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The Critical Importance Of Al-Ghazali In Our Times
Channel: Hamza Yusuf
File Size: 29.70MB
Episode Transcript ©
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hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa salatu wa salam O Allah Ashraf al anbiya evil mursaleen Sina Mohammed Allah Allah He wasabi mine
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim. It's my great honor and pleasure to introduce our brother Hamza Yusuf, whom we all know and love. And we are so fortunate to have him here with us in Louisville, again.
A couple of Ramadan's ago, he called me early in the morning, he was in tears because one of his children had come from school, and was learning things that were really quite incorrect and wrong. And so we set about on a project together, we're working together as a tuna and funds v tide to bring out the entire illuma Deen from a recent, extraordinary critical edition. And at the same time, do a version we're working on a version for 12 year olds and five year olds with illustrations. And it's the most amazing project and there have been people here in the room like ambreen beracha, who've already helped us with this. And we're working very hard to make this
possible. And so that's why Hamza tonight will speak about the critical importance of Al ghazali. In our times, welcome.
Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. along what suddenly was suddenly Mubarak and I see that Mohammed Ali was you send them to sliema. What are what are what are they allowed him?
I was just wondering, is that your computer?
Because was your screensaver, Rastafari and flag?
That's interesting. So
because I thought I saw Rastafari and flag between those images. And I saw I'll begin with a quote by Bob Marley,
which relates to my mother bizarrely, Bob Marley said.
He said to free yourselves Free your mind from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind and have no fear of atomic energy for they cannot stop the time. How long will we stand aside? How long will they kill our profits as we stand aside and look, but some say that's all a part of it, we have to fulfill the book. So I thought it would be a little Bob Marley quote there.
The the picture that was chosen free mama daddy was
it really troubled me? Because I think Mr. Rosati if he saw it, the first thing he would do is take a sledgehammer and and literally tear it down. Because in my mind, it was a great iconoclast. And, and unlike the, those who destroyed the idols,
that are worshipped made of stone and wood, and other things, he was interested in destroying the idols that our minds generate. He was interested in destroying the idols of the ego. And he actually considered the greatest idol to be the idol of the self. And so this is this is his starting point, really, in letting us recognize that shift, this concept that is so profound and constant in the Quran, this idea of associating with God, he really felt that the great association with God was the idea that the self had some kind of independent existence. And, and that was the idol that he was engaged in dismantling and deconstructing. And in that way, he will continue to be relevant for for
all time, because he set about really to articulate as best he could, the way that that could be done. And that and that's his great Opus, the arrow Noma Dean. So what I'd like to do is look at three aspects of Mr. Rosati and conclude with why he remains relevant for us today. The first aspect of his life is that he was born in an incredible time and place to be born for somebody of his genius, because there there there have been probably countless geniuses that were born and still are in places where their genius is never nurtured or enhanced, and I've met some really brilliant illiterate people that had they had the opportunity
To go to school and to learn and, and to cultivate their minds. In fact, I was once in, in Arabia. I was in Jeddah, and there was this really unusual. Originally, she was an Ethiopian girl. So we're back to Rastafarians. She was Ethiopian girl, and, and she was working as a maid in this house. And she was like a wild thoroughbred. They had such a hard time with this girl. And because she was just constantly challenging them and questioning things. And finally, she actually lost her job. Because I would ask about her when I would go back, how was she doing, but she lost her job because they couldn't handle her. And what was very clear to me was that she was she felt so wronged by just
being in this economic hardship, of having to leave her country to go to a foreign country and to be treated
in a condition that really wasn't that humane. And so she was constantly rebelling against this. There are many, many stories like that around the globe. She, Mr. Mehta. passatti, however, happened to be born, first of all, into an extremely pious family, his father loved scholars, his father was not a scholar. But he loves scholars, and he spent his time serving scholars and his one desire was that his children would become scholars. And
he died early and left him out of rosani. And his brother Ahmed, orphans, but before he died, he left a little bit of money and put him in the care of a very pious man, and told him to raise them in the best manner, so that they would be pious people. And what happens is Mr. mazzani, both he and his brother were actually very, very intelligent, and displayed their their brilliance very early on in the madrasa. And they learned what could be learned in loose at the time, as he entered into his early youth where he would be ready to move to the next level, he was sent to a place he's born, literally, in fact, he's born at the head of the sixth century, Islamic era. And he, he goes to this
school, and it just so happens, that probably the most brilliant scholar in the Muslim world was there at the time. And we underestimate the impact that this has, because just to give you an example, there there the the ping pong champion of Great Britain, wrote a book called Ping. And in that book,
he says he's going to answer the question of why he became the ping pong champion of Great Britain. A lot of people don't know that after China, Great Britain is the second most important ping pong country in the world. British people don't really do too many outdoor sports. So they're really good at ping pong. But this man said, I would like to argue that I was just this really talented genius ping pong player. But that would be a lie. And so I'm going to tell you why I really am the great ping pong champion of Great Britain. It's because when I was eight years old, my father brought bought for some reason, a proper tournament size ping pong table, a very good quality and put it in
the garage. And I happen to have a 10 year old brother who loves to play ping pong. And so we played ping pong all day long. And so what he says is, he was sent to a school because his house was one house away in the zoning. And he happened to go to the school with the best ping pong instructor in Great Britain.
And because he had mastered this thing, as a child, he was prepared to have this great teacher. And he ended up being apprentice if taking this teacher took him as an apprentice. And he literally learned all of these things that he would not have learned in another place. And so we forget this is the element of other and we forget about this, that, that we would like to take credit for a lot of what we do and who we are, but so much of it involves other things that have nothing to do with us. It's pure circumstance. One of the things Robert Frost said in a beautiful poem, if you should rise from somewhere up to nowhere from being somebody up to being some from being nobody up to being
somebody, be sure to repeat to yourself, you owe it to an arbitrary God whose mercy to you rather than to others won't bear to critical examination. Stay on assuming if for lack of license to wear the uniform of who you are, you should be tempted to make up for it in a subordinating look or tone. Beware of coming too much to the surface.
Using for apparel, what was meant to be the curtain of the inmost soul? Emma metaphysically was a nobody who became a somebody, he was from nowhere and became from somewhere. But he forgot to stay on assuming. So he had the best teacher in the Muslim world, Mr. Mulvaney and he was his best student. In fact, Mr. Giuliani said about him, he's an ocean that you can drown in, which some people say was
a kind of double edged compliment. You, Mama Rosati at a very early age mastered all of the sciences at that time. And that was a place where they were learning
all of these intellectual tools, he mastered logic and an very early age and one of his first books was a book on logic. he mastered grammar, he mastered rhetoric, he was a rhetorician in both Persian and in Arabic. He wrote, his poetry is not that extensive, but he was an excellent poet. He's one of the finest literary stylists in the Arabic language. And this is something notable because many of the scholars who write in Tafseer, while they write in good, in good Arabic, they're not known for their literary style, whereas he constantly uses extraordinary metaphors, stunning turns of phrases and tropes and figures. And so he's a delight to read simply as a literary, a piece of literature.
But what was happening to him out of his alley is he was learning very quickly that to be clever and brilliant, was something that impressed other people. And in that culture, which took education very seriously, it was a way of advancing yourself. And he became very obsessed with this, he could pretty much win any any did he he won every argument he ever got into. And
he became, according to his own statement, he became intolerable as a as a person. And
at a certain point, he latches on to the coterie of the the one of the rulers at that time, a minister, after finishing with Imam and juhayna. He comes to him and enters into his court and becomes one of the courts scholars. And this was a way of career advancement. What we would today call scholars for dollars, so he was in this environment. And this minister who needs almond milk is one of the most extraordinary characters in in Islamic political history. He himself was a scholar of his own weight. But he recognized that aha, Sally's genius could be used to forward his he had an agenda and that agenda was to establish a certain type of Sunni normative Islam, a Sunni orthodoxy,
because he was living at a time where you had Israeli botanist, these were Isa terrorists who wanted to Isa to recite Islam to where the outward meanings were really not important. But it was the inner message of the, of the tradition. And so he goes then, and begins to write polemical writings against the botanists and against others, and at the same time, he's writing books in a really large spectrum of interests, he had a vast encyclopedic mind, and was capable of grasping very, very difficult concepts. So he goes, and in the, in the,
the 590s, Islamic era, he in a period of about four years, he has this immense output, he writes a critique first he writes a book on what are called the aims and purposes of the philosopher's Mufasa, that a philosopher and then he refutes those aims and purposes in another book, which is called to have written philosopher, which 100 years later leads to the refutation of a Veronese or even Russia called to have to have it, which is the incoherence of the incoherence, because he called it the incoherence of the philosophers also the deconstruction of the philosophers.
So at this time, he's got this incredible output he's made in his 30s. He becomes the head of the neilan Mia, a head professor at the neilan Mia and Baghdad. And this would be like being appointed to the head of Harvard, one of the chairs of Harvard at a very early age in in the Muslim world. This was really unprecedented. So he
classes would bring literally 1000s of people these were done in very large Masjid in Baghdad and not just students could come but other people, a time of incredible intellectual activity. So all these people are coming, and he Mamata passatti gives dazzling speeches, he gives incredible classes, very eloquent. Everything at his hands literally all the tools of knowledge, he pretty much knows everything there is to know. And this was said, in the pre modern world, this was something that was quite possible, you could literally master what was known at the time. I mean, we forget that the Encyclopedia Britannica of the first edition, I think it's in in 1734 has three volumes. It
was it was quite small, because they're the this explosion of information that occurs
in the 19th and 20th century, prior to that somebody like gurteen could literally be a master of what was capable of mastering in terms of outward sciences during his life. This is what he might not have, as he did. But he himself was struggling. He was he was profoundly troubled by his own state. And he wrote his autobiography, moped mental baton, which is the Savior from air. And what he does is he categorized four types of knowledge. He argues that there is the knowledge of the philosopher's which is a rational knowledge, the knowledge of the theologians, which is a knowledge with that has rational component and a component of Revelation. And then the knowledge of the
esotericism. And he would philosophers at that time would also be what we would call today scientists, because they understood that natural philosophy was actually a branch of philosophy. So they considered scientists to be natural philosophers. So he he would mean by today, he would categorize the scientists under that category, people like Dawkins and and and and those who expound a materialistic view of the world about the the who were called the naturalist or the materialist, or daddy on is another term that was used. So what he does is he he basically,
he writes this incredibly revealing autobiography about his own crisis. And he tells us what happens to him. And basically what happens is he goes to the, to the masjid to give his lecture, and there's all the students, and he is incapable of speaking, he can't speak. And he said, that for the year prior to that he had wavered whether to set out on this path or not to and what he meant by it was the path of realization. Because the the third, the third category of knowledge that he argues were called the use of terraces. They were people that claim that there were certain people that had special knowledge is that were inaccessible to other people. And we just had to follow these people.
And then finally, he said, the last claim was to the people of tussle Wolf, who argued that knowledge was the knowledge of experience of taste. And that real faith came from experience and not from a set of, of logical propositions that you memorized in a in a textbook. And so he, he studied each of the previous ones, all three, and he mastered each of them. And what's interesting about it, is he did not suffer fools lightly. But the reason for that is because he had really taken all of these arguments to their logical conclusions. And he argued that sectarianism is based on people not taking their arguments to their logical conclusions. He felt that the sectarian mind was a
superficial mind because they were trapped in an inability to exhaust their own thought, and realize that their own thought if they exhausted, it was actually a dead end.
And because he went to the end of each of these positions, and realized that they were dead ends, and in that way, there's a postmodern element to his alley, which is very interesting. What he's arguing is these narratives, these grand narratives, that these, these, these groups erect and then really become idols that they put up, can actually be dismantled if you if you use the right tools to dismantle them. And this is what he does. With each group. He dismantles their arguments. The only group that he said that he could not dismantle was these people have to solve because what he said was, their argument was not a rational argument. And he had all the rational tools to fight
these other groups. Their argument was an argument of experimental psychology. what he was saying was
They were what they were arguing is that this is a science of the self
that can dismantle the self and allow the self to perceive
the reality of the self. And he, he argues that it is a science because they argue that it can be replicated. And this is the essence of science that you can replicate an experiment. If you cannot replicate to use poppers terms. It's non falsifiable. popper would say religion is non falsifiable, which is the problem with it only something that's falsifiable, that we can actually test it empirically, that we can actually establish it as a science. What it says is, what these men and women have argued, historically, is that if you do these things, with these preconditions, you will have the same journey as everybody else that has taken this journey. And it will lead to the same
certainty that gave these previous peoples. Here's the map.
He argues that you need a guide, although he himself, it's arguable that he did not take a guide. But he argues that you need a guide. He gives you the map, he tells you what you need for the journey. And then he argues that you have to set out on the journey. He can't help you after that. But what he says and the reason why he's called the proof of Islam is what he says is, I took this journey, and the destination is real. This is not a fantasy place. This is not what swap. You know what, what in the stories of Sinbad, this magical place, somewhere in the east, this is not what wild This is a real place, a place of presence of experience of ecstasy, because the word budget in
Arabic, which means to find also means to enter into an ecstatic state. And this is what he's arguing. So when he has his crises, he decides to set out now he has prior to this written some of the most important books in the history of Islam, people know him for that area. The reality of it is his his single most important book, historically, has been the Mostafa, which is in also and Eric Hornsby, I think rightly argues in his autobiography and his biography of ghazali, that ghazali was essentially and also the scholar.
This, this is his great, Opus is the most fun and when I asked him delevan beja, one of the greatest also the scholars living, if he would This is the question that I always pose to scholars. I asked him if you're on a desert island, you can only take one book with you other than the Quran and the Hadith, which would it be and Shan Abdullah told me and Mustafa by Imam Al ghazali, which is also the text and and he adds things to are also the tradition that emammal juhayna, who was his teacher began to develop but Azadi himself took it to the next level. And also after vasarely is dependent on Khazali. This is a fact of our holy tradition. So we forget that he was a great also the scholar,
he was a great moral ethicist. He wrote me Zen and Ahmed is one of his books on moral ethics. He he, he wrote
that the book he never left home without although he memorized it, he still carried it in a physical book was probably just behind it, he'd put it to memory. And this was something that he learned on a journey after he'd come back, studying, he was on his way back home, and he had all of his books, and on on a donkey,
and the briggen, who robbed this caravan, robbed, took his books, and he begged him to leave his books. And he said, Why should I leave them? He said, that's all my knowledge. I spent three years gathering this knowledge. So please don't deprive me of it. And he said that the briggen laughed. And he said, what kind of knowledge is it that a Bryggen can steal it from you?
I mean, is this really knowledge and ghazali says in his book, that I know that it was God that made him speak, so that I would learn a lesson. And from that day forward, he never learned anything except he put it to memory. So he literally memorized all of his texts that he studied and taught and one of them was urato. This behind his book on ethics, which is one of the most brilliant in my estimation, books ever written in, in moral philosophy. It's called makaha. Dr. McAdams Shetty. It's actually translated into English, and it was published by his stack. He was heavily indebted to Buddhists behind it.
Ethics but he wrote an Aristotelian virtue ethics, what we call virtue ethics today, but added to it a spiritual component that's lacking clearly, in the nicomachean ethics of Aristotle, very similar to what Aquinas did and Aquinas we know, not only read ghazali in Latin, but he also attributes that source in his bibliographies. So Aquinas does mention ghazali berries, and even Sina, who is called Evan Sena. So, Mr. Mehta passatti wrote all of these extraordinary books, and then he sets out on this journey. He realizes he has to leave because these doctors come and they look at him, they take his polls, they look at his urine, they do all the things that doctors at that time did. And they
said that he was suffering from melancholia. And it's very common in the humoral theory, which was a theory very dominant in the Muslim world, as well as the Greco Roman world and is still used in Catholicism, they still actually believe in the humoral theory of temperaments. But the argument most scholars are choleric by nature. In fact, it's the choleric temperament that enables a scholar to study as much. But if a scholar studies too much, and is too prodigious in his output, he falls into melancholia, which is the sodashi personality. So he goes from the software our way to the cell down. So what they argued was that he has exhausted himself. He has, there's so much output, that he
has exhausted himself, what Allah has that he realized, and this is part of his genius, was the reason he had exhausted himself is because he was relying on himself for all that he had done prior to that, that his entire corpus to that point, was based on his reliance on his self. It was all from his self, that he was just putting out from his self. And that's why his self was exhausted, because he couldn't do any more. And at that point, he couldn't talk.
And so the very thing that had elevated him and made him the most extraordinary scholar in the Muslim world, had also ended up ending his career. It was the tongue and we forget the power of the tongue. The pen is mighty, but the tongue is mightier.
Because of his tongue, and his eloquence and his brilliance and his abilities, he was able to rise from a cobbler son, a weaver, son, to the highest academic position in the Muslim world. And yet he realized not only was he a complete phony,
but he could no longer play this game with himself anymore.
And he said, it was God that did this to me, and he thanked God for that gift. And then he decides to set out on this journey, and for the next 12 years, he takes a journey and this journey will take him all over that part of the Muslim world at the time, he spends two years sweeping the mosque in Damascus. Now, you can imagine this is this is like somebody whose stature is so great intellectually, in our culture.
This would be like, the head of Harvard, become a becoming a janitor in the National Cathedral, and telling nobody to abase himself.
And then he goes to Jerusalem, he writes, and he's writing during this time, but he's, he said, practice was always difficult for him, it was always easier to open a book than to practice. And what he does during this time, is what he calls her yava, which is the spiritual disciplining of the soul. And that's why he writes considerably about Java.
Towards the end of this period, he writes his Opus Magnus, which is the Luma Dean, he gives it the title reviving or the revocation of the sciences, in the in the pre modern sense of that word, not like we use it today, but in in the Latin meaning of it of knowledge cintia,
then the sciences of the religion, and he begins with a book called keytab. And in
this is the book of knowledge. And what he argues in there is that the people that are known as the mutata, Simone, he calls them formulas, the people that stop at the letter of the word that they spend their lives discussing words. He's he argues that these people have destroyed Islam. And he really challenges them. If you read the Yeah, what you will find is that it's constantly for scholars, it's one of the hardest books to read, because he is constantly calling
You a hypocrite. And and and the reason he's capable of doing that is because he was the best of the best. And, and he knows the heart of the scholar, he knows the place of stature in the scholars world of the applause and the love of Bravo. He knows exactly what that means the accolades that one gets for their cleverness for their production, for their brilliance. He was he was the the cleverest of them all. And and this is what he argues in that first book. He said, You're all fooling yourselves.
And I know, because I was one of you. And then he says, He basically argues that real knowledge is not all of these words. It's something much deeper than that. The words are necessary, but they are only a necessary they are not a sufficient cause for the purpose of this. And then he will argue that the real purpose of this religion is to know God. It is about Madiba, it's about realization of God. But he says, but I'm not going to write about what he calls mo kashia. About the unveilings that will occur to people that take this religion seriously. What he says is, I'm going to write about more Amada. I'm going to write about how you can achieve this state. And here's my book, and I
divided into four
sections quartos the first section is going to be about the secrets of why we do all these things. He what he says is don't be content with simply doing Voodoo. There are Muslims now when they go into the the bathroom, they just, it's just this quick thing and they see it as something they have to do. Before they do we'll do my own teacher monitor Hajj in the Sahara, I used to do will do next to him. And he on average would take about 10 minutes to do will do. It was really quite extraordinary to watch him do will do. And I realized from his will do that. for him. It was an act activity badda he was not simply doing a ritual he was actually experiencing because we know that
the prophets I send him said when you rinse your mouth, the sins of your tongue flow out with the water in the Shafi madhhab the water of will do is considered polluted. You can't actually use it you have to dump it, water plants with it, but you can't drink it or use it because it's it's polluted by the sins that have been washed away. And so in my mother passatti is arguing that there are secrets to purification. And he says that when the Prophet said the whole Chaparral Eman purification is half of this religion. He said do not think that he is talking about this water ritual that we do. He is talking about purifying the heart. This is this is what he's talking about.
And this is only symbolic of that purification. And and he talked about Amanda province allies to them said what do you say about a man who lives beside a river and Bay's in the river five times a day? Will you see any filth on him? And they said certainly not yellow soda law and he said this is like the man who washes himself and then prays five times a day. This is what he is doing. In other words, what the outward washing is to the body, the inward reality is to the soul. And and then he argues about prayer and what the purpose of prayer is. He says prayer is entering into the presence. And the reason that you say Allahu Akbar is you are pushing this world away from you and putting it
behind you. And you are entering into a state of presence with your Lord. And then he says, you begin Alhamdulillah here are the mean, Praise be to the Lord of the worlds the Merciful, the Compassionate. Ar Rahman Rahim, medic kiyomi Dean the Sovereign of the Day of Judgment, or the Master of the Day of Judgment, and then you speak directly This is in Arabic called lt fat, where you move from a third person tense what they call a feel Baba aloha to hip hop and how though, where you move from speaking to somebody who's absent to speaking as somebody who's present yaka Nabu to you alone we worship yakunin, starting to you alone, we seek help, that this is he says, This is
what the Fatiha is. It's to enter into the presence of your Lord. It's not just to go through these motions, this perfunctory act that you have to do five times a day that this is about coming to intimate discourse with your Lord, and then you speak to your prophet directly.
Sara Monica, are you headed Navy? Peace be upon you. That's not set on ya he, uh Sara Monica. Because you understand that there is a spiritual presence. There's a spiritual presence. The Prophet sallallahu Sallam said to the medical, I see your actions. This is a Sahih Hadith en el Bazar, I see your actions in the grave
for either wish to hire an HMI to law where either widget to Sharon, a staffer to the con, if I see, good, I praise God that these are my people that I taught them to do good and they're doing good. And if I see you doing wrong, I asked forgiveness. He doesn't curse us. He doesn't say why aren't they doing good? He asked forgiveness for us. So in my metaphors that he then talks about fasting and Zakat, these what are the meanings and Hajj, the real meanings behind these, these things that we do and take for granted. And then he moves to the second, which is the second quarter of this year. And the architecture of that here is quite extraordinary if if you examine it, he moves to the
second quarter, and he shows that you have daily things that you do. We were talking today about sacred monotony, this idea of doing these things that we do every day, and they become our practice. Like the the master Archer who goes out every day and practices until it becomes effortless. It's no longer he is no longer present. The beginner's mind is a wonderful mind. They say because the beginner's mind, is really the mind that has arrived. Because the beginner is always present. They because they're so worried about getting it right. If you watch a beginner driver, I love when I drive by these schools, you know, these driving schools, I love watching these people learning how
to drive they're using about 16. And they're in there and they're just
they're so present, because they have the beginner's mind. You see, after a while they they like everybody else, they're falling asleep at the wheel. Right? They go from one place to another and they don't know how they got there. But they've done that trip so many times, because they're asleep at the wheel. The lights are on but nobody's home. This is most people. We're somnambulant we're sleepwalking through life. We're not present. We're not present in our meetings. When we meet each other. We go through the motions, we shake the hands, we don't really hear the names. When I lived with the Bedouin in Mauritania, one of the things that really floored me about some of the sighted
hain amongst them, one lady, and and very dear lady to me, she was the wife of my teacher, and she died a few years ago, Marian bent wava. And I wrote a piece about her called another mother of the believers. Miriam asked me when I first arrived there in 1984. She asked me if I had family. And I said, Yeah, and she said, What are their names? And I said, Well, I've got my mother's name is Elizabeth, and my father's name is David, and my brother's name. I have two brothers. one's name is john. And the other is Troy. And then I have four sisters. I have Kathleen Patricia Elizabeth, who's now called Nabila and Mariah, and I didn't think anything of it. I left after I left that period.
There were 10 years before I went back, when I first saw Miriam, after 10 years.
She said to me,
Kiva, Joan Kiva through Kiva, Mariah Patricia, and she named all of my family.
And it just it just really, it was such a dagger to the heart because I realized she wasn't just asking
She wanted to know their names, and she internalized their names. And 10 years later, she could recall names that she'd never heard in her life because they're not Arabic names. And she only knew Arabic And I, I was just so stunned, but she was a present human being. She did decode all the time. That was her life. She spent her life serving the students of that place. She knew every name of every student that ever came to that and gray Ayesha met met her and, and and remembers her, you know, she she was present
And, and this was from practice this was from just the monotony of every day, working on your presence with God. Because when you're present with God, you're present with the creation of God, you start noticing things like the wind in the trees, you start noticing the subtleties of everything that's around us. It becomes real. And, and this is, this is what Mr. amount of bizarrely is arguing that and so he has the book of he begins it with eating and drinking. We eat with no presence anymore. People used to take time before they ate, and said grace, even in this country, people would stop before they ate, and they would thank
their Lord for the gifts which they were about to receive. This was common practice being present with food. People used to be present when they cooked food, they cooked food with love.
I had one teacher, one of my teachers, Alma Malachi, his wife, would cook her food,
during prayer on the Prophet the entire time with Nia to Shiva, that God would make that food a healing for the people that ate it and make the energy that they derive from it used for worshiping a law. They would, they would only buy from grocers in Medina that they knew prayed five times in the prayer in the masjid. They would go out and pick their own animals and sacrifice them because they didn't want to buy meat from these butchers that they didn't know how they were treating the animals. This is a real family that I have visited over the years. It is a fact. And and I guarantee you many people have experienced this, it if you go and have eaten a full meal, and you go there and
they serve you food in the house of oma Malachi, you will not get indigestion by eating a second meal immediately after that at his house. And and many people have testified to this because they will force you to eat. They will say curl curl.
Curl. They say Colin curry Jaguar kajima you know, eat like men and drink like camels.
That food was made with presence. We forget people don't have energy anymore. How is your food being manufactured? How is it being grown? How is it being cooked, because this is where energy come from? It comes from. That's the suburb for the energy. The energy that we live on is caloric. It's heat derived from these means that God has given us so he talks about being present when you eat chewing your food. Being grateful,
not putting another morsel in until you finish chewing the morsel that's in your mouth because he says this is from gluttony
to don't eat quickly, to eat with gratitude, never mentioned death at the table. He says death is not an appropriate because he said if your heart is alive and people mentioned death at eating, you should lose your appetite. And if you don't, it's a sign that your heart is dead. Wendell Berry the other night talked about people now reading about massacres are watching them on television while they're eating their dinners. And it has no effect on them. This is from deadened hearts, were no longer feeling.
And, and then he, he moves into he ends this chapter.
He begins the next section
with the section on
the wonders of the heart. And this is the section where he deals with what he calls the money cut those things that are destructive to us. And the money cut, in his understanding are the vices that will kill the heart. And he ends he talks about pride and arrogance and he distinguishes between vanity and arrogance. He says vanity all you need is a mirror. But arrogance always requires another person.
So the vain person simply needs a mirror to admire himself. But the arrogant person needs another being to a press
and and he talks about the roots of these and much of it is related to death. The fact that people have forgotten that they're going to die. And then he ends this section with the book of delusion
or what we would call illusion. This the internal state where we completely misread ourselves we don't know who we are. The Arabic word that the the Roman word for personality persona
means mask. In Arabic, it's called Shazia, which comes from a word that means a shadow. So the personality is is is a shadow, it's an illusion, who you think you are is not who you really are, who you are is, is related to your historical narrative where you were born, where you grew up, you speak, if you speak here, like a Kentucky in, you have a certain way of speaking. But if you grew up in New York, you would be speaking like a New Yorker, these things have nothing to do with your personality. They're simply the, the circumstances you find yourself in.
And and he says that to get out of this delusional state,
is is is the beginning of the path to want to get out of this state to recognize that you're in it. And that's why the next book, which is the last 10, books, the book of salvation, the first chapter is about repentance, metanoia, changing your mind turning back, realizing that the destination that you're on is one to your own death. And he ends this he has fear and hope and trust in God. And he puts trust until he'd in the same chapter, which is very interesting, because to him tawheed is not a theoretical construct, which it is to most Muslims, this idea God is one, no to him, God is doing everything at every instant, that is tawheed. And Khazali is arguing that if you really understand
this, you will have utter trust in God, you will put all your trust in God, because it's all God. God is doing everything in every instant. And this is why if you're not content with your circumstances, he argues, you're not content with God, because it's God that put you into those circumstances. But what God is asking you to do is respond to them appropriately. That's the challenge. It's not the circumstances. The challenge is the power that God has given you, in your will, your Rada, to actually take your circumstances, and respond appropriately. And there are only four circumstances and four requisite responses. You're in tribulation. And he says the response to
that is patience.
You're in a situation of blessing. And you have to respond to that with
gratitude, and that will increase you. And if you don't do those things, what he says if you're in a state of gratitude, and you respond by heedlessness, the blessings will be taken away from you not as a punishment. But as a reminder, to pull you back. One of the things he says if God, he said, there's only two types of people from ahaadeeth, people interviewed ation, and people in good situations. He said, if you're in a good situation, God will send the people of tribulation to you. And if you reject them, and close the door on them, He will make you the people of tribulation, he'll take away your blessing, because your blessings are to serve the people in tribulation. These
are the awakenings that he's trying to instill and inculcate. And this is why as you read this book, a transformation should occur. If it doesn't, you haven't read the book, but the book is not to be read once in the house, that army tradition, the 40 books were read one book a day for the rest of your life. And this is what the howdy my did every 40 days, they would do a shutdown of the here and start over again. And I was fortunate to be in one of those gatherings with Shay Holly Bell soggy, a hatami scholar, and he literally could finish the sentences by rote have the idea because he knew it so well. And when we would read it on Thursday nights, we would go to his house, and we would read
it and he would literally correct all he was blind he couldn't see. And he would correct the with the readers when they would read if they made a mistake, he would correct them. It was really quite an extraordinary experience for me to see somebody who had completely internalized this. All the people that I have met, that have been part of this tradition, are really some of the most extraordinary human beings that I've ever met my own teacher had spent several large period of his life reading nothing but they're here in a graveyard outside of the Bedouin encampment where he was from, and the prophet SAW him visit the graves and this is why Mr. Manoj bizarrely ends his great
book. Yeah. With the book of death, because he knows that he argues This door is right in front of you. You are knocking on this door right now.
You don't know when it's going to be open, but you come
into this world, and you are knocking on the door of death. And that door is a door that opens to infinity. And he's saying you're here for this finite period of time. And it's, it's such a great gift to be alive, to be a human being, it's a great gift to be a rock,
as opposed to not existing at all. It's a greater gift to be a flower.
It's a greater gift to be a tree. And it's a greater gift to be an eagle. But what a gift to be a human being to be a conscious human being created on the doors of eternity, literally created on the doors of eternity. And this is what he is constantly reminding us. And he's saying, You're on this journey.
And you're either conscious of it, or you're not, once you become conscious of it, you have to become an act of wayfair not sleeping on the bus. But driving the bus, making sure that it didn't take a detour down the wrong road. Because all the roads lead to death, but only one of them leads to a good death. And, and that's the road of,
of being a beautifier being somebody that makes the world a better place than you found it that when you leave the world, the world was better for having you in it. And this is the ultimate criterion of a human being whether they lived a worthwhile life, or whether they squandered their life in frivolity, vacuity and stupidity. And he uses the word stupid many, many times. Many times, he doesn't shy away from that word. Because all of us know that we have elements of stupidity in our lives. Nobody's free of this.
But to not squander, to not to not squander this life is the essence of intelligence, whether you're a street sweeper, or a professor, a doctor, a judge, a lawyer, whatever you're doing, if you're doing it with purpose, intentionality, purity of end, and means, then you're doing the right thing. It doesn't matter what you're doing.
I would argue that we're in one of the greatest crises that we've ever been in as a community, the Muslims. And I'll conclude just by saying a few words about this.
And why Medical Society is so relevant for us today. Mr. malla, Rosati hated sectarianism, because he felt that the sectarian mind was a provincial mind. It was a mind that was incapable of seeing universals, that it was trapped in the in the realm of particulars. And he also recognized
the concept of the wayfarer. And my father, who taught philosophy and humanities at the university level, spent a good deal of time with Aquinas, and a lot of lot of time more time with Plato, probably. But he knows the western canon very well. He spent his life reading and rereading it.
He saw a film without him on it. And he asked me is this man in translation? I said, Yes. He said, Could you get me the book. So I gave him several books of the metaphors adding cluding, the alchemy of happiness, the two volume version.
And he devoured those books. And when he finished, he told me two things. He said,
I know my tradition reasonably well. And he said, and I can honestly say to you, I don't think the West has ever produced a ghazali. And this end, coming from him. For me, that was quite a statement. The second thing he said, If you spend the rest of your life just reading this man, it won't be a life wasted and intellectual waste of a life. But the purpose that Allah has actually makes very clear is it's not about reading me.
It's about taking what I've written and writing your own story, with your life, being these meanings embodying these meanings, and that's why he's originated Islam. He is the proof of Islam.
And in this age that we're living in when men of religion and women of religion are so few throughout the Muslim world, I can honestly attest to the fact that I I've met many very devout Muslims. But it's rare that I've met these types of people that are transformative by being in their presence, that the work that they've done and put into themselves and I've met women and men of this caliber and stature.
In the Muslim world, and and they have always had the same effect on me. And these are the people that Imam Rosati is calling us to be because we need more people like this. The imbalance on this planet is from the lack of people of stillness of people have presence. The Quran says that when the homies little jelly, this zealousness and fanaticism of the jadie people riled them up. Allah says that he sent down his Sakina his tranquility on the believers on the prophet and on the believers that the response to fanaticism and zealotry is Sakina. It's not more fanaticism, and more zealotry. But Sakina is not something it's something that God will descend upon hearts that are open to it. If
the hearts aren't open to it, they won't receive it. They'll miss it in their own agitation. And so Mr. Rosati is really to me an antidote to so much of what we're seeing out there all this madness. I think they would be shocked at at the type of of of Islam and the lack of community. We've got a lot of good Muslims, everybody in this room. You're good people. But our community, our oma when we saw what was done to Gaddafi,
when he was captured,
that that brought shame on our community, as a community, it brought shame and if it didn't bring shame on you, then Shame on you.
Because our prophets ally said when he came into Mecca, he came in with his head bowed, when he had the power to crush the people that had crushed his people for 13 for 2020 years, when he had them in his power. And they said, What are you going to do with us? And he said, that's a three baliga Malone. He said what Joseph said, there's no blame today. This is not a day of blame.
Hynde who had bitten into the liver of his own uncle, his beloved uncle, he sat with her and spoke with her.
And it was painful. When he met washy. He asked him to tell the story of his killing his uncle. And when he got to the point where he pierced him, he said, covanta has fuka It's enough and tears were flowing down his eyes. And this was the necessary confessional that they did in South Africa, where they made these criminals come before the South Africans and tell them their crimes, speak their crimes, because this is how we purge these things from ourselves by admitting these things. It's not about public humiliation. It's about people taking responsibility for their actions, and and a great opportunity was squandered.
But this is the crisis that we're in and we have an immense amount of work. I want to thank a few people in here. Dr. beracha, for coming. He's a dear friend and really one of one of the pillars of our national community. I also gray Henry, Ayesha gray, Henry is is a friend of now many years and I'll just briefly say the first time I met her was in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I was a very young student of Arabic. And I didn't have enough money to buy but I just wanted to see lns legendary to volume masterful Dictionary of the Arabic language. And so I went to her shop in Cambridge, the Islamic texts society. And she actually had the two volumes on the desk. And I told her, I just want
to look at this book, I I'd love to buy it, but I can't afford it. And she said, How much money do you have? And I looked in my
pocket and I had 10 quid. And so she said, just give me 10 pounds, but you were 10 pounds, I think it was about 55 pounds at the time. And she gave me this two volume which I still have in my library. This was over 20 years ago. And we've been friends that's a good way of gaining a friend quickly, being generous. So she's been a dear friend. She's from a beautiful family Kentucky and family from the founders of Louisville. And I want to also acknowledge another great Kentucky and family the the binghams Eleanor binghams here tonight, these these are the these are the really the families that built this city that that that put their money and their lives and their civic service
into this city. And those of you who have migrated to this city from other things
acknowledging these are the ion they're what the Arabs call the mela. And and it's important to acknowledge these people and, and seek their counsel and, and, and work with them to better this community. And also, I would have much rather had the great Coleman barks come up and recite some Rumi for us. But one of the great poets of America came tonight, Dr. Coleman barks. And and I just say one thing, Rumi, like ghazali is what I call a trans historical figure, because they speak across centuries. Some people speak to their time and their place. But these people speak to every time in every place not on on every detail, sometimes their men or women of their time. But on these
great issues, they speak across centuries. And that's why when we read them, they affect our hearts. And Coleman really single handedly has opened up to a generation of Americans, the great wisdom teachings, of our tradition of which Rumi is only a voice. He's one of the greatest voices because he was gifted in that, but he is part of a tradition and we forget that Rumi in that way, is not saying anything from gelato Dean, what he is reiterating is these eternal truths that were given to our profits, license them and that's why he in the end is a student of our Prophet Mohammed. Mr. Malik Rosati is a student of our Prophet Mohammed, I want to thank the community for coming out and
supportive zaytuna I really hope that in the coming years you see the fruit of this we have immense potential May Allah give us tofield. And also Peter from the couriers here, he wrote a very nice article the last time I'm not going to hold you to that this time, you can write whatever you want. So it's a free country and a free press. Last I heard anyway, so God bless all of you. barakallahu li comb. I really thank you. I think Dr. San bugbee who's a great servant of this community and rightly honored tonight May Allah subhana wa tada elevate all of you increase all of you, bring you closer to God you bring you closer to Allah Allah is closer to us than our juggler vein actually
says carotid artery, but juggler vein sounds nicer in English. So it's usually translated a juggler vein but the carotid artery is the artery of consciousness. Because all you have to do every doctor knows you want to knock somebody out, put your thumb on his carotid artery and he's gone. And God is closer to us than our own consciousness. So May Allah make us conscious servants of the one true living, eternal Lord of all the world said