Channel: Hamza Yusuf
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online at BBC co.uk slash five live, this is Pete Glover on five live. So Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has been described in the press as the West's most influential Islamic scholar, a convert to Islam. He is the founder of these, a tuner Institute in California, which seeks to educate people about the Muslim faith. He has also been described by one newspaper as President Bush's at Muslim. You're very welcome on our program this morning. Thank you very much indeed for coming in. Are you President Bush's linked to the Muslim world? Have you been that? No, not at all. I think
after September 11, I was the Muslim that was invited in to discuss the situation with him. So I think there was a lot of misunderstanding about that, that came out of that. But in fact,
you know, I think it's quite the opposite. You were responsible there for changing the name of operation infinite justice. Right. I did bring that up in that meeting that infinite justice was, and I think Christians and Jews and any other monotheistic traditions would certainly consider infinite justice, a blasphemous concept, the idea that somehow that America has infinite capacity for being just Yes, that kind of control freak, doesn't tend to Well, I the secular or religious? Yeah, I think the response to that was, the President said that we don't have theologians in the Pentagon. And I think that that would probably be kind of an interesting idea to maybe bring some
theologians in to discuss things because it seems like the moral
the moral cases is very weak.
You've said some very interesting things about where Islam is at the moment, and the fact that you believe it's experiencing quite a dark age. Why? Well, I would, I would say that the Muslims in a sense are going through a particularly difficult time.
I think that the Muslims were very successful civilization and people for centuries and, and in a way, it's difficult for us in the west to kind of imagine
how the scenario was because for many, many centuries, it was in fact, the Muslims that were the enlightened people and the people of education erudition. And right now in this post colonial period that's been going on for some time, and the decline of Islam is going on for a very long time. But the, the, the post colonial period is particularly painful, because not only were the institutions dismantled during the colonial period, educational institutions, so scholars, for instance, in the Muslim world, we we really are suffering from a dearth of scholars in the Muslim world. And because of that a lot of people that are not trained or educated theologically or or in Islamic
jurisprudence have suddenly become these spokesman for the Islamic tradition, and very often, they're extreme in their views. And these views are put forward somehow as being mainstream Islam, which it's it's like taking somebody like David Koresh from from Waco, Texas, and saying that he represents mainstream Christianity. What's that? What happened with the Taliban? Because I know that the worse? Well, I got, as he believed that they were actually not forward looking. And they had used an interpretation that was really quite backwards. Well, I think that the Taliban, I, personally, I really feel that the Taliban, it was an attempt at just stabilizing an incredibly
destabilized condition. And I think that,
for instance, you know, this, we often saw on the on the on the news media, this one, it was the same picture over and over again, of some Taliban hitting a woman. And we don't really know if it was a 30 bond, but that's what the image showed. And I think that, you know, you can take a picture like Rodney King being beaten by the la police, and suddenly all American policemen are going around beating people up. So you know, I think one of the things that the media does so that the LAPD did admit they had a problem, but well, they do have a problem. And and, and, and but my point is, is that what what the media tends to do is put a magnifying glass on things. And suddenly, it would
appear that that's the only thing going on. I think what was ironic was when the National Geographic found the famous picture of that Bhutan woman who had been on the cover as a little girl. She actually said that she fared quite well under them. I think what people don't realize is that the entire country was in a state of anarchy. Indeed, they did shut down the schools. They told women to stay at homes, but part of the reason why they took over in the first place was because of the rape of the town woman by the the the northern Afghanis. So I just you know, I think yeah, it was an unfortunate situation. But I also feel that there's been an incredible amount of disinformation
personally, and I did speak to a lot of people
Were there. During that time, I think that the biggest mistake that that group made was aligning with very radical
elements that were in the country that were foreign because the Afghan people, and I've lived quite, quite spent quite a bit of time many of my students have been Afghans you have many people are actually a very, they're they're a wonderful people that and and I think many of the Western people that have gone to Afghanistan, and there's a famous French photographer Roland, who spent a great deal of time there has recently put out a book, just saying that the Afghanistan he reads in the newspapers, it's not the guy said he knew in the 1960s, which was a land of just incredible beauty, both in its human population, as well as its physical geography. Would you say, though, that you
could make quite a fair comparison to politics in this country whereby people say the rise of the rise has been allowed, because there is a slightly kind of more a bundled stagnated platform in British politics. Is it the same in the Islamic world that fundamentalism has been allowed to thrive? No, I don't think there's any comparison at all. Because I think what happens in the West, one of the things that happens when, when you do have considerable amount of liberty and, and freedom to do what you want, a lot of people here just don't think about politics, a great deal in the West, particularly in America, I mean, America, although it does have a lot of political
activism, the political activism tends to be more like football teams, like I'm a Republican, you're a Democrat, and it's more Raiders and buccaneers type approach to things. But in terms of serious political understanding, I think that that the Muslim world has been living under despotism. For so long, that fundamentalism becomes a pathological reaction to the deep, repressive elements that have been controlling the Muslim world. And so religion becomes
liberation theology, it becomes a voice for the voiceless. And, and I think, really, that's at the root of a lot of the problems. For instance, if you look at the Palestinian situation,
in the 1960s, and 70s, it was Marxism which was the dominant
method of rebellion, or not rather not rebellion, but just as as their political voice. And in the 80s and 90s, it begins to move into an Islamic discourse, but they bring in a lot of Marxist elements into the discourse. And so I think what's happened in the Muslim world is you've had a great deal of influence from Marxism. And so the the Islamic political movements have often been tainted by a type of Marxist, revolutionary rhetoric, because Islam is not, in fact, a revolutionary tradition. It attempts to purify existing societies rather than to completely turned them upside down. That purified through converting, purify through, right through through converting and
Also through principles. I mean, I think the Islamic tradition is a tradition that it's not a theocratic tradition in the sense that we don't, God is not speaking directly to us. The Muslims also believe in the idea of natural law, and they believe in in Revelation as principles that have been given through a messenger and then the human mind attempts to apply those principles in the world. But human beings are always going to fall short of that. And I think one of the things that what what what extremists do is they arrogate to themselves the voice of God. And that is why they're able to kill people innocently because they really believe that they're acting with absolute
authority. And, and this is, I mean, every religious tradition recognizes the total fallacy in it in that perspective. Let's hear from Colin who's in Kingsland, Mohammed, who's in Birmingham and fareeda who's in Kingsbury. Hello, Colin, very good morning to your three to Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Good morning shake. Good morning.
My question is really directed as a person of color in the United Kingdom. I'm so afraid of what people in the Islamic community are doing, that there's no one actually in the UK, from the moderate Islamic community who are speaking out against what I believe now is a cancer in your religion. Either someone has hijacked your religion to the point where you believe that I mean based based on what's what's the manifestation of that cancer? Well,
you only have to look around you around every corner of the globe at the moment in the 1980s. You had the problem.
When was communism and so on and so forth? Right now, the biggest problem that this world faces, where I have a nine year old, is my fear now is Islam.
And where it is going, and all I want is for people like yourself who are reasonable to actually address your community and actually find out why is it that your religion is inherently intolerant?
Well, first of all, I would say
that I think you what you need to do, I mean, in religious studies, we have an idea of what's called descriptive and normative practice. Descriptive is what people do normative is what the actual religion teaches. And and I think what you have to look at it, you know, when when historians look back at this century, the 20th century, and now we're moving into the 21st, I think that what's going to be really obvious is that the the most violent people on the planet have clearly been Western Europeans and Americans, much more violent. I mean, the number of deaths that we have caused with our with weapons of mass destruction, that reduces the rest of the world, to really very small
numbers in the Muslim world, probably less than, than 2% of the violence in the last 100 years is has actually had anything to do with the Muslim world. So I think it's very distorted, because we don't really look in these historical perspectives. I mean, I feel that one of the things about the Muslim world is, it has been suffering a great deal. And I think that what we're seeing it as opposed to a cancer, I would say that it's an it's feverish. it's it's it's a it's a immune system response that that is out of balance, but because there is a great deal of suffering going on, I mean, if we look right now, just at the globe, people are very unaware of what's happening in
Chechnya, Kashmir, in Palestine, in Algeria, in places where, where there's just an immense amount of suffering, and certainly in Iraq.
And I think a lot of Muslims feel that and they're incredibly frustrated, because they are a voiceless community that, that they really believe is not being listened to. And unfortunately, I mean, I personally really feel that one of one of the things that that these extremist elements are is that they are a scream or a shout,
for an entire civilization and community to be heard. And this is one fifth of the world's population. And if we don't start listening, I really feel that it is going to get worse. And and that and that will be just a tragic calling, you surely don't equate all Muslims with the kind of actions that we saw by people claiming to be part of that faith on September the 11th. And they weren't actually they weren't obeying the rules, certainly.
against the crew, I don't I don't have quite all Muslims. This is the point. I'm saying there is a problem. Too often, too often. They either use this excuse or that excuse to accuse certain things. Look, as a Christian, that central tenant of my faith tells me to forgive my enemy. It doesn't tell me to murder my enemy. But there are many people who have claimed Christianity to be their religion who have attacked and who have shown aggression, Colin, I mean, are you really fearful of the Muslim face at the moment? I the point that the shapes made is valid, that over the generations, Christians have been far more responsible for far more deaths, I can accept that. But the point is, my daughter
doesn't live in the 18th century, or the 17th century. Now about the 20th century, she lives.
She lives now. And I want her to be able to get on the flight when she's at and not worry about people who are who say that Allah tells them that they should crash your plane into a building, that you can't hold that against every Muslim college. But why? Why don't we have more people actually come up and say this, this concept of suicide bombing, or jihad is completely alien, right? This religion. Thank you very much for that call. It was something that Margaret's action said after September the 11th. She wanted to see more leadership from the Muslim community and on damming it. And there we had, we do have serious complications here. I mean, I think that overall for instance,
Palestine, Palestine is incredibly complicated and it and it does muddy the waters for clear thinking about things because I think the vast majority of Muslims do view that the Palestinians have inherent rights there. And and and what they do, even if it's these extreme acts,
I mean, I personally am completely against the use of violence against civilians against women and children. And also what would be termed as as something that is beyond government authority if you're acting as a vigilante, not without without, I mean, it's just anarchy, and Islam prohibits any type of vigilantism. We'll take more calls Oh 509 89693 after the travel, but also we have a statement which has just been received. It says that the government has been forced to make a common statement on airport security. The common speaker has agreed to the requests made by the conservatives at this stage. It hasn't been confirmed whether the Home Secretary David Blunkett will
make the statement. There also be a statement on a right from the Foreign Secretary jack straw and the weekly business statement from the commons leader Robin cook. So probably the first we'll start at 1230 and jack straw on probably at 115. You'll hear all of those things here are five live Hello, Anna. Hello, thanks v Perth and Kinross. First of all, at the a nine m 9893. Broxton round about temporary roadworks are going on until 330. This afternoon, they reduce the roundabout to one lane only So allow for delays on all approaches in Sterling ah 875 stays closed for accident recovery between balfron and the eight double one junction at kammok Hill. No change in Cheshire either
they're still clearing the lorry load from the a 54 northbound at Bosley north of Congleton. So in the meantime, that side of the road stays close. And obviously though the a 38 has reopened northbound after an earlier car fire at the a 52 Junction at markeaton. The a five double one in Staffordshire that's still closed after this morning's accident on Ashby road in Burton upon Trent. And on public transport, there is still delays on London's tube network following this morning's major signal failure and a Rogen Firefly travel. Not all the weekend stories are sport related. We'll be bringing you the full story and the background to today's shuttle disaster. awakened by a
tremendous sound and there was a bunch of debris that fell that was burned and lost last a few minutes NASA has announced that it started and inquiry started in the life when the rest of the space shuttle was reached. And if you have any questions, please text us on eight five or five empathize with the shuttle wasn't carrying any radioactive payload. So we can use with Richard Evans, and Saturday and Sunday nights from eight five live Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is my guest this morning. So many calls. So if you can try and keep your questions brief, we would appreciate it. It's Mohammed in Birmingham. Very good morning to you, sir. Good morning. We want to share some
question, please. Assuming the fact that you've been on a crusade, a Muslim should revive intellectual tradition, especially the classical heritage of jurisprudence. And many people have actually started doing that because of your advice. But what they find is that once they start studying the books and the scholars that are recommended to traditional, traditional standing, the teaching that they are, they find is a teaching which is commonly condemned as being extremist and fundamentalist. I myself, tried to study hannity, and especially about jihad. And the very first line I have you read about classical texts of Islamic jurisprudence on jihad. jihad is abbreviation
of Muslims, regardless of whether non Muslims attack us or do not attack us. And this is currently being taught in Islamic seminaries throughout the Muslim world by traditional scholars. And I find, for instance, what you're saying currently, especially just what you've said, recently, seem doesn't seem to gel with what you were saying previously. And I honestly find that there's some sort of ingenuity here because if we are to discover our heritage, our heritage has aspects which are which are not compatible civilization.
just want to bring one point of view brought up
let's just say the answer to that. Because Yeah, well, first of all, I would say that, you know, jihad is an obligation binding upon Muslims, which is defense of the homelands. It's also the removal of aggression. But the normative practice of the Muslims
has always been that aggression is prohibited. The Quran is very clear on that letter, do Don't be aggressive in your wars. The Quran says if they are inclined towards peace, then YouTube should inclined towards peace, the Quran permits and certainly in traditional jurisprudence, the treaties with with non Muslim nations and those treaties was to be honored. You will find differing views There is no doubt because like I said earlier, Islam is not theocratic in we know exactly what God meant, but it's human attempts at understanding what God means. And that is why First of all, most of those
laws that deal with international relations that deal with these have nothing to do with your average Muslims. And when and when your average Muslims begin to take it upon themselves to implement laws that were that have to do with state polity and state power. This is where the confusion comes in. It's It's It's none of the average Muslims business to be attempting to apply laws that are directed to the rulers of a country. And and this is what's known in the assumption is 14 and 45. And 18. Everybody has to like praying five times a day pegs are carved these things key fire, only those people that need to do it, do it the other people don't do it. And certainly in the
in rules relating to government that has nothing to do with the common people that I can see where the confusion would lie, though. I mean, if you are advocating that people do read these texts, no. But if they raise them without without qualified teachers, absolutely. You're going to have serious problems. You can't just pick up a book and read look. In England, no one will allow a barrister who has not been trained in law school to go out and practice law and constitutional laws. Certainly, you have to know interpretive practices hermeneutics, you have to learn how to derive principles. I mean, if we had people reading a book on surgery, and going out and performing surgery, on people
out there out in the society, It's madness. And so you know, this idea that I can pick up my book and become a weekend. Mufti is absolute insanity. Mc is very busy dealing with some of these cases.
of course you can and then I want to ask you a question myself. Okay. The point being, what I'm trying to say from So you mentioned the Taliban themselves. The thing about the Taliban is that they weren't a government. They were Taliban, which means students. They didn't