Channel: Ismail Kamdar
Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh
hamdu Lillah wa salatu salam ala rasulillah. So it's been a really, really long time since I've done a live stream.
And I decided that it's something I want to start doing again.
To be honest, sitting at home in the lockdown, it's kind of miss interacting with people. So I thought that, you know, they start live streaming again. And the topic that I decided to do for this first live stream is some readings from my book, right, my latest book on Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz, the productivity principles of Omar, the second Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz, this book of mine,
I haven't really had a chance to explain to people why I wrote the book and
some of the topics covered in the book. So what we're going to do today is very briefly, we are going to
read a few passages from the book, and I'll explain those passages. And they will have a q&a in which you can ask me any questions about the book that you want about my writing career about books I'm currently working on, just to get up to speed with my
latest book and writing career. So with that, you know, is a quite a few of you already, so inshallah can get started. The chapter I wanted to read from today is actually the introduction to the book. So the introduction is divided into three chapters.
His introduction, why history often seems bizarre. And then there is history as a resource. The section why history often seems bizarre. That's the section I want to read from today. So
this section, by the way, I initially wrote it to be the appendix to the book. So when I initially wrote this book, this section was right at the end, it was the appendix to the book, I wrote it separately. And I added at the end of the book, but my editor told me that this is actually crucial information for people to know before they even read the book. So it makes more sense to have interest in the introduction. So I moved it from the appendix to the introduction. And that's where it is now. So what I'm reading for you today is actually from the introduction to this book. And it's a very important part of the, of this book, because
actually, I think this section or that I wrote into as the as the introduction, it's not just important for the topic of Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz, it's important when studying history in general, really, when studying history, in general, this is very, very crucial information.
I covered three points in this chapter. The first one is the misnomer of Islamic history. The second one is the human aspect of history. And the third one is called different times different norms. All three of these points are very important. If you ever want to read or study any aspect of Muslim history, you must read it and understand it. In light of these three points, I found a lot of the problems that Muslims have with the history comes from not understanding these three points. The first point, which I cover in the book is The misnomer of Islamic history. So I'm just going to read from the book and then I'm going to explain what I've written here.
So in the book, I threaten that the first major problem for Muslim students in particular, is that the history of the Muslim empires is often labeled as Islamic history. This mislabeling of events creates unrealistic expectations in the minds of students, as they assume that whatever they are reading or studying represents Islam. They also take this history as a source of learning Islamic law, which is problematic. The label itself is a problem. Classically, Muslim scholars divided history into Sierra and Daria Sierra focused on lessons from the life of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam, or righteous individual. While Tariq focused on political events. There was no
Islamic history there were sera and he was very, we need to have similar labels in English, and therefore, we can label the life of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam as Islamic history our ever happened after that,
Time of the Sahaba as Muslim history. This helps us to recognize the difference between what is Islamic and what is Muslim. Okay, so I'm just going to stop you and explain this when I get this concept from a why I wrote this in a book. So, when we were studying Islamic history at university, in our introductory lecture, our teacher taught us the exact same thing. This is where I got it from. And what our teacher taught us is that Islamic history itself is a mislabel. Because if you are studying the history of the Abbas aids, or the Romanians or the Ottomans, this is not Islamic. This is Muslims. These are Muslims. They did good things, they did bad things. Sometimes they
followed the enough's. Sometimes they committed major sins, sometimes they went straight, sometimes they were righteous. It's mixed. You can't call it Islamic. The problem with calling it Islamic is that people assume you can learn Islam from it. And we see this today we see the state for example, someone will point out Oh, in Muslim history, they were gay people, therefore that's fine. That's not how it works in Muslim history. They were genocides that doesn't make it right. Right. So we don't take history. This is the most important point we do not take history as the source of Islamic law. Our laws are derived from the Quran, the sooner the
The sooner the goals of the Sharia and the fic Maxim, these are the sources of Islamic law, not history. We do not study history to learn about the laws of Islam. We study history for other reasons, right. So this is the first major point I make in the introduction of the book, that if you are studying history, understand that these are human beings, they made mistakes, they committed sins, somewhat. Sometimes they went straight. They do not represent Islam, each individual represents themselves. This is very, very important. And so it's important that we also have, we don't have unrealistic expectations for history. This is one of the biggest problems I've had. I've
been teaching Islamic history for almost 10 years now. And every single time I get a new batch of students, they all have the same problem. That problem is that they're expecting some kind of glorified, perfect fairy tale history. So when we get down to the civil wars, and the genocides, and the massacres, and all of these crazy things that happened, they lose faith. Some people even lose the man over it, because they have a wrong understanding of what history is. This is the problem people have the wrong understanding of what history is. History of Islam is not this. Perfect Olia from the time of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam until the downfall of the Ottoman elaborate.
Our history is human. And that's the second section in the book. The second section in the book is called the human aspect of history. Right? So the second issue that people often overlook, is how human just how human Muslims actually are. Many Muslims approach history with a misconception that we are living in the worst point in history. And then everybody before us were devout Muslims, who were the best of Muslims. Reality is that every generation of Muslims has had sinners, pious people, and everything in between the average person, whether they be a general, a king, a merchant, or a governor, with just that average, invariant, all righteous, they live with a complicated mix of good
deeds, sins, permissible acts and questionable deeds. They experience highs and lows in the emaan, great moments and moments of weakness, the past some of life's tests, they failed others, this is normal for anyone's life. And why do you expect any different from the people in our history to this is a very, very important point that I make in the book, that we have a wrong expectation of history. We expect everybody who live before our times to be pious people. And we think that we live in the worst point in Muslim history. And as someone who has studied history and taught it for over 10 years, I can tell you there have been multiple points in our history that are worse than what we
are at now. I actually think they are more practicing Muslims in the world today, then perhaps, at any time in our history, right.
I think there's actually more practicing Muslims in the world today than perhaps any time in the history because remember, we have in the world today, almost 2 billion Muslims, even if 10% of that is practicing.
That's more Muslims in the way in the world for most of history. Right? So that's a huge number. So I don't like this idea of
That we are at the worst point in our history. Rather, there have been many darker moments now history, we look at the late Ottoman era. If you look at the Mongol invasion, if you look at many of these other points in history, you will find that those were darker times than what we are in today. We actually what I consider a revival phase where things are starting to get better. So it's important, right? The point I mentioned is it's important to realize people in our history, we're human beings, they made mistakes, they committed sins, they, they had their own tests, they passed some of the tests, they failed some of the tests. When you look at history from that perspective,
it's much easier to grasp what's going on.
But when you look at history, expecting fairytales when you look at history, expecting perfection, when you look at history, expecting everybody to be amongst the Olia, you are going to be disappointed you are going to have your fate rock because your fate is not based on reality of faith is based on fiction. Right? The idea that everybody was pious before now is a fiction. So this is very important. Okay, we have a question. I'm going to take the question then get back to our reading. And by the way, anybody who has questions this post in the comment box in between each chapter, I will take a break to answer the questions. And again, if you want the book, it's
available on Amazon. It's available also at gumroad. in PDF format, so it's available it is at various locations online. Okay, so the question from brother must own the quote on Omar, even Abdul Aziz, take care of your year after Allah will take care of your delight. Take care of your private life and Allah will take care of your public life. What means to be private life relevant to those times when there is not much of technology? Well, private life isn't really referring to technology as such private life is talking about your private deeds. Right? This is what what are we talking about that? What do you do when you are alone?
If when you are alone, you are praying tahajjud reciting Quran, worshiping Allah being good to your family, then Allah will take care of your public image. Allah will take care of what the average person thinks of you. But if someone is pious in public, but in private, they are rotten, hypocritical, abusive scoundrel, they Allah will expose that eventually. Right so when I'm unable even Abdulaziz advise people to take care of their private life. He's He's here advising people to make sure that we have a lot of secret good deeds, and that our secret sins are minimum, and also that we don't expose our own sins, and that we don't double down on the sense by taking care of our
private life is from a religious perspective, making sure that our sins are minimized. We don't publicize our sins, making sure we have lots of secret good deeds, making sure we are we are better Muslims in private than we are in public. Because, you know, what this quotation relates to
the idea that many Muslims have, have been practicing in public. Many Muslims have this idea that when they're out in public, they're going to have the beard and just like the pious and, and carry on it the most pious guy in town. And when they get home, they all mean and Rafik, and hypocritical, so Omar Abdulaziz is saying the opposite, be the opposite of that. Be the person who when you are at home, you are a pious person, do that. And Allah will take care of what the public thinks of you, Allah will take care of your public image, don't worry about public image, focus on your relationship with Allah. That's really what this quotation is about. Okay, so I hope that clears it
up for you, you know, this quotation, many of the quotations in the book, I didn't really get time to explain them in details.
Honestly, this book was already done. It's already the longest book I've ever written. It's already over 300 pages. And there's so many quotations that are looked at and so if I go ahead and explain these quotations, this book is going to be like 500 600 pages, so I had to just leave certain things, you know, for the average person to eat on your own and discover the meanings of and also to discuss later. So like in sessions like this, we can discuss these quotations. If there are other quotations from the book that require explanation, you can mention them as well please excuse me.
Okay, there we go. That's a better way. Okay. So the questions answered the hope that was satisfactory to you. Let's move on back to our discussion. Right. So while he comes along, thank you to everyone who's commenting? Again, if you have any questions about the book, or any of the content of the book, post in the comment section, I'm taking all questions today related to the book of the productivity principles of Omar, the second Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz, and we are reading from the introductory chapter of this book about misunderstanding.
Things of Islamic history things to keep in mind when studying Islamic history. And the reason why I wrote this chapter is that most people when they read Islamic history, they are shocked by so you read Islamic history and you read about child marriages. You read about slavery, you need you read about intimate romantic relationships between a slave owner and his slave call.
You You read about things like
the wars, the genocides, you read about things like a 12 year old getting married and starting a job and going to war and dying at the age of 15. And
all these things for people who have only been exposed to the modern world, these things seem shocking, right? So these three points I mentioned in this chapter. And these three points are not only for Omar bin Abdulaziz, they for all of history, the points mentioned in the introduction of this book is for all of history, any historical figure that you ever study, study, in light of these three principles I mentioned at the beginning of the book, Principle number one, it's not Islamic history, it's Muslim history, right? These are the history of the Muslims, it does not represent this the Sharia, it does not represent what Allah has revealed. It represents people's lives. Point
number two, these are human beings, they are going to make mistakes, they are going to sin, they're going to mess up, they're going to miss understand things, they're going to be a production of their time, you cannot expect them to be according to our expectations of the 21st century people. Right? That brings us to point number three, point number three different times different norms, different times different norms. Right, let me give you an example of this slavery. Until 100 years ago, slavery was the norm in every culture across the world. So if you are going to study the life of any historical figure, before the 20th century, there is a 80% chance if they weren't a slave themselves
that you were a slave owner. So if you are going to cancel anyone from history, who owned slaves, you're going to have to cancel all of history, right? We just have to accept it was a different time, different norms, that's just the way it is. Otherwise, you're not going to get over that hurdle. And you're going to have a problem with all of history. So these are the three points I mentioned in the book, and just going to read this section for you. The final thing that confuses people, when studying history, is realizing that there are fundamental differences between the cultures that we live in. And those of the past, many young people have not been exposed to anything
outside modern culture. They assume that what is now what we have now is the way the world always was. As a result, when they study history, they are shocked to find realities that contradict their norms. And these contradictions shake their fate. This is the problem. Young people expect all of history to be like the 20th century, and when they find things that contradict that it shapes their pay things like slavery, cheap, things like child marriages, things like romantic relationships between men and the slave woman. These things were norms throughout history, we're living the only point in time where this is not a norm. And are we expecting all of history to view our norms?
Right? So naturally, if you're going into history with that mindset, then all of history is going to shock you. Because that's not how the world was India times. We live in a unique time in human history. We live in the only the only century in history without child marriages, slavery's military expansions of empires, all of these things are foreign to our lives in our times. And people assume that's the way the world always was. Reality is that the major part of human history across all cultures, civilizations, and religions, is that these things were unknown. So you cannot study history without learning about these things.
I end the chapter by saying to judge ancient cultures and civilizations by 21st century standards is ridiculous and illogical.
Historical incidents should be understood within the context of the time and place that they lived in. If history is studied in light of these three facts, it will be easier to understand. So one of the things I wanted to do with this book besides just discuss the life of Omar bin Abdul Aziz, is to really just help people in the understanding of history as a whole. Right? So this is why the introduction focuses more on how we approach history, how do we deal with the fact that Muslims had monarchies they expand, expanded the Empire through military conquest on their own slaves. It's these are historical facts. We can't change historical facts. We just have to accept them for what
they are and realize it was a different time, different norms, and those were the norms of the times. So what do you guys think of this?
If you read the book, or if you
Just listen to me reading the first chapter now. What do you think about these three points? Do you think I'm wrong? Do you think I'm right? Do you think this helps you better for understanding history?
Have any questions either related to the book
or related to my writings in general? It's a nice time to ask I have time today I am available. So I said let's go live online questions about my books and writings and I miss interacting with people been locked on for too long. It's actually day 125 or something of the lockdown year now country. So it's, it's getting kind of lonely being at home all the time, wanted to get back to these kinds of discussions with my students. And I think Facebook Lives a good way to go about it. Okay, we got two questions. Number one recommend for us resources to learn Arabic. Well, honestly, I think the only way to learn Arabic is with a teacher. I have over the years tried many different ways of teaching
people Arabic, I've given people books, giving them online courses, giving them access to resources, it never works. The only time I've ever seen it working is when somebody dedicated their time to sitting with a teacher for years on end and studying usually within a madrasa or university setting. Learning a language takes time, it takes effort and it requires a teacher, I would say the only way to really learn Arabic properly is to find a teacher in your community, and dedicate time to studying with a teacher. Right for at least two or three years. You cannot learn Arabic in shorter than that. And you cannot learn Arabic on your own. You have to do it with a teacher. Right?
Can we see that the post slavery world is objectively better in a world a slave is acceptable in this sense, have we made moral progress in modernity with respect to at least that point? That's a controversial question.
It's a controversial because my answer if I had to be completely honest, my answer would be controversial. I don't think we've made progress. The I think we have slavery today in other forms, right? We don't have ownership of people. We have get slavery, we have prisoners being forced to work.
We have people stuck in the rat race, people being forced to have two or three jobs because of the high cost of living and interest based loans and all of this, and the high cost of education. I don't know if you can see we've made moral progress. current society, to me is not moral. The society we live in is not a moral society. It's a society based on materialism based on hedonism
would actually, you know, when you study the lives of this, of the so called slaves in the Muslim Empire, I would argue they had more freedom and better quality of life than most of us in the free world today.
That will be an argument I will actually have, okay, I can actually make it someone who studied history, there are a lot of them actually had more freedom,
even though they were owned by people, and they had a better quality of life, in terms of how they were treated, and what they were allowed to do, then people today. So there's a book, let's see if I can find it for you quickly. For this.
If you want to learn about this topic on slavery is a book by somebody else. So I'm recommending somebody else's book in a video, you're supposed to be on my books. But nonetheless, this is the best book I've read on the topic. So came out last year. Also just like my book, slavery and Islam by Jonathan Brown. You want to know about that topic? read this book. It's a thick book, but it's it's brilliant. It's brilliant. It really is.
It actually answers your question, the question you just asked, he has like a huge chapter in his book just based around that question. So if you want to really go deep into that topic, I would highly recommend buying the book.
You know, the idea of moral progress is not really an Islamic concept, because we believe that the morality that a learning theory is perfect, and we believe moral principles can change, right? So we believe that
we believe that social laws can change things like immigration laws,
traffic laws, educational policies, these kind of things, people can change from time to time, place to place, but morality, we believe that morality is something that doesn't change. So for example, fornication is prohibited for fornication immoral.
From an Islamic paradigm. fornication can never become moral, because our moral foundations are set in stone. So we don't really have the concept of moral moral progress. Right. morality in Islam is something that God has revealed. And because he has revealed whatever he has declared moral is moral wherever he has declared him.
model is a model. And that never changes. What changes is norms. Right? That's what really changes the norms is what changes from time to time and place to place. And with that, secondary issues change as well. But morality does not change the, we actually don't believe the such thing as moral progress. We believe a human mouth to lacantina codina comm today we have perfected for you your way of life. So the perfect way of life has perfect morality. That's what we believe. And so if we are going to say that we have progressed morally, then we are going to see we are more moral than the prophets. And that creates a paradox in our mind.
I mean, what kind of man is that? We more moral than the prophets in one aspect, right? So it's a very slippery slope to get into it. So that's why we don't really have this concept of moral progress in Islam, especially since the verse was revealed or your mark Mattila continued that. That's it. That's where morality is, wherever it was revealed. Before that point is home morality.
Allah knows best.
Okay, any other questions?
Good for those of you who haven't purchased the book yet to go to Amazon, the paperback and Kindle editions are available on Amazon. And again, I apologize that they're not linked, I have not been able to get this book linked, I have no idea why. Normally, the Kindle and paperback appear together. But for some reason, the website messed it up. And they're separately listed separately, and you just have to look for them separately on Amazon. If you prefer the PDF version, then that's available on gumroad. The link is up there. But really, for this book, I highly recommend the physical copy. Because I mean, honestly, from every book I've ever written, this is the most money
I've ever invested in, in a book cover. And I think it paid off because I mean, look at this cover. It's my favorite book cover I've ever, ever produced. I paid an Albanian Muslim artist to do this cover for me, and he did an absolutely amazing job. So definitely, we're getting a paperback copy of it after the law.
So hey, okay, nother good Christian, share about writing habits. How do you decide to book in the making, when do you know to lift your pen or keep yourself from the temptation of researching the same topic over and over while you're describing my current problem is in my current problem. So I was going to do this afternoon after I finished this video, I was going to sit and make a list of the five book topics I'm currently working on, and deciding which one to focus on. Because I'm currently working on five topics. And I don't know which one to focus on to beat the next major book, right?
Okay, so both my writing habits, my main writing habit that I have, and that no matter what happens, no matter how busy my day is, no matter how tired I am, matter what's going on in life. The one
thing that's that's a constant for me is I write at least 1000 words every day, with at my journal, whether it's a blog post, whether it's part of a book, already just random writings, I make sure I write 1000 words minimum every day. So this becomes a habit. So I get into the habit of writing on a daily basis. This is really how I get books written every single year, I forced myself to write 1000 words a day. And I plan to increase that in the near future as well. Now as for knowing when a book is done,
and ready to research more? Well, I'm actually stuck on that with two of my books. So last year, I started writing two books, one on protecting the heart from atheism from a spiritual perspective, and the other on introverts an Islamic perspective on being a Muslim introvert.
For both of these books, I've written about 100 pages each, maybe 120 130, around that much. And then I got stuck. I got stuck, because I can't find that much resources to research on these topics. Right? I don't just want to put something out there. I mean, one is the atheism is a very important topic, you can't publish that without doing the proper research.
The introversion, again, you know, Islamic psychology is still a young field. So there aren't a lot of Islamic writings available on this topic. So that makes it
difficult for me. So I find myself stuck with these two books, right with my book on atheism and introverts. These two books, I'm stuck, I've written 100 pages each, each put it aside and I said, you know, I'll get back to it later. Let me first do more research and when I'm ready, then Alrighty, so I probably only writers books next year, or maybe the year after that. Right now, I'm still stuck on the research phase, to find what books to read and research about it will be nominal disease was different to me. The difference was that from the time I'm a teenager, on would have been Abdul Aziz was a role model of mine. And I've read dozens of biographies of him. I've read
dozens of biographies of him. So when it actually came down to writing
book, I already had everything up here, and all the books on my shelf that I needed. So it was just a matter of sitting for six months every day for two hours a day and getting it done. And how to know when to stop? Well, I set myself two goals for stopping number one, I said around 300 pages, right? And number two, I said 15 principles. So once I've covered 15 principles within 300 pages, that's it, I'm stopping there. Why? I don't I don't like books that repeat themselves. I don't like books that repeat the same thing over and over again, I just finished reading a book like that literally the last 50 pages was repeating the first 300 pages and it was a complete waste of time.
So what I do is after right, I look for any repetition, I remove it, I just keep it down to what was there.
And the second point about you know when to know what you've done enough. Well, for me, it's always about Have I done the topic justice. Have I done the topic justice, if you feel you've done the topic, Justice 100. Now, the good news is if you write a book, if later on, you realize Whoa, I could have added this, I could have added that. Well, good news, you can now write the second edition. I did that do my time management book, right my time management book. Of course, each year,
there was one of my one of my first books back in 2015. So the original copy is about 113 pages, right? And then just six months later, I realized I left a lot out and then added another 20 pages for the second edition. So you know that that's that's the beauty of writing books is when you realize that Oh, there is more I can add? Well, that just gives you an excuse to write a second edition of the book, because that's just the way human knowledge is we're always learning more Globish thinking of more, right, so in this topic of Omar bin Abdulaziz, when I wrote the first draft, it was eight productivity principles. By the time the book was done, it was 15 productivity
principles. So you just keep building as you're writing more ideas come to your mind, and they form into entire chapters.
Okay, we have
another question. Yeah. norms change. What about the current loan scheme system with the banks? Well, the problem with the current banking system is it is a modern form of slavery.
You kind of get stuck for the rest of your life paying off bank loans. And what's worse is if we die, suddenly an accident or with the virus or something like that the loans get passed on to our family. And that can be disastrous if they don't have the means to paying it off. So this is a modern form of oppression. That's really the way I look at it, that the bank loan system that we have in the world today. It's a form of oppression. And I really believe the current financial system is going to collapse on itself. It's going to implode is going to destroy itself. It's not sustainable. It's something that's that's taking advantage of the poor. And it's, it's it's kind of
it's destroying society. It's really the current financial system of the world is unstable and destroying society, it will eventually implode. We have to switch over to a a better system. Again, this is where Islamic morality is way beyond Western morality, right? In the Western morality, a bank loan is a business deal. Now in Islam, why are you not allowed to make money or follow?
Why? Because alone in Islam is not a business deal. It's set up.
It's an act of helping someone it's it's a good deed is an act of Avada. Allah says in the Quran, who will loan to a lot of good Lilo, when you giving someone a loan, you are basically you're asking Allah to pay you back 10 times over. So this is why we don't take interest on loans, because we don't view loans as a way of taking advantage of the poor and chopping them into interest based payment system. We view loans as a way of pleasing Allah by helping those who are less privileged in us. Very different paradigms, right, very different ways of thinking. To the modern businessman alone is a money making scheme, it's a way to catch the poor and keep them paying your interest for
the rest of your life of their lives. Right? To a believing Muslim alone is a way of helping someone out who is in need. And that's why our interest is prohibited in Islam, because you are now taking advantage of the poor. So this system is a terrible system is the main cause of poverty in the world today. So major cause of suicide in the world today. And it's a system that will eventually fade will eventually fall apart. And most likely the Islamic system will replace it because even more and more non Muslims are seeing the benefits of Islamic banking and seeing how much more better it is for society.
Okay, so thank you everyone who joined us today for this live discussion. I'll try to do this at least once a week moving forward. And you know this every week we can look at a different book of mine and read a chapter from it and discuss questions from it.
I've written about a dozen books by now. So we have a lot that we can discuss. And really I wanted my goals for this year was I wanted to travel and teach this book and discuss this book with people called the ruler because of the lockdown and dividers who are sitting at home. So Facebook and YouTube instead, how you can do our discussions here on Facebook and YouTube instead. Again, the books available at Amazon and gumroad can get your copy their disaster located for a time and for all your questions. I really enjoyed the questions that you're asked. Walker Dhawan and you come to the latter of alameen wa Salam alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh barakato