Channel: Hamza Yusuf
Interview with Sheikh Hamza Yusuf is being conducted by Harun sellers. And brought to you by Deen port.com. This is the first question. Could you tell us about your latest book project? The purification of the heart, which was recently released?
How did this project come about? And why do you think it's so important?
The the book purification, the heart actually came out of a series of lectures that I gave it was a course that I did several years ago in Hayward, California. And that resulted in
a tape series that was produced called the purification of the heart. So that that was the basis for the book. The book was based on those lectures. And it's basically a commentary of a poem was written in Mauritania, by a very well known chef there. He wrote the book, according to him,
chef and the Applebee's, he wrote the book, based on the fact that he saw
people studying sift, and pizza, and becoming very well versed in the outward aspects of the religion, to the neglect of their spiritual states. And he actually became very troubled by the fact that he would find people that were very well versed in arcane matters of physics, and things that they would probably never use in their entire lifetime. But they were completely ignorant of their, the state of their heart. They were ignorant of the fact that they had pride. They had anger, that they had envy, that they had love, that they had greed that they had covetousness that they had extended hopes about the world that they had miserliness. So what he did is that he began to
look in all of the classical literature, particularly from, from the early people of a particular Nike, who's very well known, early scholar and wrote about the states of the heart emammal has to be who is a companion of female humans have been handed
and emammal Junaid who, according to even taymiyah was an imam of by consensus. And
email Mara Zadie, who wrote 40 books and compiled them into one
full volume of five volume work, which is called Dean reviving the sciences of the religion. And that FCM is composed of 40 books. The first half is mostly dealing with outward matters, although he always brings the secrets of fasting, the secrets of seconds kind of things, but they're dealing with the formal aspect of the religion. But the second half begins with the character of the prophet in book 20. A lot of it was in the second half is concerning what he called an multicharts with them, and yet, those things that will destroy the soul, and those things that will save the soul. And much of it centers around the heart, the human heart based on the verse in the Quran, that I am
found mad and what I've been on 11 is a lot different than sitting on the Day of Judgment. Neither wealth nor children will avail a man. The only thing that will help him or save him is that he brings to God a sound heart. And so a sound heart. If you take that verse seriously, which I think Muslim should, it means that a sound heart is the whole purpose of our existence that we're here actually to purify our hearts to make a heart a vehicle for divine knowledge, for revelation for manifestations of the gifts of Allah subhana wa tada with the Christians call it Tiffany's. And so it's very important that people be aware of this because according to you, Mama Rosati is a fault of
pain. It's actually an obligation on every person. It's not like, say learning the rules of buying or selling that's an obligation on people that are in commerce. But I think that's an important point that the spiritual science of Islam often seems to have been looked at nowadays as optional. I think part of the problem is Muslims conflate these things with what's called body of law,
which is taking a Schiff spiritual master and going on a path of what's called Sulu, you
Muslims conflate these two things, I think they're the same and they're not. And this is this is a science that was traditionally taught in Madras as irrespective of somebody of whether somebody was in a party or not. They're simply the sciences of the religion. And this is one of them. Its spiritual psychology, its ethics. Traditionally, it was called to soul wolf.
But, unfortunately to solve today, is so confused with a lot of things that have nothing to do with
traditionally what scholars understood to be a soul, and it's a soul. As a science was never condemned by scholars. It's just a fact of Islam. And to not, to say that it has been is just to indicate total ignorance. I mean, even 10 years is often used as a bludgeon against these things, has a chapter, an entire book in his multi volume, fatality called fatalities. It's so wolf such was about the soul. And
even famous Josie wrote an entire book that is a Sadie Kane which is a commentary on a very famous text on two souls. So even these the moms that are used as hammers
against castle Wolf, they they themselves affirmed the science what they recognized was that was in the science. Like all sciences in CIP, you have problems. There's, there's opinions and ships that are completely unacceptable opinions. They're totally unacceptable, but they're still in the books. And and the scholars still quote them.
And you have in grammar, unacceptable opinions. You have the Catholic school, the busselton school, they argue which one's the right one how to based on that you come up with, according to our own Ummah, if you follow certain schools of grammar, you will actually interpret the Koran incorrectly. But those schools exist, do we throw out all of grammar because some grammarians made mistakes in their understanding? And the same is true in Toshi, which is the science of theology. There's gross errors until he'd gem even soft one who was the head of the Jamia was a theologian who said that the fire that it comes to an end. And that opinion also was reiterated by other scholars like even
Tamia. And there's actually have an entire book, defending his position. A lot of Muslims don't know that even 10 years said that the fire comes to an end.
But he interpreted that he didn't say, that wasn't hulu's thought even if he had the death, he didn't say that it wasn't avid, but he had his linguistic interpretations of that. Well, the majority of onomah condemn them and said they're wrong. Does that mean we throw out everything even 10 years said, because he made a mistake in something that was pointed out by other odema. I mean, this is the type of simplistic and really ignorant reasoning that a lot of people have now out there and they're, they're not trained, they're not qualified to be discussing these things. And I'm not saying in any way that that I'm, this is not my position. These are the positions of the oma, this
is what I was taught. You know, I'm not that's not something I invented or, and that's why it's really saddening, for me, it's distressing to see the debates around these things that really should not be debated. If we want to discuss the problems within the side,
then I agree that there are problems and, and it's important that they be pointed out. But it's also important that some of the problems are debatable their moot points or points that that are insoluble, because the scholars never came out with a definitive position on them. So that's important also to recognize that enough difference of opinion in the oma is very real. It's very prevalent. And some CNF are resolvable, there's preponderant positions. In other words, there's physicians that are sounder more.
They're there. They're the ones that we should adhere to. And then there are others that it's simply it's just out, it's out. You can't, you can't resolve them. You can't come to some conclusion, even like in the office or see the family. He has positions in the madhhab where he won't give you a definitive position. He'll just say there's two, there's two opinions. And he doesn't decide it's called photos. Yeah, he doesn't make any tubs. Yeah. It doesn't tell you which one is the one you should follow. He just says
these are the two opinions
Let me give you one example. In the purification of heart, there was a story that I heard in Morocco. It's, I mean, it can be looked at as a silly story. It's a story about a man. You know, on a lion, he says that he does that he does. And he comes down from this mountain. And he rides into this town to meet this man who he hears as a saint. And the saint is living in a palace and opulent, and he tells the man to put his line in with his cow, and he says, the cows, you're going to the cow get eaten.
They said, Don't worry about the cow just put the line in with the cows. He puts it in the next day. He's really just wanted this man because he, he goes to sleep. He doesn't see any qualities that observed that he has. So he just writes him off as well. Why do people think this is a good man? And when he goes to get his Lion, the cow ate the lion. As a story, it's just a story. It's a teaching story. Isn't it's not a heavy, it's not. You know, somebody can point that out and just say, what is that it's just a story. So it is. And you'll find that in the book, the mama has daddy mentioned stories, they're just stories of teaching stories. The Koran says that law uses parables, he uses
similitudes. Uses like this is why because the ways in which people can understand some of them are funny, in a very funny teaching stories out there, and things like that. And traditionally, stories that were used to teach, I guess, in some ways a purification to release a book in the English language. And our times on the subject is also a way of kind of reviving and bringing back a sense of balance in terms of the complete or a holistic understanding of the Islamic sciences. Well, it's a it's a science that I feel we're in particular needs. Because we have so many of these problems affecting our communities. And I really believe they're rooted in our hearts. Do you see? I mean,
I've met many people who, what, what, what I've noted in them is that their arguments have more to do with their own personal pathology, than actually the points that they're trying to make. In other words, they're argumentative people. And so they're looking for opportunities to get into arguments.
I'll give you one example. I have, I have some friends that totally disagree with a lot of my views about Islam.
But their friends
I'm not making that up. I have a friend. He's a professor at in Medina University in Saudi Arabia. When I go to the dean, I usually visit him he teaches also.
And he doesn't agree with
some some of the things that that I was taught.
But it's never ever been a reason for me not to like him and him not to like me ever. It's never been, he'll bring it up he kind of nudges and when certain topics come up, and he'll he'll smile about it, because because he respects
even though he knows that, that opinion he disagrees with, he still recognizes that it's a scholastic position, it's a position within the oma. I don't think it's the right one. But I know that a lot of odema adhere to it. And that's why I'm not going to make an issue for hating this person, or seeing this person as outside of the scope of friendship. And I think that
there are other people though, that that's not how I find them. I find that they're entrenched in positions that do not enable them to actually just be human. I mean it just sit down have a cup of tea hat use let's just speak as human beings.
You know, I'm a convert to Islam, I converted to Islam.
I you know, I was a Christian before. And
you sit down and have a talk with me as a Christian. And you're Muslim, because I'm not in some way threatening
to your, whatever you believe about Islam. But because you disagree with me about Islam. You won't you won't even though we both say let you know in a law degree, there's no god but the one true God Allah, and we believe that Mohammed's a lot isn't as his messenger. I mean, that's how close we are. Because according to the Hadees on yomo piano, that's the biggest thing you have.
And that's how close we are.
And then we believe in the same book, it's not difference of, you know, it's not King James version is as opposed to this version of that for
We believe in the same book, we read the same book, when I recite my marketers, I could be assigned the same sort of Uranus signing.
And I pray the same number of rocket. It's, it's, it's amazing. But if I wiggle my finger in my Tisha hoods,
and you're gonna make that an issue, or if I don't wiggle my finger, I mean, my God, we have a very serious problem, we have a really serious problem. Do you see? And that that's my point is that, you know, unfortunately, much of what's going on is that people are finding ways to manifest their own pathologies, within a framework of
justification. In other words, I'm going to use this religion and this isn't really a conscious thing, which is why I, I do have some sympathy, because I, I've been deluded myself. And I might still be deluded about certain things. I mean, that's the thing about delusion, you don't know you're deluded. So I know that when I for I'll give you one example, when I was in my early 20s, studying in the Emirates, I refuse to speak English. And I refuse to speak English with errors because I actually, I read a book by even Tamia because I had a roommate, who was a student of NASA Dean Alberni, the mahad from Syria, and as a result Albanian. But, you know, he had a lot of these
books, and I read this book by even tenia disaster up in sapiente, Mahadeva tales, hello, Jane, the necessities of following the straight path in going against what the people have held. And it was a lot of it was an attack on Christianity and Judaism. But what was interesting is there was some Heidi's in there and they actually were good ideas about
men. Yes, you know, on your academic abilities that is that is that is that can be very happy in who recently thought that whoever is able to speak Arabic shouldn't speak with other than Arabic because it will cause hypocrisy to grow in his heart. Well, I took that Hadees literally, and I refused to speaking that I would tell you, they came in to visit me sometime they would come they speak to me in England in my Arabic wasn't that strong when I was first learning.
But they would speak English. And I would say, my Jews have a tough time they are Jews, you know, this isn't permitted to speak in English that that was my state. And I and I really thought that was the right thing to be doing.
So that that's just the thing about life. It's a learning curves and people grow and expand and email medical demand. If you look in his 92 years, his his positions changed throughout his life. He mom Shafi only moved 54 years, and he's got completely different methods he has met had been off to Kadena, he's got met had the most of the Egyptian madhhab, which is a completely different mindset from his men had been Iraq, because he was growing. So not to allow for growth is really a disservice. Excellent. Next question would be we live in a world forever changed by the events of 911? How did that day affect you? And did you learn anything from the event? Like personally on a
personal note? For me, I think if anything, I mean,
there's no doubt even though there's been an immense amount of terror in our lifetime, some of it perpetrated by our own country. And but if you look at other for like a Rwanda, in Rwanda was just Rwanda is a much more serious event than 911. I mean, that I don't even think you can compare the two. What, what 911 What difference about September of 2001, is that it was a spectacle that has been unparalleled, probably in human history. And nobody, you know, Hiroshima was the scene. That mushroom was pretty exciting. But nobody has ever seen civilian airplanes plow into some of the tallest buildings in the world, explode in an extraordinary display of, of fireworks. And then watch
these extraordinary towers just come tumbling down. It was an event filmed for everybody to see, that was just so spectacular, from that point of view, that it does have a unique element that is unparalleled in terms of the actual suffering. in our lifetimes there. There have been much greater events of human suffering. You know, there's no doubt and and i would say, in some ways, certainly Rwanda certainly changed. Yeah. I'm the
Tire city of Columbia was, I saw a film
of that just what the Russians did bombed it with plane after playing an entire city. If you look at Hamburg, what the Allied forces in World War Two did to the German cities, raise them to the ground, some of those allies when they came in, they could not believe what was done, those are crimes against
against humanity, which that was part of the irony of the Nuremberg Trials Is that who was the war criminals?
The Germans, the British, I mean, the Holocaust is is a horrific event, one of the worst in human history, there's no doubt about that. But in terms of just suffering, there's a lot of suffering going on in the world, and a lot of different places. And for America, it was very profound because it brought home
some very powerful messages, and that a lot of people don't like us. Some people have legitimate reasons, but that does not legitimize using a legitimate means to express that dislike or loathing. So and I think that's where the Muslims have made major
mistakes in what's wrong has to be condemned simply as wrong. There's no justification, you cannot justify it, there's no justification. And even though an explanation of why things happen is not necessarily a justification. In other words, like when Columbine happened, a slew of social scientists went in psychiatrists to try to work out. Why did this happen? And that's important for us to do that in terms of
911, which is what some people like Michael Moore and other people, that's what they attempted to do is just look at it like, why did this happen? What you'd why I mean, why would people want to do this.
So that's important that it doesn't necessarily justify it. But I think that the Muslims, it's, for me,
there were many lessons. But I'm this idea somehow that some Muslims have who are familiar with me. I mean, there are some Muslims that are aware of my work and others that aren't. But the overwhelming majority, have never heard of me, and probably will never hear me. But for those people here in the States, in particular, who
are familiar with my work, amongst some of them, there was this idea that I made this 180 degree turn.
And it's simply not true. It really isn't. And for people that knew me before closely,
they were very were well aware that it was actually very consistent with what I think and what I believe. So I was thrust into certain situations that I personally don't feel that I was prepared for. I really wasn't. I mean, to use a sports metaphor, it was it was like somebody in Little League suddenly getting thrust into big leagues. And without having having any training and the speed. The speed of the pitch was so much faster. Because I certainly did not have any media understanding of how manipulative I mean, I did, theoretically, but I'm talking about actually living it, experiencing it, seeing how your words can be mangled and turned around. I, I hadn't experienced
that before. as an individual. I'd read about it. I'd heard about people that had happened to the taxi experience that is very different. And and most people, part of empathizing is trying to put yourself in another person's shoes, which we do too little of in the world. It's just trying to imagine being in another person's shoes, what does that mean to be in front of millions of people? What does it mean, when Shannon's got a camera in your face? And they're asking you a question, you're realizing this is going out to millions of people? And I have to say, what is going to be the most judicious statement that I believe, and the least harmful
to the Muslims overall? So, you know, I was put into a position that I probably, you know, and I don't say probably I was certainly not, neither ready for
nor fully cognizant of its input. So that was a major lesson for me is that people are being paid.
These interviewees interviewers are being paid several hundreds of 1000s of dollars because they're very clever people that when they want something, they know how to get it, they know how to elicit it from you. And if you're not prepared, if you don't know how that game works, you can be abused and manipulated and
That was a lesson. But overall, I think I mean certain things that in the 90s, particularly the later part, the latter half of the decade of the 90s, about 96 onward, I mean, I was having a lot of introspection about the state of the Muslim community. And you'll see that on top in talks that I gave in that later portion. I mean, I think a good one is the stations of gratitude and the duties of brotherhood where I did talk about certain things that were very troubling in the Muslim community. And that was long before 911. So when people saw me suddenly, people that didn't follow a lot of my talks, or really know what I was all about, they might have seen me once it is, or heard
me a few times, and really didn't follow my thought, you know, as, because I've been teaching for a long time. And I have a lot of material out there, particularly
recorded material, I mean, not enough written material, which is part of the problem, because in written material, it's very, it's much less difficult to misunderstand, or all speech is actually very complicated. Because the grammar is not in the speech, it's in the understanding of the person, you don't see the pyramids, the commas, the semicolons, the dashes, the question marks,
a lot of nuances in in the spoken word, that are not picked up. And unfortunately, a lot of Muslims do not have a level of English that enables them to pick up a lot of nuances. There are also people that are not accustom in because a speech is very different from if we're just shooting the breeze, as they say, a speech is very different, because you have you have arguments that are being set up, you have logical transitions, you have premises and, and conclusions. And if you're not vigilant in listening to a talk, you can completely misunderstand what a speaker is saying. Because you might have just, your mind might have wandered for 30 seconds, or 60 seconds or a few minutes. And
suddenly, you didn't hear what that person had prefaced his remarks by. So a lot of misunderstanding occurs. And and that's always problematic with language. Now, for me, I think it's it's probably exacerbated by the fact that I am not a structured speaker. And there's benefits to that. But there's also the benefits are, I'm a more spontaneous speaker. So people sense that when they hear me talking, it's not coming from a script. It's actually it's coming from my heart, you know, and it's what I'm talking to you, people feel that it's not stale in that way. So a lot of people respond to that, that that is a benefit. But I the harm that goes with it, is that sometimes I say
things that I might not have said in the best way. I also might have regretted later because it was spontaneous, like one of the Arabs said mechanical to happen, what I can mock will happen, you know, I said what was true, but sometimes not every true should be said. And also that it can actually be tangential to the point where it does get hard to follow. And that's why, you know, some people who listen to me actually will listen to it more than once.
And I've heard many people tell me that I had to listen to that three times before I actually got it. Now, those are my shortcomings. And I've tried to remedy those to the best of my ability, but I usually I lose more than I gained when I've done that in the past. So that's been a problem for me, but I'm very aware of that shortcoming. And I'm very aware that some people have a really hard time listening to me for that reason, because they are more structured in their in their thinking. So I mean, that that that's something you know, it's a problem. I think that's honestly something that struck me about a lecture that's available on the zaytuna site, give and take for God's sake, where
I thought that was very strong mix of an outline that seemed to be there. But also, that fresh mix of from the heart a lot of strong responses to that particular thought
because of the combination of those two elements.
How important is it for Muslims in the west to develop new art and media as an alternative to what is already out there in the mainstream.
Media? Well, yeah, being somewhat of a traditionalist, you know, art is a very interesting thing, because in tradition, art is something you learn, it's not something you innovate, your innovation comes within the art. So for instance, poetry means learning prosity, it means learning how to put, not everybody has to do it, some people just have those gifts. But for most people, it means learning how to, to write the anapestic, back to the Im back, and then tetrameter pentameter hex amateur. And then once you've learned that, once you've mastered that, that's when your innovation comes, it's, it's how you bring that now in the modern world, most of that is
people turn their backs on that you see. So, for instance, classical music, very structured, you have to learn
certain things. And once you've learned all those things, then
you usually play what's already been written. I mean, there's not very many classical composers, there's a you look, for instance, popular music, for instance, if you're playing country music, I mean, everything's going to be GDC. I mean, your system is a handful of chords that the majority of country music is working in, or if you've got a rock, you know, da, E, I mean, you're just working in these kind of basic
chords, patterns and progressions. And so the talent needed to produce that type of music is,
is insignificant compared to the effort and talent that goes into producing, say, for instance, traditional classical music. So in art form, the same is true of painting, if you're doing abstract painting, an abstract painting is you break all the rules, whereas if you're doing a type of classical painting, which is is more mirroring reality, as opposed to interpreting reality, so you get the real estate school like Rembrandt, everything brand that does, they really look at it. And that's one of the things about Rembrandt is he was one he was the first why he's so extraordinary is one of the first people to put words on people's faces. I mean, suddenly, he was showing people how
they really look, instead of having these kind of classical pictures of perfect people.
So art is a very interesting thing, because it's obviously humans are artists. We are people that express ourselves. And that's what art is really about. It's about expressing oneself in the best way. And so all of us by the mere fact that we're talking we're artists,
by the mere fact, because speaking is a creative event. I mean, if I say my son said to me, yesterday, we were sitting, and he's 12 years old. And he asked me about something. And then I said, Oh, well, it's it's only up to that point. And he said, Oh, it's no more and no less. That was the word he used, the phrase he used, it's no more and no less.
And I said, right, no more, no less. And it was assumed that there was just a smiling Mashallah, because it was the use of an eloquent phrase, to say he didn't have to say that, but he embellished it. And it was wasn't really intentional. It was just simply the words that came to his mind. So that's a type of expression. Now he's memorized a lot of poetry. So he's,
he's he's got some motifs that he's working with when he speaks. So he'll come up with very interesting syntactical structures when you speak that I've noted. So we're all artists in that way that we are expressing ourselves. There are people that the way they dress, the way they walk, the way they write. But what the artist in other words, the person that is engaged at the deepest level in that activity, what that person is doing is, he is consciously expressing himself. In other words, it's a much more conscious effort and experience. And that's why what we recognize when we recognize the artist is that he's speaking for us.
And what happens is artists taste is how, how close that artist is coming to expressing your own experience of the world or your own feelings. So if a poet if I read a frost poem, might not like it, but it might speak to me. If you read a Shakespearean sonnet. You might not like it, but it might speak to me, might speak to both of us. Some poems are universal.
They're just so powerful. Almost everybody that hears them, is moved by them at some level. So the artist then is, he is speaking on behalf of others, he is expressing what others are feeling. And that's why the shy in Arabic is the one who feels shut out on Insta feel. So the shadow is the one who's feeling things, and expressing them for others. And so it's very important that the Muslims have people that do that. Historically, Muslims were great artists. And our our art, the Islamic art is some of the most profound is not I mean, I would argue that Islamic art is the most profound art, certainly in architecture, certainly in calligraphy. And in many other things. I mean, I would argue
that the clothes are some of the most extraordinary clothes, the embroidery patterns, the the types of textiles that were manufactured in the Muslim lands, I mean, gauze is from the Muslim world, it's the Arabic word has got lace and all these things. So I think it is important that we do, what are the short and long term strategies that Muslims need to deploy, in order to bring back any sensibility to our approach as an academic community in the 21st century? Well, I think it's, it's very important that the Muslims see themselves within the context of the greater human family, that we are all done. Oh, Adam, and Ben, oh, Adam is a family. I mean, by no means the tribe of Adam. So
we're all in the same tribe. We're just from different clans. We believe that Islam is that is the dynamic nature, but people deviate from it. Now part of the problem, I perceive, one of the major problem is that the Muslims believe now.
I mean, even though if you really press them, they'll have to admit this isn't true, but they believe it, that they are Muslim. And the problem is, is that, indeed, we're Muslim as a sociological category. In other words, when you categorize people out there you have Jews, Christians, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, that's a sociological category of people. But if we, but alas as hell and to loosen the mood, are you Muslims? He's talking to the Muslims.
That's a question in the Koran, are you in a state of submission?
Ben smls Halima, the one who has submitted his entire being to God, she that aspect of Islam is completely lacking. And and what happens is, because we start we conflate the sociological category of Islam, with the spiritual state of Islam, what happens is, we fall into the pitfall of spiritual pride. And we begin to see ourselves as better than other people, when in fact, they may be better than us, because some of them just might be ignorant. They don't even know that Islam is a revelation from God. And that's why when Islam came to me, I really thought this is true.
Even though I was raised a Christian, I thought,
this is true. And so I have to become Muslim. Now, when I became Muslim, what I was really trying to do was enter into a state of submission. That's what I want. I wanted to be a submitter. I didn't think I was joining a tribe, then Islam. And then I have to be with the tribe right or wrong, you know, my tribe, right or wrong, like Benny and Rica. They say my tribe right or wrong, my country, right or wrong, love it, or leave it. That's tribal.
That's not truthful. And so that's what I have a real serious problem is that people expect me to be a spokesman for the tribe. And I can't do that. Because if the tribes wrong, and I'm a spokesman for the tooth, I have to say, the tribes wrong, even against yourself. That's what a law says, What do I do? I'm physical. And I think we need people to do that. And we need more of them. Because I really think we need to look at ourselves. And that is not to say that what's going on what I mean? There's there's so much
there's so many terrible things being done to the Muslims. I'm not denying that. But what I'm saying is that's been going on for a long time, and the strategies we've been using so far have done nothing.
To alleviate that, so I'm just wondering, maybe we should reassess. Maybe we should actually try to develop new strategies for changing our condition. And I think one of the first and most important is, is to reflect on the fact that the Quran says, when you're when you are afflicted with calamities, you ask, why is all this happening to us? For the woman, Indian fish come straight from your own cells? That's one thing. Another thing, when was it a heightened reality? Let whoever find good let him praise Allah. But whoever finds other than good, then he only blamed himself. That's in Alabama. No, yeah. So it's right there. You tell me. I mean, do we take that seriously? Does that
mean what it says? I was once in Folsom Prison. And there was a sign we were in the mess hall is for aid. And there was a sign that said, warning shots will not be fired. And I looked up, and I turned to this man, he was in prison. Listen, man next to me. I said, What does that mean? And he looked at me and he said, it means exactly what it says.
You see, because sometimes you you read something. Who's that mean? So when when the province of licensed said, Whoever finds good that him thank Allah, and whoever finds Other than that, let him only blame himself. What does that mean?
It means exactly what it says. So just do it. Stop trying to philosophize yourself into a corner with God. Submit, let the tears fall,
show some contrition. I mean, I think we as Muslims, we should be walking around bowing our heads in confusion and begging the non Muslims to forgive us for being obstacles to seeing the beauty of Islam.
I mean, I'm serious, I feel like we should be going up people say, What? These people What did they do to deserve our presentation of Islam. So then, when if you look at the public life, and he was patient with people, persecuting him, throwing things at him, spitting on him, throwing stones at him for 23 years, and then when a few of them, actually finally come to it, I will sufia. And after 20 years, he and his wife who ate the liver of his uncle did into it and spit it out. Why she who threw the spear from behind his back and treachery and kill them. And the prophesied Sam give Shahada to all three of them, sat with them in the same way. He couldn't even look at washi. But he
sat with him. You tell me what was that understanding of Islam? Because I want to see it
was that 20 years of persecution, and he's still saying, welcome, welcome into the fold. Because he wanted good for people and him know, in his shot, let you know adequan had your head back. There he may you hit butina. See, none of you truly believed until he loves for his brother, when he loves for himself, even though he says in his commentary, and I and I have two versions of it. One, a more recent one from Lebanon, they remove this whole thing from his original commentary, because it's, it's politically they don't want it. They don't want this understanding. He said, while he was older, and yes, men are moving over. This should be interpreted, first and foremost, as universal
brotherhood. In other words, the Muslim should love for his brother, the Casio and his brother, the Muslim, what he loves for himself. And then this is what he says, He says, and this love is spiritual love, not human love, because humans do not desire good for their enemies. they desire harm, and they desire to discriminate gay against people who are not like them. And therefore, spiritual love, which transcends human love is for the sake of God, you're going against your nature for the sake of God. And that is why he said, it is Mustafa hub. It is is not only the Word of God, but highly encouraged to pray for your enemies. And he said, therefore, a man should go against his
soul, and pray for those who harm him without understanding.
You see, where is that? I mean, I really I'm serious. Why is that in our books? Why is that email? No, I mean, are you gonna tell me that he didn't know he didn't understand the Heidi, that he didn't know, the Messenger of a loss of life and of what he meant seriously, but that goes against your nature. That's what he's saying. You desire harm for your enemies. But if you recognize that your enemies they're just a test from God for you and
The point is, is to guide them. That doesn't mean you don't fight them as they're fighting you. I mean, that's not what it said. But don't fight them with a hatred that you you don't want them to be guided. fight them to remove the blinders from their eyes to remove the veils on them. And that's why when you conquer them, you forgive them and show them large s and that's when they become Muslim. I mean, that's what happened when the publicized and marched into Mecca, he forgave them, and they became Muslim, because they couldn't understand it this, he's going to guess that's the power of Jesus. Because those early Christians, they were being eaten by lions, and they were
praying for their enemies.
People couldn't take it, because they were superhuman.
They were going against human nature, and they were invoking angelic nature.
People forget that. Why did Christianity spread? It conquered the Romans, why the Romans were had conquered the Christians, they ruled the Christian. Why? How is it that the conquered people conquered the conquerors, how? Because of morals, their moral state, and because of the fact that they didn't allow the fact that they were being persecuted and defeated by them to destroy their hearts and cause them to lose their humanity. And that's why when the Mongols came in, and destroyed, 2 million Muslims killed 2 million Muslims, and loggos brother
became a Muslim within two years of the conquest of Baghdad. And that'd be like Jeb Bush today becoming Muslim. Yeah, that's what it would be like, it'd be like Jeb Bush. And that's not impossible. Don't think that's impossible. If you think that's impossible, you don't i don't think you believe in God. Because he's a human being. He's facing his mortality, just like everybody else. And if he reads a sound version of the Koran, if he hears somebody speaking the truth,
and realizing, oh, my God, this could be another prophet, like Jesus, like Moses, there are brothers. Moving to the next question. You have said that we are living in trying yet interesting times. And that the age we're in is either birth pains or death throes. Can you please tell us more about what you mean by this, and your views on the nature of this age? Well, what I meant by that statement is that on the one hand, if we look on the one hand,
it looks I've worked with this end game, it looks like it's coming down, they're telling us 85% of the fish that we eat, is gone. It's just gone, that we've over fished all these areas in these great oceans that allow providers, they're telling us the polar ice caps are melting, they're telling us that the water is rising.
Right, but our major cities have such high rates of, of pollution, that it's not safe on some days in Mexico City or Tokyo to go out for children, because they'll get asthmatic attacks. In 1945, one out of 16 Americans got cancer today, it's one out of three.
So what's going on? aids AIDS is 50 million people so far have died from AIDS. 50 million, you're talking about the plague of the Middle Ages, the Middle Ages took 25 million people, we're already double the number with AIDS. aids isn't a plague. It's not a plague on humanity. So on the one hand, if you look out there, it looks grim.
It's high water everywhere. I mean, the flood has has come. The dam has broke. And and that's that's what the death throes it looks like is when our death throes. On the other hand, if you look out there,
it looks like we're on the birth pangs of an extraordinary Renaissance. So it is interesting, they're trying time, but they're interesting times. And I really mean that. For the first time in human history. Racism is seen by the majority of humanity as a blight.
Even though we're still suffering from racism all over the world, it is no longer an accepted idea. It is rejected by all thinking people across the board in much larger numbers than has ever existed in human history. 71% of Americans in a recent poll said that they not only were not opposed to mixed marriages, but would not be troubled if their own children married outside of their own race. I'm not as amazing and it's happening and we're seeing it in in in my children, my children or their Brown, my my, when we get to go to family reunions, my mother and father's generation we have an entirely white family now.
There are more mixed children in our family reunions than there are white children. So what's going on. And that's not anomalous, that is actually becoming increasingly a norm, that in 50 years 60% of America is going to be brown, not white, this is no longer white country. It's no longer also increasingly. So it is becoming less and less a Christian country. So we have also the possibility of the plurality of races and religions in conviviality, which is extraordinary. For the first time in human history, people are not being persecuted, for proselytizing. And then all over the world, people couldn't think
they weren't allowed to think now you can actually, you can, you can choose your religion, people can choose their religion, I chose to become a Muslim. And this is the first time in human history that you've had that type of freedom of choice in cause there was a time when I would have been burned at the stake for becoming a Muslim, burnt at the stake. So that is an extraordinary there are many, many extraordinary aspects to the modern society, that we have to recognize the tools that we have now to illuminate people. Unfortunately, they're largely being used to a foreign document not for illumination, but rather the opposite. But they're there. And they could be used and potentially
their immense I mean, even though, you know, there's many things that troubled me about Fahrenheit 911, just from a
Islamic point of view of how how we engage people we disagree with, I still think it's a very profound event that a film like that has grossed over $100 million. And it's only been out for a few weeks. It's one, it's going to be one of the lowest grossing films in history. And it's a documentary telling people that we did something that was really wrong, is wrong.
So I think that's that's, I think there are many reasons why we should be optimistic. So this is the paradox of our age. It's an age that on the one hand, it really looks like we're dying, on the other hand, looks like we've hardly been born.
That brings us to the last question from Dean point, many Muslims are suffering today, the oma seems to be in a state of helplessness. What can we do as individuals to make positive changes? And also, what are the pros and cons of working as individuals for this change, as opposed to in groups? Well, for this, one of the first thing that I would say is about that is that our helplessness is a gift from God. Because we have to see that it's from God, God has removed our power, partly because we started thinking that it was our power and not and not God's power.
So as a gift from God, I don't think we should see our condition as anything other than an opportunity from Allah subhana wa Tada, to truly submit, because the world is so beyond his, like Robert McNamara said,
one of the lessons that he learned, and this is the man who was in charge of the Vietnam War, who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, one of the lessons that he learned was rationality will not save us.
Because he said Kennedy was rational, Khrushchev was rational, Castro was rational. And yet, they bought us to the brink of destruction.
Rational men lashing out, he will not say that. So that's a lesson. And if that's Robert McNamara saying that, I mean, shouldn't Muslims learn that lesson? Because that's an Islamic lesson. rationality will not save us. nothing we can do will save us nothing. We cannot do anything that will save us It is Allah alone.
Our creator alone, that can save us.
And that's what we have to call on Allah subhana wa Tada. That's the only thing that we can do. Like, like one of the poets, Muslim poets. He said, I bring you something God that even you don't possess. My impoverishment.
That's the only thing I can bring to you that you don't possess everything else you have. But that's the one thing I can bring you that is uniquely my own to give you because I can't bring you my, my strength. You've got that and and it can
Mine out, I can't bring you my intelligence, you have that and it cancels mine out. I can't bring you anything, I can't be in your my, well, you've got that and it cancels mine out. But the one thing I can bring you is my helplessness, my impoverishment, because you don't have that. That's the one gift we can give to God that is uniquely our own to give any and and, and that's, that's why it's a great gift from Allah helplessness. But we have to see it as in terms of working in groups or not groups working. I mean, I would say that allows with the agenda. You have the line agenda, that's a good idea. So it's important that we work together at the best of our ability. I mean,
there's some people that will never be able to work with groups, there's personalities, that that's just and those people should find the best way that they can do that. And that's from the there's a chapter in the rather funny theme,
removing oneself from teeth from people to protect them from his harm. So there's certain people that they're just they'll sabotage everything they get into, they can't help themselves. So if that's your state, then just don't, don't don't block other people from doing good work.
Well, we thank you for your time and you're hungry for this.