Channel: Hamza Yusuf
Series: Hamza Yusuf – Vision Of Islam
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We arrived to the section on the other end, the other is probably one of the most difficult concepts not just in Islam, but in any religious tradition, because the other is dealing with the idea of predetermination. And if you look at the word pre determine determine is to put limits on something de Terminus terminate is to end and de is from ending or putting endings or limits on something. And so the idea of pre determining means that something, the limits were already set before the thing actually came about. And so there's a misconception in the minds of not just non Muslims, but Muslims as well, about the nature of the other that the idea that things are pre determined. And one
of the points that the authors bring out, which is very important is that if that was the case, then the Quran would actually not make any sense. Because the Quran is commanding you to do things. And if you have no ability to do anything, and I command you to do something, then my command is meaningless. So it would be then saying that the Quran is meaningless. And that is impossible for revelation to be meaningless. Everything in a revelation is meaningful. So the idea that the Divine Decree or the cutter is predetermination is a dangerous one. On the other hand, you have to look at Hadees that indicate certain things about the world that are also important to understand. And this
is where you get into what some religious scholars in the West have called an antinomy, which is not really a paradox. But a paradox is when you have two things that are, in a sense, mutually exclusive, but they're both apparently real. And the idea of human beings free and predetermine at the same time seems like a paradox. And antimony on the other hand, is that something is true at one level, but at a higher level, it a higher truth emerges. And so there's an idea that there can be a resolution of what is apparently paradoxical by moving to a higher level of understanding. So the idea that human beings, I think a good analogy of it in the modern world is the idea of light being
both a wave and a photon, because in modern physics, they have the idea that the quanta are particles of light. And there's an idea that, on the one hand, it behaves like a wave, and they can watch its movement. On the other hand, it appears to have the qualities of quanta or intermittent particles of light, as opposed to being something that is a unified. So that is an interesting, I think, analogy for the understanding of freewill and determination. There's no doubt that human beings certain things are determined with human beings, your parents were determined for you that you did not choose your parents. And now we have no recorded history of anybody replacing their
biological parents. In other words, we don't have any testimony or any proof that anybody's ever been able to become somebody else. So that certainly was not determined the country that you were born in the time in which you find yourself. I mean, all of these circumstances that we found ourselves in whether we were from rich families, whether we from poor families, also intellectual abilities and gifts, artistic abilities, and gifts, there are many, many qualities, athletic abilities. There are people that are more life than other people, there are more people that are more balanced, that are more flexible, that are quicker when you were in school. There were those
people that in the math classes that just, they would get the answers seemingly effortlessly, and other people would grapple with. And there were people that word problems were as clear as instructions on a coke machine, or something like that, where they could just see very clearly what type of problem it was and how to arrive at an answer. And then there's other people that couldn't see it for the life of them, they would struggle and struggle and still, it wouldn't get through. So all of those type of things that we find in the world discrepancies are very interesting and Islam has a very interesting reason in why it presents that the first thing just to look at this idea of
clutter, if we look at the root word comes from Katara and it has the idea of power Kotara kodaira, which is the muffler means power.
Harder is the one who's capable of doing something, they have the capacity to do something. It's one of the names of Allah subhana wa Tada, there's a book by Crosby, which is about Western dominance, and how the Western world became dominant. And his thesis is that they mastered the art of measuring everything. And so one of the things about the ability to measure something is that if you can measure it, you have a certain type of power over that thing. And that's why somebody that's able to break down a machine, take it apart, and understand what all its constituents and components are, they're able to put it together, they have a power over it, that somebody that does not know how to
do that doesn't have. And so the idea that Allah has determined everything,
is the idea that Allah has power over everything while while odd, you don't adequately Shay, because he created it. And he determined it in that way. So in human beings, we are determined in our bodies. In other words, if you're 510, or if you're five feet, there was a point at which your cells stopped growing, there was a point that your your skeletal structure stopped. Now that point did not occur for somebody who's taller than you, it went on. So there's a determination in the size of people as well, there's a determination in the size of the world that we're in the universe itself has limits. I mean, the Quran says, in a stop atom atom for the Monogatari similitude. If you're
able to penetrate the limits of the universe, then do it. So the universe itself has limits. So the one who puts limits on something has power over it, because he was able to put those limits. And that's why a king is powerful, because he is able to constrain his populace, his kingdom, if he loses that capacity, he loses his power, and therefore he's not a real King. And that's the difference between a government that has power and a government that doesn't, is a government that has power has the ability to suppress and squelch resistance inside that government. So the idea of a lobbying all powerful is that he has absolute power in his creation. Now, in the Quran, one of the
things that Allah says mapa de la haka hunted he, they did not measure God, which is very interesting, because it gives the idea that, that human beings are obsessed with measuring. And that's what geometry came out of an attempt to measure. And in fact, we have Greeks and Egyptians over 2500 years ago, that were already measuring the circumference of the earth, and coming within 500 miles of doing it, they and they did that using some very simple geometrical calculations with shadows and measuring the pyramid at different times in a pole and Alexandria and then looking at the distance between Alexandria and between what's now Cairo. And then, basically a simple
calculation, they basically measure the earth being close to 25,000 miles in, in its circumference. So humans have been interested in measuring now if you look, in the Enlightenment period, they began to measure air gas, they began to measure Boyle's laws, all these things come out of a desire to measure, the more they came to understand the measurements of things, the more power they had over them. So if you look at jet Flight, a jet flight, they have to understand all the measurements, they have to understand what what liquid fuel, I mean, isn't this all this the basis of engineering is that you need to, to measure fully everything. So humans have this obsession with wanting to measure
and one of the things the signs at the end of time, the Quran says hottel, one unknown cardrona idea that the humans would actually think that they're completely powerful in relation to creation, they have put her over it. And this is part of the idea of really knowing everything that's there. So this idea that we can, I mean, now they have sonar waves that they beam into the earth from space. And when the sonar waves come back, they're like the sonogram that they do in a fetus, they can actually tell where oil is where gold is, where this is, and the harp stuff, what they're doing up in Alaska is similar to that, measuring everything. So Allah puts this interesting idea in there.
They haven't measured God, that this is the one thing because even though they want to measure the universe, I mean, they actually can extrapolate out to try to understand actually how big the universe is. I mean, this is one of their goals.
So the idea is that Yeah, you can measure everything God's given you this quota. And that's part of a divine attribute that manifests in the human being is that humans have this extraordinary ability to reflect these qualities of God and one of them is knowing the limits of everything, but God has no limits, and therefore God cannot be measured. And so this is the thing that out so the Quran uses the other in 10 verses. And from this there emerges a doctrine in Islam of the belief in the other, although it's in the Hadith, the prophet SAW lightsome said, the six objects of faith in the hadith of gibreel. One of them is that we know that a pottery hater he was showery, and in a rewire or
transmission, hopefully he will murder he, we believe in the Divine Decree, or the measuring out, it's good and it's bad, or it's good, it's evil. And we're going to talk about that he goes in, she goes into that quite a lot of detail. And it's important, there's hair and shadow. And it's sweet and bitter. So life is sweet and bitter. And it's important, I think that he wire that mentioned sweet and bitter is important because there's a way to look at hire and shadow of the believer doesn't see it as evil because no evil can afflict a believer. A believer sees it as bitter, that there's things in life that are bitter, but there aren't things for him or her that are evil shadow.
Because the believer everything that happens to somebody who believes in God and believes that God is ultimately the one who is creating these circumstances that we find ourselves in and these tribulations, then we begin to see it as a test as something that we need to bear that has to do with the idea of swallowing a bitter pill. I mean, we say that in colloquial English, I had to swallow a bitter pill, or it has a bad taste medicines often bitter. In Chinese medicine, the heart, herbs, herbs that are good for the heart. One of the qualities in Chinese medicine is they're always bitter, which is very interesting. So the next thing in this section that he brings out about is the
idea of the servant, and I have the word JD has has many meanings at one level, it means a creature. In other words, it's something that's subservient to God by its very nature. So if you make something it is automatically in a subordinate position, by the fact that you have made it it is subordinated to you and it can't free itself from that condition. So the idea of an ABD is the verse in the Quran. 1993 is it everything in heaven the earth comes to a law or a man as I have abdon it comes as a servant.