimes we just say we don't know as well, we're in doubt about some of these issues, right? I don't know.

01:12:53--> 01:13:10

Like, there's so many gray areas now because there are new realities, especially in medicine, like, what's the new reality of medicine that didn't exist before? stem cell research? Right? I don't know I By the way, I'm not a scholar. So I can never tell you I'm just giving you the principles from philosophical Islamic philosophical perspective. I have no you have to, you have to ask the scholars

01:13:11--> 01:13:37

by in order for the scholar to give you the answer, they just can't know the Quran and Sunnah. They have to know the reality of what the hell stem cell research is, right? So they have to be the people of the reality and the people of the text. So could you apply the text on the reality? If you don't know the reality, then you may not know all the Quran and Sunnah in the world. But how are you going to answer this question? You don't even know what stem cell research is? Right? So you have to know both.

01:13:39--> 01:13:51

And obviously, our scholars may not be like in medicine, but they should have people that experts around them to inform them appropriately. And so the point is that great ears, bro, some of you know clear some things are unclear.

01:13:52--> 01:13:55

You know, and Allah knows best. Allah knows best. Yes.

01:13:57--> 01:13:59

The the argument against

01:14:02--> 01:14:03


01:14:05--> 01:14:09

was based on if it's based on rationality and you can.

01:14:14--> 01:14:19

My question is, if you the argue the first argument that you made that if moral objective

01:14:21--> 01:14:26

objective morality is to be there, Well, isn't that also a rational argument?

01:14:28--> 01:14:30

And then if you question rationality

01:14:33--> 01:14:38

Okay, so you're saying the moral argument is a rational argument.

01:14:39--> 01:14:42

I would just asked you asked you what do you mean by rational argument?

01:14:44--> 01:14:45

what you said about

01:14:47--> 01:14:49

what you said about constructivism?

01:14:51--> 01:15:00

Yeah, but we're not using a rational argument to justify objective moral truth. We're using a rational argument to articulate why the explanation of objective moral truths can only be explained by

01:15:00--> 01:15:01

God, that's a different issue.

01:15:03--> 01:15:38

Your thing would only make sense and remember, denying constructing constructivism is not denying rationality because remember, we're not saying using your rational faculties leads to moral knowledge. That's an epistemological question. We said, being rational in and of itself is a foundation for moral truths. There's a slight difference. So we're not denying the process of being rational. We're denying you being rational. Is that a basis for objective moral truths? Are the two sides of the same coin? And one issue with constructivism? Is that what type of Russian are you talking about?

01:15:39--> 01:15:53

Do are we? Are we duty bound to be rational? Do you see sort of some issues with it? And even if we could, it's also we're not denying rationality? That's the point. That's what you're assuming in your question. We're not denying rationality, rationality is that we have to use it. Of course,

01:15:54--> 01:16:22

we have. So what I've done to articulate the argument is using a rational process, a rational argument, a rational way of thinking, which I haven't denied by constructivism over denying is that rationality is a foundation for morals. We're not saying you can't use your brain to come to moral conclusions. We're saying, rationality can be a foundation, from a meta ethical point of view, for morals, to be objective. Do you see Do you see the subtle difference?

01:16:36--> 01:17:12

Buddha spoke about in the beginning, you have to use an axiomatic argument, bro, first principles, remember, you just have to accept it. If you don't accept it, there are implications which we just as we discussed earlier. But yeah, it's first principle is axiomatic argument given the fact that you put raised your hand twice, saying, snipping someone's spinal cord is morally wrong, any subjective immoral or morally wrong? And we define objective, if we still stick to that, then it follows God exists. If you disagree that it's objective, then fine, you have it, then you've got big problems, then a surgeon can technically philosophically in some kind of weird world, snipped

01:17:12--> 01:17:15

someone's spinal cord, and then say,

01:17:16--> 01:17:23

You don't like it? It's your subjective, subjective, you know, it's your subjective problem. This is right now. Good. Yes, sir.

01:17:25--> 01:17:40

There sort of go back to your discussion of meta ethics. And considering your premise one, when you say that, if the moral objective truths exist, then God must exist. God must exist.

01:17:42--> 01:17:44

How do you reconcile that argument?

01:17:45--> 01:17:50

In say, cultures or societies where there's like, no

01:17:52--> 01:17:59

religious thinking behind or there's no presumption behind, you know, the existence of God? Because certainly, in certain

01:18:00--> 01:18:05

parts of our society's some sort of moral objective objectivity must exist.

01:18:06--> 01:18:10

I'm sure they would say that. Okay, killing is wrong, right. Yeah, of course. Yeah.

01:18:11--> 01:18:13

Yeah. I agree with you.

01:18:15--> 01:18:44

That premise good. I should have mentioned this in the beginning. We're not saying just because objective morals exist. You have to believe in God. We're not saying that. Absolutely. No. has some very moral atheists and immoral Muslims. Absolutely immoral. Religious folk. Yeah. Allah says in the Quran, people are not the same. You got bad here bad dad. Good day. Good day. This is the human reality here. Let's not delude ourselves now. Yeah. Especially when we know who we are. Yeah. So the point is,

01:18:46--> 01:19:15

we're not saying to be moral, you must believe in God or even to acknowledge objective morals that you must believe in God. We're not saying that. What we're saying is if they exist, then in essence is God's existence. Because there's no other alternative. And the concept of God is the only rational foundation to explain objective moral truths. But we're not saying now explains your your, your behavior. No, it's a different story. You get it put Yeah.

01:19:18--> 01:19:39

Yeah, absolutely. perspective, you could not believe in God and still believe that objection was exists. I agree. But what I'm saying is, given the fact that you believe objective morals exist, the only rational explanation is God's existence. Now that you have to believe him, though. He's to the point. And that's where you articulate this argument and think to get them thinking that you know what, this guy's got something going on, or not this guy, but you know, the argument?

01:19:42--> 01:19:43


01:19:44--> 01:19:45

there is there is

01:19:48--> 01:20:00

there is this loads. Yeah, there's loads, there's loads, but that's why I start with a thought experiment. I usually use an experiment about breaking news items and so on beheading a five year old, but because when a medical ethical

01:20:00--> 01:20:03

setting and how to apply to medical ethics, I use the snipping of the spinal cord.

01:20:06--> 01:20:12

So you see my point. So I use those examples and I get the intuitions out there because let me just give you some, some advice brilliant.

01:20:15--> 01:20:41

People will make up arguments to justify their position man, like look, to really this this all these papers, you should just fill them in, at the end of the day. And let me tell you why. Because look at from an Islamic spiritual point of view, we have something called the fitrah, which is the primordial state. Yeah, the the unchanging, innate nature that contains some proto knowledge that God is a reality and he deserves praise. That's the basic proton knowledge. As we go up,

01:20:42--> 01:20:55

fitrah innate nature gets clouded. He needs to be unclouded. Sometimes rational arguments will never work. Because people use rational arguments just to excuse their position, right to make excuses. So

01:20:56--> 01:21:30

when I realized this, when I did my post grad in philosophy, I was like, Oh, my God, there are so many counter arguments, you can't count them anymore. Yeah, he's like, he said, this, she said that, bla bla bla bla bla, game over. Yeah. So what I realized, though, is that people would still make a claim just to justify a certain philosophical assumption they have or certain, maybe spiritual or non spiritual attitude that they have, right? Because humans are human beings. Well, you know, it's because your academic, it doesn't mean all of a sudden, this is an objective person. No. So what I like doing is talking with thought experiments to bring their true intuitions out. Right. And that's

01:21:30--> 01:22:03

essentially when I have these discussions with people, they end up they agree with me in the beginning, but at the end, they just become somebody else because they have a whole load of emotional psycho spiritual, intellectual, philosophical baggage that they're not willing to let go. So for me, you know, you could use this but pregnant work. You know what my work bro just having a good experience with someone man, buying them some, some tea, you know, being compassionate with him, being humble with them could awaken the truth within. So don't be under an illusion guys that this is like, you know, hey, we're gonna prove God now from morals. No, it's to get people to think

01:22:03--> 01:22:41

plant the intellectual seeds in people's hearts and minds. That's what Muslims should be about, or human should be about to continue that discourse. Because in Islamic context, Allah guides we don't guide we, our job is to plant the seed. And it's our job to make it grow into the fruits of faith alone. Okay, so and and this is why I'm not a strong defender anymore of using arguments like this to the nth degree. Oh, he said that and how you gonna respond rebuttal refutation? If you have to go to that level, then already it shows. That is nothing to do with intellect anymore. If someone asks you crazy questions that raise the epistemic bar, like, for example, find God exists. But what was

01:22:41--> 01:23:15

he doing for eternity before He created us? I mean, come on, come on. Is there an argument? I mean, you know, you didn't know me for 37 years before you made me I'm 37 years old. Does that mean I never existed? When that happens, have some intellectual and spiritual maturity, stop thinking or give people arguments all the time? Just so you know what? I'm feeling good today. Let me buy you some lunch. And I'm telling you from a humidity in your kindness that may awaken things in them that your arguments would never weaken, or we become so arrogant. And I was like, this is good, because you told me what a mess. Yeah, well, not all of it, but some of it. Yeah.

01:23:16--> 01:23:43

Some of it at least, you know, I'm gonna kill myself that way. But you know, deductive arguments. Whoa, yeah. You know, frankly, it's all arrogance. And is this a sign of your 20s but when you get into phase of kids is growing and you get humiliated? It is awakens things within you. Yeah. So there you go. And simulation is is a gift from Allah, honestly. Because if you believe it with your ego, you know, you have facilitates guidance, because ego is a barrier to guidance, because shaytaan he was.

01:23:45--> 01:23:51

He was he wanted to be multicopy the arrogant one, right, the prideful one. And look what habitant.

01:23:52--> 01:23:54

Anyway, sorry for the rant.

01:23:55--> 01:23:55

Yes, sir.

01:23:58--> 01:23:59


01:24:01--> 01:24:05

the Western context, where there's not a lot of Islamic discourse, so

01:24:06--> 01:24:09

I think there's probably two ways to deal with it. One is

01:24:11--> 01:24:14

contemporize classical tradition. Yes.

01:24:21--> 01:24:26

Well, I'm a huge fan of adopting the classical methodology and applying it in the modern realm. Yeah.

01:24:27--> 01:24:29

I mean, because

01:24:30--> 01:24:34

generally speaking, the classical methodology was the correct methodology.

01:24:36--> 01:24:59

It doesn't mean adopting the answers, and that's the problem that we have today. We think scholar x said, Why 1000 years ago, therefore, it's true all the time. That doesn't follow any scholar who is worth his salt will not ever say that, unless the variables are the same. If the variables are different, adopt the classical methodology.

01:25:00--> 01:25:21

Right Adamson, etc. and apply in our context. If someone says, you know, some scholar said this all these years ago in a particular context, therefore it applies to us. It could only apply to us if we have the same context. If we don't, then you have to adopt the methodology and find the answers for yourself. And these are four matches that he had in nature meaning

01:25:23--> 01:25:24


01:25:26--> 01:25:30

For many things we got it was already sorted. You got pray five times a day, right?

01:25:31--> 01:26:04

You fosse and Ramadan. These are the rules of fasting. You worship Allah, this is why he deserves worship. You decide you make dua, supplication, this is how you pray, this is how you treat the neighbor. These are the rights of the neighbor a lot of these things already, you know. Yeah. And even though they may be already there, they just need to be contemporize to be understood. Yeah, and that's our problem. We don't know how to make it contemporary, doesn't mean you're changing, you just make it more applicable. And you making the the intellectual tradition more approachable to to the wider masses.

01:26:07--> 01:26:08

Any other questions?

01:26:13--> 01:26:14

Any questions?

01:26:16--> 01:26:30

Going, going? Going? So if there's no other questions, Melo, bless you guys. We haven't finished haven't finished. So I really, you know, for the sake of a lot, if you know, many of you going to be in the medical field.

01:26:32--> 01:26:36

You know, I've been brought up in the medical field actually, one of my best friends is,

01:26:37--> 01:27:18

is a surgeon. And I've seen him like go through the obstacles and the crises of being a student and being a medical practitioner and doing his BSc as well and Immunology than doing a PhD in some other random thing, just to be a surgeon and all the trials and struggles, right? And, you know, for you to endure all of that. I think if it's going to be based on status and ego, then you've wasted your whole life. So my advice would be is really try and refine your intention every day, why you doing? What you're doing is the power of questioning. Just ask yourself the question in the morning. Now, don't get me wrong, you may not have a pure intention, it's very difficult to achieve that state. So

01:27:18--> 01:27:31

if that is the case, always have hope and Allah's mercy, and these This will keep gives me hope. Allah says in the Quran that if you repent, Allah will forgive your sins, and he will make your bad deeds into good deeds

01:27:32--> 01:28:11

upon law, so not doing something for his sake, that's so big, like medicine is a bad deed. Right? But if you repent, Allah will make all those bad deeds into good deeds. So say for example, I'm involved in articulating and intelligent and compassionate case for some to the wider community say I've spent 15 years doing it. And for 14.9 years, it was all Eagle. I'm in big trouble. Because dour conveying the core is an act of worship. If you know doing for Allah, then that's a big problem. So Allah gives us hope. If you repent alone, I forgive you but who changed all those 14.9 years of bad deeds because you didn't do forsake into good deeds.

01:28:13--> 01:28:26

You know, this mess. Alright, don't despair. Only those who reject the truth despair, Allah says, Oh my servants, do not despair of the mercy of Allah, He forgives all sins and elsewhere he says, Only those who reject the truth, reject

01:28:27--> 01:28:35

Allah are in a state of despair. So if you have despair, then no that's not the state you should be in. So now my econ life