The Crisis Of Knowledge

share this pageShare Page
Hamza Yusuf

Channel: Hamza Yusuf

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


00:00:38--> 00:00:42

minara rahima Salatu was salam wa ala Sayidina Muhammad,

00:00:44--> 00:00:52

he will be He will send them to Sleeman kathira de la hora mean, along with Elena hypnotic when Charlene automatic 11. Jerry.

00:00:54--> 00:01:12

First of all, I want to thank the hosts, all of the distinguished professors that are here, this wonderful center of knowledge, which I was made to understand that this is the largest

00:01:13--> 00:01:31

you University in Malaysia, this is also a wonderful auditorium, to be speaking and also to see so many young faces out here. It always inspires me to see the young people that are willing to

00:01:32--> 00:01:52

come out to hear a discussion or a lecture or to participate in something of that nature as opposed to spending their evening watching television, which is what a lot of people tend to do these days. The the topic, and I think Dr. Dell

00:01:54--> 00:02:03

was spoke very eloquently towards the purpose of the evening,

00:02:04--> 00:02:05

we

00:02:06--> 00:02:13

we also prepared some thoughts for an academic

00:02:14--> 00:02:25

audience. And I think there's quite a few students here. So we're going to modify what I was going to talk about a little bit. But the basic idea

00:02:26--> 00:02:28

of the crisis of knowledge is that

00:02:30--> 00:02:44

there are many problems in the world, we have economic problems. Currently, we have very serious political problems. One of the problems that we have right now is in Ukraine, which in some ways is a deeply troubling

00:02:45--> 00:03:38

crisis right now, because these are the situations that in the past have very easily led to major conflagrations. People tend to forget that it was the assassination of the air of the Habsburg Empire that ignited World War One which led to countless deaths, that it was the German invasion of Poland, which they considered actually to be leaving town, or German living room, they were re conquering what they felt to be part of the previous German Empire that was dismantled after World War One. And people tend to forget that world war two was actually a direct result of World War One. And the

00:03:40--> 00:04:32

the utter humiliation that the Germans suffered at the hands of the the conquering powers at the Treaty of Versailles. So these events led to over 100 million people being killed during the 20th century. But if you actually look at these problems, they were always a failure of the political class at solving problems that were, in essence, not just simply political problems. But But deeper than that. And this is part of the trouble that we have is that we no longer define our terms anymore. We no longer look at these human illnesses that we have, at a deep level, we look at them at a very superficial level. And so we have economic problems, but they're addressed at a very

00:04:32--> 00:05:00

superficial level. For instance, the recent massive crisis which Bernacchi Ben Bernanke, who was the head of the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States, and did his PhD on the Great Depression, recently came out, admitting that the financial crisis of 2008 was greater than the financial crisis of 1929 October 1929. That began the great depression but

00:05:00--> 00:05:45

Instead of addressing the problem at the roots, instead, what was done was to ignore the deep problems of the financial structures and institutions, and to simply bail out the criminals that perpetrated great financial crimes against large numbers of people, not just in the United States, but around the globe. And there were people here in Malaysia that were affected by that crisis. The Irish people were made to bail out banks in mainland Europe that had nothing to do with with Ireland, but their political class accepted this one of the few countries that actually did anything was Iceland,

00:05:46--> 00:05:48

where they put the banksters in jail.

00:05:49--> 00:06:39

So that and they refuse to pay the English banks for crimes that were committed against their population, by people that were unethical. So instead of addressing the economic problems at a deep philosophical level, which is understanding, first and foremost, the economic system that you have, at its philosophical base, because any institution you has, has a philosophical understanding, there's a philosophy behind consumerism, there's a philosophy behind capitalism, there is a philosophy behind despotism. And unless you understand the philosophies behind those, when when the problems of those institutions arise, you can't address them properly. Because you don't understand

00:06:39--> 00:06:50

the problem. Any physician knows that etiology. And diagnoses go together, you have to understand what caused the disease before you can treat the disease.

00:06:51--> 00:06:59

And you cannot, if you if somebody comes to you with malaria, and you treat them for malaria, and then you send them back to the malarial swamp

00:07:01--> 00:07:05

to simply be reinfected. Again, that is not treating a person

00:07:07--> 00:07:30

that's not treating the cause. And so looking at a deeper problem is very important. Now, one of the major problems in the crisis of knowledge is that knowledge has been defined by a materialistic, hegemonic civilization that does not know that does not acknowledge other forms of knowledge. So for instance,

00:07:32--> 00:08:17

in our tradition, as well as the tradition that Dr. delk was trained in it, which is the the the Catholic tradition in our tradition, our epistemology is very different from the epistemological assumptions of the current dominant model around the globe. But if we don't understand the epistemological assumptions, if we simply go to these universities, and we imbibe what's being taught without having the critical skills to understand and analysis, and analyze these things, then we become victims of worldviews that were engendered by others that do not share the same first principles that we share. If we don't know our first principles, if we don't know what our

00:08:17--> 00:08:45

methodologies are, if we don't know what the epistemology of Islam is, if we don't know how we view truth and what is truth, if we don't know these things, then they're easily that ignorance is easily replaced by another type of ignorance, which is a compounded ignorance. It's learning things that are simply wrong. Are scholars differentiated between simple ignorance and between compounded ignorance? Johanna maraca will Jalla

00:08:46--> 00:09:06

Jalla Basia is a is the ignorance that somebody who knows their ignorant has and this doctor not p, but I'll pass causes innocent ignorance is something that can be remedied. But compounded ignorance is an ignorance where somebody is ignorant, and they're also ignorant of their ignorance.

00:09:08--> 00:09:35

And this is this is a much deeper problem. And so one of the great tragedies of modern human beings. We have a cult film in the United States was called The Wizard of Oz, which every American child has to see year after year until they're fully indoctrinated into the worldview of the Wizard of Oz. But one of the things about the Wizard of Oz is there's a scarecrow who's looking for a brain.

00:09:36--> 00:10:00

He says, If I only had a brain with the thoughts, I'd be thinking I could be another Lincoln, if I only had a brain so he's looking for a brain. Well, he never finds the brain but at the end, the wizard gives him a piece of paper. And he says, In my country back home in Kansas, when somebody doesn't have a brain, we confer upon him a diploma.

00:10:03--> 00:10:51

And, and this is very often what happens in our universities, brainless people are given pieces of paper to convince them that they have a brain. But the reality of it is, they're actually more ignorant coming out of the university than they were going in, because when they went into the university, they had innocent ignorance. But by the time they come out of the university, they have this compounded ignorance. And this is one of to me, one of the great crimes of the modern educational institutions, that people are deprived of a true education. They're given what they think is an education educator to lead out of you cannot teach people what they don't already know.

00:10:53--> 00:11:47

That learning in our tradition is remembering. It's to that core, it's a recollection of something that we already know. And this is why the Quran says we're luckier, remind, make them remember what they already knew. What is it that we already knew, we knew a covenant that we took in another dimension. It was a sacred covenant. And it began with others to be a beacon. Am I not your Lord? And we replied as spirits we replied in the affirmative. Basha Hytner, indeed, You are our Lord and we witness to this were brought into this world and the world is a place of remembrance, it is to remember a previous existence, it is to recollect to recall, this is why we call the Corolla the

00:11:47--> 00:12:38

Corolla, because we're remembering what we already knew you cannot remember something that you did not know previously. And this is the highest form of knowledge in our tradition, it is to know your Lord Fadiman, Who let you know in the law, this is not being taught in the modern institutions of learning. They have completely removed God from academia, they have removed God from the social sciences, they have removed God from the physical sciences. And they have certainly removed God from the ethical traditions that are, are are taught today, and inevitably lead for anybody that has an intellect to moral relativism, based on how they're taught. So in the Muslim world, we have adopted

00:12:39--> 00:13:27

alien worldviews. These are not the worldviews of our own tradition, they have been given to us, by people that have come to certain conclusions about the world. One of them is that the world is purely the material world. It's a quantitative world, and this is why they they worship the quantitative sciences, over the qualitative sciences, but in the Islamic tradition, while a human being is meant to be literate in both qualitative and quantitative aspects of life, because we are beings of meaning but dimension, we have comprehension and extension, we have quality and we have quantity. And therefore both of them are important to have literate people but also to have numerous

00:13:27--> 00:14:01

people is important and this is why the numerous sciences, the the quantitative sciences are important, but our tradition always gave precedent over the qualitative sciences. And the single most important of all these sciences was language, language. This is what makes us human. What makes us human is that we are articulate beings, we are beings that can communicate, but what is the secret of our communication? When we were told in the Quran in Egypt, you know, that or the diva, the angels asked

00:14:03--> 00:14:49

to attach I don't see how many you've seen to see how we could demand will you put in the earth, those who saw corruption and shed blood? It's interesting that their question involves corruption and shedding blood, which look around the globe. Now, how widespread these two phenomena are corruption and bloodshed. We have corruption. Unfortunately, the Muslim countries, the corruption indices that are done in the Scandinavian countries on a yearly basis, the Muslim countries are some of the most corrupt, they are in fact considered to be the most corrupt countries in the world. In fact, on average, Nigeria is always takes first place, and Pakistan generally comes in second, but I

00:14:49--> 00:14:56

have a Pakistani friend who informed me that the Pakistanis bribed the Nigerians to take first place.

00:14:59--> 00:14:59

So this is

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

This is a big problem. This is a major problem that we have.

00:15:06--> 00:15:53

Now, the other is the shedding of blood. And so the angels asked this question this is, is this him? It's not at all. They're asking to understand because they were looking at the beings that were on earth before humans, which were the jinn. And this is what the jinn did. The jinn were here before us, and they were corrupt, and they shed blood. And so the human being was put here to replace them. Now, what's interesting about this replacement, that the angel said, when that newness of the new subject to the Hyundai Kona, Paddy, sulak, we praise you, and we we deem you holy and transcendent beyond any description, that this is what we do. Allah says, Allah, any animal malita animal, I know

00:15:53--> 00:16:05

what you do not know. And this is important that the word that is used is I know what you do not know. And then the very next thing is why Allah Adam and asthma, and God taught,

00:16:06--> 00:16:57

man, Adam, all of the names. This, this is the secret of the human being, that we have the ability to abstract, we have the ability to see the one in the many, the only way that we can communicate is by seeing the one in the many when we talk when we talk about a lecture. So you you knew that there was a lecture tonight, how do you know what a lecture is? How do you know what a lecture is? If I say there's a lecture on the crises of knowledge? How do you know what a crisis is? How do you know what knowledge is? Because you have abstracted the one out of the many, there are many types of crises, but they share common qualities. And that enables us to speak intelligently about the

00:16:57--> 00:17:32

oneness. Though the unified nature of crises, enables us to speak about the unified nature of knowledge. We are unifiers by nature. This is what we do as human beings we are more hidden. We are constantly making one and how do we make one we make one through language, we can only communicate because of the oneness of language. And this is why the ultimate abstraction is to recognize that this diverse creation also has a source, just as every crises.

00:17:34--> 00:17:46

We can abstract the essence of a crisis, we can abstract the essence of a crisis. Out of all these diverse crises, we can also abstract the essence of existence.

00:17:48--> 00:17:51

Out of all this diversity and the essence of existence,

00:17:53--> 00:17:54

is Allah subhana wa Tada.

00:17:56--> 00:18:26

This is this is our Lord. He is not creation. He is the creator of creation, but it's through his creation, that we know him. This is the crisis of knowledge. We have failed to see our Lord in His creation. We have failed to see our Lord in this extraordinary theater of manifestation that He has given us to come to know him in the short time that we tarry here.

00:18:28--> 00:19:21

Muslims are a theocentric civilization. Our lives are meant to revolve around God. We are becoming like other previous civilizations, a narcissistic civilization, as a civilization that revolves around me. This is the child civilization. This is the age of the child. We're living in the age of the infant. But this is a tyrannical infant. It's not because we look at children we have in English we talk about I don't know if you have this distinction in the Malay language, but in English, we talk about childlike and childish, childlike as a very positive quality. But childish is a very negative quality. Because a child has an innocence that we all recognize because it has yet to be

00:19:21--> 00:19:25

tainted by the world. It's a sinless being.

00:19:26--> 00:20:00

But the child is nature the child is nature is the tyrannical nature of the self. This is nothing Amara, this is the knifes This is the ego that does not share. This is the ego that sees that it is the only thing in existence and everything is peripheral to its own existence. This is what the child needs to be educated out of. This is the essence of education is to draw the true nature, the true innocence of the child the bottom of the child into existence and this is done.

00:20:00--> 00:20:45

In our tradition, we have no word that that corresponds to the word education. There is no word in the history of Islam that corresponds to the English word education, we have two concepts that are always kept together tarbiyah with taleem, the idea of nurturing and the idea of educating In other words, you cannot separate the nurturing process from the process of education. And this is why they were always they went together, the more of the, the more, the more of them went together. The teacher was a spiritual mentor, as well as being an intellectual mentor, you cannot separate the spirit from the intellect, because the intellect in and of itself is a spiritual phenomenon. It is

00:20:45--> 00:21:41

not a material phenomenon. Consciousness is spiritual, the very the very center of the human being this core that a lot calls the lube, una el Bab is a immaterial reality. It is a spiritual reality. And so the the Merapi was the one who took you by degrees, who brought you out of yourself. And this is why madrasa in Arabic means the place of effacement. It's the place where the negative qualities are effaced, and the positive qualities are inculcated, they called the first stage of education, the emptying out of the self. And the second stage was Talia, the adorning of the self with those beautiful qualities. What the, the the ancients called truth, goodness and beauty, what we call amen

00:21:41--> 00:21:47

Islam and if San Eman is our truth, there is no God but Allah.

00:21:49--> 00:22:16

Islam is the way that we behave with goodness in the world. And if someone is that the the, the profound need for the human being to make things beautiful and also to recognize beauty and this this is business the human condition. But if you look at the current world today, Everywhere you look, there are two powers ruling.

00:22:18--> 00:22:35

There is the irascible power and the concupiscent power, there is the the the the dog sold, this is what Mr. Rosati called the dog soul and the pig soul. These are the two powers that are raining, the people that are consuming

00:22:36--> 00:22:44

and not recognizing that their consumption is killing them. And then the people that are effecting their rage on the world.

00:22:46--> 00:23:32

Literally going out and and and with rage in the world, the war mongers, the war mongers, whether they're spreading the weapons of war. And we know in our tradition, that it's prohibited to sell weapons during times of civil strife in the vast majority of Unum has said it's prohibited to sell weapons when people are fighting because Islam does not encourage fighting it encourage, it encourages ending fighting kinema Okada, not on how to be up for how long every time they raised the flames of fire, God put those flames out. Muslims are supposed to want to put the flames of war out not to ignite the flames of war. This verse that was recited at the beginning and it was an

00:23:32--> 00:23:48

interesting choice from from sort of to Toba. But this verse, it was recited that B is a good example. You see, the Quran says to him, you know they, the disbelievers will find harshness in these people. This is only during actual fighting.

00:23:49--> 00:24:09

But there are now Muslims that believe that this is simply the way we're supposed to behave with non Muslims. Whereas the Quran tells us lay and Hackman and Latina Deen that God doesn't prohibit you from showing those who don't oppose you and persecute you religiously.

00:24:10--> 00:24:24

Right, anti Roma tuxedo la him that you show righteousness towards them and that you actually give them a portion of your wealth. This is what are the elbow bucket in his Quran says tuxedo la means to be just but he also says

00:24:26--> 00:24:44

that you can actually help them when they're in need. We just recently I've been mentioning this for years, but just recently I was glad to see it. There's a Turkish filmmaker that wants to make a film highlighting the fact that in the 1840s in 1847, the the great Ottoman Sultan Abdul Majeed

00:24:45--> 00:24:48

sent shiploads of

00:24:49--> 00:25:00

an aide to the iris during the Irish famine and and set pounds, money to help them. This is one of it. This was

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

Before the idea of global charity, this was before the idea of actually helping other people.

00:25:07--> 00:25:47

And I would challenge anybody to show me many examples of this in human history where people are suffering in one place, and people in another place find out about it and want to help them out. This is a very modern phenomenon, the idea of aid. But so far, not the Majeed. He had an Irish Doctor Who told him about the suffering of the Irish people during the potato famine, and the Anglo Saxon people in England, were not only not helping them, but in fact, they were actually happy about it, because it was removing a problem that they had, which is the Irish problem, if you don't believe me just read a modest proposal by Jonathan Swift. To see the although it's a sarcastic

00:25:47--> 00:26:37

piece, it identifies the sentiment of many English about the Irish. So this ship was sent to Ireland, and the English were so bothered by it, they actually prohibited from being allowed to dock in, in, in, in in their, their, their shores in Ireland. So the English that were controlling Ireland at the time, did not want to the aid from Turkey to come to the Irish. And so they had to the Ottomans went down, and they snuck it into a southern harbor. And that city today has a plaque, reminding people of that fact that this is this is this is mercy. And this is based on a Quranic injunction that human beings wherever they are, should be helped Algeria during the Great Famine of

00:26:37--> 00:27:25

France at the beginning of the 19th century out the Bay of Algeria set massive amounts of wheat from Algeria, to France to help them because they were suffering even though they were their enemies at the time. But there's something that transcends the animosity of politics. And that is the necessity for us, to reveal our humanity, to be known to be people that do beautiful acts of goodness of kindness. This is this is the essence of human beings. The prophets on the line, he said, almost called a mercy to all the world. Well, my son NACA indorama, telling me, we only sent you as a mercy to all the worlds, this is our Prophet, he was a mercy. In fact, why don't you have a brilliant

00:27:25--> 00:28:01

Afghani scholar here, and you're fortunate to have him Dr. commodity? Who writes extensively on the Sharia. I had the good fortune of having lunch with him today. But one of the things that he says is the two fundamental mythos of Islam are Rama and houda mercy and guidance. And I would argue that really they can be collapsed into one because guidance in itself is a mercy that the reason God has given us guidance is because he's merciful and the Quran begins Bismillah R Rahman Rahim it doesn't begin with Mira Bismillah R Rahman Al Hadi.

00:28:03--> 00:28:38

It begins Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim to emphasize using two attributes of mercy, that that is the essence of our Lord is mercy. And the essence of his prophet is mercy. And so Muslims, this is the tarbiyah tarbiyah is inculcating mercy, it's taking the child out of its cruelty. It's taking it out of its selfishness into a sharing creature, a creature that wants to serve others instead of be served by others. And then the name is the Buddha. So tarbiyah and Thai name is Rama and Hooda. It's mercy and guidance.

00:28:39--> 00:28:53

This is the essence of our tradition. And guidance is is is something that we cannot live without. And because we're imitative creatures, we imitate what we see. Now we have demons teaching our children.

00:28:54--> 00:29:38

We have demons, if anybody came to your house and knocked on the door, and you open it up, and they looked like Madonna, or or Britney Spears, or any of these people, Russell Brand, you know, you know these people because we're in a global civilization. But if any of them knocked on your door and said, Excuse me, do you mind if I come inside and just entertain your children for a few hours? Which mad person would say Oh, of course to photo, even with the wonderful Malay hospitality, you wouldn't do that. You'd say get the hell out of here and you would slam the door on them. You know, Who does he think he is? Or Who does she think he is? And yet, so many of us simply turn on the

00:29:38--> 00:29:44

television and plop these little children in front of this mindless box.

00:29:45--> 00:29:59

And and literally allow a stranger's from a whole other civilization with a whole other set of agenda agendas to raise our children. I was one studying the Disney Channel.

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

Because Disney channels everywhere. And it really struck me as odd that that this obsession with with spreading your message all over the world so that Mickey Mouse, which I believe is going to be burned in hell with the other idols, that Mickey Mouse is part of global civilization. You know, a mouse is not exactly something that will traditionally we've looked up to.

00:30:24--> 00:30:37

You know, it's not Mickey the lion, you know, people name their children after lions and Falcons and eagles. Right? A mouse isn't even an orangutan.

00:30:38--> 00:30:44

You know, which is quite a stunning species specimen, as far as animals go.

00:30:45--> 00:30:50

I mean, I could look at an orangutan all day, just so amazing looking.

00:30:52--> 00:31:07

So but I was I was doing and so I looked at some of the, the cartoons, the artists that they have, and I went to their Facebook because I wanted to see what type of people these were. One of them had as his profession defiler of children.

00:31:09--> 00:31:24

And it just struck me as so strange that somebody who was doing cartoons for children would describe themselves as a defiler of children, a defiler as a corruptor. It's somebody that that that makes something dirty, that makes them unclean.

00:31:25--> 00:32:14

So this this is a major problem that we have is that we're not thinking about what our young people are growing up with. So on the one hand, we have the over the other beer and on the other hand, we have the full Shania, we have the the dog soul, which is the anger. So half of our oma is filled with rage and a desire for vengeance. And then the other half is is filled with shallots, with appetites, concupiscent appetites, spending too much money going and wasting your money on on empty things. In certain Muslim countries, they spend 15 times more on luxury items than the average Westerner. 15 times more a year on luxury items than the average Westerner. What is that that's a

00:32:14--> 00:33:02

sickness. And that's because they're trapped in their their lower self. We haven't risen above these two sold because we have accordion mama is daddy we have four faculties in our being four faculties, we have the irascible soul, which is the dog soul, the shadow Ania soul which is the pixel. And then we have the faculty of justice, which is the balancing faculty and then the stage soul or the rational soul. One of the American poets, he said some say the world will end in fire, some say an ice, from what I've tasted up desire, I hold with those who favor fire. But if it hasn't had to Paris twice, I think I know enough of hate to say that for destruction. Ice is also great and would

00:33:02--> 00:33:49

suffice. He's talking about these two forces in the world of appetite and and and and anger that the the world we're gonna destroy ourselves out of our rage like these revolutionaries that want to tear everything down or out of our appetites were were consuming until there's nothing left to be consumed. And this is a crisis. Because the sage soul, the the rational soul, and I'm talking about rational I'm using this not in in, in, in, in a in a sense of formal logic. I'm talking about the true rational soul that sees essences that sees first principles that acknowledges reality that recognizes beauty and harmony that sees that behind this is something vast that we cannot

00:33:49--> 00:34:27

comprehend. We can only comprehend it in our incomprehensibility of it. And this is our Lord. This is real rationality. It's irrational to believe that this popped into existence out of nothing. The atheists are the irrational ones, not the believers. They are the truly irrational ones. And and their crisis of knowledge should not be our crisis of knowledge, because they no longer believe in anything. Their meaning is determined by each individual. This is their meaning. And this is why they can have wealth and fame and that and yet they take their lives.

00:34:29--> 00:34:33

Even in our suffering, we don't take our lives because we believe in our suffering.

00:34:35--> 00:34:42

That there there is there is something spiritual about suffering. We believe that suffering is redemptive.

00:34:44--> 00:34:55

This is our belief. It's takfiri. The new it is it is to remove our sins and there will be people that have great suffering before they die. And our prophets realize him had Hassan mote

00:34:56--> 00:35:00

he experienced the pangs of death and actually

00:35:00--> 00:35:03

On his deathbed, the pangs of death are intense.

00:35:04--> 00:35:07

So even the best of creation was not spared the pangs of death.

00:35:08--> 00:35:16

Because this is the transition from this world to the next world. So this is important for us to keep in mind.

00:35:19--> 00:35:22

conclusion, I would say that

00:35:23--> 00:35:59

if we don't seriously address the crisis in our own the current crisis of knowledge, our own mind, and recognize that metaphysics has been lost in our own mind, the seeing the deeper causes of things that we will be trapped in the economic causes the political causes, and fail to recognize the deep spiritual causes that are at the root of the human condition. If we don't address the spiritual crisis, which is it's an intellectual crisis, because the intellect, as I said, is a spiritual Oregon. It's not a material organ. It's not a physical organ.

00:36:00--> 00:36:37

When it when it looks at intelligible, it's called the icon. When it looks at spiritual realities, it's called rule or sin. But these are all synonyms for the same reality which is a spiritual reality. If we don't address this deep seated problem, and recognize that the faculty of balance has been lost, that we need to restore this balance of our triune souls, that we have intellect, and we have emotions and we have appetites. If these aren't working harmoniously in the proper order. Then we either perish in fire or we perish in ice. Zakouma head on with cinnamon