EP03 – Articles of Faith – Part 1 of 2
Channel: Hamza Yusuf
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Foundations of Islam Series: Session 3 – Part 1
So spinarak man, Rahim
salam, Sita Mohammed Ashraf, an MBA one more study. Today we're going to hopefully look more in depth at the concept of Eman. And then yes, and the Hadith, which is the second one mentioned in the book by email No way. They're the 40. Heidi is a Hadeeth that was
uttered about 80 days before the prophets allies, I'm actually died. So it's considered the best overview of the Islamic tradition. And in the Hadith, we saw that the first question was asked was about Islam, and the five pillars
were given to express what Islam was. And then the next question was about Eamon, and then it followed by a question about SN and then about a question about time, the end of time. If you look, in terms of trying to understand this thing, in terms of dimensions, you can see these as four dimensions within Islam, the dimension of Islam itself, would be the dimension related to the earth. In other words, Islam is an outward practice, anybody can be a Muslim, including a hypocrite. In other words, even a person who does not believe in Islam can be a Muslim, that is possible. So that is the first dimension. And that is one dimensional Islam.
Just as you have one dimensional Christianity, one dimensional Judaism or any other tradition, we're simply going through the motions.
The tradition is not impacting us in any way. And this is, I mean, I like to call it religion because I think religion fits into that category. What we term as religious people, I have a friend who was a crack cocaine addict. And then he left that and he became Muslim. And he ended up now he works for the state of California as the he's the head, or he was appointed by the governor there to be on the task force for drug rehabilitation. And he told me once that he said, a religious person is somebody afraid of going to hell, but he said, but a spiritual person, somebody's been to hell and doesn't want to go back.
So, religion is obviously some people have identified the human being as a religious creature.
And religion if you look at the original idea, there is religio means to bind together, which is not really that concept does exist. And I think it exists in the Islamic tradition as well. The idea one, you could look at it at a higher level of binding a person to God. But at its more sociological level, it's binding a group of people together, we're bound together by what even Haldane called the alpha BIA. Right? What holds us together is some type of homogeneity in our beliefs and our understandings and our worldviews. And this is what the postmodernist would call a grand narrative. You have a grand narrative that we all fall under, so we share a commonality. And traditionally,
religion has definitely provided this aspect in cultures. And this is why people who were of minority status in a culture where people that did not tend to share that homogeneous worldview, like in western civilization, certainly, certainly the Jewish tradition has always been marginalized by not only an ethnicity, but a worldview. They were different. The same can be said about the Catholics in this country for a long time. The Anglo Saxon Protestants had very strong numbers. And when the Catholics began to immigrate to this country, there was a lot of problem created because there was a different worldview there. Now, if we move to the next dimension, which is Eamon and
this is the dimension of, if Islam is the horizontal dimension or the dimension of width, then this is the dimension related to a vertical motion. In other words, Eamon relates to a person's connection with the creator or with God in Islam. So Islam is an outward practice. That is
keeping people together and there's their social rules that we adhere to, when you move into E man. This is why are we doing it? It transcends simply the act of doing it but moves into the realm of why why are we practicing these things? The The reason that the haoran gives should be for God alone, and that would be your vertical dimension of Amen. Now in the Hadith, the Prophet sallallahu Sallam is asked, What is Amen?
Amen. Now, interestingly enough, in the Hadith, the prophet SAW Lyceum does not actually define a man, but rather gives us the objects of Amen.
What is implied in the Hadith is that this is something that the Arabs understood what a man was. And just to go in, and I want to
digress here, just for a second. In this talk, we're going to be looking a lot of Arabic terms. And I'll explain why. First of all, the Muslims believe that the Arabic language is a language of Revelation. In other words, it has a unique status, amongst other languages. Now, the Muslims who say that that is true about the Hebrew language that is probably true about the language of Sanskrit, probably true about some original Chinese language, and possibly true about some of the indo European languages like Greek, but traditional Greek is seen as more what they call a soccer doll, or a priestly language, as Latin was for the Roman Catholic Church. Greek was for the Greek
Orthodox Church. In the Muslim tradition, Arabic is definitely part of the worldview of the Muslims. And there's a theory in linguistics sapra Wharf theory of language, which is also the language relativity theory, which is the idea that a language is not simply a means of communication. But embedded in the language is a worldview, in other words, that individuals articulate their worldview through their language. And this is important. Now, just to give you a good example of that the word in English for reality, right is related to a Latin word, does anybody do they have Latin? No, that word?
Does anybody know what rest means? In Latin thing, really good, I'm gonna
get some old Latin people around. rests, equals thing. Now,
that's a very interesting concept right there. In other words, embedded in the language itself, is they're telling you what we think about reality. Reality is thing. There is an inherent materialism in that word.
You see, there's an inherent materialism in that word. Now, to take an example of the word in Arabic for reality is happycar.
The root word is
which is the name of God,
and how cool means the real, and it is one of the 99 names of God. So embedded in the Arabic language, the perception of reality is already related to something that is beyond this, it is related to the divine. There is an idea in a sense, that reality itself is not what we are experiencing in the realm of things, but actually transcends the realm of things. Because in the Islamic tradition, God is not a thing.
God is not a thing. The word in Arabic for thing is shade. And Shea is a it's it comes from a word which means that which is willed into existence. So thing is something that emerges into existence from non existence. So reality transcends thing. In the Islamic worldview, reality transcends thing. So within the Arabic language, we are going to see certain semantic fields that are created by these tree literal roots that are based on these three roots that are articulating something very important about reality. Now if we look at the word Eman, which is faith, it's translated generally as faith, amen.
Its root is three ladders.
And if meme noon
I mean our means to be safe or secure. To be safe or secure.
He man is a
verbal noun that comes from there's 15 forms of every verb. So you literally each verb is going to create a whole semantic field by which you could, you'll get nuances of the meanings of the word. Amen is from a fourth form out of the 15 forms, that literally means to make oneself safe and secure.
So the idea here is that faith is an anchoring element in the human experience.
And lack of faith is something that creates a type of, of trouble of turbulence within the psyche itself. Now we can see this, if you're going into surgery, you'll hear somebody say, Well, I have faith in my doctor, because you don't want to go into surgery, not having faith in your doctor, you're going to be a wreck, right? You really you're going to be a wreck, there's going to be a lot of trauma related to that experience. So the idea of faith as a securing factor in the human condition. Now there's a wonderful in the Greek tradition.
Permit he is gives man fire, which is knowledge and then premise he is, is cursed by the gods, because the gods don't want to have man to have knowledge because man is going to compete with the gods.
Premier theists, once he you know, he's he's on the rock in a skill he's play. And he's from the atheists bound. And he's, he, they're asking him what he was given
what he gave him and he gave, he said, I gave him fire. And I taught him the crafts, right? And then he said, what else and he said, I gave him faith.
In other words, without faith,
the human being is in a hopeless state. Right? So there is an idea that faith that we need faith, if we have all the knowledge in the world, if we know how to do all these things, but we don't have faith in the future. In tomorrow, we go into a state of despair. And human beings cannot function in a state of despair, a study that they did with rats, where they would put a rat, I mean, this is horrible things that scientists do. But sometimes they come up with interesting results, they put a bunch of some rats in a
in water, and then they would let the rat swim until they would drown. Right? Well, what they were started to do, they time and they'd say, the rats would survive a few minutes, right before the time that they would normally drown, they would pull them out and save them. And they would do this over and over again. Then they would leave those same rats who had been pulled out and saved and see. And they would go sometimes twice or more than they would normally do had they not been pulled out of the cauldron. So the idea is that even the the rat
has a concept of hope.
That even the rat, as as insignificant as its brain is has a concept of hope that I might be saved. So I'm going to hang on a little longer. Now there's a story of one man asked a man wants if he believed in God, he said, No. And he said, Well, let me ask you something. He said, If you fall off a ship in the middle of the ocean, do you just give up? And he said, No, I continue to swim. And he said, Why? And he said, out of the hopes of being saved. And he said, That's God.
You see that, that there is within us this odd mechanism in our own psyches that says, I'm not going to give up. And this is rooted in this idea of wanting to make oneself secure, of wanting to be in a state of security. So the believer, according to the Islamic tradition, is called a Mothman. Somebody who is making themselves safe, how, how do you make yourself safe?
In a world of absolute change, we see change everywhere. We have no sense of security in this world. And a person who's in a secure state is in a delusional state. Really, if you think about this, if you feel secure at all times, then you're in a delusional state, especially in California, right? Right. Because I live in California, we hear those shakes every once a while just to remind you, it's not that secure, right? We are literally as human beings, constantly exposing ourselves to death in every instant. each breath is an exposure to death. And because of that, there's a deep instability. Now there is a type of veiling that takes place as a mercy because if we were
constantly aware of this state, right, we would be literally Rex psychological rats and there are people that go into these states. One of the things
Lewis Thomas mentioned in one of his
essays is the whole fact that that nature, right, which is often a scientific word for God, that nature does this wonderful thing of veiling death from us. Even though there's death all around us, you don't see dead animals everywhere, that they're hidden, that you can literally go down this road and go for a long walk, and you won't see a dead creature. And yet there's death all over the place, there's death happening, decay, it's happening all over the place, but there's a type of veiling, right and the human and this enables a human being, psychologically to maintain hope, to maintain hope for the future. So Amen. or belief is related in making oneself secure, the first object of
belief that will secure an individual according to the Islamic tradition, is a man Billa which means belief in Allah. Now, we know that all of us know now that the first statement of the Muslims is La ilaha illAllah.
And this is usually translated as No, there is no God. But Allah,
which I think in many ways is problematic, because
it leads a person who is not an Arab, or not a Muslim to think that Allah is some kind of, there's no God, but Allah, in other words, there's, there's no God for the Christians. There's no God. For the Jews. There's no God, but this god that the Arabs are calling a law, which is problematic, because Jewish Arabs call God Allah and Christian Arabs call God Allah. You see, a Christian era calls God Allah, and they call Jesus, even Allah, the son of Allah. That's what a Christian Erica, the Palestinian Christian says, the son of Allah. So this is a linguistic determination from the Arab people for what we know in English as God, which is an originally probably an indo European
word good, which you get it goes into Persian as holda. Right? The Persian word, don't tell any white supremacist, but the Persian word hold as related to the the English word for God because then it goes into German as good or God. And the original word here is related to the one who is called on when there's no one else to call on.
That that is God. God is the one we call on when there's no one else to call on. Now, the word Allah in the Arabic language does not designate a meaning we do not know what it means. Some of the Muslims think that it is originally from Allah. Right, the word ILA.
And obviously, you can see the linguistic similarity there. The Orientals would definitely say, yes, it's got to be it's just a lamb, it becomes a law because it's a law and they take the two lambs together make it a lot instead of saying,
the word ILA, which can it has a plural it has a masculine and a feminine, right? It has a masculine and a feminine, it also has negative connotations in the Quran as well, whereas Allah does not have negative connotations. ILA can have negative connotations in the Quran, Allah does not Allah always has a positive connotation in the Quran. The root word of Allah is le ha, which means to bewilder
to create bewilderment. And this would be consistent. For instance, with St. Anselm's idea of God being that which nothing greater can be conceived that it's, it's the thing that the intellect literally short circuits, when it tries to conceptualize, it creates a type of bewilderment in the psyche, for us to try to imagine infinity, we can imagine it, it's not it, we can imagine as an abstract concept, we can't really conceptualize the idea of infinity. It's something we can only abstract it, but but we cannot grasp the true idea of infinity. And so Allah when we say that ilaha illAllah there are two things happening here. The first is called nifi, which is a negation.
And the second is called is bat
which is an affirmation.
The idea for the Muslims is you must negate before you can affirm What are you negating? You are negating everything other than Allah. And this is the idea where reality is related to this word l hoc, the real. In other words, the Muslim say and the nice thing about Arabic and one of the many nice things
It does not have the verb to be.
So in this way, although we read it in English, there is no God, but God in Arabic That is which we call a, an auxiliary verb, I think, yeah, the is not there. It's not there. Now this has important philosophical implications because when you relate to the idea of being, again we're get we can move out of being when we talk about God. See, the Muslims don't view God as a being, in the sense of a supreme being in a high hierarchy like the St. Thomas Aquinas idea of a hierarchy of being God being at the top of the hierarchy, that that's really alien to the Islamic tradition. The idea of God here is
that God is absolute, that God is ultimate reality, that God when his when God's reality is articulated, every other reality vanishes into falsehood or non existence, this is utter transcendence, in the sense that when we talk about God at one level, in the Islamic tradition, we are talking about the radical other, we are talking about that which has no association with with anything created, that when we, when we even compare the created to this reality, creation, in a sense, disappears. creation has a type of unreality for the Muslims. What this means is, we can supplant any of these words here with the Divine Names or the attributes, we can say there is no
hock except the hop. In other words, there is nothing real, except the real, we can say there is no generous except the generous Kareem is the name of God, we can say there is no merciful except the merciful. So we can literally take any of the 99 names and put them in this formula. And it works. Why? Because when we speak without God, we are negating everything other than God. And this relates to God's absolute greatness, the magnificence of God, philosophically, it seems like it's, you're, you're saying God is other, but what about God's eminence, I'm going to get to that. And I will, I'll get to that, because it's very important point.
So when we, when we negate what we are saying is La Ilaha, la, la, la, la, la, la, la Ilaha, the sun La Ilaha, the moon that you know, the stars, La Ilaha, all of this La Ilaha there is nothing that I can see that I can conceive that I can point to, except that I have to say that it
such as a Christian, I think that they can be very similar. I think many Christians will believe this. In fact, the Muslims believe that this is almost really it's a universal understanding. Right? The Muslims would believe that they Allah is a universal understanding. But it's quite radical in its implications. And I'm going to get to that related to to heat and how this translates into into the world how we behave and act in the world. When we say in law law, this is the affirmation. So negation precedes affirmation in the Islamic tradition, negation precedes affirmation, we have to negate other before we can affirm what is real or what is true. All right. Now, if we think, you
know, many, many Muslims will say, if somebody says to them, I don't believe in God, then a Muslim would want some clarification. What do you mean by God, because we might, we might not believe in the same thing. Right, in other words, that there are many people in this time, certainly that have rejected more traditional concepts of God. And if you move into, in a sense, the,
the durkheimian view of God, which is really that human beings project that we project or the Freudian view, that again, human beings felt insecure, they wanted to create a big daddy up in the sky that's going to take care of all of us makes us feel secure. This is the idea within a modern Western view, that in a sense, God is a psychological mechanism that enables a human being to create some psychic stability. And there are people that reject that. There are people that reject that idea. From the Muslim point of view, the Muslims would say that belief in God is part of the fifth round nature, it is inherent to the individual. The Quran uses a word which is called fitrah, which
means the original nature the Aboriginal nature of the human being is
called fit bra. And that is that human beings are by their nature believers. They are believers. The problem is the belief is not full. It's it is not a correct belief, because of a misunderstanding about ILA. So you have animists animus, believe in something outside of themselves, right? Or you have somebody that associates with God that believes that there's duality, for instance, manichaeism Zoroastrianism, or multiplicity of Gods in Hinduism. And even if you get into the Brahman, I mean, the Brahmins kind of the Brahmins. What they don't tell the other people is that they really don't believe in the idols right, at the highest level of Hinduism. These are kind of simple ways of
allowing people that have not evolved enough, they haven't moved into the Brahmin class, which takes several lifetimes, right. But the Brahmins can understand God as the Atma, or that which does not have form. So they do have a concept of a formless God, right near Guna. They do have that concept. But the Muslims would say all of these ways of viewing or understanding God, if they are not preceded by a negation will fall into an incorrect understanding. And the idea is that the intellect cannot know God except through God. There is a fifth round nature, which is to recognize that God exists to recognize that there's something outside of myself, but the intellect is not sufficient
enough to understand God as God wants to be understood. And this is where we get revelation. So the next object of faith, right, I'm going to be there he will be queued up. There's books, there are dispensations. So the books
are dispensations from God, in which God explains to his creation, what he wants them to understand about him. So for from the Muslim perspective, every group has had this reminder. And it's interesting that it's called a reminder, these books are called reminders. The Torah was a reminder, the gospel was a reminder, if the Vedic scriptures were revealed books, originally, they were reminders. If Buddha was a prophet, he was a reminder, bringing people reminders, taking them back to their true nature, which is to understand God, that the human being was created to understand God, and God is the highest abstraction for the human being, we have nothing higher in terms of
abstraction. The human being does have a concept of God, even the atheist has a concept of God. So the intellect has the ability to conceptualize really that which cannot be conceptualized, it's paradoxical. But this is the power of the intellect. Somebody was telling me about the most sophisticated computer in the world that you know, has the brain of about the same intelligence as a flatworm, right? And I said, You know, I just said, That's amazing. He said, That's not amazing. This is amazing, is the the human intellect is what's amazing. The human intellect is phenomenal in its capacity to imagine, to conceive to conceptualize, to idealize. I mean, this is something very
extraordinary and the Muslim seed as a gift, the Apple is a gift, it's the crown of creation, and and, and a gift should be used for that which it was intended according to the Islamic tradition.
can be something
Okay, we're, again we get into definitions and semantics, from a Muslim point of view that the the intellect is not really what is conceived in the west of the intellect. In the West, the intellect is really seen as this rational, analyzing critical, I mean, the the kind of height of intellectual prowess is seen in the scientist, in a sense, whereas for the Muslim point of view, the intellect relates really to perception and compassion might be the necessary thing to be perceived, in other words, that the intellect What's that?
I think so. I think it's a broader understanding of intellect. In other words, the intellect really is that which sees things as they truly are. And when I asked one of my teachers what intellect was, he said, it's a light that God puts in the heart in which people are able to see things as they truly are. Right? So the intellect is an is an organ of perception. And if you perceive things as they truly are
Then the emotive faculty within the individual might
be stimulated by the perception of something as it truly is. So, if I see somebody suffering and my intellect understands truly what that means, then empathy emerges. So that is part of the function of the intellect You see, so the intellect would be necessary to I mean if you look at in a tribe brain type thing I'm gonna go into that just about the knifes Alright, so, some of these questions are I will get to you know if you want just hold them
just so I can keep
yeah trying to move along the the books. So the books are dispensations. Now, the Muslims do not know how many books there are, there were but we are told to believe, by the Quran with absolute certainty in four books. The first one is called the Torah. And the Torah. Generally, most of the Muslims believe it relates to the first five books of
the Bible, right? So you'd have deuteron, Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, the Vedic Leviticus and numbers, right? Those would be generally considered the first five books. Now it's important that the Muslims do not the book that, you know, the Bible is collected over 900 years from the Quranic worldview, there were alterations, and we talked about that already. So when the Muslims say they believe in the Torah, it does not necessarily mean everything that exists in the Torah today. So for instance, stories that that would denigrate the prophets.
The idea that lot, for instance, slept with his daughters, things like that are anathema to the Muslims, they really would not accept that as as being from the revelation and these are differences between the religious teachings but that is the the Muslim worldview, the the gospel would be the gospel of Jesus gospel in singular, not the four accounts, but a gospel one gospel called the Injeel. And then there's the war, which is the generally believed to be the Psalms of David. And then finally, the fourth part, or the criterion, and it's called the focus for upon in relation to the other three books because it's seen as the discriminating book. In other words, it lets us know
what what is still valid from those other books and what is no longer valid. This is how the Muslims view the Quran, that it is a book it is a criterion for judging other traditions. And the Quran says that it's more than that it is literally an overseer of the other traditions. So that now the books themselves are brought by messengers, which is the next we have to believe in messengers. And the idea of a messenger or a soul is somebody that is sent from God, to human beings.
To give them a message from God to explain God's intentions are will towards the human being, the both the books and the messengers are understood to be sent by God. Now,
there is a response to the messenger and it is either Amen. Or Kufa.
Now call for yo yo most often see it translated in books as disbelief. Caffeine is a is a non believer a disbeliever. That is not a good translation for kofa. The Islamic worldview, CS Cofer, if you look at the root meaning of it, it is from a root word Kappa, Ra, which means the the active participle in Arabic means a farmer.
Because what a farmer does is they cover a seed with dirt, they put a seed into darkness.
Now the idea there is that cover is covering over something that is the root of it. So in a sense, Cooper is seen as truth concealing, the truth is concealed. The idea there is it's really known that a person in truth cannot be a disbeliever. From the Islamic perspective.
No one can be a disbeliever in truth. And the greatest truth concealer is a belief in the Islamic worldview, any blees was one of the closest to God.
So the idea is that, really it's this is not about disbelief. This is about concealment. This is about hiding, or covering up. And that's how the Quranic worldview sees truth in relation to how people respond to it. They will either accept it, and that's why they're called acceptors rather than believers
They will accept it, or they will conceal it. Now, there are many ways to conceal the truth. And certainly many, many Muslims are truth concealers in reality. You see, so I can be a Muslim and here I am doing all my right things everything, but in reality, I am concealing the truth.
The essence of truth concealing is ingratitude.
The human being a calf ear is also called an ingrate. The idea is that if God in His bounty, because that's the actual idea of sending messengers is good intention. In other words, that God has a good intention towards his creation, that if God simply created the human being threw away the manual and just said, work it all out for yourselves, and everybody spends their life in turmoil on darkness, and moving out, right, you like the, you know, Milan Asada, Dean is a character in the Middle East. They tell stories about him. And one of the stories monda. He was in the tavern all night and he goes out and your early morning wee hours of the morning and he's wandering around the city,
aimlessly, policeman comes up and he says, moolah, what are you doing out at this time? And he said, If I knew the answer that question I'd be at home in bed.
The idea is that this is the state of many, many people. They're literally wandering around in a drunken stupor. And they don't know what they're doing.
They don't know what they're doing. And there are many, many diversions. There are many ways to conceal the truth. Right, Rumi talks about the many wines that God has put on this earth to put people out of their misery. He said Jesus was drunk in the love of God and his donkey was high on barley.
There's many ways that we can, that we can deal with the human condition, right? Like john lennon said, whatever gets you through the night. Right? There are many people that have that attitude. I'm just going to get through this, whatever it takes. That from a Muslim perspective is a type of ingratitude because the messengers have come, they have given people news, they have given people guidance, that the guidance is there. And that is why the truth concealer is the one who is in good Ingrid, he's an ingrate, because he or she is not accepting that truth. And this is the the Muslim view of looking at these two phenomenon of how we respond to Revelation.
Now another Mandala story that kind of is another way of looking at this is that Mandala was looking around one day for something, and somebody came by and he said, wonder, what are you looking for a system keys I lost? And he said, they start he starts helping him. And after about an hour or two, he's saying, Listen, where exactly do you think you lost them? He said, Oh, way over there. He said, Well, what are you looking here for? He said, it's better the lights better over here. Right? So there's an idea also that people will go where it's easy, instead of going where it's hard. And this is also a type of truth, concealment, to go where it's easy instead of going where it's hard. So the
messengers are human beings, first and foremost. And they have a type of capacity that other individuals do not have, although we have a glimpse of it. And this is why the Prophet Mohammed said, a true dream is 146 of prophecy 146 of prophecy, and anyone has access to a true dream, including from the Muslim worldview, somebody who is not a Muslim, can have a true dream. And this is an access it is 146 of prophecy. In other words, it is an indication for the human being of the idea that we can know something that has not happened yet. And this happens to people, they will have a dream, a prescient dream. And then the actual it happens, what you know,
what is that? See, for many people, they don't notice it happens to people, but they don't understand what it is, or what we call deja vu. Right in French, the idea of I've been here before, what's going on? This is a type of remembrance, according to the Islamic tradition. We are remembering something, you know, and this is i think it's it's, it's related to the platonic tradition of memory as well. You know, Plato felt that what we were here doing was simply remembering, right that we are in a state of forgetfulness, and this is related in the Quran to the idea of hafla.
hafla is heedlessness
Or forgetfulness that the human being by nature is forgetful, if you look at in terms of Vanity Fair, and many of the scholars have used this analogy in commentaries
the the servant is set by the king to go to the marketplace and get something but on the way to the marketplace, there's a fair
I've got plenty of time sons, Hi, I'm going to go look at the fair, he goes into the fair and then suddenly entertainment,
suspension of disbelief.
Priyanka preoccupied gets lost in the fun. And before he knows that the sun's gone down. Oh my god, the king sent me to the marketplace, the marketplace is closed, and I wasted my time in the vanity fair. This type of metaphor is related to this human condition, which is a flap that we become immersed in a type of heedlessness, that the world by its nature is powerful in that human beings become preoccupied. So how do we remind ourselves? How do we pull ourselves out of the vanity fair and remind ourselves daily, that this is the world The world is temporal, and there is a journey coming? From the Muslim perspective, it is the reminder itself a thicker
image? I'm gonna get to that. I'm gonna ignore that. I'm going to get to that.
I'm good. I know you guys want to get the let's get to the the juice here in a minute or transcendent?
And the answer is yes, no. But I'll get to explaining that.
People are overpowered. The prophets come now interesting. One of the there are four obligations according the Islamic tradition for the prophets. The first one is truthfulness. They have to be truthful, they don't lie. The next is
trustworthiness. They're trustworthy.
If he says he's gonna be here, tomorrow, he's there.
The third is conveyance that they convey the message. And the fourth is wakefulness. fatahna. The messengers are wakeful beings, they are individuals who have woken up to the truth. And we, in a sense, are like the cave dwellers of Plato's analogy. We are the people looking at the shadow world, and believing this is reality. The prophets are those who have gotten out of the cave, they've seen the real world, they come back and they say, it's not those shadows. Don't be fooled. It's not you're just seeing shadows, that is not the real world. These are images projected by a light, there's something out there. That's real. Right? And this is the idea that the messengers come to
wake people up, remind them, get them into a state of remembrance, not forgetfulness, get them into a state of remembrance. So hafla is the opposite of Vicar or remembrance. So in the Quran, there are juxtaposed heedlessness and remembrance, he listeners and remembrance.
when the prophets come, they tell people, La ilaha illAllah. The belief in the Quran is that no messenger has come, except that he has said La ilaha illAllah. That is the universal message of all prophets. What will change is the second part of the Shahada. For the Muslim it is now Mohammed Rasulullah. At one time, it was an ISA pseudo law. at another time, it was most Mussa Rasulo like Jesus is the messenger of God. Moses is the messenger of God, Noah is the messenger of God.
Possibly Buddha is the messenger of God.
The Native American people here, had had prophets had people that came to them to tell them about the nature of reality and the truth. So the idea from the Muslim perspective is that all peoples have been given these people that remind them that tell them now, because of the power of the world,
and the unknowability of God, we move into the realm of paradox, and this is where we'll get to
how we understand God in terms of God's creation.
In the Western philosophical, philosophical scheme, there are two concepts transcendence and imminence. transcendence is the otherness of God eminence is the, the the nobility of God, the presence of God for the Christian the imminence of God.
would be through Jesus Christ would be through Jesus Christ. That that is how God became known to man.
God's soul of man that he became man, that idea that this is how the human being can know God. For the Hindu, the imminence is through the worship of forms of idols. How then is God imminent for the Muslims? Because if we have the, the utter otherness of God, or unknowability of God, how then as an individual, do we feel any closeness to God? If God is so exalted, and so above the creation, how do we feel any intimacy with God?
For the Muslim? The imminence of God and the transcendence of God are related to two fundamental concepts about God? One is Rama
and the other is all about.
I want to get it there, right? That's where you want it.
And you get the point. I mean, I could go on and on. There are many, many examples.
This is the imminence of God.
And this is the transcendence of God.
It's interesting that the Quran begins Bismillah. Allah is a transcendent name of God. It's not an imminent name of God. It's a transcendent name. There is absolutely nothing we can associate with the name Allah, according to the Muslim. But then the next two names are R Rahman, R. Rahim, the Merciful, the Compassionate. That is out of the three names that we are given at the beginning of the Quran, there are two relating to mercy and one relating to this transcendence or otherness. This is consistent with the Islamic worldview because the Koran says, My Mercy
is over my wrath.
That the dominant quality that Allah is, is showing his creation, His mercy, not wrath, but wrath is there.
This also relates to two very important concepts which are termed fear
Now, if you want to look because Muslims like the traditional Christians As above, so below,
right what Durkheim and everybody they turned it upside down, as below so above. In other words, we're just projecting our world here. On the the, you know the other world.
Fear is related to the Father,
the father for the child in in traditional worldviews not so much in the American type of ideal now, but in traditional worldviews. The father is transcendent, the father is distant, the mother is imminent. The first thing that happens to a child on to the breast is not to the Father, it's to the mother. The nearest that the child experiences in the world is the mother and the father is distant. The father is watching the act from a distance,
the word the mother,
the word for Rama, in Arabic, so if we say Mother here,
the word in Arabic for mother
is rahem which in Hebrew Rahim they have the same idea.
Jews have the same idea.
Or I can mean is the same root word for Rama.
It is through the womb that Rama comes into the world. Without the womb, there is no sense of Rama. And the womb is seen as one of the greatest dramas, because one it is a Rama in that this helpless creature is protected in the womb
by a caring, loving individual that does not want harm to come to that which is growing in her and being nurtured because of her mercy.
The idea of the mother the compassion, right? It's the idea of compassion that the mother is forgiving the father, it's more difficult and how many scenarios do we know? In the human condition? How many scenarios Do we know where the father throws the child out? And the mother lets the child in the back door.
I mean, this is very common in human conditions. Right? The Father, I'm not gonna have anything to do with that. That's it. But the mother can't. And I know a friend of mine who's who was Jewish, he became Muslim, and they had a funeral for him
after his family.
And he was still alive, but they've considered like that he died. But his mother used to send him cookies on his birthday, right? So the idea that the mother even though this person has done something so severe in our tradition as that we cut him off, the mother doesn't cut them off. It's very difficult by nature, and this relates to the womb, the womb is empty. There's room in the womb for forgiveness, right, there's room there for forgiveness. Look at the womb, by its nature, the womb is a very small room in the midst of woman and yet, it can expand to take in so much. It has this flexibility, and it bleeds.
Right? it bleeds, the womb bleeds, it renews itself. And these are very powerful metaphors and images for this idea of imminence.
if we look in terms of nearness and distance, how this relates to human beings, near pneus is related to gratitude.
Distance is related to
neediness is related to emotion.
Distance is related to cofa.
So, if a person accepts God
and wants and strives to come to know God, that is a drawing near process. This is where we differ from the angels. The Quran says there is no angel except that he has a fixed place. The angels are fixed. It's not an upwardly mobile
job. They are fixed.
The Cerulean mokara Boone are the nearest
and then and also the great angels Jabra Ian, is rafeal Sarah cL mkhaya. These are the close angels in the angelic realm, but they are fixed. They don't disobey God. They only obey God out of Jabba compulsion.
The human being has this interesting aspect to him or her and that is the human being can choose one of two things.
This is where we begin our journey.
The Quran talks about two
phenomenon. One is called Dada jets, which are upwardly darra jet means stairs moving up Jacob's ladder.
Dada cat are stairs moving down.
Dada cats are easy, died yet are hard.
And the difference between them is the gene letter and the letter, the gene letter in the Arabic
Science of the letters is a * the letter it's a hard letter, the cat doesn't have the same * that doesn't have the same hardness. An individual at this point as a child is born according to the Muslims in what's called the feabhra nature.
We which is submission, the very first state of the child before the knifes begins to develop, and I'm going to explain the nuts. The very first state of the human being is submission. There is a famous teacher from Morocco, one of his students asked him, How do we come to God? How do we arrive to God? He went upstairs and he came down with a newborn. And he said, until you're like this, you don't arrive to God.
Right? Until you're like this, you don't arrive to God the ideas until you are helpless before God until you recognize what your human attributes are in relation to the divine attributes.
Because we do we are godlike. You see, the human being is godlike. You know, Shakespeare's idea of the paragon of animals.
Right How like a god, this human being, this form, the symmetry, the will, the volition, the power, the sense of independence, the ability to transform the creative capacity within the human being, the human being is godlike.
But this is delusional because he is only godlike in relation to creation.
When the human being relates himself to the Creator, he becomes the most pathetic of creatures, he becomes the most helpless of creatures, the most incapacitated, we can't survive for a few minutes without air, there was once a, a Buddhist monk who he was a master had his student came to him and he said, I want to achieve enlightenment. He said, the first thing you have to do is learn how to breathe. Simple. I know how to do that. I've been breathing all my life. He said, No, no, you have to learn how to be conscious of your breath. He said, Why should I learn how to be conscious of my breath? So he had some of his students take him to a river next to the monastery and hold them
And then brought him up? And he said, Now do you know why, in other words, we forget how quickly we can lose our breath, how quickly we can become helpless, because we feel the sense of independence. And until we start becoming aware of our weaknesses, our inherited weaknesses, the most subtle is breath itself because we are one breath away from death. Literally one breath away from death.
So the fifth nature is that a child is in submission to God as the knifes begins to develop the first knifes that shows up, and knifes here is a very important word in the Islamic tradition. And I'll just go through a little bit in the semantic field of knifes. The root word is is again Nafisa, you have it in Hebrew also nefesh. nefesh, is breath or spirit. And also interestingly enough,
psyche in Greek same meanings spirit nephesh to breathe, it's related to breath, right?
Notice has to at its base root It has two meanings nafeesa and never so all you do is change availing
one of them means to be precious.
And the other means to be niggardly.
So right there.
In the Arabic language, there is a concept embedded in the idea of self that we have two aspects to our nature. One is the beast steal, and the other is the angelic one is the selfless and the other is the niggardly one is the one that wants to give and the other is the one that wants to hold on.
And this is the human dichotomy. At the next level if you go to the next route, which is Neff fossa, where you put a shadow over it. So it would look like this
same route though, Neff is a means to help somebody to relieve them of their constriction. In other words, to give them breath to help them to expand somebody who's constricted, but you go to the next route
and it means to undermine somebody else to compete against them.
So it's right there.
In the language, the human being has these two opposing qualities for the child, at the first level, you can see this already. One is that the child will smile.
And give the mother that melts the heart, right? I mean, people you watch people's faces when they're looking at the baby. And doing that. And when the baby smiles, they all get, like they start kind of melting. Right? Why? Because it's like a gift from that baby. But then it starts screaming, I want. So right there in the in the baby, we begin to see the emergence of the dual nature and we see it through childhood. I mean, I have a five and a three year old, and you can see them moving between these two states. This this amazing state of wanting to give, wanting to share and then this other state of wanting to hold on, I'm not going to share right negation affirmation, the world is
negation. The next world is affirmation, negating the world affirming god, this is the human being, we are negotiators and a firmers. But if we get it wrong, what we should be negating and affirming we go into trouble. So the first nuts is called Nestle, Amara.
And there's an interesting book by Robert Bly for people that like him, some people can't stand him. But I like him. There's there's a book he wrote called the sibling society, which is about modern America. And because he's got this idea that Americans are turning into big babies, right, that they've lost this kind of sense of moving into maturity, and he uses the Islamic model of saying that many of us have become this Nussle Amara Amara means the commanding self. It is the self that is commanding us to do things that we shouldn't do. And if we submit to that self, we become a slave of our passions. And this in the Arabic language is called the abdomen.
The Prophet said, wretched is the slave of the dinar on the Delta ham of gold and silver, wretched is the slave of his clothes. wretched is the slave of his riding beast, people that become slaves of staff of the world. So Nuff said Amara is the commanding self. Now the next move up is called knifes, and dwama.
This is the blaming self, the reproachful self, the self is moving out of its of its
its abject nature. And it's beginning to recognize a type of moral imperative.
The nafs is still doing wrong, but it's saying I shouldn't be doing this. And this is consciousness, this is moving out of a completely beastial state and into a state now, where there is a tension between the beastial and the angelic nature of the human being. And this is best related to the idea of Adam and acnm being created from Earth and water.
Water is a purifying element by its nature.
Water in many traditions is related to consciousness, if you go into the Chinese tradition, water is related to consciousness, the element of water itself,
Earth is density. Now, water allows light through light can penetrate water, but light does not penetrate Earth. So the human being is mixed with these two admixtures of Earth and water that we have one aspect of ourselves does not want to let the light through and another does. And this is where you go into the knifes and the wama.
The reproachful self, you shouldn't have done that. Right. And this is this is I mean, some people of modern people have put this into the idea of the ID and the ego. And then the super ego, you know that it is more like the nafsa, Amara, compulsive self. And then the final self
is called nefs and Mahatma enough
which is the self at peace.
This is the self that's submitted. This is the self that has submitted completely. It's being to God and this self is no longer in this conflict. This is no longer in the religious state of I should do that or I ought to do that. But now it is moved into
Kierkegaard is kind of ethical self. It
Now realizes that this is the right thing and it wants to do it, it wants to do the right thing. And it does the right thing. Now by nature, not by compulsion, not by feeling I have to do this thing. So the human being has two choices, to submit to the low self, and take himself into alienation,
which is rad,
which is transcendence, to literally place himself in a relationship to God in which God is absolutely disconnected from God completely. And this is epitomized by the idea of denim, the idea of hell, that this is the ultimate alienation. Now, fire is a very interesting element, because it can't rise above its nature, it has an upward motion, but it can't rise above because it's bound to the earth, you see that the fire only exists because of earth.
And yet, it has this upward motion it wants to it's moving up, but it's held down by and this is the idea of being pulled down. You see being pulled down by fire and fire is very similar to light. It's not light, but it's very similar to the concept of light. I mean, there is light in fire. But it's not the light of that we relate to the spiritual light, luminosity.
The other is an upward movement. Now, there is a tradition that the Prophet Muhammad said a lot is that of the fire is surrounded by desirable things.
And Paradise is, is surrounded by undesirable things.
The idea here is if we look at the pure outwardness of something, and not as edits inwardness, and we submit to the outwardness. That an hour thinking the very desirable, but what are its inward realities. So for instance, for a man who
submits to his lusts, which is very common, one of the seven deadly sins, and very common human experience, there is something desirable, obviously, for a male and a female to have a sexual relation. At the physical level, it can be very physically stimulating experience.
But if we look at it outside of its social context, that desirability might be there, if we begin to place it within a societal context, what are the implications of this act?
What are the implications of my
sleeping with another person without any social responsibility? Because one pregnancy often can result? So there's an other there's a third, there's a third that is the result of the Act. Also, what is it saying about intimacy, in a culture in which the most intimate physical act becomes profane, to the degree that it has no emotional content? In other words, there are deep implications to the act itself. If we look at it from its desirability, it's a downward motion.
If we look at the aspects that might be less desirable, such as commitment, commitment is is is a difficult thing to make a commitment, there are things that are going to be difficult to relate to it. But what is the inward reality? So outwardly, there are many people in this culture who do not want to commit to marriage because it's undesirable? For them, they want to be free. I'm upwardly mobile, I don't want to be tied down. I mean, they see it tied down that's undesirable, Footloose, and Fancy Free. That's how I want to be what are the long term effects of that? You see, what are the long term effects? So outwardly, there are many desirable things, but then inwardly there are
many undesirable things. Just as outwardly there are many undesirable things, but inwardly there are many desirable things. So what the Quran in a sense really is trying to do is to get people to think deeply about things and this is why it constantly talks about thinking about the Arqiva, what is the long term, what is the subsequent results of the action.
So this this isn't is in a sense is a model of human potential reality in terms of its upward movement, and also degradation in terms of its downside
Word movement, most people are in conflict.
Many people are not in conflict, they have submitted completely to this downward motion, and other people are struggling to move up. And some people are moving up. Now in the modern world, we become, I think, quite cynical in a lot of ways. But I think the ancients probably had,
it was just there was there was a, you know, a sense of, of this, even within our Western culture, there's a strong sense of the idea of this upper movement, that it was humanly possible, you know, the, the dark night of the soul, St. JOHN of the cross is type of idea that that one could really achieve a type of power over the self and, and have completion and fulfillment in God, I think the difference may be between that classical model in the Western world, and the Islamic model would really probably relate to that the idea that the Muslim model is not saying, God, the world is bad. And the reason is, is because there's something the world is seen as literally a theater of divine
revelation. And, and the fact that God has made it a revelation means that it can't be bad. But to the degree that God is absent from the world, the world is bad. So in other words, there's a two Hadith of the Prophet one said, the world is green and beautiful. And another one, he said, it's like a dead carcass. It's green and beautiful for the one who understands one's place in the world and honors that place, and rises up to stewardship, and attempts to subdue the self and to be a caretaker, it is a carcass for the one who destroys his soul in the world, and thus destroys the world as well. So the
the next, just the next thing move is the idea of what's called
the belief in Allah, the belief in the books in the angels, the books,
and in the messengers.
And then I really didn't cover too much the angels but the angels are basically, beings made of pure light, created light, not uncreated, divine light, but created light.
there's a belief in the angels that there are angels with us, wherever we are, the Muslims believe that there are two angels. With us right now, each one of us whether you're Muslim or not, you have two angels assigned to you. One is called the rock Eve, and the other is called it. And one of the things that the Muslim in the prayer you say as salaam aleikum, you're greeting the angels. So this is a type of becoming conscious of the angelic presence. Part of the gift of that is to feel shy before the angels, because the angels, the dominant function of these two angels is recording actions, is recording actions. According to the Muslim tradition, the angel of the right records,
good actions, the angel of the left records, bad actions. Now, according to the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed, if a person does a bad action, the angel have the right does not write it down. It waits. And if the person asked forgiveness, before the end of the day for that wrong action, it does not write it down. But if they do not, it writes it down. The Angel of the right immediately writes down a good action. And there are even actions that are based on intention. So the angel have the right and this is the idea that God's mercy is over God's wrath,
that it takes precedence over the wrath of God. There are also angels that have the functions of maintaining order. Now, I think in the West, we have an idea of angels because of pictures. And and so when we think of angels, we start thinking of females, or males with wings and things like this. And although the angels are described as having wings, that from the Muslim point of view, there's the there's not an anthropomorphic type of we do not project onto the angels, they have neither sex they're not male or female, according to Islamic tradition.
and they do what they're told they can't disobey God, and they're made of pure light. Now the The next thing that the Muslims are told to believe in So the first is a law.
Second, is the angels. Now Angel also in according to the Quran, they're called messengers, which is the Greek meaning of Angelo's, is messenger, they're messengers of God, and then the books
and those relate to the primarily to the
gospel in singular,
and the Koran.
And then, if there were other books like Muslims would tend to hold out, you know, if like, the, the, you know the dhammapada scripture of the Buddhist or something, you just say Allah. God knows, I don't know. It's better not to negate it because we don't know. And then the next is the messengers themselves. And there are two qualities here one is the prophets.
And the other is
prophets are, there were one tradition says 124,000. Another tradition says 224,000. Muslims tend to say hello. And we know that there was a lot of them. The Quran says some of them we told you about others we didn't tell you about. So the idea is that a low on them, but the Quran does say every peoples were given a prophet, and they were sent with the tongue of the people.
It is the Muslim belief that Muhammad peace be upon is the only universal Prophet, that all of the other prophets, including Jesus, were tribal, or two peoples, they were not sent as a global Prophet, that the Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammed was the only global messenger. And that is very strong in the Muslim belief.
are given news from God, it can apply simply to themselves, or they can convey it to others. If they convey it with new addendums to a previous dispensation, dispensation, then they're called messengers. In other words, if they're given some new things, if they alter the law, like Jesus would be seen as a messenger.
Whereas Isaac would be seen as a prophet. Abraham is a messenger, Mohammed is a messenger, the basic rule is, every messenger is a prophet, but not every prophet is a messenger. So there's a distinction between the two. And then the fifth article of faith is what's called the other and this is where we get into.
This is where we get into debates. And you know, people go on and on. This is an unsolvable problem, but I'll just give you an idea of how the Muslims traditionally have dealt with this. Other is in most books called predestination.
The actual root word means a measuring out,
a measuring out, many verses in the Quran indicate that God has measured out everything.
Everything has what it needs, everything will fulfill its quality and characteristic. From the Muslim point of view, it is the father of Allah, the design of the human being, we have been measured our symmetry, how the human being emerges, it is the other of Allah, how the lion appears, all of these things are measured out. What is also measured out is one's provision in the world.
Every human being has an appointed amount of provision. Now, it's interestingly that the Muslims generally say, provision is not what you possess, but what you will use. So for instance, Bill Gates,
who is a multi billionaire, His provision is only that which he will use. So if he has a house with 100 rooms, and he only uses three of them, that's what has been allotted to the other rooms are not part of His provision, provision is related to what you will use
and that has been pre determined.
Now, the obvious question that comes to people is, if things are pre determined, then where does will come into this? Where does the human being have a will, from the Muslim perspective?
The first thing that is understand it that is understood here
is that had there not been an element of will here then there would be no meaning to punishment and reward? It would be unfair to and this is why a child is not punished.
Right? Because the child does not have
freewill in the sense that it does not have a full understanding of its own capacities, its volition, its ability to do harm. A child does not understand that whereas an adult does. The other then in relation to free will is that every human being will choose
what they do in the action is the intention. So, my intention in any action is what I earn.
We are not judged according to the action alone we are judged according to the intention within the heart related to the action.
This is what the human being is judged upon. And the Prophet Muhammad in the first Hadith in there said intimate Amato Binney yet actions are by intentions.
Now the other thing is that the Muslim say is that no one
has a sense that they're determined There are obviously elements within our nature in our being that have a determination we I did not decide what Color My Skin was I did not decide who my parents were I did not decide where I would be raised and what language I would be given there are definitely elements that we have no choice and these are called Wahhabi, but then there are elements that we have choice which is called QSB which is related to acquisition and this is what we are taken to account for. Now in terms of
good and evil. There is a belief here in the father and in the Hadith in good and evil. Now the two words are higher
and sharp, which are very important.
But time is right now. Jan 35. Okay, can Why don't we take can we take like 10 minute break? Is that okay?