Channel: Hamza Tzortzis
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Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim al hamdu Lillah wa Salatu was Salam ala rasulillah salam why they come up with Allahu brecha two brothers, sisters, friends, and welcome to this live stream with me today we have chef, a sham, just a quick bio sheffy Sham Jafar it is an engineer by profession, and a Muslim chaplain at the University of Nottingham. He studied Arabic and Islamic sciences in the UAE for a number of years, where he received a higher Diploma in Arabic and Islamic sciences, and was appointed fatigue at the age of 17, and hamdulillah. So it's very good to have you here, Chef Sham, how are you? I'm doing well, it's lovely to be here.
It's a pleasure, it's an honor for you to be here. Now we're going to be talking about sharing Islam, we're going to be talking about doubts. We're going to talk about how to deal with doubts, and all the relevant topics that revolve around those themes. So the first thing that I want to talk about is,
please give us some of your experiences on campus, because I know you've dealt with many students at the University of Nottingham concerning him on faith related issues concerning doubts concerning certainty. Just give us your overall experience and maybe a particular experience that opened the door in order for you to get involved in these issues and take them more seriously. I believe there was someone who committed suicide, but I leave that to you to, to tell the audience
Yeah, so the the overview. Good question to start off with the overview is so as chaplain at the University of Nottingham a large part of my responsibility is talking to students. And we wouldn't call it counseling, but be able to just have a chat with them. Whether it's something emotional, struggling with something faith related, struggling. And usually the chaplain is not really quick for higher education by the chaplains usually are in prisons and hospitals with a winter spa. You know, deal with bereavement, emotional trauma, things like that. But in the higher education environment, the challenge is not about leaving. And it's not really about emotional trauma. The
real challenge is the intellectual challenge is the challenge of doubt. And having been a chaplain now for just over a year. And also having traveled to other Islamic societies and other campuses in the UK, I've noticed that it's a rampant problem is right, but it's also suppressed. It's under the cover.
So the overview of the problem is that when I started chaplaincy, I was quite shocked to realize that the people who are coming to me to deal with doubts in the basic tenets of Islam were people on people who were bearded sisters who were wearing the hijab, visibly practicing Muslims. But there is an invisible burden on their shoulders, and something that's consuming their minds.
You know, some some people think this is only true for students who are studying philosophy, and everybody else is new. And actually it's not. It's the climate that we live with, they can't go a day without, in some way, shape or form being exposed to other ideologies or the belief systems. And obviously, the question that comes back is what am i Muslim because of birth, by my Muslim by cultural by choice. And when they start questioning all of the initial assumptions, they realize, I actually don't know. I don't know, why am I Why am I Why am a Muslim. And that's when the kind of the promo begins that's when the shock begins to some of them. I've had students that leave the
courses drop out of university, starting with intellectual doubts. I've had students who shocked me in the job, just starting with a doubt. And so it starts with one doubt one thought when ideally festers and becomes a candidate bridge consumes them, sometimes they choose a lot less to it's just a question someone has the needle on still wants to do them down to define. Other times people ask the question, you give them an answer. And they were another quick and another and another. And now these questions are eating their minds and they can't focus. You know, they crying the
one particular practicing student equally was ready for his exams in the library, because it's like someone was talking to me in his head about does ready to slow. So one thing for sure, coming out that is, it's wrong to say that these are just intellectual problems. There's a psychological aspect, there's a spiritual aspect, that is the emotional aspect there. So like one pattern I noticed, is students who had like emotional trauma growing up, they tend to be more susceptible to these kinds of doubts. They tend to feel a bit more lost when they become separate from their families. Or one particular incident, the one you refer to, or possibly one of the most shocking
ones is a student who Muslims you know, committed suicide.
And his family have given me permission to tell story buddies, Muslim who committed suicide and I know that what started off was a doubt
the feeling that practice
Seems claim brings cetera cetera. I don't know why I'm doing it. Some non Muslim colleague asked him a question about faith. He doesn't know the answer to it. And that's how it all begins. The problem is not knowing what to do with the doubt, Satan, starting with a doubt it becomes a cancer. And when you live your entire life, seeing the world in a particular way, suddenly that worldviews chatters. You're in a vacuum in a vacuum, you've got nothing. And you've got nothing to lose. And I happen to come from like a difficult home and abusive family, etc, etc. Nowhere to go back home to and no peace and peace of mind where he is.
He decided to take his way. So would you say? Yeah. So would you say from your experience on campus and dealing with students on a kind of grassroots campus perspective, what would be the kind of mean percentage is a wrong term to use, but the kind of, I don't know, let's use the word percentage of Muslim students that would have what you call doubts concerning the Islamic tradition.
I would say a conservative estimate would be 1/3. a conservative estimate would be 1/3 of Muslims have doubts about their faith that they don't have the confidence to ask, they don't Oh, they don't know who to go to. And they kind of just push it aside thinking, I'll eventually deal with it, or I'll get okay. But it's affected them already. Yeah. So this leads us to a really interesting point now. So let's really define what we mean by doubt here. Because in the Islamic tradition, there is a difference between kind of psycho spiritual whisperings and genuine intellectual doubts. So I'm assuming you've used the word doubt to Compass both. But let's now allow you to elaborate on the
difference between the two.
The and we see this quite often where a doubt turns into psychospiritual. But to just make a distinction between, you know, a doubt is something you're not sure of. And the dangerous ones. When you're not sure about something very fundamental to Islam. You're not sure whether God exists, or you're not sure is Muhammad the prophet or not?
I doubt is difficult question. A question is Why did so until happen in the stomach, traditional Islamic history, but I still retain my beliefs, my morals and values haven't changed. But when you're not sure any more about those initial funnels,
that's when it becomes doubt.
On the other hand, psychospiritual whispering is what we call West Western Arabic, is when it's not just something you're just not sure of it, but you're able to go on with your daily life. It's when that question that you had or the thing you're not sure about, eventually takes over your mind, so to speak, you know, you hear almost a whispering in your head, you're not one, you find the answer to one down, only to get another one popping up. And it's constantly bothering you. It's it's consuming.
And that you I find that it starts with adult and adult not dealt with then becomes a cancerous Westwater.
Okay, so the distinction that's being made here is there there's doubts about something that you aren't, you're unsure of, that you have a question about. And it refers generally speaking to the kind of foundational aspects of Islam that will change the basis of your value system, the basis of any worldview. Those are serious doubts. in that study, different from having a question about something like you know, I want to know about the preservation of Hades. Okay, not really knowing the answer. This moment doesn't really affect my foundational worldview, it doesn't affect that my value system, I still have pain, I still have certainty in Islam. It's just a question I'm going to
explore intellectually and spiritually, and I'm going to axe the tradition to find an answer, which is very different to, I doubt the foundational foundational aspects of the tradition like God's existence, the miracle, and the topic of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and other aspects, including the six pillars of EMA, right?
And then you said the psychospiritual doubt is the West coaster over the overcomes you, it basically engulfs you, and you don't have an answer. And that really basically fundamentally destroyed your kind of spiritual and your psychological well being. And it's not just intellectual. That's one more distinction. Yes, that he was was it's something that you could have answered that question before that I know the answer to this question. But he keeps bugging me psychologically.
Yeah. So can we also say there is there is light at the end of the tunnel, even when it comes to things like what was because the Sahaba they would complain to the Prophet salallahu it who was sending the scene or they had things that come in their mind that they didn't want to utter, right? And the prophets of Allah, ie who have sent them basically said to them, this is a sign of mine. So there is another type of wasp, which is, well maybe you shouldn't call it was forcibly
Cuz it's not saying that you know, we, it is not disturbing statistics is necessarily something sinister, right? Like some thoughts you have, you just would never share with anyone because, yeah, it's just like it's like kind of mental whispering and mental psychological whispering the Sahaba. They had them too. However, they had a distinction, they made a distinction between the mental spiritual whispering and who they were, they said, We don't like this. We don't believe in this, we know it's wrong, but it's current our minds, we're not going to say anything, we're not going to act on it. And that's why the person said, this is a sign of the mind. Now when it comes to unhealthy
mental spiritual whisperings, it's when you start to adopt those mental spiritual whisperings and goes through and destroys you from that destroys your well being. And I like to give a picture sometimes that it's like, your mind is like a sky.
And there are clouds.
Now the clouds, they're not you, right? They're not part of your mind, per se, just let them drift. Part of that has to happen. You look at that cloud is not meant to spiritual whispering, which I know is fundamentally wrong. I know. It's not for me. And I have a psychological. I don't like it. Right. So I don't like that with spring I, it's not part of me. I know how to answer by still in my head. And I'm not going to talk about it. Because I know, I'm making the distinction. You have this kind of software to use. Go binary, it's external, right.
But they also hate it because they know it's false. They know it's not over them from this. It's kind of mental, spiritual whispering. And they just let it go pause so that the clouds just drift away, when it comes to kind of the whispering that you were talking about is when you now think that cloud is you. And it starts to rain. Yeah, yeah. Frequently, what happens is that when you once you start internalizing it, and these are my thoughts, and the next question is How could I be thinking such? Yes, you begin to doubt your very, like existence, your nature, your morality, like, Am I a good person? How could I be thinking this about, you know, how could I not be sure about the profits
or low profit on his integrity, or be as a Muslim, so when you start hating yourself is when it all is best when the black hole turns up, and everyone gets sucked in. Because when it turned becomes self loathing, it becomes a vicious cycle, you hate yourself for the thought, you don't know how to solve it, you get another thought you hate the thought you hate yourself, and you become in this spiral, this downward spiral of just self loathing, self loathing, and not very hard to get out of that pit. You know, that's, that's, that's very interesting. And it's actually quite sad as well, because you can imagine that person is just in this, you know, this quagmire, this darkness, and
they don't know how to get out of it. So before we go into the solutions, then what are the sources of these types of doubts? What do you think, are the sources of the spiritual type of doubts? The what sources would you think are the sources of the kind of intellectual doubts, the fundamental type of doubts, from your experience? What would they be? So partly back, one thing I've had to come to accept is that we live in the global village where if you're, if your heart or your mind is a bucket, right, it's raining, right? It's raining, and you filled your bucket with some basic morals and values, but everyone's throwing their bait as well. So you, you can't really avoid being
even possibly being exposed to people attacking your, your fundamental beliefs. And one of the things one of the unfortunate realities is that we're not prepared for that, for in terms of upbringing in childhood. So one of the things you mentioned to him before in previous conversation is why don't parents talk to their children about why we worship Allah. If a parent wants to arm their child with such a mentality or mindset, when it when it starts raining, they have an umbrella, so to speak, you know, to go with the analogy. So one of the one of the sources is climate. We have a climate, especially in Europe, coming straight off to the Renaissance and the European revolution,
and cetera, et cetera, a source we have a climate of doubt of being a skeptic, being a skeptic, anything established being skeptic in religion, religion is old school, the institution of religion, it's, you know, it's not in line with science, identity. So when you grow up in this environment, you can't help but having some of those thoughts fester in the back of your mind. That's one source, the climate of the environment. And then another source is, you know, people getting involved in conversations, interfaith conversations that they're not ready to have. So you know, people going on the Davos door, and they're armed with the kind of basic questions but they're not on certain types
of discussions. And so someone brings up something they haven't come across before and that begins to question the mind. So this is sometimes the involvement extra calm down when a person is ready.
And with students in particular, one of the greatest sources of doubt is YouTube, I would say, from my anecdotal experience, no survey, but I would say 80 to 90% of doubts didn't come across people aren't really reading books nowadays, especially at that age. They're more on Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube. It's the YouTube suggestion playlist. That is the greatest source of doubts. Really, in my humble opinion, in my little experience, it's obviously conversations with colleagues and friends come in contact with non Muslims, maybe they grew up in a sheltered environment, non Muslim, ask them a question about their faith, they don't know how to respond. And that's where it begins. But
the majority of the time going to YouTube, and kind of getting Bits and Bytes about the faith, and not having a structured worldview of not having anybody build their blocks, but getting random bits of information sometimes, which confused them further. You know, so they learn a bit about, you know, Islam relationship with slavery, and the like, that just raises more questions in my mind, no, it's not really settled.
So I'd say in summary, it's the climate, we live in the upbringing of parents, the lack of a foundation, it's YouTube, and content. And it's also just be in contact with the wider world with colleagues and other people in society. So that would be basically the source of maybe intellectual type of doubts, doubt about the tradition itself. So it's the social media aspect, YouTube is the environment kind of global village we live in. We live in a kind of, you know, marketplace of competing ideologies of values and ideas, and it's inevitable that we're going to have these questions. Okay, so that's one source, what about the source of the type of waspa
really too early about relationships with parents, maybe not having a good grounding at home, maybe
they don't have a good connection with Allah Subhana, Allah to Allah, they don't pray for God. So give us some of those type of doubts. And I would say the worst possible aspect is perhaps the most really dangerous in the sense of how it impacts a person's entire life. I've seen two broad sources of what was in my conversation, like, somebody comes, they have like, serious doubt. They don't even know why they exist, you know, existential pain, they don't know why they're here. There's a lot of I don't know any or anything anymore. When I as I have that conversation, as I dig deeper and deeper into why they have those doubts, what are those questions, it eventually gets to one of two things.
Either one, they've been through some really bad form of growing up, they have an abusive household, they're going through some emotional trauma, that when a parent is blackmailing them, parents physically abused them, they've gone through sexual abuse in their childhood, etc. That's one source.
The they don't have a stable sense of self. They don't have a stable kind of feeling of Who am I, what am I worth, cetera, et cetera. And the other source is weak spirituality. And so a lot of these doubts are on things that they've been, they've had a firm belief in their entire life based on rational grounds, not blindly, not blindly on rational grounds. But it's at that time, when they stop praying for God for three weeks in a row, they stopped coming to jomar, a couple of weeks, maybe they go to the pub with a couple of friends, and they don't really mind, people drinking around them. And they just, they feel a bit comfortable. Like, you know what, what's wrong, really
with people again, that's where it begins. It's, it's the, the deeper connection with Allah with God Himself. When that begins to wane and reconnect.
We have to realize that you have to have certainty, US holding something to be true, is not purely an intellectual reality. It's not something that we just read a statement. That makes sense. It's also it's also spirituality that comes in. And we know, like we discussed this about the profits campaign of workers got replaced with him. When when some companions were describing him as to why was he so special, in all the profits companion to why was he given the place he was given? This it wasn't, except because we should walk off to translate the Arabic because there was something certain that settled into his heart, there was a spiritual conviction that gave them the strength to
be able to face anything in the path of God. And so when that spiritual conviction, I'll give you an example, like, if you were to ask, you know, if you go to desert Arabia, you asked to go to an Arab, why do you believe in God, he won't be able to give you the Kalam cosmological argument. But he's like, this is the most certain thing in my life. I've experienced God, I have a just feeling I have a spiritual connection with him. I felt him the last third of the night. And I thought obviously, that's not his his only reason, but it's an additional it's a component of his belief that unshakable you can't move him. You know, and it's that very thing that makes him you know, if
someone comes in offers him a bad deal is on, you know, make some money by doing something unethical. He's like, no way. My my sustenance come from God, is that unwavering? unshakable faith is not purely based on rationality, but also based on a spiritual experience. So when that I've noticed, for example,
A couple of students.
They had exams in Ramadan. Okay, student Excellency, Mohammed, he had exams in Ramadan. This year, I'm not going to fast. I'm sure there's a fatwa out there that lets me break my fast due to finances but to identity shopping, decides I'm not going to fastest.
And that's the first.
You know, that's the first step towards almost kind of breaking away from God from his relationship.
It's his first disobedience. It's his first willful rebellion and his first kind of feeling of, I don't really care what God wants.
And as the days go by his heart was harder and harder reminders from the Quran by the servants, I think that he doesn't want to listen to prayer to become difficult. So he's so busy studying, he thinks I'll just pray calculator, just stop spraying altogether. This is an actual story. A, you know, a guy who's regularly in the mosque, kind of very visibly practicing religious Muslim, but it was one, one Domino after another. And when he stopped his religious practice, simultaneously, he lost his religious conviction.
People don't see the relationship they think one's intellectual, one spiritual, no, they're all linked to the web. And so summarize that the two sources are psychological, having a stable home, that's the oldest goes on parents to keep keep that in check. And then the other being the spiritual relationship with God acts of worship and words of remembrance morning and evening. Even the Quran, for example, we know that the Quran is is therapeutic, she felt loneliness. But how is it therapeutic? I've had an experience where I had a student that had kind of serious doubts in God, does he really exist is he really, I don't really know anymore. And rather than providing him with
the with an argument, I recited verses from the Quran and translated them, reaffirming who God is his own introduction to himself. I could see the first of the throne for example. And he started crying, he broke down into tears, and he was sobbing like a child. And he said, it's like I never knew I never it's like I've never used before. It's like, and I know this particular person. he'd read a number of books, to try and find the truth. He had a philosophical excursion. And none of that brought him conviction. It made him go round in circles, until I came in our psyche to him. Allah hula II love Will you are you?
Allah, he's the one God is not worthy of worship, not worthy of devotion, but the ever living there ever subsisting. That's it, he just broke down. And that's the nature of the Quran. So that's the spiritual cure for intellectual problem.
There's credit leaving. So what we can say from that is that there is a combination of
intellectual and spiritual components. And therefore, we have to have a holistic approach to these issues. Because sometimes, unfortunately, in the social media, everyone is on this kind of intellectual arrogance flicks, here's a question, I have to answer it. And that's a lot about us and about our own Tobia and our own disposition and our own alignment with the psychological approach of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, because not every question requires an answer. Not every intellectual question requires an answer, because sometimes the symptom of underlying cause I remember, you know, I had this Pakistani atheist come up to me, at one university, and he basically
said that I did a master's in quantum physics, right? And, oh, okay, fair enough. But then he asked me this, he asked me a question. He said, your argument for God, that God's existence doesn't make sense, because causality doesn't make sense outside of the universe. Now look, you know, I have a philosophic kind of understanding, I could have given him the kantian argument I could have given him, you know,
expose his philosophical presupposition that he believes that causality is derived for experience by could have, I could have turned the tables on him. But I didn't. What I said was is, what do you mean by causality?
And what if you study Western metaphysics, they haven't ironed out what is the nature of the causal link? So he basically ends up saying, I don't know. And then I said to him, isn't it very interesting that you're using a key word
in a sentence to deny God and you don't know what that word means? I suppose sunroad. So I tried to connect with him, sat him down. And you know what he said to me? He said, I didn't know how to connect with Allah. I didn't pray properly. I didn't know how to connect with it with the last panel which that's the I'm paraphrasing the story of course a while ago, but that is quite telling. Another example is in my town. Someone says to me also you debate Lawrence Krauss
It was a great debate bumps to the atheist. You know what I said to him, I said, Tim, how's your parents broke? he just he spoke to me for a few minutes talking about the kind of darkness of his upbringing from my remember. So he's kind of atheism or rejection of Allah didn't have anything to do with the question itself, or his kind of you knew identity or any kind of intellectual question, it was probably to do with some kind of psychodynamic element. There's a really interesting article, I believe.
I forgot the name of the author, it's on your pain Institute. And it's about doubts and parenting, and author, She cites a really good reference on, you know, the parents not attending, telling the children what to do concerning religious matters, but not falling it themselves can be a source of doubt, later on in the upbringing of the child, or when the child develops into being a young adult. So. So I just wanted to give those examples because you're right, to another question, which is what I just wanted to say about that one thing.
on that thing about, I would say in terms of, if, if the home is one of the largest factors, giving, giving people serious doubt in themselves and in their beliefs, in terms of the home, one is obviously the broken home, that's probably the worst, kind of has the worst, but also hypocrisy, the hypocrisy of a parent child may observe it and not say anything about it. But it's perhaps one of the greatest causes of the confusion in life late on, I remember, like, teaching in a small supplementary school. And
you know, I'm teaching the kids something, you know, praying five times a day, wake up in the morning to pray and 160, we'll put his hand up. When he says, I tried waking up in the morning, don't pray yesterday, and my parents had Go back to sleep because you've got to the parents come on, apparently, they say my son's learned everything, he knows this stuff. Why teaching the basics?
I asked him, you know, so So what is it that I taught you about the five praise? Because you taught me about blacks? Why isn't it you were able to practice it at home.
And the parents face was red. And the parent knows I said, then and that's the parent, you can send him to the best Elementary School in the world. But the first good is you, you are the first group. And he's stability, sense of safety, happiness, understanding right and wrong comes from your your practice, that he is not going to he can listen to me all day, but he's going to follow your footsteps. I can't emphasize it enough, you know, the importance of holistic parenting? So here's the big question, though. from your experience, how do you deal with these types of doubts?
Yeah, there's a there's an interesting thing that is, is multifaceted, but it's dependent always depends on the stores, they need to know. You know, for every man dropping the leaves of a tree, there's one person hacking away at the roots. And so we have to be the guy hacking away at the roots, what is the root cause of your problem? And that request people were able to converse with you and get down to the bottom of it. It could even be a family, friend, a friend, just be able to talk it out with someone to say, perhaps My issue is really about my childhood trauma, and I need to go to a therapist, or I need to, you know, understand more about how Islam talks about how
diversity, what is God's plan? How does it work? How can I understand my past, one of the most beautiful examples of the Quran
is that when God gives Moosa the Prophet Moses, Prophet which he gives him the task, the mission of prophethood, of being a messenger, and the ambassador of my message, God first explains to him his own past.
His first reaction to God, send your prophet is in the UK when I'm scared, I'm scared, they're going to reject me. They're going to kill me exquisite. And God then explains to him from his childhood, what God did, how his life is, perhaps from an outsider's perspective, past a dramatic set of events, being thrown to boxes, baby growing up with a serial abuser, dictator as a father figure.
Getting someone by mistake being exactly it's a traumatic, it's not it's not a normal way to grow up. But forgot to say that all of this before reason, and let it make sense to him. And then when explaining that to him, condenses to him, was done up to Canada. I did all this because I chose you for me.
I chose you to say, all that trauma, that difficulty that murder, all this stuff was from so you don't be worried you don't you don't worry about it until a hook you and your brother now. And with that sense of understanding his past, he's now able to go his fear is gone. So so that getting to the root if it's an emotional Cause if you don't understand your past, you've been through significance, understand your past, use the route. However, there is some specifically with the intellectual questions. Sorry, go ahead.
Very powerful, and I mentioned
A few weeks ago, Allah subhanho wa Taala is trying to move to La Silla, this is the correct meaning
associated with the events in your party, don't give him your meaning. And one of the beautiful things of trauma, dealing with trauma dealing with
past experiences that that may have caused some suffering or have affected your well being. Even if according to cognitive psychology, it's about the meaning that you do to those events. And one way of liberating yourself through liberating yourself from the suffering and from the past, in a negative way, is by standing in the possibility to give a different meaning to those events.
to Muslims, allow Allah to give meaning to the past, don't, don't usually give meaning to your past, because sometimes what happens to us we have limited physical and cognitive architecture, right? We're limited beings, we don't know everything, we have limited past experiences. We're not, you know, pure beings, we have spiritual blemishes, that is going to become the lens in which you view your past. So you're gonna be like, Yeah, but they're always jealous of me. And they're always been like that, that's coming through you, you are the lens, in which you see your past, and the ego, from the nerves and the ego, even though, you know, you may feel a sense of injustice, because
you've been harmed right yourself, however, standing the possibility to understand that the meaning that you're giving to your past is not the Absolute Truth, the meaning that's true, is the meaning that Allah gives. And usually, when it comes to these scenarios, Allah gives us this kind of new realm of possibility to understand our past in a very powerful way, just like the way he spoke to Muhammad Sallallahu it was centered, right that Allah has not forsaken you, right? You know, you were offered, who took care of you, right, who guided you, right. And this is something that is neglected in our kind of
dealing with Muslims, especially concerning the doubts, we say, yeah, it's so bad attitude, fine, we should have empathy, but we should empower them positively with empathy, and to state them standing the possibility that the meaning that you're giving to your past is actually not the only meaning. Give it this meaning given the meaning that Allah and His Messenger wants you to give it, you see how you become liberated. And it's actually one of the greatest signs of what we call rely on the closeness to God. Some people think that being a worldly, someone close to God involves you applying some special miracles happening to you, but
can you hear me properly?
And what is the Prophet peace be upon him describe the signs of closeness to God,
as you mentioned, in a kind of
tradition, of divine tradition, conveying on behalf of God, you know, he says,
he sees and I am the eyes, which he sees, God says, I am the eyes when she sees, and I am the label that she works with. And I am the hand in which he strikes me, he no longer sees from his own perspective. You know, in another tradition, the Prophet says, you know, be wary of the close person close to God for in the Hogan little venuti love this person sees when God's light, not his own, you know, he's not put his own torch in the tunnel, he's got a massive lamp above football stadium light is able to see clearly. And it's something that one graduate gradually kind of ascends to, it's not something that immediately you can do. But what is it that helps you get one of the greatest
antidotes, being able to see the bigger picture and God's perspective is reading still use the chapter of Joseph?
Because usually Stan has perhaps the most dramatic, you know, thrown thrown by judges, but isn't too well, so does the slave etc, etc. And yet at the same time, what does he keep saying? What does God keep saying, in the law? Hallelujah. God does not waste the reward of those who do. You know, he's thrown in prison. And in prison, people kept him staying in Nanda lacanian. were singing with us. So amazing, everything you do just amazing. So what was the mindset that allowed him to do that, and, and fulfilled his dream in the end of the story, it's, again, the meaning he assigned to the well, meaning he assigned to his slavery to his service to his prison sentence, you know,
we know, you know, like people like bubble wrap.
There, despite what they've been through in terms of presenting x y Zed, the way they're able to look back and I know personally, that one of the greatest reasons he's able to see with a different perspective is his attachment to the chapter of Joseph.
And so it's that and
what you're mentioning is actually from my personal perspective, in the top three reasons that most
Young Muslims leave Islam suffering, yes, or miss understanding, associating the wrong meanings to something. And that they can. Go ahead, go ahead. But sometimes you'd have, you know, Muslim students at any age, they would present intellectual questions that they could probably answer themselves if they did a little bit of reading, or bought a book. But they still have that question as a kind of, you know, veil that is hiding really what's happening, which is
these past experiences, relationships, how they relate to their parents, how they relate to themselves, you know, lack of self esteem. So those things are very important. And the reason I'm emphasizing this is because the people that like to share Islam on the public domain, this approach is no common like to deal with human beings, your fellow Muslim, even non Muslims in a very kind of empathic way, the way of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa send them to imagine that to be experience, what they experienced or feeling what they're feeling to walk in their shoes. So, and that's why I would like to emphasize, it's extremely important to engage with people that way,
because we know that, you know, answering intellectual questions on is not going to create an awakening it might do, but it could be something else. You know, I think we had a discussion previously on the concept of Islamic epistemology, like, you know, what is the human be, the human being has a fitflop has an innate disposition, and in the innate disposition is, you know, forms of knowledge that Allah is a reality that is worthy of praise, and he's worthy of worthy of worship. But that gets clouded, you know, to go to chapter 30, verse 30, you go to the Hadith in Sahih, Muslim is quite famous about every child is born in the state of football, so that the society
changes him in specifically the parents. But it could go early, another scholars mentioned other things. So the fittler gets clouded in a way. How would you unclouded the fitrah? Well, it depends what cloud you're talking about. Is it the religion with the parents? Is that crowd there? Because of intellectual questions? Is that cloud there? Because someone doesn't do that of God, the remembrance of God in the morning in the evening? Is that how they're because God doesn't read Quran, have the double punches over the Quran, or someone who's distant from God is that crowd there because of excessive sinning, and disobedience, moving away from the true pub. So we don't know. But
the way to find out is to empathize and to question and probe which would be a human being with that person. And then you may realize, actually,
I may need to use some intellectual arguments, but they need also a good relationship with the Muslim. And they also need to understand their trauma in in a different way. So now you've got the three approaches to oncloud, the fifth route to awaken the truth within.
So the key is that is that there is a long term process or it's a it's a process. It's the the idea that some passionate, debating in various places have that I'm going to give a positive, strong rebuttal or an argument and everyone's doubts are going to disappear, is human beings are complex, they need somebody to slowly guide nurture them. This is the prophetic method of tarbiyah, right? The nurturing the cultivating of a person so that they can come out of what they were in, and push them into a state of belief and certainty. And that the idea that we shouldn't be kind of insulting to people, and we should reductive to say that, yeah, you go, here's a couple of arguments. Now,
come on, let's pray the night prayer course, didn't even work with me.
I suppose that I've written a book about this, and I'm supposed to be some kind of, you know, so called inverted commas leader, or on these issues. Even in my progression, it didn't work on me. I remember, used to give an answer to an apostate. And that person from I remember, became Muslim again. But I wasn't satisfied with the odds,
satisfied until I heard it from somebody else.
Why did that happen? But the reason that happened is not because of the answer itself is because you was I, when I was listening to myself, or listening to the person at that stage in my progression, was I somewhat doing the vicar in the morning, the evening was so much spiritually attuned? Probably not. And what I noticed was when I was more connected to Allah, engaging in the spiritual practices, the things that punish the heart at the vicar of almost out of the remembrance of God, everything has a punishment, the punishment The heart is the vicar of Allah is the remembrance of Allah. So, and you see your spiritual state affects the way you even understand intellectual answers. Yeah,
I've seen. I've seen I've seen it in new homes. I've seen it when you come to visit a university. Over the years, I've seen a 360 degree shift every year now. Over the years. I've been
no, no, no, very positively in the way you answer questions like, this is not any way to praise you just for you to get feedback. People can feel the empathy, the spirituality, the holistic nature with which, with which you're coming to them now,
and they maybe don't know the journey behind the seats. But that the vicar, the idea of the vicar, what it does is related to the fifth is it kind of extracts the under all the rubble, that little seed of the fifth row was still there, that they could just kind of push it out to here, come along, you know, it was there, but there's so much rubbish on top. And they could is what degree so many forms. One of the forms of vicarious learning studying particular in seeking knowledge, one of the form greatest forms of apps, one of the most abandoned homes is reflecting contemplating the physical world around this is this is also we say that, oh, God says, God goes on. Well, these are
good signs as well. You know, God has two types of signs written or kind of Scripture. And he also has physical. So where are we from the physical signs were to emerge in our digital devices. And that's another thing we students, one of the greatest addictions of our time, even for myself, is technology.
And because they are so disconnected from the outside world, they are so nothing University has one of the most eco friendly, beautiful campuses in the world.
And I always ask students when it comes in, I'm not really sure God exists. Have you been to the university lake? Have you seen the geese crossing the road? Have you tried talking to the spirits?
No, we have a lake on campus.
So this person has no connection with nature.
They've never looked at a tree and thought, How on earth did this complexity get? They've not looked at the animals anything, look at the different types of feet? Because the different sizes? Where did this all come from? They've never had that question. So of course, if What if the only source of information is black and white lines in a book, or videos, it's all abstract. You can get lost in your mind in circles. But the moment you see a squirrel, jump up into a tree, pluck in a corner and think now that's not that couldn't have been by chance. This is what God says in the Quran. When he talks about all the people of sound, my sound clean, when they look at everything, they say, Oh, my
God, you couldn't have created this for no reason. How above you up above you.
As it is that fifth album that people have pure essence are just people, all the people who are able to purify that seek. Like I remember, I was in North Wales or doing some camping and our budget time we create a budget. And I actually did, she looked into the sky, and I saw as an ocean of stars, layers upon layers of stars. I choked. I literally, it took me over 35 years to experience that.
But I just choked. And I think it's because sometimes we're so disconnected from nature, we're so disconnected from the signs of Allah subhana wa tada that it does affect the fifth floor. I think there was this kind of
anecdote too, but there might be some research in this that atheism has increased because of the increasing
would you would call it synthetic lights city, you know, there's a lot of light pollution, you can't see the stars anymore. Right? So this for me to look into. So okay, so that's how you deal with a kind of spiritual type of doubts, you know, you try to and obviously each each thing you're saying request another video, yeah, there's a lot to unpack there. But as a as a general point, you know, look, look at the suffering and the kind of, you know, maybe the the problematic relationship you have with yourself and your parents and trying to give a meaning, that is not based on your national based on your limited understanding that something is more empowering, that gives you a new realm of
possibility to free yourself from that past. And that meaning is that meaning that Allah once and the meaning of the profits of above why they do something has given us to the various traditions. The other thing is that you mentioned was about coming close to Allah subhana wa, de musica reading the Quran, becoming a student of knowledge.
And also just reflecting in nature not becoming very kind of based on you know, synthetic stuff like technology, or being be someone who's more connected to the signs of Allah subhanaw taala. So, these are very important to deal with a kind of spiritual type of doubts, and each one requires unpacking, which we may have to bring you again to unpack each one. What does it mean to become as your body what does it mean to be a vicar? What does it mean to you know, try and give the meaning in a different meaning to your past to stand in the possibility to get attribute different meanings to your past rather than the negative meaning of the meaning that is not appearing in the meaning that
doesn't give you a sense of you know, Liberation's
series talking to me, the technology. So, so so we'll have to unpack that another time. So Let's now move on to the intellectual type of darts. Because you had an interesting point here. And you know what you made me think about this, because I mentioned this to some of the brothers. And I was like, I spoke to chuck the show. And he basically, I'm going to introduce him, I'm going to unpack it in detail. He said, Don't focus much on the questions. And that means and, you know, conversation, I realized something, if people watching public intellectuals, you know, because we have a responsibility, as dwad, as people want to share a smile on people who are on YouTube, the
responsibility has to be one of genuine, a genuine commitment to the well being of people who, who read it absorb and watch your material. And that genuine, sincere commitment to their well being, must be very thought must be thought about in a deep way. And you, you may have to come to the conclusion that it's not about answering all the questions, because why? If you answer all the questions, what have you assumed? That there's going to be another question that may in the future, possibly, that may be a source of doubt? And the solution to that question is not them. It's you, hey, you made them dependent, right? You created a dependence.
You know, you awaken the enemy for a conversation or than the call on the side of some ucalgary, right, or something
that's so powerful, that is so deep, because Don't get me wrong, we have to answer questions as well. But we have to be done in a way that's so empowering, that takes the person on the journey. So they can become their own intellectual spiritual leader in their own way. This was to have to have early math, and we have to be at their feet and study with them and all of that stuff. But generally speaking, you must have some kind of
sense of stability, rather than waiting for the next day to answer the question on YouTube. So we could be satisfied. I think I don't have access to you guys as well. Right. You know, I on campus, there are maybe between 500 and 1000. Muslims, they don't, most of them don't have access to me. And I'm a dedicated chaplain. So, and then they have access to people like, you know, Imams and machetes, perhaps in the local Masjid, who, when they come up with their questions, they like, just go away. Don't ask these questions, right? So they don't have access to you. So all they have access is to sell hunters videos, brother access videos, as opposed to videos, and they they watch them one
off, and I know personally, almost, with perhaps without fail, every student I spoken to her she has, who has had doubts, have been watching your videos,
and mail and you don't know the reward like gives you from the mail like he was at? And you're like,
Yeah, but then they have a dependency now on you they need Hands up. Now, I'm not sure I can answer when you see one thing that we have failed.
Myself, the famous speakers, people who like you know, who have huge YouTube channels, people are involved in this era of work. And massive failure is not creating leaders.
What I mean by that is not illegal, that they're famous, but like they could take leadership over their own life, and over the own kind of intellectual spiritual certainty, where they don't have to wait for the next YouTube clip for a question to be answered. But they have a solid foundation and grounding, they can distinguish between questions that are nice to have answered, yeah. But they don't really fundamentally undermine my spiritual intellectual well being, and questions that need to be solved. And I now have the tools and I'm empowered to take to walk on that path to try and solve those issues myself. But what we've done, we've created this kind of crazy
celebrity type of dependency of speakers and YouTube was the next question, wasn't it? Next answer. And that kind of narrative has created a social construct that keeps us dependent on those people. Yeah, the analogy is almost, you know, how we deal with healthcare in the West. You know, a lot of people, every little flu, perhaps the the doctor, you go to the east Eastern traditions, is very self service, or I'll make the soup, I've got this mystic powder that goes into this water, I'll take care of myself. You know, it's also a key to the idea of creating first stages. You know, adopters can't do everything. But the first eight is able to deal with certain emergency incidents,
to create people who just have some basic principles with which they have the mindset of being able to deal with their own data helping even the immediate circles. We need 100,000 of those first stages intellectual first stages.
how do we deal with this? What do we do you have an approach. So what's your approach to this kind of intellectual stuff? So when I, when I talk to university students and in some presentations to static societies, I offer like a kind of a process of how to deal with the doubt.
The first one is to assess something in Article One with Elon Musk to
link something thoughtful about back to this kind of basic principle you're very sure about. So say for example, let's take an analogy to make it clear.
You're not sure about, say for example, why did the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him do X, Y, Z? Write your question, why did he do this? It seems a bit unjust.
Now, this is a question mark, your doubts. But what are you absolutely sure, from your upbringing, from what you've read? What you understand is that the character of this man Muhammad peace upon his expression, by the witness testimony of his own friends by those of his foes by non Muslim intellectuals, everyone just testifies for this man's character? What I'm absolutely sure of is he was an exception he had.
What I'm not sure of is this little incident. So I will find the answer to this incident eventually, but I am still sure about is accepting. And until I find overwhelming evidence that that is post, I'm not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I'm going to find the question inshallah, I will ask because
he has got his articles of knowledge. If you don't know, I will ask. But first, I have to reassure myself, I say that's the first step. reassure yourself of your fundamentals, your foundation, maybe you realize I don't have foundations, there's a crisis.
Maybe we have to revisit, maybe we have to go back to the Quran. For example, Rocco is one particular chapter of the Quran. I recommend for those who feel like they don't really have strong foundations of belief, to go back to God Himself proving his own existence, the day or the day of resurrection, etc. It's that simple, simple arguments that appeal to your basic humanity to set the foundation if you don't have one, but then always, whenever it rains, get under your shelter, and reflect. What do I know to be true? Alright, this thing, I'm not sure about one thing, I am sure 1400 years someone has come up with this question and there is an answer. But I'm not gonna throw
the baby out with the bathwater. That's the first principle based on the prophetic principle, which is really an illusory principle, right? Which is to not allow doubt to override certainty. So you focus on what's fundamental. So you can apply this to anything. For example, why is the Hellfire? Why is hope, fire eternal? You have all of these questions? Or what are we setting about? Here? We are circle of life, and Hackney, he has the totality of knowledge and wisdom. Allah is actually his own the way, Allah is the most just, he is a man, the intensely merciful, he's able to he's the loving. So we know that's the case. So just because we've been over to answer a particular question
concerning, for example, eternal punishment, does it undermine what we know to be true? Or does it shorten our own epistemic limitations like I could probably get, and that helps you shape
your your journey, or it allows you to continue your journey to finance in a way that doesn't undermine the foundations. Right? And that's what is to be comfortable with that question as well. So I interrupted you one day, just wanted to say when you have a question to remember that there were prophets in the Quran that God mentions having questioned apparently questioned God, when Ibrahim the Prophet Abraham says to God,
from be an effective remote, and God, show me how He resurrected it, God says, I want to me Do you not believe Have you not got paid by the Buddha what I can do in Nepal, I just want to find contentment in my heart, he wants to see either to your pain, he wants to up his level of pain, because seeing is not the same as believing so have been comfortable that I've got a question and it's just going to increase my my kind of belief, my foundation. Very interesting point. So if you see asking questions from that perspective, it's not about becoming certain it's about increasing my different levels of certainty because in the past and a couple is, there are three main levels of
certainty you have emilija pain, which is the pain of knowledge you have either their pain the pain of seeing in the hopper your pain, which is
it's part of your own reality, meaning, you know, say someone tells you by text and you trust them that your next door neighbor's house is on fire. That's anyone you're paying. I walk outside of the door and I look up the house is on fire. There's either the pain, the pain of seeing it, right. Yeah, and the papunya pain is I'm in their house and it's on fire and I could feel Yeah, all the certainty but different levels of certainty. So very deep way of seeing it. You have the key into
Spiritual conviction, I'm just increasing the levels of my conviction to these questions if I have these strong foundations. So this is why it's so important to keep on reinforcing the foundation so people could anchor off that and when they do these questions, they'll be like, why know what certain here, I can continue my journey to increase that certainty rather than trying to find certainty itself, right? This is why the problematic nature of old trying to answer the questions to someone who doesn't have the foundations would create that kind of vicious circle of doubts and even maybe traumatic spiritual experience of not being to find that their space and their place in the
world and this existential anxiety so
tell us more about the your foundational
teachings because I want to talk about you now and link this holdouts things to what your what would you do in your in your public work? Recently you had
crime 2030 or 3030? What was the code to tell us about that? And, of course, that you're developing bite size, tell us as well about, you know, the other things that you've been doing to create those foundations for the Muslims, so they're able to basically start from a position of certainty and then start increasing the certainty. Sure. So I've been in my chaplaincy work, I've been constantly perplexed by the level of doubt that I'm seeing
and the level of serious people leaving the faith people just kind of quickly losing hope people dropping out of university, etc, etc. And on the last has been playing on my mind was the solution was my solution. Is my solution to give them a few answers to the question is, when I'm not teaching the man to fish, I'm giving him fish, and he's going back hungry for more, he's going to be hungry, he's got a hungry belly.
So what I eventually did was I thought, there needs to someone needs to be able to set up these foundations. And give me the university students with the attention span of goldfish, they always on their phones, it needs to be bite size.
You know, I remember once, like telling the student to go and watch a certain speakers, Sierra videos in order to answer some questions about him. And he immediately went to a message me and said, Rob, the video is two hours long, I can't do this thing.
This is the language, you know, that's, that's where he's at. I am sending him something where I met, I could probably watch that two hour video and I'd enjoy it, but he's not there. So the idea of creating a platform of bite size education, and also creating a foundational knowledge. So what I talked about if you don't have your foundation set this foundation, so in Ramadan this year, as everything went offline,
I tried to just create a small online course for my local university, some to site and I call it put on 20 2020 students in 40 days.
It's at the moment website is in development, but it's called inshallah will be called roots Academy Cote UK. You have something else that you did the 2020s it's Yeah, well, I'm 2020 if you want to visit the course it's you can visit bit.li slash current 2020 the i t dot L y forward slash 2020. So 20 minutes a day for 20 days you learn the meanings are 20 students. And my goal is through God's words himself learn the nature of who he is for who Allah who teaches what God is, for example, but with a direct relationship with the Quran.
And I just made it for my local society and then I just posted on my timeline and the next day I know 3500 people across the world have signed up. I realized it there's a demand this information Give me the bit.li Ford slash
did work around 2020 to do work. No, you went to Mac 25 2024 on okay.
happens when you're not set up.
Oh, perfect. Okay, good. So there you go. Yeah, don't leave slash 2024 I will share my screen.
There you go. The idea is that you start a structured course 20 videos.
Can you have multiple choice questions?
Education for 2020 build a foundation studying the Christ meanings and low for free. well researched testimonials. And you're going to have your other stuff on here, right? Yep, the idea is to build six courses that teach one subject one standalone subject 15 minutes a day in 20 days. So the car the life the profit PC point 15 minutes a day 20 days. Each course will come with a design workbook where you can work through in your own time. Each video has quick multiple choice questions, reflection prompts, you can write your
doctor surgeon almost saying good things about you that says Oh, somebody look possibly at gunpoint.
your stuffs gonna be
Here is going to help build the foundations, which is going to basically deal with the kind of, they would just stop sharing the screen because it's going to be in.
So that's brilliant. So people can access that you said how many students registered 3000. You said about about 3500 students from about 30 countries. Now you can just
see what that means. This is phenomenal. I have never had anyone registering my webinars that many people
and I'm supposed to have like 1000s of people following them. What does this mean? This means a few things.
Number one minute, oh, my god, no means number one, there is a need. Number two, sometimes maybe the way we communicate is too high level, we need someone to break things down further.
Also, what it means is that there is the need to people need a resource to deal with these questions. And it also means that YouTube is not doing that we need to empower and we need to basically create material. I know many other people are doing it many Institute's that doing great work, but that, that face to face and powering. That is so important. And that's how you create future leaders. And that's how you create people who have those strong foundations because reading an article or watching a video is just not enough, you have to go through a process. And this for me is is like the center of you know, the Islamic tradition, if you like is the center of Allah, that
you sit with someone. And there's always two people. One line, you're gonna learn from someone that you can't learn from a piece of writing, or just by listening to a video. When you go through that process with someone, something happens and it's like almost divine unwritten law. And we see this, who was the chef of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, he was deeply, deeply alehissalaam, who was the chef of the of the Sahaba, the prophets of Allah, Who it who was the chef of the Tabby, it was the Sahaba, and so on and so forth. We need to have that connection to our tradition, it's kind of lively, dynamic way, even if even if it means doing 15 minutes a day, for 15 days, or 20 minutes
a day for 20 days, if something happens to you, and it doesn't always work, YouTube doesn't work. just reading a book doesn't work all the time. You need someone to take you on that journey, which is powered by Sonic tradition, not only part of the tradition is called the universal law concerning inquiring and internalizing knowledge, notice knowledge by changing your state of being, because you kind of change how you relate to yourself and relate to others and how you relate to Allah just through knowledge. Knowledge doesn't give you access to being. And what I mean by knowledge is abstract knowledge. We repeat knowledge doesn't give you access to becoming to be sharing your
story, Hamza, there was a particular there was a particular brother who had, who was a student of knowledge and everything, but he completely took a 360 degree turn, he lost all faith. And he was mostly learning through YouTube lectures, taking notes, memorizing, trying to study very kind of eager to learn. And he was having serious doubts. He was like about to just forget it all leave. And I took him to meet one of my teachers, not in this country that in the Middle Eastern country. And we prayed a lot together. He said, Fine, I'll just pray this time for you. He picks a lot together. And then we both watched as my teacher principal.
And well, I saw tears in his eyes. And he said, I should lie below what
I just said, What are you doing? What do you mean? What's going on? He goes, I saw God through this man's eyes. I just thought, oh god, I that experience just seeing the certainty the way this man carries himself, his conviction god I've seen he exists. And it's strange, you might think like a trick, but it's an unspoken relative knowledge should be taken person to us. Obviously online doesn't give you anything of that nature, maybe 1%. But we'll take 1% we'll take what we can this day and age, especially under lockdown. And this is no way to belittle what's happening. It's just to show that we can be a little bit more intellectually and spiritually mature, to take our doubt to
the next level to make people understand it's more about producing content on the company that could be become like, Chinese clothing factory or something that we're just spewing out these these these, these items.
It's, it's not just about content, content content is also the means is also the medium of delivery and the interaction with another human being as someone who's more learned than you in some in some way. So it's very important to behind the course search in the vision behind the set the set of courses is that in sha Allah, Allah gives us the week by October these six courses will be ready, Siraj in 20 days is termed intellectual foundations. 20 days 20 schools
Computers, etc, six. And they would run every year from October to June, in the student timetable, with breaks for exams, with a commitment of only 15 minutes a day and one live session three, there'd be discussion chat, students can email the instructors at any time to get reassurance or listening anything they'd like. And it should be in chautala. It could be if I can have anything to do with it, it can be free of cost completely
targeting the 17 to 25 age bracket in terms of the way the content is delivered, but that is no reason someone older, younger company, so that's inshallah, hopefully what I aspire to deliver with the help of a very committed team in October.
Okay, we've done over an hour, so we have to close it here. What we're going to do is, there's so much here that we've mentioned that needs unpacking. Yeah. So what we'll do for you again, shortly, inshallah, and we'll unpack some of these key concepts, how to deal with the spiritual doubts, the intellectual doubts. But for now, I'd like to thank you, Jeff, for giving us your time, because time is the most precious thing. You know, if I said to you, you had one day left to live in order to have another 10 days, you have to give me all of your wealth, you throw all of your wealth at me in order to have just another 10 days. And that just goes to show how important time is that we forget.
If someone breaks your mobile phone, you go crazy, but someone takes one hour of your time. It's not a problem. We've lost the plot, right? So well Bless you, Zack, we're here for the opportunity. And for everyone watching, there's lots that we mentioned, we're going to unpack unpack them in sha Allah. So Allah bless you any final words from
nothing just to thank you for the work that you do, and not to underestimate your own words, and how much it's helped the students I've dealt with. So in other words, you, thank you for having this conversation. I never dreamed we'd have this conversation. But May Allah reward you and May Allah help those who are struggling and those who are finding it difficult. And if anybody is having wants to have a conversation, anybody wants to offload what they're going through wants to have a discussion
in trouble, tada, my email address or my if you search a sham, Jeff, I should find my public page Feel free to message me and we can have a discussion or holistic discussion.
Please go to the show, Jeff, Ollie the Facebook page, you can contact him there. And if you have anything that you want to deal with in a holistic way over a period of time to pray those awakenings. He's your man, he's your chef. Lord bless you. Take care guys. I'm going to do another live in a couple of days in sha Allah Salaam willick refer to what he already said.