Channel: Hamza Tzortzis
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Let us begin In the name of Allah subhanaw taala hamdulillah Hamdan Shakira in wa salam O Allah say, Sally Nabina Muhammad Allah early he was we will sell him to Sleeman kathira It is a great pleasure for me to be with you guys here today. Alhamdulillah. Very, very important cause called no doubt, these are, of course 10 crucial strategies on how we can as Muslims deal with doubts that people may have and how to deal with them.
I want to I want In fact, begin and start with a summary of the things that were discussed last week by our brother Hamza.
In fact, his focus last week was on making a distinction. And I think that the importance of summarizing and revising and reviewing our content is very crucial, because it helps us to, in fact, better internalize the things that we collectively learn together.
The main, the main study, in fact, focused on on key differences between between Shahar, which are our designs or blameworthy designs emanating for our neffs, our low selves, and shubo, had the destructive doubts that can create uncertainties in people about about the foundations of Islam. So therefore, the focus last week was on distinction between shewhart and Shahada between the destructive doubts and between blameworthy desires. Remember, of course, this is this is a course that will go into 10 key different strategies and dealing with doubts people might have about Islam, or people you might know others who have doubts about Islam, and how we can deal with them as
Muslims. The first section that again, brother Hamza,
you know, dealt with on the first week was called to be aware, to be aware, to be on guard. And he kind of he kind of gave an analogy about being in like, in a boxing match or in a fight not to be to go into the fight blindfolded not to enter into a life and be surrounded by, you know, things that could impede upon our faith, without awareness, right to be aware, in fact, you have a sense of awareness knowing that, that situations that can create doubts do exist, but to be prepared for them and to prevent and they can prepare us for knowing how to deal with with these kind of doubts and superhard. If we're aware of doubts that do exist, if we're aware of spaces, in which Delta, were
aware of space to facilitate the emergence of delta, we can better prepare ourselves we can effectively navigate around and through those spaces and therefore survive those challenges. And that was the focus. Hamza touched upon the spiritual diseases, like, like argiope, like self amazement, like nifa like hypocrisy, and that the focus should always be on Allah. The moment we make our focus on ourselves or our self amazement, we're undercutting the great spiritual tradition of Islam which is focused entirely on on Allah, Allah has greatness and a key verse you mentioned last week was a line in the Quran says about about the Battle of better one hour on it is ramita
will I can know how Rama it is not you who through but it was Allah who through
right so it was new through when you through but Allah who through meaning that there should not be the sense of self amazement and self indulgence in the Muslim even in himself. And that was quite key a point he was making, because it kind of tapped on,
you know, being aware of self grandiosity, right, internal internalized traits we could exhibit as people as Muslims, that we're not aware that these, in fact could have a bearing on our, on our state as human beings, our condition how where we are with Allah subhanho wa Taala. And I think, I think was a key point that Hamza, in fact mentioned last week.
The other key things, of course, was to be cognizant, to be aware of our utter dependence on Allah subhanho wa Taala. And that even Sahaba were worried about doubt they were worried about the fact they're worried about uncertainty, they're worried about,
about hypocrisy, and that even if the best two people in that sense, the prophets companions could have these feelings, and they would, in fact, approach the Prophet with these concerns that we know we have we we feel something's or we imagine some things or we're thinking about some things that we wouldn't, we're too embarrassed to even tell you that, and the Prophet, then certain Delica, who will demand that, in fact, it's faith. The fact that you have those feelings is not a sign of a weakness of faith. All it means is that now we need to know how to deal with them, and better prepare ourselves for encountering things like these in life.
There is, of course, in this lesson for you and for others for all of us that we sometimes swim in in shark infested waters. And that was an example that was given last week about swimming in shark infested waters. We don't throw ourselves carelessly haphazardly, into into the ocean into the sea where these sharks exist. But if we're in the ocean, we need to learn how to navigate to safe areas. And that was a key point, right? So either we were in the ocean, we're dealing with these kinds of things, we need to know how to navigate in safe areas. And if no one is protected entirely, you know, except from tofik, from Allah subhanho wa Taala. Or the key point was we don't enter the ocean
itself, right. So you don't put yourselves in situations you don't give attention. Right. So before an adult might exist, you know, to drain your Eman. You need to stop and avoid and ignore these are the key the three key points about stopping, avoiding and ignoring not to engage with media platforms, for example, designed specifically to create an engineer those kind of doubts in people's hearts and minds, right? You don't expose yourself and put yourself in a situation that is harmful for you the same way. For example, if you're driving the car, you're aware of the road signs, because you're aware of potential hazards on the road, you don't deliberately put yourself in harm's
way in anything in life. So one, of course has to do with the practicalities of life, right, you could experience a physical harm, but but at the same time, there are even more colossal amount of more potential spiritual harms that really affect our hearts. Remember, of course, the prophetic Hadith, when the prophet SAW Selim, that Allah in the field just to the mobile God, there is in the body, a lump of flesh. And indeed, if that lump of flesh is sound, then the entire body is sound, but if that lump of flesh, flesh is corrupted, then all of the body, in fact is corrupted. So therefore, the sense of protection that Allah mandates on that lump of flesh alone, the Quran, for
example, many, many times I mean too many times to even enumerate mentioned the importance of, of the heart of the vessel of the heart. In the beginning of the Quran, Surah Baqarah, Allah mentions that Allah says people will be him matoba Allah says in their hearts is a disease. That means if the heart has a disease, I mean, it's a spiritual disease that the heart has a heart has, you know, a way witness a heart has the seat, the heart has doubts, that heart has arrogance, pride, indulgence, vanity, all of these, in fact, are spiritual diseases of the heart that impede upon the effective human condition that Allah wants for a person to, to navigate through life in a way that is pleasing
to Allah subhanaw taala. So therefore, the focus was to be aware, to be conscious, knowing when to stop to avoid, ignore not to, you know, haphazardly enter into domains and realms that are going to be destructive for you. Because at one point, we might be ill prepared unprepared, in dealing with those doubts, for example. And so therefore, not to engage with media platforms, even if it means not to be on the internet, accessing sites that might be, you know, attacking Islam, critiquing Islam, in ways that we don't know how to respond to those things. For example, at this particular point in time, sometimes if we're there, then we need to know where to navigate how to navigate. If
it's like, for example, if you're in the ocean, where sharks, man eating sharks, sharks exist, you will know because you're experienced, you will know how to navigate to save spaces to save areas. And that's the key thing for us. In learning from last week, the prophetic advice, of course, was to stop to seek refuge with Allah. And even for example, in a very famous Hadith when it says that, you know, you know, a shakedown would come upon a person and we'll ask him questions like in his mind insinuations from Shere Khan. Like you know, who, who created the world, people would say, Allah, he would ask who created Allah? Right? And that's simply to engender those doubt in his mind. Well, if
everything is created, well then who created a law of course Allah is Allah, Allah, Allah is. Allah is the Creator of all things. And he himself is uncreated. Allah is Allah Samad. Allah is absolutely Allah is unique. But the point is that the Prophet told Sahaba that just stop those thoughts and seek refuge with ALLAH right. So even in that situation, to be able to say that with the villa, that I seek refuge to Allah, Allah Subhana Allah, Allah is supreme Allah is beyond all imperfections. Allah is unique, Allah is absolute. Right? He said in the same Hadith, he said, on different levels, but he said say amen to Bella say just say as a positive verbal affirmation, meant to Bella, I
believe in Allah. Right. So even to the point where persons having doubts about Allah for you to just have a positive affirmation and saying
And to Bella I, in fact, I do believe in Allah subhanho wa Taala would in fact, dispel those doubts and those whispers and would distance yourself from Shere Khan. And it's all about really learning to ignore, because ignoring, in fact, has a very big effect on the human condition.
And the second thing, you know, as I mentioned from last week, was about to be able in with respect to those doubts, and,
and, and, and sherawat and desires, to be able to make distinctions between different types, let's say for example of shubho heart
of these different depths. So for example, if we can make if we can distinguish between them, we can better recognize and deal with them to be empowered spiritually, some people either can't make the connection between their sins and the mercy of Allah as an example, for example. So one of the things I'm working on currently with Sapiens Institute, is I'm producing a very lengthy response to William Lane Craig, Professor in America, who's an evangelist. But I think that one of the key one of the key points that's oftentimes missed by many Christians who might look upon Islam and trying to reconcile between the tragedy of sin, as seen, let's say, from the beginning from Adam alayhis
salam, committing the sin, and then human beings being bound almost by that sin coming from the belief of the original sin. And of course, there are differences amongst Christians concerning this not all Christians believe in that the Armenians don't believe in that. The Eastern Orthodox don't believe in that either. But Catholics do, some Protestants also do right so they try to explain therefore the necessity of the salvation or the Savior, model archetype paradigm through Jesus Christ is Elisa Lam. Because of the existence of sin that was carried through from the fall, you know, what they call the fall of Adam and a Salaam.
But, but knowing of course, how Islam deals with that understanding therefore, for example, for us to understand the connection between between a person's sin and the mercy of Allah. For me, I think one of the soap super profound points Allah mentioned in the Quran about this narrative is Allah gives us an entire sequence of how to deal with understanding sin. So for example, if our father, Adam alayhis, Salam sinned against Allah for sure. Allah says Allah have mercy upon ohana, Allah says that they both Adam and his wife, not one seducing the other but both stumbled, they slipped. Right We all in fact, as human beings slip in life, all of us have consequences situation
circumstances that cause us to sometimes come off guard, you stumble and lose our way slightly or we slip in Allah says that's what happened. They both slept. But then Allah says a beautiful thing. Allah says, Allah. Remember Robbie kalimat, in fatawa la, in whatsoever him and this verse, which is my current focus, I think it's just so it's so it's just so cuddly, so cataclysmically profound, because Allah, Allah, Allah just answers the whole deals with the whole conundrum. This in fact, in the single verse, I incidentally made up a pack of three parts, but it's the single verse And Allah says that fettle aka the moronic kalimat and Adam was met with some words with him from his Lord,
meaning Adam, Adam was inspired with some words from his law to say meaning Allah was aiding and assisting Adam, to seek Allah's forgiveness. It's been a lot of one tip items, goodness, right Allah had a divine plan for this for Adam and his progeny was no one entirely bound by the consequence of a sin. Then Allah says photopic la and then he repented to Allah and Allah is oft forgiving a lot of Allah Allah accepts repentance of a seventh beautiful explanation, a beautiful way a lot tells us how to deal with that. But some people can't make that distinction between or the connection between their own sin and the mercy of Allah therefore, they would wallow in sin increase in sin, right. You
know, they might simply be able to,
you know, unable to experience
satisfaction of knowing allows forgiveness, simply because they're bound by by the sin and not knowing about the mercy of Allah therefore, that's an example of it. Another thing the whisperings from chiffon that generate doubts completely disappear if we if we learn to ignore them. Now, in terms of our class today in Sharla, on on point number four, out of these 10 strategies of dealing with doubts number one, of course was to be aware number two to make the distinction number three, your environment. This is today's inshallah discussion. Number four. Next week will be study Islam.
Which presentation by our shake, fat asleep
Critical Thinking will be week five, week six finally specialists dealing with trauma and focusing on your heart and then the last one on Saturday inshallah is your environment. Now, of course, the environment is is very key for all of us, I'm going to move away from the slide, here we are, okay.
Well, let's In fact, just begin with a bit of a summary before we we go into the main topics,
about your environment as a bit of a summary about what we're going to expect in Sharla. To hear today. Now, what we will look at today, in general is the effect of your environment, and what your environment does to help ingrain into you. beliefs, values, ideas, and even even behavioral patterns, both positive and negative. And it's a very simple point, and one that we're all aware of, because we've all lived a life, our life, of course, has been dependent on many factors, or our way of life depend on many factors include our setting our social settings, our friends, our families, our networks, our schooling, you know, the things that we watch, maybe on social media, all of these
things, in fact, have an effect on who we end up becoming as human beings. In a very beautiful Hadith. In fact, the prophet once told his companions in Africa holla attain, you have two attributes which Allah loves Allah and His Prophet love. And the progress companion was amazing. He says, Well, what are they? He says, I'll help him one or not, you have forbearance, and you have a really pronounced profound sense of patience about you. You can deal with tragedies and stuff. And and the province companion says, well, was I born with these? Or did Allah? Or did I learn these things later on in life was I born with him? And the promises? No, you In fact, we were born with
them. It doesn't mean he was physically born with them. But it means from an early age, he was predisposed to these traits and qualities, because of many factors. It could have been, for example, maybe his mother and father had helped him. And maybe he had learned from his teachers in school helped him and maybe his friends had forbearance, maybe his neighbors had great patience. Maybe he's learning from these from these incidents because of where he was based, as a child. But then the scholars they discussed that for the person who didn't was not predisposed to these tendencies. For example, He has even a greater reward because he has to learn them, he has to learn them and
practice them with sometimes with some difficulty. And so therefore, everything in your environment would affect you as a human being. Think about, for example, when you were young, think about when you were in school, your early friends, think about how how impressionable you might have been how eager you are to fit in to like, especially when you're going from a primary school to a secondary school. So when you're, you're breaking away from some friends in your primary school, but you're then going into a new school with a new set of friends, well, potential friends, so if you're in a secondary school, some friends will follow you in perhaps into the new school, but then there'll be
other faces new faces from all across the county of the town, who are in that same space as you now? Right, so think about how impressionable you might have been, right how eager you are to fit in, to be accepted to be liked. These motivations, in fact, they exist with us, not only in a school setting, but in fact, in our entire life. Think about a workplace, when you enter a workplace you want to be, you know, with the with the crowd, you want to be accepted by them you want to be you want to be with them, you want to be, you know, you want to be liked by them, you want to be popular, perhaps, I mean, in school, there's a big thing about popularity about what it means to be
cool in school and to be with the popular people in school. And we're going to look at some of these things and the way that these all have an effect on our sense of being and how they affect us and doubts in Islam. Now.
These motivations, in fact, you know, they exist in the entirety of our lives, you know, except the settings can be different, right? The the friends, the social influences the pressures, sometimes we might struggle to confirm, or to conform, in fact, to patterns of behavior.
And so therefore, we, we adapt and we adjust to other patterns of behavior that are more in line with with the popular grouping that we're seeing around us, or even to beliefs. Just like when we were younger at school, they carry on through us so therefore, your friendship and your company have a direct bearing on who you will become and who you are, in fact today
and so I want us to begin inshallah with with this as a very brief summary.
Now, the first thing we will discuss together in Sharla is about social conformity. What does that mean to be to socially conform, it means that therefore, sometimes we based upon our social environments can yield to situations to pressures to the status quo to peer pressure's because of what we see of informational conformity. So therefore, we can have a desire to be right, you might, for example, see yourself as, as less, less worthy or less knowledgeable, or less, or even weaker physically. And therefore, you would yield to
a grouping a social structure that you believe to be more knowledgeable or even stronger. So on the one hand, we have informational conformity, which is a desire to be right. So look at the first bullet point, this usually occurs when a person lacks knowledge, and looks to the group for guidance, it happens in all situations, right, you could find that in a workplace, you could find that in a school, right? You could, for example,
you know, be in a setting, you could be University. And at university, I remember when I was when I did my first degree, my first degree was a BA in history. And, and so because undergraduate students are quite impressionable, because they're going to the school, if I remember, in fact, so panel, I remember, I remember a cause I remember a unit we did on the birth of Western Christendom. And, and I'm in the lecture theatre, like everybody else's, and it's our first year us kind of you're fresh out of college or sixth form, in a university. First Year, you're in the first time you're in a lecture theatre ever, it's very kind of empowering. And you're there. And the and, and the lecturer
was giving a lecture about at an at something, I don't know, that early Christianity. And I remember it was so it was so difficult to understand. I mean, the words he was using were just way above all of us. And I remember being in the library, in fact, on that same day, that afternoon, and I'm in one of the aisles, and I see this group of girls who have gathered in the library, and they're all kind of whispering amongst themselves. And they're all saying things like, Oh, my God, oh, my god, did you understand anything? And they're all saying no one understood anything about anything, we are all actually in the same boat. But that's social experience has created that, right. Now, what
happened? Maybe, maybe Now, of course, I've I've lectured in so many places, but you do realize something that, you know, when you have a group of students, and maybe they're all ill equipped, they're ill equipped for that class in the beginning, because they've never entered a class like that before. They've never seen lecture theatre, they've never even heard the professor or lecturer speak. They've never, they've never been there before. Now, the words you use your vernacular, your vocabulary, could have a great impression, and it will have a great impression on the students. And it's likely therefore that whatever you're going to say they would accept it, they would believe it,
because they think the world you are a person of authority, you have knowledge. And so therefore, a person who's in a situation like that in the audience, does have an intrinsic desire to be right and can conform to a setting where a particular in a permissive epistemological bias is being presented. Right. But that's, that's because he just wants to be part of that social grouping. So therefore, he would look for, you know, a person who, who maybe knows more, right, that person, if a person is lacking in his knowledge, he would look for a group for guidance, and I've got a few examples for us to think about him. The first example I thought of as the example of Christopher brown and
Christopher browning extraordinary book called ordinary men. no ordinary men, in fact, it's about it's about Nazis. But it's about Nazis, particularly in the village of here's a chapter on the village of josepho.
Here's a book in fact, is about a particular battalion.
But in the village of Joseph Oh, he focuses on
a village made up entirely, mostly of Jews. And an order was given for these Nazi soldiers, to kill all of these Jews, of course, indiscriminately. horrific, horrific act of mass murder. But what he focuses on, in fact, he's a focus on some people, or some of these Nazi soldiers who, who, who had a disinclination to do that, you know, that they they wanted, in fact, not to do that because of the simple the simple point of human consciousness. I haven't. In fact, a book called on being human, published by Sapiens Institute, how Islam addresses other demons
Addition and, and an empathy, which in fact, goes into this topic, and in fact, has a section on the village of Joseph or what happened with the soldiers.
But you have other people, in fact, others of the soldiers who wanted to partake in that act of murder, but from the testimonies, we find that a lot of it was based upon wanting to be man enough wanting to be part of that crowd wanting to be accepted, you know, by the other soldier. And it's something very typical in human warfare, right? That you might find soldiers, some of them, in fact, who might be who have a deeper sense of consciousness, and they could even resist you have, you know, people have, you know, conscientious objectors to that. But at the same time, you also have to think about
to think about people who who would would acquiesce? I mean, there would not yield to that, some wood, some wooden. The second thing, of course, you think, by permissible logical biases, in the sciences, or the arts or cultural, anything really. Right. So you could, for example, and even if you could even take this from a global viewpoint, that there could be, perhaps there is, I guess, in some places, there definitely is a way that, you know, parts, some parts of the world have been perceived as being more humane, more civilized, more intelligent than other parts of the world. Right. And so you get that, of course. So
think about, you know, different continents of the world, right, think about, I was reading an article, in fact about
how difficult it is for, for African professors to have their works published in reputable academic journals, that when they want to publish their work, they have to approach the institutions of the West, right, the they have to approach the printing presses of the West, because even if they published work in their own countries, I'm sure they have amazing publishing houses in Africa, in African countries, but it's about perception, it's about the world, the way that the world would perceive them. So if they, for example, let's say you have an amazing academic professor, but he, in fact,
he, in fact,
you know, wants to publish, then his findings or his work, and maybe he's, he's made an amazing discovery in science or whatever
he would see is better fit that he publishes in a Western Academic Press, because people would take him seriously, that's how he would figure that it's more of a serious way for him people to accept what he's trying to say. But But these biases that do exist in sciences and arts and culture, we've been kind of, in some ways, pre programmed to, to think like that, based upon our susceptibility, again, to social norms, to social pressures to media, to, to our literature, things that we we read, and all these kind of things.
now all when a person is an ambiguous for example, if a person is unclear, if he's not, doesn't know fully Well, about what to do, how to behave, what to think, what to believe, and socially compares their behaviors with the group. So therefore, look at the example of diffuse responsibility, right a person for example, now you have these two things, these were mentioned by people like Philip Zimbardo in his book called The Lucifer effect. Of course, you took a lot from Stanley Milgram in his experiments on, on, you know about obedience to authority. But diffuse responsibility means therefore, you could have let's say, you have a group of people, five of you a walking, you know, in
the town center, and you see one beggar. Now, he argues, therefore, that is less likely, for any one of those people in your group to help that person by giving him a pound or a penny or whatever. But if a person was by himself, right, and saw that beggar, he'd be more prepared and willing to give that person some money. Now in a in a sense, in a social setting, the responsibility becomes diffused because each one is in fact, looking upon the other one, each one is looking upon the other one. I know you're asking questions, I'm going to have to answer these inshallah, towards the end of it. The book I just mentioned, is called the Lucifer effect by Philip Zimbardo. And the other one
was obedience to authority by Stanley Milgram.
And so therefore, diffuse responsibility is very essential because if you think about moments of, of genocide, and again, a lot of these things are discussed in my book on being human, which you can download free In fact, from the Sapiens Institute website. I also discussed
diffuse responsibility, I think also in that book. But that's an example, therefore, about the way that a person's attitudes, a person's behavior is influenced by the crowd he's in. Right. So because others are not taking part in that act of charity, he feels less inclined to take part in the act of charity. Right? So helping a beggar therefore, is an example. An example of the Kitty Genovese, this is very, very famous, very famous case, this is from 1955, or 56, if I remember, and this is New York American, so you have this poor woman, Kitty Genovese, who was on her way back from work, it was very late around midnight, and she's on her way back to from work, going home walking. And a man
from his own testimony, who was intent on mass murder on that day, drives his car, in his own, in his own words, he was looking for a woman to murder, finds his poor woman walking home, and he approaches her takes out a knife or something. And, and there's a bit of a scuffle. And what happens is that
one of one of the, you know, one of the people who was good people are asleep, but somebody in one of the apartments, puts his light on, and opens a window and says these words, and says, it says, leave that woman alone, right, leave that woman alone. And so
now, that's interesting. And so what happens is that when that happens, the man panics, and he and he runs back into towards his car. But then it comes out a second time, I think even a third time and a third time when she was already in our home. And he pushes the door open, and he stabs that woman to death. But what happens is that Rosenthal, who was the journalist, covering that story, then writes this book called 38 witnesses, where he discovers that each of those people, when he interviews the inhabitants of those apartments, he discovers that each of them was saying something very similar, which was that I didn't want to get involved, right, there's a diffuse sense of
responsibility. And so one neighbor will look upon the other neighbor will look upon the other neighbor, and if all the lights are off, then they'll think do so I got to keep my light off at the same time as well. And so, now, this type of conformance usually involves internalization, where a person accepts the views of the groups and adopts them as an individual. So you could for example, be in a social setting where
you know, religion could be considered as a taboo topic could be for example, that if everybody is irreligious or has no willing to talk, even talk about religion, talk about God, then for anyone to talk about God becomes kind of is entering into the domain domain of the taboo meaning he's he's saying something that's not socially acceptable almost in that setting amongst that crowd to be spoken of. And so origines to who I think is a good example because
you know, if he if a person had if that's if that's what's being said, so for example, you could be in a place where where people simply don't pray it's an example he didn't pray Salah or even in a home when people don't pray solar okay. And as many people in fact encountered this when they first embracing Islam or they're coming to Islam or the beginning to pray Salah for example, you could be in a home people don't pray Salah, right?
And for one person, therefore start then praying Salah right is seen as something that you're almost like breaking a social code in that home, because that's simply not a done thing. Right? And so, for example, you could find, let's say, the others who maybe would side with the ones who are not praying in their desire to be right as informational conformity, right. And then the other person, the one who is remaining is almost seen as the outcast, because religion therefore is a taboo.
Another example, of course, you know, if you think I have Africa and atheists, just to think just to get your mind, thinking, imagine, for example, imagine Africa was, was atheist. I mean, Africa is a very religious continent. In fact, people are very religious. But imagine Africa was atheist. Okay, and we are here. We're here in the West. And we're looking upon on Africa, let's say this is because of our social programming. Yeah. And this of course, hasn't hasn't seeds in in long, disastrous in the years of brutal colonization and occupation of African countries. Anybody who's read the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, you know, would know that or about, you know, King Leopold a second
and, and and the brutality of what happened in the Congo.
And perceptions people had of Africans like, even in the photographing of that great continent, they would have pictures that were black and black and pictures to even give the continent a kind of more of a, of a darkness about the continent, you know,
just to kind of create that sense of very negative perception about the people about the place, and the people who, who inhabit that place. And so
No, I think, therefore, if if Africa was is atheist, and we're in the West, would people be inclined to atheism? Right? So imagine everybody in the West in the West was, was, was religious, and everybody in the in Africa was atheist, or if you had this tilt, if you had this imbalance, you know, would people favor atheism and the cause of atheism?
You know, maybe, maybe not. And so therefore, the first one is informational conformity, designed to be right, and then the other one is designed to be liked. And this is very powerful, this one normative conformity. So it means to yield to group pressure because the person wants to fit in with the group. Very simple, very, very simple, right? This it's this. It's so many it's so much for us to say in fact, I think about this one. If you look at historical events, again, similar Yeah, as the the tragic killing of Kitty Genovese was a very tragic, I think even more so tragic killing of Sylvia likens
this a very, there's a very tragic book called House of Horrors. I have to book somewhere in the book, but I couldn't find it before the class to get the name of the author. But it's about this tragic killing of Sylvia lichens was just I think he was just 14 at that time. And she her mother, Gertrude, when a chelski
you know, was her and her husband were Carnival workers, and they had to leave for a month initially. And so she meets sorry, not Gertrude, just who was not her mother. But Gertrude, Jessica was the one that her mother approached to just keep the children for a month and she paid the lady and said to keep Sylvia lichens and her younger sister for a month whilst the parents are away, working in the carnival, get treatment Chelsea agrees to that. But in the home, there were other children get screwed, Francesca's own children, her own daughters and her own sons. And,
and a lot kind of emerged from this based upon envy and jealousy
and fitting in. And so Sylvia likens was really picked on and targeted.
But what really makes this such a horrific, but also horrific, but also a telling example of, of this normative conformity is the fact that there was one of the boys in fact, who initially liked Sylvia likens, he liked her, but when all the others had ganged up on her, and her and tied her up in the basement, and they were torturing her, he also took part in that, you know, he also took part in that, you know, and it wasn't here another example, therefore, of, of yielding to group pressure, because you want it to be like the other members of that group, right, even if it meant hurting physically, emotionally hurting the one that he in fact, he in fact, lighter, you know, but this is
what happened, think about the betrayal of hussaini Benelli, or the other one and Kabbalah and Kufa.
We know When, when, the When, when, when, when the cousin of hussaini banally had arrived in Kufa
you know, and and people were pledging their like oath of allegiance, you know, to say Nibbana earlier or the law and
there was then this mass betrayal from the people of Kufa towards Hussein, so but mo Sanibel, he gets to Kufa, the people of all scampered, have run away, and he doesn't have that support base anymore. But many of them went because it was based upon
not just diffusion of responsibility, but also audience inhibition. Right, so people were being threatened. Well, if the armies of yazeed came from Damascus and you wouldn't have any chance of fighting, you know, on the side of Hussein against against against yazeed.
But therefore, because of that society's yielding to pressure to fit in with the dominant group in that case would not be the group of Hussein it would be the group of Avia z, then his henchmen of you know, despotic rulers in, in Iraq, in Kufa. That's what happened.
Another one is conforming, because the person is scared of being rejected by the group, right. So to avoid like social punishments, peer pressures, think about
you know, I mean, it's this it's exists everywhere.
Were just you're scared to be rejected by the group. So you can find, for example, people hold to a belief, right? They might, you might find a group of people. In one case, let's say, they don't pray, okay? And a person knows that he needs to be praying or a person believes in Allah subhanaw taala. But another group of people are Christians who believe not in Allah, but they believe in, in the Triune God that they've that they've created, or people of a different faith even, but that's what that's what they believe, right? Now a person who might be a Muslim in this case, right, could say, I'm going to conform to that group of Christians or, or atheists, because I'm scared of being
rejected by that group, you might say, I'm, it's just incentives for me to be part of this group. Because I have friendship with them, I have a social network, I feel protected with them. Right? I can go places with them, we can socialize together, we can go places together, I feel so happy being with them. Right? So why would I want to compromise all of that,
because of my belief, and that's the whole point we'll be discussing, therefore, is that social conformity is have a great effect on on a person's not not just the emergence of das, but in fact, the entrenching of those doubts, because if a person remains complacent, you know, with himself thinking that you know, I have these, but I'm gonna stay where I am, because I'm happy with this other social setting. That's, of course, to his own detriment when it comes to some verses of the Quran shall after this slide. But but but that's just what happened. So therefore, to avoid that sense of social punishment, where people might exclude that person, peer pressure is a very, very
big thing. Think about anybody all of us have been in school. So we would, we will know that think about in school, towards the teacher, right? So you could conform to a teacher's, sometimes incorrect views, right teacher could get things wrong, incorrect views, because you want to be in the teachers, good books, you know, so you want to be accepted by that teacher, you don't have been rejected by that teacher. Think about bullying. Bullying is a very big one for this one, a very, very big one for this one. Right. This is humongous. I mean, think about
it, one of the first article I ever wrote, in fact,
many, many, many years ago.
2008, in fact, it was published, was an article on on bully side. And so I in fact, I bought two books. I remember one book I bought from America, called bully side.
And that was a book by
what's her name?
The woman but I know I was, I know, I was the first person or second person to have that book, bought a book in in the UK, because the only publisher of that book, the woman who was Brenda, hi, so the book is called bully side. And the author is Brenda, hi, he gh. And her son, in fact, committed suicide because of bullying. And she then teamed up with other parents who had similar experiences, and they and then she publishes this book. And then she writes a note for me on the book saying that, you know, you're the second person I'm selling this book to in the UK. But I bought that book, you know, to understand this, this, this, this situation of what it means and it's
just a haunting is, the stories are so haunting about children who get bullied, and then end up killing themselves. Another book, with the same title Beside that, that play time,
from the from publisher in the UK, and that was, in fact, focused on the story of a young boy called Steven Shepherd, who killed himself, you know, decades 1960 some time. But in fact, that book has a disclaimer at the back of it, and it says if you have unresolved symptoms of traumatic stress of reading this book, seek professional counseling. I mean, it was that it was that horrifying. The stories in this book, but one of the things that really sticks out is that you have these different groups that emerge, just like in any mass killing or genocide or victimization, you have the perpetrator, you have the victim, you have the bystanders and you have the rescuers. Right. So out
of those four, the ones that are really critiqued a lot by the family by the friends are in fact, the bystanders it's those who simply just egg the crowd on it simply those who had this almost passive involvement. Although I think everything is active really, in that bullying experience, and that drives that person to to feel like they have to kill themselves and of course, it's all of this is terrible.
But think about that you're conforming because the person is scared of being rejected. You could find them for you could find a very popular boy or a girl
Even in a school who's bullying somebody else, and I've incorporated had a very tragic case of red tear Parsons, you know, who tragically killed us off, you know, some years ago, but achish became a very big case in America because she was raped by these by these boys, you know, from the testimony of her of her parents. But because there was a lack of
support, you know, from the police and, and authorities, she ends up killing herself. This this poor girl, Rita, he was only like 15, I think or something, when that when that happened to her.
But again, so you're going to find from the testimony of her friends saying things like, there were people that she knew people that she knew, that in fact had befriended her. In fact, she once she said to her parents, were my friends. You know, it's so tragic. It's so it's so it's so ugly. She said, Where are my friends, and the point is, is that her other friends would say things like she had friends, but because those friends were now
in other social circles, where you had people who were calling her horrific names and uh, taunting her and abusing her. Those friends, you know, acquiesced to that. And so therefore, they were more inclined to, to be liked, desire to be liked, and therefore, they went with the group of taunted and, and perpetrators and abusers, and therefore, the one that therefore struggled and suffered was, was, was, was, was retire in a person's in that I should have lost her friends because to do with the fact of conformity, normative conformity. Now, this type of conformity, in fact, usually involves compliance, where a person publicly accepts the views of a group, but privately rejects
them. So think therefore, think about these pressures, when you think about yourself any doubts, you know, you might have, or or doubt you might know, others people might have, think about what are their social pressures? Right? What are our surroundings? Who do we mix with? What do we, what kind of social settings are we in, that could make us predisposed In fact, to, to these doubts shubho had, or a Shahada is another big thing, of course, in the fact that we could have not not doubt, but just simple desires. And it's our infatuation, or being encapsulated in that world of desires, that is keeping us away from a world of of remembrance of Allah of loving of Allah of connecting with our
lots of heinola to Allah.
And so that's the first one social conformity. And then we have some experiments for us to think about, I want us to look at these, some of these that you might be aware of. The first one is, is a line experiment, this line experiment, it was really about this was this was, I think, the Yeah, this was, this was done.
This is where I'll be the day is already here. So this is Solomon ash, from
December 2018. Now, what happened here is that if you look at the picture in front of you, Solomon Asch, it was a psychology and he asked a group of participants
to to complete, like a task, right? A simple task of, like, perceptual task. And, and he asked each of them to choose a line, right to choose a line, look at the lines over here and want to go ABC, that, that match the length of one of the three different lines. Alright, so you have the first line there, then you have the line A, B, or C, and they have to choose a line that matches with the first line. Now, what happened and this was, of course experiment is that when these participants were asked individually,
the participants would choose the correct line, because it's quite easy. You can simply see perceive, you know, what, what the first line might correlate with if it correlates with A, B, or C, so they would choose, in fact, the correct line. But then what happened is, when they were asked in the in the presence of, of other people who were like, volunteers, what we're part of that experiment, and who intentionally selected the wrong line, right? It's a bit like the Milgram experiment, but in a very different way.
Around 75% of participants conformed to the group at least once, right, so the group that that indicated the wrong line, right. So think about that. Right. So on their own, they could identify the right one, but when this other group of the majority
to group all identifies a wrong line,
the individuals feel that sense of, of pressure, right? Because they think, well, maybe, somehow I'm not seeing right.
You know, I have distorted vision or something that I can't see.
But this is interesting because you see that this is a good example of of this kind of a normative influence because the participants in a change their answer, and conformed
to the dominant group who got the answers wrong, just to fit in and just to avoid standing out and see how this could happen to us in life. Right, just that you could in fact, not feel the confidence, you know, of proclaiming your belief or the confidence of praying solo, the quantity of remembering Allah, the confidence of even saying Allah, or even saying Mohammed sallallahu alayhi wa sallam in a setting sometimes, because you're just scared that if there's a dominant group, right, who are all antagonistic towards this kind of thinking, or this kind of believing, then
you just need to similar
you know, you would you could a person could change their belief a person could change their views, about about anything Islamic anything Islamic, just in order to fit in and to avoid standing out just like this line experiment is showing us
now the other one, there's a few more I think,
here we are. Okay, this is a good one. This is called eat your veggies experiments. If you go look at this beautiful picture of this wonderful array of vegetables, beautiful picture made up of different colors. And is this look so beautiful. This is from experiment, by
let's see the names of your Thomas or Sal and Robinson and more. So from 2017. Now, the what this is showing is that the introduction of posters
displaying social norm message about social norms, which emphasize that most people eat vegetables with their meal in a workplace restaurant, was associated with an increase in the proportion of meals purchased with vegetables. So therefore, they they found that if you have these pictures, displayed in, in, in workplace restaurants, when people saw those pictures,
they would feel more inclined to, to purchase vegetables with their meals, okay. And even after the posters were removed, still people continued purchasing vegetables with their meals. Right? So therefore there are there's a connection between what we're seeing of social norms and visual perception of social norm, and messages.
And people's behavioral patterns. And it could be even they couldn't be they don't have to be images. They could even be slogans, slogans, right catchphrases that that kind of tap into an enter into people's in a social landscaping. And so this could, this, this, this is interesting. If you think about, for example, think about, let's say,
think about the media, and the way that the media affects our social norm. So things that we perhaps hadn't even considered. But because of the of the frequency on the media, or social media, these things have now entered into our social landscapes and have an impact on our behavior, and our thoughts and our beliefs. Now, if there are more, let's say, for example, if there's multiple programs about, let's say, the absence or the loss of religion, or religious faith being aired on TV, now we might come to think,
or people might come to think of it as simply an acceptable trend, like a social trend, it become a social norm, because because you're seeing it played out every day all the time. You might even start thinking that most people maybe a like that now, you know, therefore this evidence that our perceptions of what other people, this picture is showing that the perception of what other people eat, might predict our own our own style or sense of eating, right, because explaining why.
Maybe you might have like social groupings of similar social classes, but you might have similar dietary patterns, right? Because Because of these default
The dietary patterns of socially connected people might be quite similar, right. And there's evidence that people use eating behavior of others as sometimes a guide for their own eating decision. So this is before another good example of that the way that social norms are generated are created and based upon things that we're seeing are what people, you know, begin to buy into overtime and begin to practice. And then they will even leave the picture as a stimulus anymore. And then there's one more, we have, I think, that's it. Okay, there we are. Sorry, for those. I hear. We missed this one. The Jelly Bean experiment.
Yeah, this is important one. So this is an interesting one. This is a very simple one. This is from
Jenny's in 1932. Now and this one, what the what the hell what had to happen?
it's so here you have you have a jar of jelly beans. And people had to estimate the number of beans in a bottle. Okay, number of beans in a bottle.
now what happened is that the first day, they estimated the number individually, right? So they could give, you could say, for example, in that in this jar of jelly beans is going to be I don't know, let's say 400 jelly beans, okay, so you could have an individual estimate. But then they did it later on as a group. Now, after dinner as a group, the and then the group results came up, then they will ask again, individually.
But what happened is that the people who did it individually in the first time they they shifted their estimates, they changed their estimates, after they heard what the rest of the group had to say. So therefore, it shifts from the original guesses to something closer to what the other members of the group had had then guessed. And so therefore, it just shows the way that sometimes if we're in, in a social grouping, if if the majority, in fact are saying one thing, and we think something else, even though what we're saying might in fact be the correct thing. Sometimes people conform to what the majority is saying. And it's interesting, in fact, alone, the Koran is really striking this
message for us because Allah is saying, Allah says, for example, that if you
Allah lesson number seven, that if you obey the majority of them, then then they would, you know, mislead you allies telling the believers, if you
if you obeyed the majority, if you if you listen to the majority of them, then then you would go astray. And Allah in fact, enseignements ally in the Quran, for example, says what kalila mean? I bet your shellcode only a small minority of people are truly thankful that Allah is saying that is not not to always therefore think you have to be with the majority because majority perhaps is going to be wrong in many cases, but to a lysing search for the truth be people of understanding be people of reasonably people of understanding perception. People have insight, have their own sense of self consciousness about you in fact, the prophet sent him he wants to address his people in muck and
says yeah, I'm not sure operation Oh Quraysh issue and physical Manila in a ransom your souls before Allah, because I can't help you in anything. He says to his daughter, your father, Mohammed, oh, Fatima, Dr. Mohammed, ransom your soul before Allah because I can't help you. Right? Because you want all of us to have our own sense of, you know, of consciousness, our own sense of strength and, and willpower, and these kinds of things. And so these things I think, are extremely important. Now,
we're coming to the end of it very soon, in fact, when a few slides left and so
I don't mind if you if you wanted to take a break, but I got to continue inshallah, because of the recording.
Now, look at the Quranic advice, Allah gives us a nice, a very, very powerful on all of us to really pay attention to this a lot. In the first one Allah mentions is first from chapter 25, verse 2728, Allah says, and beware of the day, today of the Day of Judgment, all of us will stand before Allah. There's nothing that we do in our lives that will not be measured on the on the grand divine scale. Right? Nobody is free from that. Everything and this is a very key point and for the for atheist people to think about, right? Imagine without the sense of moral accountability, meaning, it would mean your life is this like utter utter, purposeless nothingness. Because everything you do has no
consequence tomorrow, on a day when it's supposed to have consequences. It would mean therefore that your actions the way that you treat other people, right. The way that you are treated by people, the way that you whatever you do in your life, has no consequence because there's no there's no bearing. But Allah is telling us right from the beginning
believe in Allah believe in the last day believe in Allah believe in the last day. Meaning if you do that, then everything that you do in this life would have, you know would be meaningful, you'll be able to regulate your sense of behavior, your beliefs, you know, to be in line with what ally intends for you. And Allah says, and beware of the day, the wrongdoer will bite his nails in regret and say, Oh, I wish I'd followed the way along with the messenger. And he will say, later on, He will say to me, I wish I'd never taken so and so as a close friend. Right? I wish I'd never taken such a such person, as a close friend, because friendships are so key. So if you think about our
sense of conformity, and our patterns of behavior, our influences are are just dictating to us who we end up becoming, right? You, our friends, make us who we are. Right? If you think about, it goes back to when you were young. I mean, your early character development really has a lot to do with who your friends were, in those days, it's about, you know, company, you are keeping the word you were hearing, you know, the kind of thing even likes and dislikes perhaps are influenced by that. And that's something that's inescapable because we're all involved, we're all members of society, that we have a choice on who we choose to be friend, we have a choice, right? Either we can choose
very negative company, we can choose positive, and we can choose people who are, you know, good, or people who are bad, it's very, very simple like that. It's like the parental message of, of eternity. So it says, Your latency limit exceed the full line and kalila I wish I'd never taken such and such a person as a close friend, that diverse in fact, continues by saying like, abandon the victory. But in the journey, he says that that friend misled me, after guidance had come to me, because that the bad friend had misled me after guidance came to me what kind of chiffon and the chiffon the Satan the devil is for the human being as a desert in the hour of need, right, that she
athon would desert you. Right then even on that day, people would desert one another because everybody is in it for themselves on that day, it was an individual testing and accountability. So therefore, don't be so captivated by that always remember that you know, you have your own sense of being at the same time and if you're going to keep company keep company with the best of company has another one identical answers. Do not mix truth with falsehood, or hide the truth when you know it. Now this the second part of the verse was very striking because it says keep up the prayer and pay the second the prescribed arms and what are rockin and make little cool, bow your heads with those
who bow their heads. Like you know they for a lie saying keep good company. Right? That you know, be not just that you're doing things like you're establishing the prayer paying this occur, but at the same time, your society, your social influences, should really complement the fact that you're keeping up the praying and paying your zakat. Allah says bow your heads with those who bow their heads, meaning keep that sense of company of pious people have good people. And that's what Allah wants, you know, for you too. And this is just oil, social nourishment. That's your social success, your sub spiritual success.
Next verse, Allah says, this little calf, and Allah says, was that enough soccer, and keep yourself patient with those who call upon the Lord in the morning and the evening seeking a lot of pleasure allows countenance and let not your eyes past beyond them, desiring adornment of the worldly life and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of our remembrance, and who follows his desires and his efforts ever lost in neglect and this is so powerful this was a lie saying, you know, be with good company, if I'm always hearing about allows greatness and allows remembrance that's going to have an effect on my heart or my being, right I'm going to feel connected to that
I'm going to feel as if I should remember Allah right. But if you always hearing let's say, for example, always around people who swear and always use foul and filthy language, right, that's gonna have an effect on you gonna have an effect on your heart you're gonna feel ugly, that's a stain that's horrible, right? You're gonna be hearing that all the time and allows and created your, your senses, you know for for hearing that for saying that for seeing that, right? But Allah is saying keep yourself patient that is patient because it's going to be testing for you. Right that's going to be tough for you. It could be for is is so profound, because when a lighting was bad enough so
keep yourself patient with those who call upon their Lord, maybe that's just not the, the the popular thing to do. Maybe isn't the most popular thing to do to keep yourself patient with those who call upon the Lord maybe that's like the, the group that's seen as, as inferior maybe that's the group that's seen as as
Kind of worthless, right in people's perceptions ultimate with this social conformity, the way that people have just conformed to other people's perceptions, and allies thing But wait, keep yourself patient with that group with those who call upon the Lord in the morning and evening. And seeking a loss of pleasure allows face and let not your eyes past beyond them, not just not just keeping us so patient with them. Allah says that not your eyes pass beyond them desiring adornments of the one life meaning you're making a wrong choice, choosing people whose hearts are connected to the hereafter. And instead you're choosing people whose hearts are sunk, in only seeking this temporary,
short, ephemeral, fleeting passing life, right. And Allah says, and do not be one who's hot, we have made heat this of our remembrance, and follows his desires and whose affair is ever in neglect. And then the last verse, Allah says, close friends will be enemies on to one another on that day except the righteous. So even though people might think that if I'm with such and such popular people, I'll find agreement, I'd find acceptance, I'd be liked. You know more by being with them, and allies, saying but close friends will be enemies on that day except the righteous one that may Allah make us all amongst the righteous and make Allah make us choose the best of friends. Look at the prophetic
advice in the next slide. So
the Prophet says that Allah Allah didn't really follow them when you Harlan, or karma call that a person is upon the religion of his close friend. So, therefore, he said, Look closely, you know, beware, beware of the one that you befriend, right? Because if a person is on the religion of his friend, that means that your company would influence what you take of their religion. Right? If your if your company is mocking religion alone, the fact in the Quran says that whenever you're in a gathering of people, if they begin to say bad about Allah, Allah says, leave that gathering, right? It's like the example of Hamza of his, you know, Khosla of his class last week, about stopping and
ignoring and and just leaving that gathering. So Allah is saying that, you know, if you're in that gathering, Allah says, just get up and leave and come back when people just change of conversation, right? That's something for us to do. So therefore, the prophet said that a person is on the religion of his friend. So be aware, look closely, who you befriend, right? It's a key advice for all of us. In fact, one of the beautiful words of even a Josie is that he says, a dean cool, whoa, whoa, look, the whole religion is character from azada, alika filho look, that Alec 15, whoever therefore increases you in good character increases you in the religion, meaning therefore, that
that's quite profound, because the good character there is, in fact, really informed I think with with the company that you keep you keep your friendships, your allies, you know, your your social setting, all has a bearing on your character, right. But if that's corrupted, then the whole religion therefore is really is compromised. So therefore, be careful about your friendship, because your friendships would really have a great bearing on what your character would end up becoming liquidus Next, Heidi, this is a beautiful example of a good companion, who sits with you, in comparison with a bad one is like that of the musk seller, and the blacksmiths bellow. From the
first one you would either by musk or enjoy its good smell, while the bellows would either burn your body or your clothes or you get a bad nasty smell there of meaning, good companionship, right? You might not do what everybody does, and that good company, but that's okay, that's fine. But at least you would take a good smell, you know, from him, this is the analogy. But if you're in a bad company, right, you might not say and do everything that bad people say but if you come out of that, at least at least you and again, you're gonna have a bad nasty smell from that. But the worst is you're going to burn your clothes. Right? So therefore Think about your company, a good company like
a perfume cellar, and a bad company, like a blacksmith bellows, right? So you're going to have a good effect from the first one. Even if it's not the fullest still, you're going to come out with a good smell, and the bad company if you're not going to do exactly what they're doing, but still at least you're going to be influenced and tainted and stained by that negative company. And the Lastly, the Prophet says that you will be with those whom you love, right? So choose carefully. Therefore, all of us about the ones that we love, if we
the ones that we love in this life are the ones that you know will be within the next life. And so therefore if we choose the best of company, we have the best of manners who have the best of faith.
You will be with those whom you love and we allow makers in the next life with
Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam these I think are for us in important lessons for us all to take.
Now I want to I think we're at the end now. So we're going to go inshallah, to the last of all the slides. And that is
how we are okay, here we have a basketball. Okay. And this is our concluding lesson for this session on today's course,
on, you know, your environment and the way that your environment has a great bearing on yourself doubts, the way that we overcome the doubts to people that we keep company with that would help us to overcome the doubts and these kinds of things. And the way that the opposite is also true, that we put ourselves in bad situations, the situation is like that shark infested water comes I mentioned last week,
because if we're in the shark infested water around sharks, and we're going to be of course, you know, we're exposing ourselves to that, to that danger. Now, here we have a thing about playing basketball with MMA fighters. Now, the point is this that if if a basketball player plays a basketball final league winning game, with MMA fighter isn't going to win or not this year, imagine that. So if imagine a basketball player, let's say a top of the end, is playing a basketball, final league
winning game with MMA fighters, do you think he's gonna win?
He won't win that low lead, he won't even score many points. But if he plays with other professional basketball players, his chances of winning are much better because he's in an arena in an environment of his own of his own simply, right? Now, just like, if you think of life like that as a game, although his life isn't a game, in fact, it's like that's like what Macbeth says when he receives the news. Why? Lady Macbeth committing suicide? It was the end of Macbeth. What does he say? He says, What is life life is like a man who has like his hour on stage, the tale told by an idiot, you know, so life is not life isn't life is Subhanallah life is a gift Allah has given us but
but the analogy is just like the game in life, then you know, your job is to find your teammates of Iman not your teammates you know of disbelief and teammates have doubts May Allah make us of those inshallah who have great strengthen this I pray inshallah This was beneficial for you myself. I was in need of this as much as you were in need of this. We're all in the same journey of life, but I pray inshallah This was was of some benefit inshallah for you