Islam’s Universal Values
Channel: Hamza Yusuf
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Shaykh Hamza Yusuf at Muis Academy, Singapore, November 8 2018
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim. Allah hadn't seen him,
a one minute MBA one more setting. First of all, I want to
thank you for this honor, but also thank so many distinguished people who are taking time out of I know very busy lives. Ministers, I was mentioning to the Minister Lee earlier that in Arabic, the word for ministers was zero, which means the one who carries burdens. It's not like minister in English as your minister and things but was either as a real the burden of states and the difficulties that it takes to run. And the sphere is the one who reveals the intentions of his country. So fear in Arabic means the one who use feudal
nobility. So these are ancient traditions, ministers and ambassadors were the inheritors as
a species were the inheritors of ancient traditions, and we're attempting to get better at them. So I really am honored that you would come out to listen to me part of this exercise when we come and think about another religion, because I want to speak from the perspective of Islam, which is not in any way to detract, or to insult or diminish the worth of these other great traditions that give so much solace to people. Whether it's Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Christianity, or Judaism, or Zoroastrianism or any of these traditions that have attempted to help humans navigate the complexities of life on Earth, and the difficulties. We have a character in our tradition called Joe
Ha. And he was once on the side of a river and a man on the other side called out, how do I get to the other side. And Joe has said, you're already on the other side.
And that's part of the problem is that we tend to look solely from our perspective and fail to see the perspectives of other people. And so what I'd like to do is look just at the tradition, our tradition, Islam claims almost 2 billion people now, it's considered the fastest growing religion, not so much from proselytizing, because Muslims tend to have a lot of children. And we tend to teach our children our religions, so we've got probably 1.71 point 8 billion Muslims, it's almost
it's one fifth of humanity's there are a lot of people who have some relationship with Islam. Christianity is the other religion that exceeds Muslims in numbers. And then Buddhism and Hinduism have very large numbers. Judaism is a much smaller religion, but very influential, especially on the Abrahamic faiths.
The three great proselytizing religions in human history are Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. And part of the reason for that is they wanted to share their religion with other people. They believed that this was true, and they wanted to go out and take it and also because in the case of Christianity, and Islam, they were told to go, but the word in Arabic for
telling people about your religion is trizzie called Dawa, which literally means an invitation.
An invitation is only real if it's open to rejection.
And this is why the Quran clearly states financial of a human woman, Shafilea core, let whoever wants to believe in this and whoever wants to disbelieve in it. I mean, the Quran says there's consequences but whether you believe in that or not, is up to you. And so let it be Dean is one of the great universal values of the Islamic tradition, that there is no coercion or compulsion in the religion.
We have the former president, former president of
Hartford seminary here tonight, and they have a center there, Duncan McDonald, who was a great Islamic scholar, Duncan MacDonald said that the world will not be at peace until the three great militant and proselytizing religions come to some knowledge of one another, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. And there's great truth to that.
interfaith now is a security issue for states. It's become a security issue. The states that that represent our peoples around the world have to be more interested in religion because even though Time magazine declared God is dead,
about 55 years ago, God tends to ignore those declarations and come back again and again. These
religions will not go away if you saw the film gravity. One of the interesting things about that film is that as this person went to the first went to the Chinese satellite, the Chinese space station, and there was a Buddha in there. So despite all that massive technology, the Buddha is still around. And then when he went to the Russian satellite, when she went to the Russian satellite station, there was a orthodox icon from Christianity, reminding us that Christianity is still around no matter how far we get into outer space. And finally, the part of the purpose of that was to show that we will only survive. If we work together, helping one another. The Quran says to our
eligibility with taqwa to, to cooperate in righteousness, and in piety and dutiful piety, to cooperate, this verse was revealed about Muslims working with other people, it wasn't revealed about Muslims working with themselves. It was revealed to the Prophet about working with other peoples. So it's very strong. Now one of the problems currently is that we have this crisis of Islam as this evil religion. And there are many people, unfortunately, in my country, in the West, in Europe, and increasingly in other parts of the world, like Burma that are seeing Muslims as incompatible with their societies. Fortunately, the wisdom of this state here, Singapore, has rejected that narrative,
and has shown, I think, great wisdom that we can learn from as a people. But
one of the things that I hear constantly is why don't Muslims condemn these acts? And I can, I can really assure you that since 911, that's about all I've been doing. And and and yet, people don't seem to be hearing the message, which led a professor Dr. Todd green, an associate professor at Iowa's Luther College, to write a book called presumed guilty, why we shouldn't ask Muslims to condemn terrorism. In other words,
German should not have to answer for Hitler.
He there there there are different people than that time. The Christians should not have to answer for the the Crusades. Catholics even should not have to answer for some of the crimes of some of their priests. And I feel like telling my Catholic friends, Catholicism is now being tainted with a heinous crime against children. That's not Catholicism, that's the acts of some people that have nothing to do with Catholicism because they broken every rule of Catholicism. And the same is true for us as Muslims. We, we reject entirely this idea that Islam has anything to do with terror. The so I want to speak in broad strokes from a normative perspective. And and what I mean is, I'm not
going to talk about descriptive Islam, I want to talk about Islam, from a normative tradition, that I'm a student of my Shaykh, Abdullah bin beja, is a master of he spent his life probably starting at about the age of six or seven, and now in his 80s, have really completely committed to that tradition.
So I want to look first at what is the central teaching of the Quran, and if we reduced it to a central teaching,
one of the great scholars of Islam famotidine arrazi, said all of Islam could be reduced to two words, devotion to the Creator, and service to his creation. This is very similar to Rabbi Hillel, one of the great Jewish rabbis from 2000 years ago, who said that all of the Torah is, you know, love God, serve God and serve the neighbor, you know, take care of the neighbor and everything else is commentary. That this is at the essence of our teachings, but often because of the nature of our teachings. There are problems I want to look at just the what that means the oneness of God, and then look at what is this the essential message that human beings should take from that? And then
something about tribulation and the nature of tribulation? And then something about Shetty? Yeah, and then some of these values and I hope I don't want to scare you away. This looks like a book but it's just big print. So I hope I don't bore you. If you if you investigate the Quran, what you'll find is is as the central teaching
The Koran is what some scholars outside of Islam have called radical monotheism, the idea that God is radically one.
Obviously, Muslims differ with Christianity and Christianity, Christians believe in one God, but they have, they have a triune conception of that God. And so and Judaism obviously believes in one God. So these three Abrahamic faiths share, the idea of one God was with some different conceptions of how that manifests. But the Arabic word for that is tawheed, which linguistically means to make one. So the person who does this is called Mohamed, the one who makes one, in other words, making God one. And one of the in logic, logic studies three aspects of our intellects.
The first aspect is what they call simple apprehension. And then the second is about judgment. And the third is about reasoning how you get from something you don't know from things, you know, and this is what traditional logic studied. But that first act of the mind, which is called conception, is based on the idea that our minds are constantly making one. The only reason that we can actually communicate is because of the ability to universalize the particular when I speak about a glass of water, for instance.
The only reason that you know what I'm saying is because you've abstracted the idea of glass. So the particular glass is understood in a universal way, you've made the many one in your mind. And the same is true for water because water is all over with different tastes and flavors and colors, but you make it one so I can say Could you get me a glass of water, and I'm not talking about avian water, or I'm not talking about Perrier, water, or some adjective that describes that water, you understand the one out of the many, this is what the mind does, it makes one and and so to understand.
So he has to understand that your mind according to our belief, has been designed to see unity in diversity. And and this is why the Quran says we have made you nations and tribes, in other words diverse to know one another, to see the Oneness in each other. The Quran says in Surah to Rome, the Quran says, We in it we have created in surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues, and your complexions is a sign of God. It's a sign of God, even the fact that we differ, these are all signs of God. And so this human ability to make one not only enables language, but also reveals the very purpose of our existence, the devotional making of one in our
understanding, the very one who unveils oneness in this diverse world of multiplicity, through the manifestation of divine acts and attributes, the signs of which disclose the sole source behind them, for those who reflect the Quran says we're overdue what our hero will vow he wrote about and God is the first without beginning, the last without end, outwardly manifests and inwardly hidden, outwardly manifest in the diversity of the attributes that manifest in the world, but in really hidden in the essence of his oneness.
And I use his here,
Arabic tends to use the masculine to contain the feminine, one of the interesting things about Arabic, when there's no ambiguity, it just uses like a pregnant woman is Hamon, not hamdulillah. It just uses to get out of the ambiguity. So the masculine just like men contain x and y.
Like, we've got x and y, like I always say, you know, to because I had I had four sisters, and I and they say, Oh, you don't understand you're not a woman. I said, I've got a y X chromosome in there. So I've got more woman than you have man in you because you've got two.
the Quran also makes an argument that this is a fifth or a belief, the idea that there's a creator behind this, and this is this is called the law of causation. One of the things that is known as he says that if you take a child and I actually did this with my kids experimented on this, he said, if you take a child and you hide a child, even like at two years of age, and you throw a pebble from a hidden place, the child will crawl to see the source of it or turn his head to look where it came from. The child does not just assume that it popped into existence because the law of color
causation is fundamentally embedded in the human being. And so when Pharaoh in the Quran says, around Omar Abdullah Al amin, what is the Lord of the worlds? Moses says, You know very well that only the Lord of the world, the heavens and the earth could have given me these miracles. So in essence, it was saying these are clear proofs of who it is. And so this is the idea. Muslims really believe that it is a fifth or a belief. It's part of the principio nature of the human to to believe in God. And so at the essence of the Islamic teaching is the idea of Phantom under who La ilaha illAllah know that there's nothing worthy of worship except ultimate reality, which is worthy of
worship. Now, Hinduism believes in this a lot of Muslims think Hinduism is a polytheistic, faith, Hindu Hinduism, is is is a complex faith, but they have an understanding of ultimate reality which is is that is, is the, the near Guna reality of God without any attribute, and certainly Judaism and Christianity and Islam. Buddhist Buddhism has a belief in an ultimate reality and also has an object of devotion. So they do have devotional even though the Buddha did not articulate it in the Abrahamic articulation.
So, I'm gonna
go for the want of time, I had quite a bit on this subject. But I will just say one thing, that to understand God, the most important verse in the Quran is 4211. They said, competitor, he Shea was 70 and Basia that there is nothing like God. And yet, God is all hearing or seeing. And so the Muslims, like the Catholics believe in what's called the Via negativa, understanding God through what God is not. And so, our theologians say, anything that occurs to your mind, is not God. And so we, we don't accept any conception of God, not a male, a female, not androgynous, no conception of God, God is beyond our comprehension. And the Quran literally says that you can never comprehend God. But God
comprehends you. And so that's very important. The second aspect, and I took this from Mohammed Amina shamefacedly, who said that one of the most important messages in the Quran is the idea that God is watching us. And one of the interesting things about modern society is now that we, we have this surveillance state, it's very interesting, because we're not surveilling ourselves. If human beings actually surveilled themselves, we would have no need for states to be watching what we're doing, that they wouldn't have that fear if we were actually living in accordance with virtuous life. And so the state then uses this as an excuse to extend power. But the important thing is, and
in our tradition is that we should be watching ourselves. And this comes from the idea that God has the ultimate surveillance states. So we actually believe that everything that we're doing is being recorded, not by the NSA, in the United States, by the angels. And that this, that we, we actually have a tradition, it's called an hour of where you will see the film of your life on the Day of Judgment. And so you have to watch but just to give you some help on this, we in you know, you can buy
an app called Sony pro cut. So when you make a film, you can actually edit out parts, that's called repentance.
So you can actually, you can actually have your own directors edition of your film, by just asking forgiveness, and, and having that edited out. So but unfortunately, some people are going to have real horror films on the Day of Judgment, and God help us, you know, so.
But anyway, he argues that, you know, if you if one of the things one of the hypocrisy is of our species, and and I am completely guilty of this, and I admit this, is that when we're driving and breaking the law, and I know they don't do that in Singapore, but in America, we do when when we're driving,
and there's nobody around we, I I'll go faster than I should because the sign says 65 and I met like maybe 80. All right, sometimes 90 if I'm late, and but the minute you see a police officer, you just slow down.
Now in religious terms, that's coming
hypocrisy, right? And I actually have a friend who wants saw all these cars slowing down. And he just kept right on, he flew way past the cop, the cop pulled him over and said, Why did you do that? He said, I just didn't want to be a hypocrite.
God is, is, is watching us, this is our belief, and this should regulate your behavior. Hopefully, unfortunately, it doesn't do it for a lot of people. We're a weak species. And that's why repentance is so important this idea of, and one of the things that's fascinating about humans is we, we have a need for repentance, we have a need if we're healthy. I mean, there's sociopathic people that don't seem to have any need for this. But if we're healthy, we have a need and a desire to make amends, if we hurt somebody's feelings, you know, I said something the other night that that I went back, and I thought I shouldn't have said that he might have taken that wrong. And I sent a text and I just
said, you know, could you excuse me, I didn't mean that. I hope you didn't take that wrong. It was because I didn't want to hurt that person, or make him think that I was belittling him in any way. And so this is something that human beings have and should be cultivated in our children, as young people. I mean, once my son, my oldest son, once came to me, he was probably about 10 years old. And and he said, he was crying. And I said, What is it and he said,
I did something really bad. I said, I said what he said, he said, I went on the computer without your permission. Because we had a rule in the house. And I didn't scold. And what I said was that feeling that you have never let go of that, never lose that feeling because that's your conscious speaking to you. When you do something right. Your conscience will tell you that that's wrong or right. And, and so follow that because our Prophet said that sinfulness is what troubles the heart, the troubles the heart. And so that's a very important aspect of life on Earth. So this idea of understanding that God is, is is there as called s and the prophets Allah sent him said, it's to
worship God as if you see God. And if you if you don't, you know, at least that God sees you. And that's at the essence of our tradition,
of really understanding. Now, the second, again, I'm really going through this quite quickly. I'm just ignoring a lot of
things. But I want to talk about another aspect of Islam, one of the universal truths that Islam teaches is a truth that Buddhists also have the idea that the world is tribulation, this is a difficult place. It's amazing that we're as sane as we are, given the real hardships of, of life on Earth. Could you imagine being in a place right now, like Syria, or Libya or these, these are great tribulations that fall on people? And May May your country be protected from any of these tribulations from civil strife and all these things, but they do happen. We also have personal problems, illnesses. One of the things that the Quran says is that God created the heavens in the
Leah, blucon au come x and Rama He created you to try you. The tribulation is part of the purpose of life on Earth. That suffering is part of life on Earth, mental anguish, all of these things. Why? According to our tradition, because this is where we grow from. This is how we grow from, we grow through struggle. We grow through resistance, if you want to build muscles, you have to have resistance. If you want to build your soul, you have to have resistance, the body needs resistance. In fact, if you're in Gravity, where you're weightless, you will lose all your tone eventually, because there's no resistance. If you're weightless, spiritually, if there's no resistance, you your
soul will atrophy. And so this is really an important aspect. The Quran, again under the heart of Animoto hetalia blucon Rama he created death and life to test you to see which of you is the most beautiful in behavior and action. One of the most important verses in the Quran I think, is the Quran says well no blow and no can be shaped in a healthy would you worry, we will try you or test you
with something of hunger, fear and hunger and loss of wealth and property and loss of life and loss of fruits. Well beshara sabreen so give good
tidings glad tidings to people who bear those burdens. And this is us. It's a stoic view of life. But one of the things that's happening in my country is everybody has become so hypersensitive. And and this life is difficult. It's very hard. If you look at some of the greatest people, in our, in our contemporary history, people like Muhammad Ali, or Nelson Mandela, these are people that went through great tribulations in their lives. And what makes them great is that stoicism in the face of that tribulation, that Nelson Mandela could come out of prison after being unjustly imprisoned for all of those years, and have no feelings of vengeance against the people that did that to them,
without not even coming from a religious perspective, coming from some deep humanistic understanding of life on Earth. That that is something that we marvel at, but it's something we should admire, also an attempt to emulate. And so this is very important. Now the reason that the Quran talks out Bella and fitna, and these are words that are mentioned over 80 times in the Quran, tribulation and trial. They're mentioned over 80 times. Li Kalitta. So I've had to call madatha talcum, so that you do not grieve over what you, you, you, you you don't get and you don't become over joyed with pride about your prosperity. One of the interesting things I have a Chinese doctor who actually taught me
Qigong. And so my Chinese doctor told me that in Chinese medicine, grief, and extreme grief and extreme joy, are extremely dangerous for the heart, that people can actually die from overjoyed like too much joy. And this is what the Quran is saying, Don't get too overjoyed about what you get you have and don't grieve, just find that middle space. And and and recognize that the grief can be removed in an instant. And that joy can be lost in a moment. I mean, this is one of the aspects of life. Another thing that the Quran reminds us of is not to see prosperity as God's blessing to you over other people. This is one of the things I mean, we had a politician in in my country who called
certain countries, you know, like, he just used a really scatological bad term. I won't repeat it because our Prophet said, Don't use obscenities. But one of the things that's really tragic about that, there's a great film from the 1960s, where there's a leprechaun, and there's a man, there's a racist man. And, and they, they bury his pot of gold. So there's three wishes to it. And the racist is talking about black people. And the person's over the pot of gold says, You know, I wish you were black, and the guy turns black. And suddenly he asked to live as a black man. And it would be really, people don't understand that it's just arbitrary where you're born. If you're born in
Eritrea, it's very difficult to travel. What crime did you commit
in being born in a country? And if you're born into great privilege, that is a responsibility. This idea somehow that we're superior because we have
prosperity or a more powerful country is a demonic idea. And this is why the Quran says, a melon Santa's idiom of Terra hora karamo. When I am available, Dora be acraman. If men says should his Lord honor Him and bestow much blessings on him, my lord has honored me while I may eat them up terra cotta de risco robbia han ne. And yet, if he tries him through constriction and probation, he says, My Lord has humiliated me. This is a false understanding. It's a false understanding. Poverty is a tribulation, but wealth is a tribulation. The Quran says both are tribulations, that God tries you with goodness. And with difficulty he tries you with great wealth, he tries you with great
poverty. And this is a very important lesson to learn because it creates empathy and compassion. One of my heroes is a Catholic saints called Edith Stein, who wrote a book called The problem of empathy.
Which what is empathy? phenomenologically Why do some people experience the pain of other people and other people can just look at it with contempt.
This is a real human problem. And this is why the cultivation of mercy is that that
essence of the of the, the values of Islamic tradition, our Prophet and this is the first Hadeeth that were taught as Muslims when we study in the Hadith chain tradition. This is the first idea that I heard from my teacher with a chain all the way back to the Prophet sallallahu sallam, and it is a rocky moon, your hammer home or rock man, air hammer, or your ham comment this summer. Those who show mercy the merciful will show mercy to them have mercy on all of those men is called pivotal moment Arabic It means generally have mercy to everyone. And God will have mercy to you. Sometimes Mercy is taking the sword out of the hand of a madman. So it's not always just accepting what people
are doing. But Mercy is what should motivate us, compassion for other people. And this is why this is a core value. Our Prophet will Madison Naka Illa Rahmatullah al Ameen. We only send you as a mercy to the worlds so this is at the essence and this is why it was it was mentioned earlier by our noble scholar and your Mufti and you should be very, I think it was it actually might have been the, the scholar from the Emirates, but no, I think it was you mentioned even a payment Josias. Yes, your Mufti mentioned today. This is a core understanding of our tradition. Even Emma Josie has said the entire sacred law is merciful. So if it goes from mercy to cruelty, it's not from the sacred law.
It's the entire thing is wisdom. If it goes from wisdom to folly, it's not the sacred law, the entire thing is common benefit, common wheel muscle Aha. So if it goes from benefit to harm, it's not from the sacred law. And And finally, it's all wisdom, so and justice, and so if it goes from justice, to tyranny, or oppression, it's not from Islam. So that's a really important aspect. Again, I'm going
people can read this one when I if they want to. Another really important thing is the difference between vice and virtue. One of the problems in my country now is moral relativism, one of the most important things about human beings. And when I taught ethics, I began with the analytics of Confucius,
which is virtue ethics, the idea of the good human being, all of our religions share profound concepts of virtue. Honesty is a virtue in every country. Integrity is a virtue in every country, courage is a virtue.
Truth is a virtue.
The idea of temperance is a virtue. Justice is a virtue. These are not relative concepts, we might have some different conceptions. So there is room, we can have different conceptions of justice. But the essence of justice is the same.
This is very important, to not allow relativism to destroy our cultures, and the prophets of the light is seldom said I was only sent to perfect the virtuous character. In other words, virtue was was was embodied in pre Islamic Arab tradition, they had many beautiful qualities, and the prophets eyes them acknowledge those qualities, but then they had things that needed to be removed. Their their
view that women somehow a female child was, was a blemish for the man. One of the beautiful aspects of Islam is that the Prophet said, there's greater reward in raising a daughter. And Mr. kozani said, a true believer will prefer daughters over sons. This completely changes that paradigm of seeing the daughter as some kind of trouble or blemish. No, it's women are a great gift, the womb in Arabic, the the name for, for I mean, we forget woman, you know, womb, man, the, you know, it's the woman, it this is the secrets of kinship bonds comes from the womb, and this is why in Arabic, kinship bonds are called Sita, Tara, him, the bonds of the womb, that tie us together. And this is
one of the secrets and the Prophet said, from this world. I was made to love women, and that is not in any way, a sexual or lustful statement. He loved the brittleness of women. He loved the fact that they cried easier than men. This is not something to be ashamed of, or to be a blemish. This is something that he saw as a virtue, that there was more brittleness in that nature. And one of our great end of the season scholars said, that of all the manifestations of God in the earth, the greatest is in the woman, because of mercy.
Because this is at the essence of God's nature, and this is why
The Hadeeth codes, he says that I have derived the womb, or him from my name, alright, man, the Merciful. So the very name for what a woman has at the center of her being is the name. It's derived from the Name of God, the Merciful. This is something I think very extraordinary about our tradition.
And the fact that we don't qualify it, and then so I'm going to just do a few
concluding points about just the shediac, the shediac is grossly misunderstood. The vast majority of shediac, I have a book several volumes of the shediac. The section that deals with governance is the smallest section in the entire book. And yet, this is the section that everybody sees as the shediac. The biggest sections in Islamic Sharia sacred law is prayer and purification. And then the next biggest section is the laws of marriage, because of all the problems that have been there, right. But if you follow those rules, your marriage will tend to be sound and believe it or not, the vast majority of the rules, actually privilege the woman over the man. And and I'll just give you
one example. Only recently, economists have thought about the GDP in relation to non remunerated services in houses, like all these women, that traditionally have been in houses, doing all this work.
From the very beginning of Islam, that was understood as work and this is why in my school, the Maliki school, a woman can charge her husband for laundry or cooking, or any of these a, I'm not making this up.
If she does it, it's day gratis, you know, you're lucky, you have a lady that's willing to do that. So now in America, we tend to try to share these, although, in the United States, one of the major reasons for divorce is disputes over domestic chores, right, because we have women working, and also the husband often expects them to do the traditional things that women have done.
So I in terms of, you know, there's two things that I want to say, one, the Penal Code of the song, this is sole prerogative of a state, and they can apply them or not apply them based on their judgment, and whether the the context is applicable or not. So that's very, very important. And so one of the most important things then, is the idea of jihad. shehab delevan. beja says that in the early period of Islam, there was a debate about whether there was a pre emptive type of jihad and offensive jihad. He said, in the modern context, anybody that does not see the resolution, this debate and the prohibition of any type of offensive, jihad is insane.
And he also argues that
jihad in essence, in modern parlance, would simply be termed national defense, just the right in terms of the the military understanding of jihad, because there are also non military understandings. But that is the sole prerogative of a state. Individual actors cannot do that. It's absolutely prohibited. And so these terrorist organizations that make these claims are making false claims. So a really important aspect and this is something is blasphemy laws. The Quran is very clear that it could have been there's no coercion in religion.
We're living in a time in pre modern world, most of our religions had blasphemy laws. Christianity certainly did. That last person executed in England was in the late 18th century.
The modern world The purpose of blasphemy laws was to protect religion in our current environment. Implementing blasphemy laws has the opposite effect. It alienates people from religion, so you lose the spirit of the law itself, if you if you don't understand the context of what you're living. So that's very important and the foreign buyer of an offshore says that we should see that verse as there's no course in the religion as abrogating any other verses that would indicate otherwise because it was a very late verse. Another thing that port on prohibits and this is very important for the Muslims here. The Koran prohibits making fun mocking or attacking or cursing or denigrating
the beliefs of other people, even people that worship idols. The Quran is very
Clear in 6108 Wow, that's a super Lithuania tournament do Nila do not curse, the idols that they're calling on beside God, that is symbolized when deleted. And so this is really important that the prophets I Sam did not attack other people's face. And his religion is a religion that acknowledges the right of other people to, to follow what they believe in terms of social engagement. The Quran makes it very clear by an act of mercy from God, you were gentle in your dealings with other people, and had you been harsh and hard hearted, they would have fled from you. And so kindness is one of the most important values of our religion is just the act of kindness of treating other people with
kindness. And, and and the loss of that is is something terrible in a society when people begin to act puffed up. The Quran also commands us to obey the states we live in, irrespective of whether they're Muslim states, or states that are secular or follow other traditions. The Quran says yeah, under the name of the Allaha will appear Rasul only me remain calm. It clearly states follow God follow the Prophet, and then those who are put over you, it doesn't designate them as Muslim or non Muslim. And the traditional understanding might have been that that means the Muslim ruler, but by consensus of our scholars, if you go into a state, and you have to obey the laws, and this is
something the Mufti, all of us, this is what we learned. So you cannot go into a state and break the laws of the state. It's extremely important. Taking care of family, this is another one of the universals of Islam, taking care of families. Also, one of the most important things in Islam is how do we engage with other people in terms of who actually aggress upon us, if you're a government, you you can behave in a certain way. Because coercive power is the sole prerogative of a government so they can use what do you do as an individual, according to the Koran, you can defend yourself if somebody's trying to kill you. But the Quran actually tells you constantly to turn the other cheek.
This is a teaching that the Christians know very well. If the Quran says if somebody wrongs you repay him with a good deed with a right and you will find that he'll become like a close friend. Not everybody, but most people will respond that way. And so this is very important. The Quran also says avoid suspicion. You know, think the best of people, I was with somebody last night and saw a situation that looked very dodgy to me. And I said, and he said, have a good opinion. And he was right. So it's good to have a good opinion of people. I'll give you one example. I know an Imam who wants or had an emergency and they went into a bar to make a phone call because the only open place
and he came out of the bar and there was a Muslim there that song, and he's like looking at the bar. And looking at the Imam. He said
stuff at a law. He said no, no, I had to make a phone call.
So that's an example of having a good opinion
of people. So again, the Quran also says that God does not prohibit you from showing righteousness and kindness to those who don't fight you or remove you from your homes. That this is if people aren't opposing your fighting you treat them with dignity, treat them with respect. The Quran says hold the law for what more better outward of angelin be tolerant and command to what is right and pay no attention to foolish people. The Quran says if ignorant people say something to you respond saying peace. Just say peace. There's ignorant people out there. One of the things that I was watching listening to a preacher in the United States, and he said he was driving down the road and
somebody cut him off. And and and he started getting really angry. And his wife said to him, don't let that man steal your mental state from you
just find that equilibrium. This is called being in the hub. Right? This is this is called being in the hub, you know, you have the wheel of fortune. You have like the eye of the hurricane is a good place to be in a hurricane. Right? And the world is a hurricane but there is an eye in the hurricane of the world and that's your spiritual centering. You always you don't have control over your circumstances, but with exercise in practice, you
can have control over how you respond to those circumstances. And this is one of the important lessons of Islam. It's our ability he has no say, ya know, Adam will be my OC phone, repel evil with good the Quran says we are well aware of what they are doing. In other words, let God sort these things out.
My books, not over yet, but
out of deference to time, because I know Singaporeans respect time. And that's a good quality because our Prophet had great respect for time. But I'll just while Ah, what about the last point that I'm going to make? This is an idea that has been introduced recently. In the last 100 years or so, this idea that you can't you have to have absolute loyalty to Islam politically, and you have to disavow any loyalty to non Muslim political entities. According to Adam hamba, this is an innovation. And he said beware of people that call to that the allegiance in Islam is a spiritual religious allegiance. And check out Baldwin Bay has written extensively on this in more than one
book, that this idea that you cannot be a faithful citizen in Singapore to the Singaporean state, as a Muslim is is completely false, that Islam actually not only encourages you, but it obliges you to respect the laws and obey the laws in the state. And this is not modernism. This is the traditional understanding of our religion. And so
human interests by which we achieve order in this world, according to are also the scholars of jurisprudence, and Jacob Levin Bay is one of the greatest living ones. The first is warding off harm.
That and this is why in an Aristotelian understanding, we were given what's called the irascible soul, this idea of indignation and getting angry, it's to protect from harm. And it's a good thing if it's regulated by reason, so warding off detriments, which is known by legal theorists as necessities. The upshot of this is warding off harm from these six universals, the preservation of religion, of life, of intellect, of family, of property, and honor of human dignity. These are, these are the great values of our religious tradition, and securing benefit, which is known to legal theorist as needs. Some of its subsidiaries are things like trade, leases, General benefits exchange
between individuals, and finally, adorning oneself with noble character traits. This is very important accruing virtue, and this is something the Asian traditions are very profound traditions. In doing this, things like filial piety, things like honesty in business transactions, Confucius, if you go to the cemetery of the family of Confucius, there are 10s of 1000s of people in this amazing centuries have one righteous man who lived a righteous life and his words live on and just to honor him. I'll repeat one analytic Confucius or Kung Fu, he said, when everybody says this is good, that is bad.
And there's a great wisdom in that you always want dissenting voices, because they often see things that you're missing.
God created us as triune beings with reason will and appetite. We are knowers doers and makers. Our knowledge occurs within the immaterial reality of the intellect, our ability to abstract and the highest abstraction involves deriving the reality of an infinite all knowing source for this creation, who is one in essence, acts and attributes. Hence, the purpose of reason is to know the truth. And then we're given our will to do the good to ward off harm to accrue benefits. And finally, we have beauty that we have appetites that when they're healthy, they desire beautiful things. Our attraction to beauty is part of a healthy nature and attraction to ugliness as part of a
disease, nature. And so
our appetites compel us to adorn our lives with compliments and and and family and healthy living and productive activities such as making beneficial and enjoyable goods. Look at our word and economics, goods and services.
Beautiful concepts, real goods, not a parent goods, real goods, make things that are productive, that contribute to the commonweal, serve people in ways that are beneficial to your own soul and to their souls. And so this is realized through the useful and the fine arts, the hallmark of which expresses the beauty of a soul in union with the truth, and committed to virtue, truth, goodness and beauty. These are the virtues and trends and dentals that reflect our faith, deeds and goods in their restoration. we restore the three fundamental components of our religion, Eman faith, which is rooted in truth, Islam, service of God and of others, which is rooted in goodness, and son, which is
beauty and realizing what God intended for his creation. I thank you very much. And I hope I didn't go on too long. But I appreciate your patience. And and God bless you, I I feel very honored to have given this 50th anniversary talk. I I really love this country. I've been here now. And just to know that this is a country that it has its problems like all countries, but it's a country that reflects so much beauty and so much goodness. And one of the most beautiful things about your country. It's a green country.
And if you take the highest point on the rainbow, which is violet, and the lowest point which is red, and you take the resonance of those two, in terms of the infrared spectrum, or the ultraviolet, and then you add them together and divide by two, you get green. Green is the most balanced of all colors. And so you're a balanced society. May God preserve it. Thank you