Channel: Hamza Yusuf
the hadith of gibreel is really considered probably one of the most important had to use in all of the Hadith literature. And the reason for that is it is a summation of the entire Islamic teaching. It sums up Islam. It was also a hadith in which the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam told 80 days before he died, so it's very close to the last period that he was with us in physical flesh. the Hadith is related by Omar ibn or hapa. For the law, I know who Omar is the second cater, he is also the second closest person to the prophets, Allah Islam in terms of companionship, I will book her being the first he begins by telling us that they were sitting with the prophets of Allah Islam. And
then he said, a man in white clothes, Stark black hair, very striking person emerges. And he says, what are your sort of setup, and we could not see any traces of traveling on him. Now, what's interesting about that remark, is that this is a desert town, Medina, there's really only a few 1000 people living in this town, it's a village more than than a city. I mean, it's considered a city by Arabian standards. But it is certainly not a place where people didn't know each other people knew everybody there. Now when this man comes in white robes, very clean, very fresh, no signs of traveling, they thought that was strange, which is why he mentioned it, because Where did he come
from? He would have had to have showered, changed his clothes. Nobody knew where this man came from. And nobody had ever seen him before. Well, he sits down and he places his knees against the knees of the prophets Eliason, which is very intimate. And then he places his hands on the prophets, Allah, Adam's thighs. Now in this Hadith, which is the one that is the most famous, it doesn't mention, it just says, Well, what a cafe Allah tequila, he, he put his two palms on his thighs, and but there's another Hadith that says on the prophets, thighs. Now, there's some reasons for doing that one would have been obviously a very intimate thing to do, as if he would have known the prophets a lot is to
them, he wouldn't have done that. And it probably shocked some of the Sahaba because they would not have done that. But the way he sat was an Eastern way of sitting which is like,
traditionally, that was way a student sat in madrasa it would have been considered rude not to sit like that. So and obviously if you've noticed Persian people and people that can sit like that for long periods of time, it's very common place in in some Muslim countries where they still sit on the floor. So then he says, oh, Bernie, you're Muhammad and Islam Tell me Oh, Mohammed, prophets like this. And I'm telling me about Islam. And Islam. And the prophets realize that I'm says Islam is Shahad. That's the first thing he says that it is untouched head and
that you testify that there's no God but Allah and Mohammed is a messenger, which is an act is not a belief she had it is not a belief. It is an act. It is an act done with the tongue. People forget that in Islam, words are considered actions. And eema Matic said, when you realize that your words are actions, if you have intelligence, your words diminish, because you're taking to account for your actions. The more words you have, the more accountability you have. He said it is to say antiche head. And so that's the first. It's called a rochen, which means a pillar and a rochen is something you depend upon. It's something that holds other things up. And then he says that you pray
that you pray five times a day. And then he says that you pay zakat, alms tax, you fast during Ramadan, and then you make the pilgrimage to the house if you're able to. At that point, the man says, So doctor, you spoke the truth. So the Sahaba, saying that Amara says, I didn't you know, we were really dumbstruck at that point. He's asking him, and then he's confirming what he's saying, this is very strange, because he's asking him a question. So now, one of the things that we learn is question is a teaching device a teacher will ask a question, not because he doesn't know the answer, but because he
Want something else to happen? So he asked him this question and they still don't know who this person is. And then he says, Now tell me about faith. Amen. So we're moving to another dimension of Islam. The first is Islam. Then he says, Now tell me about Amen. So here's a distinction between Islam and a man which is going to become very important. And then he tells him faith, and to mean a bit that that you believe in Allah. So now he's not telling them what a man is. He's telling them what the objects of eemaan are, because he man in and of itself is a mystery. You cannot explain in words, what a man is, the next best thing you can tell is you can explain the objects of belief,
belief itself, is the ultimate say, it's tough to do. It is to verify or affirm or have a conviction in one's heart about something that is what belief is, but he gives him the objects of faith, he tells them, it's a belief in Allah, His angels, his books, His Messenger the last day, and that you have faith in this measuring out of the world that everything is determined and proportioned, and that you believe in both good and evil, which is very interesting, because this is a problem in religion. It's called the theodicy which is the problem of evil. And for Christians, it's probably been the great bugbear of Christianity, of trying to explain the presence of evil in the world. It
has never been a problem for the Muslims. The Muslims are not Manichaean, they don't believe in duality. And Muslims have never believed in this idea of two forces antagonistically working in the world, Muslims believe that good and evil are creations of Allah subhana wa Tada. And that Allah is above good and evil in terms of the scales by which we judge them because we don't have the ability to judge good and evil in reality, and that is why we've been given standards killing is bad.
When we don't kill stealing is bad. We don't steal. But there are other instances where stealing becomes acceptable. So there's situational ethics. There's instances where killing is acceptable. If you see a man killing another man, the outward act of it is rejected by the heart. But what's happening?
What's actually taking place? Is it murder? Or is it retribution? What's going on? So the act in and of itself is not evil? What is evil is the reason and the intention, which is if it was wrong or oppressive, so it's very interesting that that's part of the creed that Muslims believe and we're gonna go into that in a lot of detail when we get to the section on Eamon because it's very important. And then he says, again, he'd spoken the truth and he says, Now tell me about doing what is beautiful and his son is a very difficult word to translate in Arabic. If you look at the root word hacer una means to be beautiful. That's what it means. Yes, and if you look at the word, a
Sunnah it means to make something beautiful. It's called the transitive form of the intransitive verb. And if you know English grammar, intransitive verb does not take an object. A transitive verb takes an object. So Hashanah takes no object, you say hacer una. They don't. They don't exist is good. That's what you say. But if you said as soon as a dawn, you need to have an object. What did they do that was good. As soon as they don't era hamrun. They did good Tama. So they're the idea then, in f7, is it's doing virtuous deeds, it is the act of bringing virtue into the world. And because virtue is the most beautiful thing in the world. It's the highest thing in Islam, because by
doing virtuous deeds, you make the world more beautiful. Now, there's also an interesting ethical theory that comes from men, Chisholm, who said that ethics is actually a branch of aesthetics, which is interesting and aesthetics in philosophy is studying beauty. What makes things beautiful, like I was driving on the way here this morning, and I looked up on the hill, and there's all these poppies, and that's the state flower. poppies are very beautiful. And the way that the golden poppy is mixed in with the green right now is stunning. What is that in us that recognizes? And sometimes fails to recognize but what is that in us that sees the world as beautiful
What is it in us that sees things as ugly, because had there been a bunch of garbage on the side of the hill, as opposed to flowers, I would have had a different experience. Something's incongruous, it doesn't fit in. And that is the essence of aesthetics. It's about fitting in. And the essence of virtuous actions is that they are actions that fit properly into the world. And that's why at the essence of the Islamic teaching is the concept of Adam. Adam is comportment, it is appropriate behavior and appropriate behavior is behavior done in proper proportions. And that is why edip also means literature. Because what literature is it is the use of words appropriately, you're putting
words into their proper place. And that's what an Adeeb is. When an Adeeb uses words in a way you see if you take a poem in Arabic or Persian or English, if you take upon like, death be not proud, though some have called the mighty and dreadful for thou art not. So if you begin to look at the movement of those words, the power is in the placing of the words because if I said proud, death, be mighty, not.
It loses all of its meaning. And so language becomes meaningful, when words are put into their proper places. And the more appropriate The words are in those places, the more powerful the impact those words have on the human heart. The same is true for the world itself. The more things are in a natural state, the more powerful the experience. And that's why everybody and Robert Frost has a beautiful poem about people looking out at the ocean, even though what's behind them, which is land is much more varied and interesting. Why do they keep staring out at the ocean and not turn around and look at the land, there's a lot more to look at. And it's the mystery of it. It's the majesty of
it, it's the power of creation itself, and the ocean is one of the most powerful things in the world. That's why the heirs when they want to talk about something vast, they say, who are bound, it's an ocean, it's an ocean of puran bound. That's actually the law. You know, the opposite of Quran is an ocean, there's no shores to that ocean, a shirtless ocean, you can't even imagine that a shortlists ocean. So, doing good in the world is beautifying the world. That's what you're doing. And that's what that's about. So he asked him, tell me about what beautiful and he says doing beautiful means you should worship God as if you see him. Now, just if you think about what that
means. What that means is, if you can imagine that you actually are seeing God, how would you behave in the world? How would you treat other people, other creatures of God? How would you treat God's creation, if you go to somebody's house, you don't spit on their carpet. You don't urinate in the corner of the room. You do Why? Because it's not your house. And you have to behave with proper comportment in the house. And the better behavior that you have, the more likely that he'll invite you back. So the idea of being in the world as if you see God is the idea that you are a guest in a Dominion that belongs to God. And that if you actually behave in the world, as if you see him, you
will behave appropriately, you will behave with excellent manners, you will behave beautifully. And that's what the essence of it. And then he says, any even if you don't see him, at least you know that he sees you.
So the highest stage of ifs, and is really to be as if you see God, but if you don't, at least, you know, he sees you so that your behavior is still appropriate. And then he says, tell me about the hour and the province allies that said, the one being question does not know more than the one asking the question.
In other words, the the moment that the world ends is a secret. And so he says then tell me about it's a mirage, it's signs it's marked. So this is the signs of the latter days. The Prophet salallahu alaihe salam says, The slave girl gives birth to her mistress. Now the enema have always considered this a very unusual statement, but the Ottoman have gone into three dominant interpretations. One of them is that it is the turning upside down of social order.
That right becomes wrong wrong becomes right
High people become low, low, people become high, that this is what happens. And so the idea of a mistress giving birth to a slave, if you invert that it's the Emma and Emma to Teddy do a better Ha. All right, the servant gives birth to her master. It's an inversion of realities was called fun but how pious so you see the slave girl give birth to her mistress. One of the interpretations also is that it means children will become completely rebellious against their parents, which in Confucian understanding is the worst possible sign in a human society when filial piety no longer exists, because the whole social order is based on the authority of the family. And the thing about families
families are not just children are in a despotic situation. Parents are tyrants, basically. But what the ethicists say is that justice is only necessary in the absence of love. So the reason that we tolerate family situations is because of that other element that exists which is love. In other words, we know that the parent is doing what they do out of love for the child. So when the parent doesn't allow the child to eat, what's harmful candy or whatever, or doesn't allow the child to watch television or doesn't allow these are apparently arbitrary moves on behalf of the parent to the child. So the child experiences is as really a type of tyranny. And I always love the one where
the child's like crawling, and the parent comes and just picks it up and goes in other direction. I mean, if you just look at a total act of despotism, I mean, that is a real act of arbitrary despotic behavior.
But obviously, there's a reason and that's why it's not tyrannical. It's on the contrary, it's benevolent. So and then the man went away and after we had waited lavista Melia, you know, he says, We waited a time Some say it was three days, it was a period of time, at which point the prophets allies to them said, Do you know who the questioner was? Omar, it's interesting. He waited a few days. He said, Do you know who that questioner was? And this was also assigned that the Sahaba didn't ask the Prophet unnecessary questions, because you would think Omar would have said Who was that y'all so a lot but they weren't like that. They were people that that just they asked what was
absolutely necessary to ask