Channel: Hamza Yusuf
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Majid will say a few words about this but we are presenting as it's not.
It's this is my stuff. My turn, my turn, presented to Sheikh Hamza Yusuf by the Islamic Society of North America. This award is presented to you in recognition of your untiring efforts of being an inspiration for individuals seeking knowledge and for the cause in Islamic in North America and society at large check Hamza Yusuf
Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.
What was missing from my speech earlier, that is not is a platform that bring different Muslim scholars diversity of Muslim scholars to address the Muslim community.
And that really representations of how diverse we are.
And therefore it is here in Israel, we exchange ideas, we listen to different points of views of various Muslim scholars. And I would like to thank Hamza Yusuf for being coming to the center now for a while and he said,
the award be given to the people who are they win their way out, meaning that people are retiring now that's not true.
We have a word today to confirm a song she's going to have years and years of giving, God willing inshallah.
And the award being given to Hamza is also appreciating his great work. I would like us to tell you that the zaytuna College have bought the building. They have a place now.
And they have an address. And therefore we like to ask the last panel data to present the blessing upon this great project. And I would like you to continue by the way to be generous and give to esna. Tonight before you leave, I give you chef Hamza Yusuf somani
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim o salat wa salam, ala Muhammad wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa sallam to Seaman Kiera? What I heard over a poet a La Villa de la dee da hamdulillah.
I praise Allah subhanho wa Taala thanking Him
and ask Allah subhana wa Taala inshallah, to bless all of you and bless this institution moving into its 50th year, I'm slightly older than Islam. And inshallah, I hope that
we all recognize the importance of this institution, because I mentioned earlier today, at a brunch that we did for the tuna that I consider is not an I don't say this, to flatter is no or to exaggerate, because in reality, all of us are part of this institution. There's isn't that is a reification of something that's really a group of human beings.
The single most important thing about this institution is that it is an institution that represents perpetuity of Islam in the United States. And I think it can't be underestimated the importance of perpetuity, the importance of longevity, the importance of the idea that something comes into existence and is sustained and maintained over generations. Because that type of constant constant continuity is is what enables this torch to be passed to the next generation without institution building. We don't have civilization. And we also don't have religion religions are founded by great
human beings that we believe these true religions were founded by prophets from God. But these prophets always have around them extraordinary human beings. And if you study the life of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu sallam, the people around him are some of the most stunning characters in in any human narrative. He was blessed with a group of people last bandwidth, Addison's who who led it could be no sir He wasn't more meaning.
He has given you help from God and also these believers that are with you. And Hasbrook a lot woman at the back of men and more meaning God will suffice you and according to one Tafseer one commentary on this ayah and it will suffice you those
Whoo hoo you have with you, these people. They were great builders. The Sahaba were extraordinary builders. I have a
a friend of mine who's a professor in
Saudi Arabia, Dr. Abdullah Ali, who's a scholar of Islamic sciences, but he's also a world class city planner recognized in the United States for his work with GPS and city planning, who got his doctorate from Portland University.
He actually did a study on the building of the trench in Medina, and shows that this is one of the most extraordinary events in terms of pure planning, the engineering of it, the prophets I sent him was a profound planner. He was not somebody that did things ad hoc, he was always
in a deep state of awareness of his Lord, but he was always somebody who understood the ASVAB the means that God has given us to do things in this life. And if you read him, America 10 is extraordinary work productivity, diarrhea, showing you that the prophets analyzed them, created institutions in Medina, a lot of people don't know that there were actually close to 40 mosques in the city of Medina, during the lifetime of the prophets, I said him, people think that only he founded his big mosque and everybody went, No, he put a mosque in every neighborhood, because he wanted people to have community. And this is why having many messages is actually a positive thing.
It's not a negative thing. messages were meant to be in a height in a neighborhood so that people could come together, worship together, he even had people making messages in their own homes. And so people had a room that was used for ibadah in their houses.
This is the way of making the sacred permeate the mundane. And so the prophets, Isom was a great builder of institutions. And this is something that's really important our community develop some of the greatest endowments in human history. Now, we're here in the United States as a community. And the theme is one nation under God, how does that relate to Muslims? I want to look at it from two aspects.
The first is that America has always been a dialectic. It's it's a country that has always had two forces, a force that's reactionary and dark, and then a force that is progressive and light. And this is something that's consistent throughout American history. One of the best ways to study American history is to study the Constitution and the amendments and how those those amendments came about. Because you will see such an interesting debate that's constantly going on in the United States of America. The john adams when he was elected president, one of the first things that he did a revolutionary is he
put into legislation, this idea of aliens and Sedition Acts. And this was that anybody that criticized the government or the President was arrested.
There was somebody who made a newspaperman made a remark he'd been a congressman as well. He made a remark that at the inauguration, he hoped that the cannon would misfire and hit the president.
He was arrested, put into jail for making that remark that was repealed by people that recognize that if you were going to be true to the Bill of Rights, the idea of freedom of speech, that that was unacceptable, and people should be allowed to make such remarks. Again, President Wilson during his administration, you had a Sedition Act. There were far more people arrested during that time. Anybody that criticized the government, people were arrested for saying that World War One was a capitalist conspiracy. They were literally arrested and taken to jail. So it's important to remember that this is not new. What's happening, the idea of the Patriot Act, the idea of these problems that
are happening in America, this is part of the story of America, but it's the fighting back in a civil way. That is what makes America move forward. In the federalist papers in in paper 63. One of the arguments that's made is that the Senate is an important organization in order to prevent the American people from exercising their temporary delusions, that people as a people to have temporary delusions. So one of the temporary delusions that we have today is that the Muslims in America are a threat to the security of the United States of America as a community, one of the delusions in the United States.
Today is that somehow Sharia law is a threat to the United States of America, we have states that are passing anti Sharia laws. They don't even know what the shediac is. And they're passing anti Sharia laws in legislation. $42 million has been spent, according to a study on the Islamophobic literature, and the films and all of these things that have been produced $42 million.
And this is what officially that we know about. There's a lot of money that we don't know about. So when we think of the United States, we have to think of ourselves as part of a story. The Muslims are part of a narrative. And we have been part of this narrative from the beginning. The Muslims were here from the very start. There's evidence that we were probably here before Columbus. And that's a debatable point, but we know that the Muslims have been here for over 500 years, that there's ample historical evidence to prove that we have cities in the United States that were named by Muslims. There are several cities in the United States that were named Medina. We have a city in
Indiana, that's called Mohammed the city of Mohammed, Illinois, Mohamad Illinois. We have a city in Indiana called Medina. Then many of the graveyards have a hand with a finger pointing up and they have Muslim names on on this. And these are Turkish and Arabs that that came to that city and founded that city and named after Medina. We have a city that was first named Mecca, and then they changed it to Medina.
So the Muslims have been here, and they have been part of this. We know in this city. There was a beautiful Muslim that was painted by the great painter Peale, who also painted George Washington.
YARO Mahmoud, this man was noted for he lived in Georgetown. He was a freed slave. He was a Fulani. He was brought to America as a slave. He was a Fulani, and he was noted for chanting his Islamic prayers while walking around Georgetown.
And he was such a pleasant person that Peale who originally planned to paint him in a day ended up spending several days with him. This is part of American history. Islam is the only religion that was honored if you go to the Library of Congress, it is the only religion that is that is mentioned. If you look at the the dome above the Library of Congress in the main hall, you will see Islam, all of the other names are names of civilizations, but Islam was singled out, because of its contribution to human knowledge. And this is really important for us to remember. So we have been part of this story. Muslims fought in all of these wars in American history fought for this country.
Muslims died in World War Two for this country in World War One. In the Civil War, there were Muslims fighting. So this idea somehow that were Alien is a completely unacceptable idea. The second thing I want to emphasize about it is that the Muslims, many Muslims, many of you are immigrants, in the post 1965 act of immigration, which enabled people to come to this country from countries that traditionally It was very unusual. There were always people from these countries. And Jefferson actually mentioned mohammedans and Hindus as people that he wanted to feel safe living in America. So he mentioned this in his letters about his Virginia act of toleration. So it's very important to
remember that America is a land of immigrants, there is ample evidence even that the original inhabits of America, the Aboriginals came from Asia, over the Bering and the Navajo people, their genetic disposition is is identical to peoples in Mongolia. So everybody that has come to America has come as an immigrant, even the original inhabitants of the New World. So it's very important for us to remember that America is a story of immigrants, and that you are part of that story. Those of you who have come late, are still part of that story. And you cannot see yourselves as somehow as foreigners. America has always had accents. Always there's no point in American history, that there
were not Americans with accents. When Tammany Hall was at the height of its power. Many of those politicians spoke and gave their speeches with Irish broke.
And they were part of America. They were embraced sometimes and other times they were not they were fought. And they had to do get out on the streets until they found their place at the table. African Americans This is one of the both tragic and great stories of this country is the African American story. And the Muslims are part of that story because we know that there's ample evidence that one fifth out of the Muslim population were probably from Muslim background. Well, not one Malcolm X men
That statement, James Michener, who was a an author of historical novels, he wrote Shogun and some other novels, James Michener said that's complete fantasy. Well, Alex Haley, who wrote routes with Malcolm X was disturbed by that just the dismissive. He wrote an article Michener saying that this was complete rubbish. Alex Haley was upset by that. And so what he decided to do
was actually study the issue. And so he decided to study his own family, and he wrote a book called roots. And this book became a television series that had a massive impact on the American psyche, in the 19. Set, early 70s.
What he found out was that his own ancestor, and this is really a type of providential act, as far as I'm concerned, his own ancestor couldn't the Kinsey was a Muslim. So Jane, so Alex Haley, who wrote, who co wrote with Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, he was the one that took all the interviews. And he put this piece together, when he studied his own lineage, he found out that he was from a Muslim family in senegambia. And this is extraordinary aspect. So we have many, many people here, who are African African Americans who have Muslim ancestors flowing in their blood, many of the Irish Americans have African American blood also. So my point is, don't see yourselves
as aliens here. Alien acts are always thrown out in in in American history, America has temporary delusions, but it's the people that call them back to their sanity. Those are the voices that we have to listen to. And those are also the voices that we have to project from our own community. And so this is the second aspect of this. And then I want to conclude with with something about our own community that's deeply troubling to me.
The the Muslims in this country have to become an active voice for good America. It's called one nation. We used to say one nation, indivisible, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. In many ways, we've become many nations divided under godlessness
with licentiousness and just lust for all.
And and we as a people really need to think about why it is that pornography is the number one form of media now in the United States of America, we've entered into a pornified culture. Pamela Paul wrote about this in a book called pornified. It's one of the most disturbing books that I've read. Chris Hedges in his book, The Empire of illusion, the chapter, the second chapter of that, I actually regret reading it because it was so troubling and disturbing to me about what's happening in the culture of pornography. One of the pornographers recently wrote an open letter to Mitt Romney, saying the republican party needs to tone down its anti pornography rhetoric, because they
don't have their pulse on America. America has embraced pornography and it's about time the Republican Party, embrace pornography. That is what we're dealing with. We are dealing with an incredibly vital force in this country that's corrosive, and that is, is literally eviscerating the moral character that has always been there in this country. And if the Muslims don't become a voice, a rational voice, unintelligent voice, not a reactionary, pseudo religious or bad religious voice, because there's a lot of Bad Religion out there. We have to be people rooted in intelligence. in spirituality. Plato talks about the problem of stories in cultures and the corrosive effect they can
have on youth. In his time, he was talking about the plays of Aristophanes, he was talking about some of the classical literature that today is read for moral edification. If he saw the type of stories that were now on a daily basis consumed by our young people, I think that he would completely write off the possibility for any real spirituality any real metaphysical aspect or element to this culture. So we have to realize the absolute danger of this we need to be people that are providers and creators have a positive culture, a culture of life, not a culture of death. We used to call people that watch people in private acts of intimacy. They were called peeping Toms.
It's a crime in the United States. Now we have large numbers of people watching people in public acts of depravity and profanity and we call these consumers consumers
Rumors of entertainment.
peeping Toms are classified as psychologically ill people.
And yet people that are consuming
this culture that we have ample evidence of the harm that it's having. I listened to a lecture at the Witherspoon Institute on the effects of pornography in terms of the neuro plasticity of the brain and how brains become rewired. And it was one of the most troubling talks I've ever heard. And we now know that our young children from the ages of 12 to 17, are having exposures to pornography on a regular basis, many, many young people. This is a serious problem in our culture. And this is one of the problems. Another aspect that I think the Muslims should be at the forefront is the problem of food in this country.
We now have an obesity epidemic in this country that is spreading all over the world because of the types of food we're eating. there's ample evidence now that plant based diets are the most important types of diets. Our Prophet sallallahu Sallam was extremely conservative in what he ate. He did not encourage overeating. In fact, he encouraged slightly under eating, and this is clear in our Sunnah. All of these problems that we're seeing in obesity are from the way our food is produced. In fact, one of the people the National
Institute for Health said that we produce our food like crack cocaine. It's designed to to have an addictive effect on people. We have people now addicted to fast foods, and this is real. These are real addictions. And Muslims. We have a religion that's predicated on halaal and budget on on halau and pure food. It's one of the most important things in fact, they said that the early companions, the early community were more they were more concerned about their food than any other aspect of their lives, to eating good things to eating wholesome things and to making sure that they were purchased with pure money that the money and the earnings were pure. We know in salted calf, when
they sent the people of the cave into the city. They asked, he told him look for the purest food. I mean, this is in salted cup, look for the purest food, because people of righteousness are always concerned with what their body is made up of. Because it's the body that is going to be your energy, either spiritual or demonic. And when you're eating negative food, you're going to be doing negative things. CDI Maduro, may Allah subhana wa tada Have mercy on him. And may Allah subhana wa tada restore him back to his place of resting because we recently found out many of us that cdiac matzah rocks grave was desecrated in Libya, literally dug up. And these people claimed that Libyans were
worshipping Ottomans, Rock City rock
said that all the blessings of the world are in two things the company you keep and the food that you eat. So make sure your company is good company and make sure your food is pure food. We should be encouraging organic farms, we should be encouraging organic gardens, we should be at the forefront of the urban homesteading movement. These are things that Muslims should be involved in. We should we should reject. Don't think big, you know, don't think I'm going to go to McDonald's and have a halau fish.
Right? Seriously, because the whole way that McDonald's everything about McDonald's is antithetical to our profits is him and his son and I'm speaking openly, I don't care what anybody says. I am telling you that fast food is something that is destroying people, and we have to oppose fast food consumption. Don't drink Coca Cola, don't drink Pepsi Cola, don't drink Coca Cola, don't drink Cola, drink water, drink milk, drink soy milk if you want to, but don't drink these drinks that have no nothing good for you. And the way they're produced is unhealthy. We have an unsustainable consumption of plastic. If you look back there and look at the number of plastic cans that are
plastic bottles of water that are back there, we've got a garbage fill in Islam, because we're drinking this is unsustainable, it cannot be sustained. We have to find alternative approaches to the way we consume things. We have to be committed to being green, the green Dean, we have to but we have to have commitment. I don't want applause. I want real commitment. I want people to commit to changing their lives. We need to divest in our homes. We need to be with people we talk about boycotting
Israel, I'm talking about boycotting all of them. If you can recognize their names, you should be boycotting them. Because these people are destroying this planet. They're over consuming. They're overselling Costco is a crisis, the whole Costco mentality, do you know that they don't even put labels on Costco haul. So you don't know where things are in Costco because they want you to wander around because they know people will have impulse buying and buy more things than they actually needed. This is social psychology, you are being manipulated like mice in a maze. And we need to oppose this type of mentality because it's destroying people. So I'm really asking you to really
think about the better world buying guide, we should have our own Muslim version of that, of really making choices. I don't fly United Airlines anymore because they get an F, I don't fly American, I fly virgin American, I fly Southwestern, and I fly. The the JetBlue. Because these have the highest ratings in terms of how they treat their employees, in terms of their commitment to social responsibility, the amount of money they're having. legislation is not having an impact on these people. They control legislation, the only thing that will have an impact on these people is that we stopped supporting them, because they have bought our senators, they have bought our congressmen
Mitt Romney speaks on their behalf and Barack Obama speaks on their behalf, we need to take back our country. And the way we do that is by educating ourselves and educating others and making moral commitments, moral commitments to not being part of the madness that we're in a loss of Hannah with data said kuno, Shahada and an S be witnesses unto mankind, be witnesses under mankind, be quantum hire our own medicine, offeree Jacqueline, as you are the best community brought forth, we have to embody those meanings. We need to stop supporting cloth. You know, I get now My clothes are made. I have a tailor who prays five prayers in the masjid. And I go, and he makes me my clothes in one day.
And I know that the garments are actually fair trade garments. I don't want to support this system anymore. And I don't think you should want to or you should, we need to have an exit strategy. And we can do that there are morally committed Americans that are not Muslims that are living pure lives in terms of what they practice than most of the Muslims that I know. I know people that don't carry credit cards in their wallets, because they don't believe in them, non Muslim peoples that are doing this, they will not carry credit cards, I met a Catholic who was so committed to the idea of not having usury. And she felt and she actually engaged the Muslims. And she said I was so deeply
disappointed, because when I found out Muslims, like the Catholics have old before 1832, Muslims also maintain the prohibition of usury, but still, unlike the Catholics still adhere to it. And she said, when I went to try to create
a group of people that can work together to get out of the user ID system, we should have our own credit cards, we can do this. Muslims can have their own credit cards, we need to have our own banks. Banks are not easy. They're not hard to start. It's very easy to start. It's so easy to start that instead of the bank, the bank robbers they used to rob the banks, they realize we can just start our banks, why rob them and risk going to jail. Let's just open up our own banks. And then we can rob all the people, right, this is what they did. So they actually got on the boards of the banks. Right, really, this is what's happened. So this is absolutely imperative that we really think
about this, I would recommend going to move your money.org about moving out of the major banks into the smaller credit unions, local credit unions, local banks as a first step. Because all of these major banks, they own all of the pawn shops, they own all of the user areas, check cashing schemes in the poorest neighborhoods, it's the same companies, you should look at the documentary maxed out and see what they do. It's sinister what they do. And they they destroy your credit scores, because they want you to have low credit scores. So if you miss one payment, you get knocked down on your credit score because they want you to pay more interest. It's all a game, it's a scheme. And people
have been really Unfortunately, they become victims, but it's because of our lack of vigilance. It's our lack of vigilance.
The so this is I really feel this absolutely necessary.
That we become part of the solution and not part of the problem. But we have to do it with real moral commitment. That's the only way. The final thing that I want to talk about is the problem of anathematize ation in our communities the problem of attacking other Muslims. My father last year read the the the Koran from beginning to end in English with with notes. And I said, What's the thing that struck you most about the book, he said, the prohibition of sectarianism.
I want you just to think about that, the prohibition of sectarianism.
That was what struck him most, somebody who's familiar with other
revelations and other religious literature. And that really hit me because I started thinking of all those verses in the Quran, wattleseed movie, de la, he went after her Rocco, right?
Don't be shiana takanashi and don't split into sex, all those prohibitions of sectarianism. And I really took it to heart. And I just thought, one of the most extraordinary things about our community is they developed a type of tolerance of difference of opinion, that is really unique in the history of world religions in many ways, they were able to literally incorporate difference of opinion within the framework of a exegetical tradition,
a way a hermeneutical way of interpreting literature, recognizing that there are many ways to understand the same thing. There are limits to those, it's not infinite. So they did put parameters, but the parameters were quite broad. And they were very, very wary of anathematize ation, the idea of saying somebody was not a Muslim, it's very hard to get kicked out of Islam, it's very easy to come into Islam, it's very hard to get kicked out. But we have so many Muslims now that have arrogated to themselves, the idea that, if you don't agree with me, you're not a Muslim, they they have lost a sense of, of what what has been termed in, in some traditions fallibilism the idea that,
that we are fallible creatures by our very nature, we can be certain about Islam, and we should be certain about Islam, because European certainty is one of the prerequisites of faith in our religion. But we should always have a fallible historic understanding of our our own interpretation of that religion, or our own understanding of that religion. mm Shafi, one of the greatest scholars in religious history, said, whenever I debate with an interlocutor, I always assume
if I believe in my position, that I'm right, but I could be wrong, and that he is wrong, but he could be right. In other words, he had a sense of fallibilism, that my interpretation might not be the right and I should always be open to listening to another possibility. This is certainly for the scholars more than for the common people. But it's very important that we incorporate that in our understanding, this idea of just calling anybody that disagrees with us a calf ear or a multideck. This is a serious problem in our community, and we need to take it seriously. Really we need to take it seriously. One of the the the principles in our tradition is
it was articulated by Oba hanifa. Delano and see the underlay What had you brought him in one of his books says it this way in poetry.
One material elfen minute Mullah Haider acabo min Mukherjee, knifes and wahida. to deem 1000 atheists to be Muslims by error is easier in the sight of God than to consider one Muslim, a calf here.
We should really take that seriously. Be very careful about making texia of other Muslims. And I know many of my closest friends have been called calf ears.
Really many of my closest friends, somebody up here who I know saying I'm one of them. No, we have this problem. So we need to understand I'm a committed orthodox Muslim.
I follow the Maliki school I try to follow the dominant opinion. I was trained in the Ashanti canal tradition. I inclined towards the text of the Mamata Holly in terms of just what what as an articulation of creed
and I accept the way of Junaid the salic this was our tradition. Islam is threefold, it is creed, it is law and its beauty and the making of beauty. These are the three dimensions of Islam, if any one of them is
Lacking we have an incomplete Islam, our Islam is incomplete. If we're not making things beautiful, then something's wrong with our Islam. So my request to all of you in Sharla is really commit to turning your abodes into Islam into houses of Islam, making your houses, houses a pure food, of pure clothing of fair trade, using Fairtrade becoming green in your homes, teaching your children these things, exercising them in our massage. I'm so tired of going to massage it and seeing styrofoam glasses and plates. Really, we shouldn't be doing this. It's not one more Italian who was here in in the United States. We were in the city of in Arizona, in New Mexico. And he had just gotten here. He
was raised in a Bedouin tradition. He just gotten here, and somebody took a glass and drank it and then threw it into the garbage can and he said, What did he just do? And I said, he, he said, What do you mean? He said, What did he just do? He just threw that cup into into that. Is that a garbage? I said, Yeah. I said, Why do you do that? I said, Well, it's a throwaway cup. He said, What do you mean?
I said, they just use it one time and throw it away. He said to me, he had the he is off. This is the most extreme extravagance. And he said in and mobile arena, a Juana Shelton,
that extravagant people are the brethren of the demons. In the hula, yo hibben, masuri Fein, Allah hates wasters. He said that was a perfectly good cup. He could have used it over and over again.
Think about this. It's untenable. This planet is we're in a real peril right now. Don't you know, our fish are going to be dead in about 30 years, according to scientists. We're living in in really apocalyptic times and people are taking it like a joke. We need a global planetary Toba. We need we need to tshuva you know, metanoia we need to change our mind. We need a global repentance. We need a global repentance as as a species because we have messed this planet up so badly. And it's not right to our children. It's not right to the future generations. We should be stewards and caretakers in new Jackie don't fit out of the halifa I'm putting in the earth a caretaker When the angels heard
that they said are you going to put one that sheds blood and sews corruption facade can mean pollution as well. And and Allah said any animal mad at the animal I know what you don't know what he knew was there would be always that community of believers that reminded people of what they should be doing marathon. We need an excuse with our Lord on the Day of Judgment. We should be those people just knock on our head on was said on Monday.