Channel: Hamza Yusuf
Foundations of Islam Series: Session 5
The next, the next stage that that we're going to cover is the time element. And this is where history comes into place. Now within the if you look at the actual Quranic narrative, the Koran is not a history book. There are definitely historical elements in there the Koran is using historical examples, but they are used in an a historical,
placing, in other words, the story of Pharaoh and Moosa, it's irrelevant when it occurred, it's even irrelevant if that occurred. What is being taught is something very powerful.
Right? I mean, the Quranic narrative is that it did occur. But that is not what is relevant from the story, the story is used and is as a teaching example, to learn something of what happened in the past in order to prevent its repetition in the future.
So there is definitely a historical element. Now my friend,
Professor Khalid Blankenship, who's at Temple, a very fine historian, told me that one of the frustrating aspects of the Koran as a book is that it does not allow the historian room to examine. In other words, he said that,
like, there are many examples in the Bible that we have, that are historical in the sense that we can actually look at them as historians, whereas within the Quranic narrative, the historian does not have evidence there to either negate or verify much of the Quranic narrative, or, according to his opinion, any of it really. And he said, What, and he said, it's almost a thwarting for him as a historian like he found it significant that it's almost like warding him to let him know that that is not the point. That the to give you a good example in the in the Quranic narrative, we don't know if it's, if it's Ishmael, or Isaac, who is taken up on the mountain, some of the Muslim scholars
said it was Isaac and some said it was Ishmael, unimportant as the as a detail in the story, which is why the Koran does not mention either one by name, although the narrative would indicate that it was Ishmael, which is different from the Jewish tradition, which is Isaac. But the point is that that is not the point of the story. The point of the story is a man's being tested and, and,
and fulfilling the test in the way that was most pleasing to his Lord. Now the next section here after email and sn, is to tell me about the hour and the word in Arabic for our is Syrah, which is related.
It's related to the moment sad, like I can say, our mom inside he got up immediately from his son. Or I can say, Come Sarah, what time is it like the Arabs? If they want to ask what time it is? They say come sign so I can ask What time's it. Or I can say
it's the time of the hole. Now this site does not relate to historical time, which in Arabic would be called probably either zemon
and then there's another Arabic word
and there's another one in the Koran use called alpha.
The man is relates to time as a historical phenomena.
Answer is more like an age or a period.
And I can also use mn for that as well. Sad does not have any of this data, if you look it up is an interesting word in the Arabic language there's a hadith that says do not curse data, because data is God.
And and the Hadith if you look in the earliest Arabic dictionaries, dahar, according to Arabs was time stretched out, in other words is timespace. Right? And
the idea here of saya is the actual moment in which the universe comes to an end. And it's called the hour traditionally in in, in
in the English Lit
The hour, which I don't know, I don't, I think the I mean, we have the idea in the in the in the Christian tradition of the last hour right. Now there is also an idea of the last days, who doesn't see the last zemon, the last period of zemon. So there's an idea that the human being begins in time
and is moving inexorably to an end of time.
So Adam is the first man. And this is the beginning.
Adam and Howe.
And the human condition is, you know, from a prophetic point of view, it is prophets that show up throughout time. And what is important in the continuity and movement of time is the prophetic tradition itself. Right, this is the this is the way the Quran is looking at it is that there is a conflict going on. And this is why the historical stories in the Quran relate to prophets coming up against
oppressors coming up against tyrants, Pharaoh. And mu says the most repeated story in the Koran, very important story.
The Lewis Mumford in wrote a two volume work called the myth of the mega machine. And in that book, his thesis is that basically what he calls him the axial profits, these profits that come around,
I think about 1000 bc until Mohammed, which he considers the last of these axial prophet. And he said, what these prophets do is that they're really shutting down the mega machine. Right? In other words, the idea of this massive social project that relates to the world, the pharaoh has his pyramids, and he's going to build them. And there's a lot of people that are going to die in the process, but they're going to carry those rocks, and they're going to carry it and do it all, all for the glory of the pharaoh or the society or whatever. So Mumford said that that, you know, he thought the Jewish tradition, the idea of the Sabbath was a way of just shutting down the machine.
Can't do it, sorry, not allowed to move anything. Right. It literally shuts it down the idea of five prayers a day. It's fair. I mean, well, a lot of Western people get very frustrated in some of these Muslim countries where everything stops, or they're frustrated by a lot of things. Right. But, but definitely, the prayer is something that's very frustrating for, for many Western people that go there, they got business to do. And the guy says that we have to stop for prayer. Right. So it's a problem. And Mumford saw it really as a way of shutting this thing down because he saw it as a very negative thing. Now one of the things that Mumford says is that there is a movement, this historical
movement towards the mega machine that in prior times, it's nuts and bolts were human beings, right, the whole social project. And he thinks that Pharaoh and moose has the best archetype of this phenomenon. That's the Moosa Moses comes in, and is directly a challenge to the Pharaonic project, that the prophets literally challenged this idea that we are here for the glorification of a hierarchy. And at the top is this elite. And so the Quran uses this idea. They're called the mela, that the people up the high people, the elite, the elect of the world, you know, there's a film can't remember the name, the where there was conversation going on at a table on one of the women's
sinologist, and there's a banker there, and the banker
asks, How many people are there in China, according to your statistics? And she said, Oh, about a billion. And he said, No, they're not. There's only 12 people in China and I know all of them. Right. And the idea there was, here's a banker, who the way that he views the world is that the only significant people in China are his friends who also are bankers. So the idea being is that there are a you know, at you get to a certain level in societies where people really do view I want to wonderful things I read was
I think it was Linda Crawford is a model who was up flying and the and the actual helicopter crashed Cindy Crawford helicopter crashed and they were like an Aspen or some are going up to ski the powder. And they were looking down and somebody said to her, look at all the little people and right then the helicopter just went into this span, right. So she got a very interesting I mean, I thought that was a very interesting thing that she kind of picked it up or made the connection. You
Know that Be careful about thinking how special you are? Because we're all right in the in the hands or in the protecting care of God. Right. So there are people that really do like, Helmsley was that her name who didn't pay only little people pay taxes, right? Only little people pay taxes, there are people that really do think like that, right. And the Quran is really constantly bringing this up and even goes into their inner discourse, which is fascinating. Literally, you can hear what they talk about when they're, you know, because one of the things is he's telling his mela, he said, Listen, we got to get rid of this guy, Moses, because he's gonna corrupt our people. Right? So he
sees, you know, this is a corrupting element, because he's going to teach him not to worship us. Right? Not to say the pharaohs God not to give me the authority that I'm entitled to. That is a disrupting element to the power elite, when you have a teaching, that is literally challenging the very foundations of that, of that structure. And this is something very powerful in the Koran. And there are many examples of it. So if you look here, then the idea that time is coming to an end. Now, the Prophet Muhammad,
peace be upon them, according to the his tradition, is that he is the first sign of the end,
that he actually his coming was the first time that time, that's how the Muslims view that. Now all according to the Muslims, all religious traditions have told about the end of time, there's a hadith in which the Prophet said, no prophet has come, except that he told his people that time would come to an end, and there would be certain signs. So we have in the Christian tradition, about the end of time, one of them you will hear, there will be famines, and earthquakes in many places, and you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. It's very interesting also that, especially with modern CNN, and all this stuff, right, which is a type of just talking about wars, and also potential things. And
then you have the book of revelations, which deals also with the phenomenon of the end of time, and many, many Christians. If you go into Christian bookstores, just so many books on the end of time, right, really a lot of books. And as we approach the millennium, I think we're gonna have more and more of this, because you're starting actually to see I mean, you know, when the publishers get greedy when they start publishing these kind of, because some of these books are way out there. Right? I mean, you read, and this poor guy
he's the most famous how Lindsay, he's the most famous, this guy, he has to revive his books every 10 years, because he identifies like, one year at Kissinger is the Antichrist, but you know, Kissinger is not around anymore, he has to revive it every every so often, because they literally trying to take the Bible and apply it to immediate events. And there's actually a television program in some states, where there's a guy, he's like a newscaster, with his wife, and unbelievable, like, every event will hit there's Daniel 314. You see, Daniel says that this will happen this and there you have it, look, isn't that wonderful? You know, Iraqis are being bombed, just like the Bible
said, it's so wonderful Jesus, it's all you know, and it's really interesting to watch these characters. But they're out there and people tune in and and get very interested in then National Enquirer is also got their little, you know, you get these the globe, right, the end of the time coming. So you have a lot of it's almost become comical, you know, the guy with the thing, the end is nigh, that there really is a lot of craziness. And traditionally, the Muslims have really kind of seen every single book I've ever seen, whether it's the from the third, fourth, fifth, sixth century, they say, well, all the signs are there, the end is nigh, the idea of being
in reality, the end of time is the end of our lives. I mean, that is the ultimate end of time that we will die. And so that is an end of time, but there's also an end of human time. And so within the tradition, I think the most definitive Hadith about it, which I think is also the most wonderful is that the Prophet Muhammad said, if the end of time comes upon you and you're planting a tree, then finished planting it. In other words, don't become millennia ariens. Don't become people that run off and just the end, is it No, do what you're doing, keep working, keep doing it. If it happens, it happens and you happen to be there when it happens. But don't let that stop you from action. So
there is an idea of Yes, there isn't enough time there are signs. Now in the tradition here.
The first thing he asked him about the end of time, he says
Tell me about the sun, the star, the hour. And he says the one being question doesn't know any more than the one questioning. In other words, I don't know. And he says, well then tell me about it signs. And then the Prophet says, peace be upon him.
The slave girl will give birth to her mistress.
Now, that's it, that's an interesting statement, the slave girl will give birth to her mistress. And the scholars traditionally dealt with that in a lot of different ways. One of them is they said, at the end of time,
slaves who in the Islamic like, for instance, the family became rulers. And many of the scholars said, This is it, the mameluke were slaves in Egypt, and they actually became rulers. They said, Here they are, they'd become the masters. Another interpretation was that children would treat their parents
like this a traditional interpretation that children would treat their parents like servants, they would order them around, who would tell them what to do, that there would be a loss of respect amongst in that relationship. But I think probably the deepest interpretation is that there would be a radical disequilibrium in social structures. When you look at the relationship between a servant and a mistress, the relationship is like a mother and a daughter, the mother is to be obeyed, nurturing the daughter, the daughter obeys the mother, when that is turned upside down, then you have a radical disruption in the social order. If you look in the Quranic narrative, the first and
foremost expression of a toe houdek worldview of a belief in one God is a son, to the parents, beauty to the parents, showing beauty to the parents, the Koran says, and God has told the human being to honor his parents, the mother, first it says omo hamadeh, to one and allow one the mother gave, nurtured and gave birth to the child sapped and weakened.
Right, so the nine months of nurturing your child in the womb, giving birth, suckling the child, raising the child, changing the child doing all of these things, that there is a great debt owed the child to the parent, particularly the mother, and this is why the Prophet said that the Paradise is at the feet of the mothers is literally at the feet of the mothers. And the Prophet was once asked, Who is the most worthy of my companionship? And the Prophet answered your mother. And then you said, and then who he said your mother, and he said, and then who he said your mother, and he said, and then who he said your father, and then in another traditional man came to him, and he said, Yasuo
Lau messenger of God, I am cleaning my mother in her decrepid age, the way she used to clean me is that filial piety and he said, No, that's payback.
He literally said that recompense, right, you're just, you know, recompensing what she did for you.
So the disruption of the the the parental child relationship is a deep disruption within a social order. And we can we can see that really, I think, not simply in our own societies, but it's it's becoming quite a global phenomenon. The idea of rebellion. There's an idea in our culture, certainly that there's it's a given that children will rebel. Right? This does not happen. I you know, Suman Yang, who's from the wolf culture, right? I mean, in the world of the art, is there any idea of that of a adolescent rebellion against the parents? I'm just curious, there might be
Do you have any idea in your culture of like, adolescent rebellion against the parents?
So the very beginning
it was not there, that would be consistent with my experience in Mauritania, that they really had no concept of children rebelling against the parents, whereas it is becoming a norm and with westernization, it's increasing because of the idea of Rebel Without a Cause. That there is, you know, there is this idea that children have to rebel, that they have to establish their identities. There's an awful lot of identity foreclosure in the ericksonian type of model. I think in the Muslim world. There. There is an idea that you really have to do what your parents say. And I think there's a lot of abuse that happens from the parents to the children.
Because they do have an upper hand there. So you do see that a child will become an engineer, because that's what the parents say that they should be. Right, which, in our culture, I think that's, in a sense, one of the positive aspects of our culture is that there is a type of freedom that is allowed for a young person in many, many families. I mean, it's certainly not true across the board. But there are many families that do allow a child to experiment, try to find out and I think that's actually a very positive aspect of our society and civilization. The
but the idea of the breakdown of the social structure is, is something that is definitely part of the end of time that we move into a deseq equilibrium. If you look, there's a wonderful book on this topic written by a French scholar and intellectual called Rene genau, which is called the reign of quantity. And in that book, he talks about the idea of moving away from a quality based culture into a quantity based culture. And he considers that what the Hindus called the Kali Yuga, period, the last period of man on earth, that it would be a period of great disruption and turmoil, that there would be a massive
upheaval of traditional models and a radical new type of way of looking at the world, which is related more to quantity than quality. And it's interesting, there's an, you know, the idea, one of the things that we as a western people have done, which is quite unique, and a radical departure from traditional cultures is the quantification of everything. You know, we've really set out to measure everything, you know, measure space measure, gas, measure, air measure, the speed of light, all of these things wanting to measure to
quantify, and I thought was very interesting one, I had statistics in college, and one, one of the professors taught the course, said at the beginning of the course, one of the things about statistics that you'll learn is it doesn't work very well, with qualitative data. It works very well with quantitative data. But when you get into this qualitative data, we have problems. Right. And I thought that was kind of interesting, because so much of our society is based on statistics, you we really do base a good percentage of our policies of even in school and education, you know, so much is based on Well, what are the stats here, before we give you money, show us some stats. And
immediately when you move into that model, you're moving into a quantitative and not a qualitative model, generally. So the
now to go into some of the signs, they're basically the scholars have identified three types of signs, signs that have already occurred,
And then signs that haven't occurred.
So some of the signs.
Some of the signs that have already occurred, according to the Muslims are signs like the birth of the Prophet, that was a sign according to Prophet the Prophet also said that the death of Omar was a sign in the death of Earth man. He said that the fall of Constantinople, which occurred 800 years after the hudy was recorded, he said the fall of Constantinople was a sign he said the fall of Rome, also to the Muslims, that the the Rome, the city of Rome, would become Muslim,
which hasn't happened yet.
so that would be a later sign that haven't occurred, but in terms of already occurred, they would be signs that have happened. There was a fire that the Prophet predicted in Medina, which was a result of a volcano that erupted and he said Medina would be confronted with a massive fire and that occurred
and several other events that are mentioned in the tradition, the signs that have occurred and continue to intensify. One of them that the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said that one of the signs would be
intoxicants would be widely used
So you can see this happening in the Muslim world and just intensifying from quite some time ago, another sign would be nakedness, that people would begin to remove their clothes. And he said, until it would get to the point where people would actually walk around in the marketplaces, in shorts, with their thighs fully exposed. Right? It's in a hidden mess, you fit us walk, we'll have Hyderabadi atone, walking in marketplaces with the thighs fully exposed. He said also that people would have sexual intercourse in front of other people was a sign of the end of time. He said that it would get so bad that you would see people fornicating on in public places. And the best people
would be people who would say can you do that somewhere else.
Another one would be speed in travel, he said great distances would be traversed in very short times. And he said also that people would hop between the clouds and the earth,
of Sudan and out of the center. And he said that there would be
musical instruments would be everywhere. And he said that also that people would dance with instruments on their head, which some have interpreted as headphones, that they would dance with instruments on their head, and they would spend the whole night dancing like that. And he also said that you would see singing with women prevalent in public spaces. because traditionally, that was something that people did in private things but he said it would become out open into the public. And he said that there would be many people would that he said textural house at which would be whisperings, like there would be many confused people that would have a lot of psychological type of
problems. So I mean, I could go on and on it gets quite depressing.
So those are signs now then there's the big ones, in which the Prophet the biggest of all is called the Antichrist, which people understand.
Howdy, Hadith literature the vast majority of signs of time are related to Hadith literature, although some are in the Koran one of them is that's a clear smoke would appear over cities towards the end of time since soda to Doohan
some people have interpreted as that.
Yeah, do Han is is smoke gas it's the same word used for gas in Arabic. Do Han is used for gas as well because the Arabs didn't have eyes is a modern word for the Arabs do Han was used for gas as well.
no clear mean it would be very everybody would see it. Right. And it says from the evil that people were doing.
major sign is that the jaw now I just want to read because I think it's very interesting. This is was written in the last century, but it's taken out of classical Arabic books.
Yeah, this about the Antichrist. The word in Arabic is from digelar. It means to smear a camel with tar.
In other words, covering the whole body with tar, smearing the part that is mangy, or scabies, so it has the idea of hiding illness or sickness covering it over, right, covering over the black pitch,
to lie, to conceal truth with falsehood,
concealing the truth, he enchanted or fascinated. So the idea that the Antichrist is an enchanter or a fascinator people are fascinated by him, he compressed, he traversed the regions or tracks of the earth or land. Now the province said that the digital would enter every city on the planet. When they asked him what would his speed be like? He said, like a wind that leaves a cloud in its trail.
Kareena stead Barra to sahab literally means like a wind that leads a cloud in its trail. And in another tradition, he said he would ride a white donkey made of iron, whose span between his two ears was 40 cubits.
bubbeleh Toma Hadid is the Hadith he says. And then he says,
to confuse to mix things, having one eye
the Prophet Muhammad did have
the jaw. The jaw is the word in Arabic for antichrist which is better
Translated by the Arabs, but in the Arabic language as the imposter Christ.
Oh Christ Yeah, Missy had the gel, the false messiah. Very much so. Uh huh.
In Islam, the concept of the Messiah as a, as a one time thing represented by Jesus of Nazareth,
Jesus is seen as the Messiah, the Messiah.
And this is going to be
Yeah, okay. And and it's interesting because if you study the Islamic Jesus, I think it gives you a very good picture of the idea of an anti Jesus, because anti and Arab in Greek and this also means in place of instead of, it doesn't really mean against the original meaning of anti in Greek as as a prefix means instead of.
And that's closer to the Arabic interpretation, which is imposter or in place of pretending to be the Islamic Jesus. And I actually translate, I'm hoping to get it out this year, but I translate all of the Arabic sayings of Jesus, because there's a very large, there's actually more sayings in the Islamic tradition of Jesus than there are in the New Testament. And most of them deal with the dangers of the world of materialism. So I find it really interesting that you know, this idea of an imposter that Jesus is, the whole thrust of the Islamic Jesus is salvation through giving up material wants, and the idea of an antichrist is salvation through desire of material goods, that it
is material goods that will make you happy, that is material goods that will save you so I think there's a very materialistic element in here and also the idea of being one eyed is that part of the by ocular vision is depth perception which you lose with one eye and so the idea that that there's no that the digital or the Antichrist does not have a depth percept he's a two dimensional being he sees things in two dimensions.
And some of the Muslim scholars do not consider it an individual and but most do and some and you'll see it as we go on here. Having one eye is one of them also to guild a thing so in other words you take lead you put gold over it that's you dejan so to make something that's cheap or insignificant look very worthwhile or significant.
Cover the land with water
he put his land into a right or proper state prepared it improved it with dung so to spread down on the earth to spread feces on the earth the job done for maneuvering land, and then do john is refuse lowest basis or meanest sort of people.
The lowest basis or meanest sort of people
a Gilder a liar conceals truth with falsehood, who deceived deludes. beguiles circumvents outwits much, are often very deceitful, the Great Deceiver.
And then a great company of men dead jhala in Arabic means a great company of men journeying together covering the ground by their multitude, or a company of men journeying together carrying goods for sale.
Right, so trafficking goods all over the place,
Mercia healthcare, the false Christ or antichrist is to be a certain man, right comes forth in the last days. So having one eye or eyebrow,
so that you get the idea that this is a classical coming out of classical dictionaries, the idea of the Antichrist is that towards the end, there will be a type of false salvation through
love of the world and material things and these things and and I think the Muslims definitely have a very strong sense of the job because at the end of the prayer, you actually make a prayer that says, and I seek refuge from the tribulation of the digital in the last period and the Prophet Mohammed said, every prophet has warned his people about the digital but I will tell you something that no other Prophet told his people he only has one eye.
So that was the the tradition that he said about the digital that he would have one eye. And there's a very interesting some of the Muslims said, you know, the television is like a digital. It's a one eyed type beast.
And there's an interesting
section. In Lewis Mumford. The second volume was work on the mega machine, which is the eye of the one I have Ray the all seeing eye of Ray and he talks about
The Mega machine. One of the things about the mega machine, he said traditionally was that they couldn't, they didn't have an all seen power these, these previous kings and rulers. And so he said, what's happening though, is that and he wrote this in 1961, he said, in the near future, we have theoretically in our hands,
a machine that will able to monitor all of our life, which is the computer. And he said that, and this is what Foucault called the pan optic society, the all seeing society. And it was designed after the idea of a prison system that Jeremy Bentham designed, which was where you had a center piece utilitarianism, you had this center, you only needed one guard, and around the guard were all the prison cells. So in the middle was a tower, which this one guard could watch everything at one time. And so the idea of the all seeing, you know, the state apparatus in which we're all monitored, a really interesting book about this subject is called
eye can see the cover, because it's got that pyramid with the eye on it. It's the naked consumer, very interesting book about how we are watched that, you know, a lot of people don't know this, but when you buy things with your credit cards, they go under bio data's, and so they can work out, like I started getting all this stuff about, like, different types of books, I'd get these like things from spiritual book, companies and things because they worked out, you know, you buy them, and then they sell, they do bio data on you find out what type books you'd like to read. And then they sell that list to people, when we had a baby.
The first child and like, a week later, we got all these things about it. And my wife was like, what, you know, this is a classic problem with religion, right? It's a sign right now. There's somebody that monitors for the corporation's all the births in the county, and they sell your address to people, right? It wasn't a sign right? Or it was a sign that we're in big trouble, right? We're, everything's being watched by these. So the idea just a, you know, this kind of pan optic culture where and the interesting thing now is this idea of computers with the actual camera on it. Very interesting phenomena, because who else can watch? Right? Who else can watch while you're
having your conversations and things like that, so that there is an idea of this, you know, the Antichrist, and this, the the end, and most Muslims do believe in a second coming of Jesus, vast majority of Muslim there are many Hadees that confirms, it's not actually mentioned directly in the Quran. But most Muslims do believe in a second coming of Christ towards the end of time.
Sort of like
a seal the process of a good point, and that was something that the the, the the scholars did deal with, that he will not come back as a as a prophet bringing a Sharia, according to the Muslims, he actually comes back and he confirms the the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed. That's how the Muslims viewer that he comes back. Now the question was, wouldn't that mean that the Prophet Mohammed wasn't the seal? But it would in the sense that the Prophet is after Jesus, the prophet Mohammed said, there's no prophet between me and Jesus. And he said, that all of the prophets are brothers, we have the same father, which is the religion of the deen of Islam, that with different
mothers meaning the different Shetty as are the different sacred laws. And then the next after the birth of ministers is that you will see the barefooted naked, destitute herdsmen competing in constructing lofty buildings. Now, at one level, this is seen by many people in the monitoring with the idea of, you know, the veteran people now in in the Arabian Peninsula, building all these, you know, they were literally destitute people 4050 years ago, and when I was in the United Arab Emirates, I was once in in in the, the mercy of chefs Hold on, I'll pass me who's the ruler of Sharjah. And, you know, they're very kind of pomp type pompous Moses, you know, there's a lot of
protocol things but there was this guy that came in literally in almost rags. And he came in dirty and he barefoot comes walking in quite arrogantly goes up to the ruler shakes his hand and sits down. And I asked the person next to me who's that he said it's his cousin, you know, but he's still like a bed one out in the he lives out in the end it was just you know, is a bedroom guy lives in a tent. But you know, his his, his cousin had become the ruler of the country. So, I thought that was really interesting. This idea of these, you know, poor people and then building very interesting phenomenon in Arabia is building building.
And then another shift getting upset, because so and so built a taller building than him, he'll actually tear down his building and build up one taller than the second one. Right. And this is also in our own culture, the New York. You know, the the Empire State Building was the tallest, and then the Chicago, building one of them and then the World Trade Center. And then you have now in Malaysia, interestingly enough, very proud the Malaysians are very proud that they now have the tallest building in the world. And, you know, somebody had it on the cover of a Muslim magazine, and they asked me what I thought I said, I think it's really interesting that the Muslims are proud of
being part of fulfilling the signs of the end of time, right, because it's seen as a very negative thing, not a positive thing. And then also,
there's another way to look at this, of building tall buildings like these kind of wretched people. And that is the idea of,
of building lofty ideas, and building ideological structures because the Quran talks about the building of taqwa, banyana, taqwa, right, the building of God, consciousness and awareness. So the idea also of wretched people, creating lofty ideologies that many people will follow and think that they're the truth and things like that. So these is just a very quick overview about it. And then also, finally, I think the point of all of that is that time does come to an end that the human condition does come to an end. And that's how Islam contextualizes history is that there is an end that is imminent.
Again, I think for the individual person, the imminence of the end of time is always related to their own personal death. But there is an idea also. And then there's another important, I think, a very important idea within the Islamic tradition, and that is that each generation will be less, they will be fulfilling the idea of this dimensional Islam of Eamon ism Epson, they will not do it as well as the previous generation, that there is an idea that each generation is
a watered down version, there are periods of renewal historically, and the Prophet Mohammed did say that, that there would be renewed every 100 years or so there would be people that come and renew. But the idea that it's not the same, I mean, I think the Muslims do have an idea, traditional Muslims anyway, that is not so much progress. But quite the opposite. One of the things rent a gun owner pointed out about the rapid speed of progress, he said, one of the things that we forget, is increasing acceleration means going down. Not
right, that the idea of the modern world and I think there's a lot of questioning now of the wisdom of the you know, the idea of bacon introduced the idea of progress, because prior to that the Christians did not have that idea within their worldview of that we are progressing they had quite a different idea. And I think ultimately from the Muslim worldview and also from other traditional worldviews, that the
you know, that the same ethical issues that that that Plato is positing through Socrates, you know, what is justice? You know, how do we lead a good life, what is a good life, these things, we have not come any closer, right, to really, you know, progressing in terms of our ethical nature in terms of our spiritual nature, that although we have massive outward technology, able to do extraordinary things, bring the living back, bring the dead back to life, you know, move mountains quite literally. Despite that, we are still dealing with basic human tendencies such as greed, lust, and the slothfulness. It's hard to get away from those. And in some ways, we're less aware of our own
negative tendencies than perhaps people's before us were, and more filled with our own sense of hubris. And our own sense of power, although certainly the 20th century is a is a century that has created a lot of disillusionment. You know, we've killed 180 million people this century alone in wars between human beings and it's interesting that they weren't religious wars. They were ideological wars, you know, because one of the oftentimes critics of religion will point out we'll look how many people died in the name of religion. Well, look how many people died in the name of
communism, right? I mean, we forget that we're dealing with a human species, that it's not the religion is not the problem, man is the problem, right. And if there's a humanizing factor in the human condition, as far as I'm concerned, it has been religion, that religion is what has introduced into the human being concepts, like making beauty concepts like becoming conscientious, charity, right? Carry tasks, you know, these these things, the Kairos, all of these things are coming out of religious traditions. And the Muslims always saying, and God knows best.
I'm going to open it up for some questions. If people want to go there, believe me, You're most welcome to go. This is my last talk that that you know, that I have with you. And I just would like to say,
my presentations, you know, I'm I adhere to the teaching of Islam. And I do believe in Islam, and I tend to take a more devotional approach than, say, some other academic approaches, you know, that that is my I really try not to preach to people because I never have ever liked being preached to in my life.
So I really tried to do that. But if it has come off as that, you know, I would apologize to anybody if I said anything in any way that offended people or their tradition or their own beliefs, that I also apologize for that that was not my intention. If that was the result, then I would just ask that I would be excused for that graciously. And then I would also just like to say that this has really been a very good and enriching experience. For me, it always is, and I've been appreciative of the fact Darla song has invited me back. But I would like to say this has been a for me a very good group. And I'm not just, you know, I didn't say that to the last groups, I really have enjoyed
this group. Personally, you know, I think you've all been just really just a good group, and you're all teachers. So you know, a teacher likes nothing better than having good students. And, and so I've honored and grateful that that's been the case. So having said all that, I'll just say, if anybody has any questions that I could answer or
a question that just came up in my mind, I guess about time,
but it's not directly to do with election.
I noticed that and the mosque, there was a list of when the five prayer times were and they changed every day, right? I guess, according to the lightness of the day. Is there a place where How would you find out what the prayer times are, where you're geographically living by ground geographic.
I think in the beginning of the Islam lecture, I talked about how to find the prayer times, and they are based on the sun and the movement of the sun, they're easy to determine unless you live in an area in which the sun is clouded over, so you don't see it. And in that case, generally, the scholars have permitted the use of astronomical means of determining so we haven't done ahead of time, like you didn't rise, but we actually personally I don't follow that. That's put there for like cloudy days and things like that. I will look outside at the natural phenomena to determine my prayer times. That's what I do. There are many Muslims that depend on the prayer schedule.
Traditionally, it's alien to the because there's an importance in being aware of cosmic phenomena. I mean, the Muslim tradition really does try to connect you to the movement of the planets. The stars, the sun. Uh huh.
Yeah, that's a good idea. Why don't if we have a sunny day, because we really need a sunny day. I mean, I can do it without it. But if we have a sunny day, then if you meet me outside at about 130 I can do it. If you don't have anything going on then.
money ever sighs I had a turtle from Fort Worth star telegram. She opens up by saying that she is a republican plot against House Speaker Newt Gingrich has come to not
how do you react to the use of the term sheet republican? Well, this is a that's a good example of the introduction of terms into our culture, through the media that that have negative stereotypes attached to them. For most people, she either has a very negative
and so he's talking within a cultural discourse that's understood by his readers, negative Shiite is negative. And that's how it's being introduced. For an
Iranian who happens to be an American Iranian, you know, he's gonna be offended by that it's part of the problem with language is that we, you know, there's an idea. I mean, political correctness has a lot of problems associated with it, because we take it to such absurd lengths, you know, but there is an idea of just being sensitive to people's cultures. And one of the things that the Quran says, is we create your own peoples and tribes that you might come to know one another. And the most nobles of your are the most God were.
The Thomas, clearly one of the things that he said about that verse is he said that, you know, we talk about the problem of racism, the problem of all all of these attitudes, but we've never really examined how do we break these down? And, and he thought that that puranic injunction there that to come to know one another, you know, and this part of what this is all about, you know, this is literally trying to come to know, a tradition, how do they view the world? How do you look at things as a way of understanding of people. And I think the Muslims are as guilty as any other people have being narrow and, and, and not trying to understand other there are some Muslims that come here,
bringing a lot of their attitudes from other places. And when you come to America, you have to learn what is appropriate within this culture, you have to learn that there, you know that you're a guest in a host country. And the same would I think would be for Americans going to a Muslim country, you know, you are a guest in a host country. We, in this culture, we have a saying when in Rome do as the Romans do, and there's a wisdom there in that, you know, you, you have to recognize that there are sensitivities. Now, part of the problem, and this a good example that you've brought up is the globalization of our world. We are no longer isolated communities, the Turk is no longer the
barbarians at the gates of Vienna scaring us, right. The Turk is your doctor,
I mean, seriously, we're dealing in a world where these barriers have been broken down. There is a great opportunity here. There's a great opportunity. There's also just as the Chinese know, because their idiot grant for opportunity is their idiot grant for crisis. We are in a crisis state as well. Right? We do have white supremacy in this country, we have a very strong anti semitic element in this country. We have an anti Arab sand niggers, right, we have people that do look at the world in these terms.
We're trying to break this down. You know, we're trying to create some civilization here, some, some humanity. It's a it's a daunting task, you know, but hopefully we can rise to the occasion.
I think this is I mean, you know, we can stereotypically say, Well, what do you expect from Dallas?
Right? I mean, we can I can do that. I said, Well, that's just a southern redneck. Right? He might be sounds like he's a liberal, you know, he might be Excuse me. She I'm sorry. Yeah. So their stereotype something like that must have come from a man.
So you know, the idea is that we can it's very easy to stereotype pigeonhole people do these things. But unfortunately, it creates a lot of animosity, a lot of a lot of turbulence and trouble. The another example of that is the word jihad, which is a very, very high word in Islam. It's not a low I mean, seen as a really in the same way we use a crusade. In our culture. A crusade is a good thing. He led a crusade against drugs. In the Muslim culture, Crusade, it has a very negative connotation. Right? It does it for English speaking, Muslims who know the word Crusade, it really conjures up, people coming in and slaughtering and attacking and pillaging the Muslim Heartland. So,
you know, language is very, very problematic. And I personally I, you know, I just, this is something we live with, you know, I think being For me, being an American who became a Muslim, was very interesting for me, because I grew up part of the dominant culture. I am, you know, I'm a white American, I went to very elite schools in this country, you know, I had very, a lot of opportunities, a lot of other people didn't have,
but then becoming a Muslim and seeing how, you know, a lot of Americans relate to me as a Muslim. You know, it suddenly changes and I did change my name, which you don't have to I was quite young when I became Muslim and a name was given to me, and I took it. In retrospect, you know, I really don't think that you
Well, I know that you don't have to, and I don't know if it's really that wise of the thing to do. Because I think it's creates this idea that, well, you have to be an Arab to become Muslim, or you have to, you know that many American Muslims that do not change their name, right. But the fact that I do have my legal name is my Muslim name has really caused some very interesting things to happen to me. And my wife was she's, you know, Native American, Mexican, Indian, she,
you know, because she wears the hijab, she, during the Gulf crisis, she issues spat out told to go home, go back where you came from, right? It was kind of ironic, because, you know,
I tell you, he did tell him that you don't need to get on a plane or a boat to go back where you came from.
He is from here, this is her roots, or, or from the Sonora desert. So
very interesting, you know, and she was in a supermarket once with the hijab, and there was a young Mexican girl there, who said, you know, the baby was in the, the basket, and the woman wanted to put the groceries into the basket, and they were both Mexican, one of them said to the other, you know, in Spanish, just knock him out of the way. And,
you know, my wife was so upset about that, and she's very gentle soul. She didn't say anything. And I told her, You should have told them, You know, I speak Spanish. And that's not. And I got upset, I went back to the store, you know, and I just, I saw the manager, and I told him what happened, and also reminded him that a good because it's a store right next to a very large Muslim population, they have a lot of Muslims that buy there, which is always bottom line, if you can bring that in.
Get some action, right, son, I just told him what happened. He was really horrified and, and, you know, said he would talk to people, but, you know, we forget that, that
these things do happen. It's very interesting occurrences, to feel the brunt of that, you know, black like me, that type of thing where you suddenly realize there is a another world of experience for other people and for the Muslim, it's just by the fact that they're Muslim. It's not, you know?
Yeah, it's very interesting. So it's, it goes back to some real basic prejudices and some basic things and hopefully, you know, I tend to be an optimist, I'm skeptical, a lot, a lot of things, but I tend to be an optimist. So and, and the Quran does say, Don't Don't despair, it's not a good thing to do the only unforgivable sin for the Catholics.
don't despair. But
again, it's part of, you know, if you go in the way I look at it, humanity had a beginning, just like I had a beginning as a child.
I've grown into my adulthood, I will grow old if I have a full life, I may even become decrepit, it at the end of my life. Right, this is part of the natural process, do you know humanity had its maturity, it will have its its decay, and it will have its old age, and it will have its decrepit period. And then it comes to an end for something new to happen from my perspective. So, you know, the way the Muslims view everything, His Majesty, beauty, and God, according to the Quran is the Possessor of Majesty and beauty. They're both from God. So we are in a very majestic time, we're in a time where there's a lot of tribulation, this country alone, we don't I don't think we realize the
extent of our troubles in this country. If we just look at the natural disasters in this country. You know, in the 1980s, insurance companies were paying out $5 billion a week a year.
In terms of natural disasters, we're now paying 5 billion a week. You know, we've had a lot of devastation in this country, just in the last 10 years, just in terms of natural that our topsoil is disappearing. Right, we're grossly over using our resources. Our children are really getting lost in a lot of very confusing messages. Our media is extraordinarily, you know, pervasive and it's, you know, the violence that is putting out there and a lot of very negative messages. In the midst of that. There are some very positive things happening, you know, and I would tend to rather be identified and be part of what's positive than just, you know what one man said? Well, Heidegger
said as well. We're way beyond pessimism and optimism. depressions a luxury.
The world's coming to an end, I'm depressed. You know, no, this is the age. You know. This is the age it's like the way I look at it. You know, there's a scene in Gone with the Wind, where she's running through Atlanta, and everybody
Just stretched out, you know, wounded and you can either run through it, or you can just sit and offer somebody water and pat them on the back and just say, you know,
we're human. This is it. This is the human condition. It's awesome. It's incredible. It's glorious, it's majestic. It's beautiful. It's intense. It's tragic. It's comic, it's all these elements. And that's part of the the power and the wonder of the whole thing. So I'm going to choose to remain positive about it. And I hope all of you do to your teachers, you can't get depressed. You know, I saw a wonderful program once on PBS, which was about the black schools. And, and
very, very powerful experience. But
there was a white man who had been teaching in inner cities for very long time, and since the early 1960s, and he was just saying how bad it was getting, and that he was losing hope. And that this just the faces, you know, the lack of light in these young black children's faces in these inner cities. It was just it was driving. And he was literally saying, I'm just losing hope. I know, I'm giving up and the black man jumped up.
And he said, You know, we've suffered, we went, we went through slavery went through coming over the, you know, the great crossing, he said, You're not going to tell us there's no hope.
We sang songs to get us through it, you know.
And that's the joy of the human.
You know, the human being as we were people have hoped, like the rats and if the rats can do it.
Yeah, we can do it. That really, that's that's our greatness, that we do have hope and despite all the odds, right? So let's hopefully we're not like the people on the Titanic that think the ships unsinkable and get too arrogant, right, the band plays on and we all go down.