Channel: Jamal Badawi
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In the Name of God, the beneficence, the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servants of God, I greet you in our usual fashion, with the universal greetings of peace. This is a greeting that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham through to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be unto you. I'm your host Hamad Rashid. Today we start a new series in our Islamic focus program. We are starting our seventh
series, and we'll be talking about the social system in Islam as our first program in this new series.
More specifically, I will be talking about human equality and brotherhood have joining me on the program is usual. Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University brother Jamal assalamu Aleikum, Ronnie,
I wonder if perhaps before we get into the specifics of today's topic, human equality and brotherhood if perhaps I could just ask you a few questions to introduce the series, first of all, and I guess the first year, I'd like to ask you, if perhaps you could just relate how this the topic of today
is related to the previous seven or six series that we've we've done session, one in the first five series or 52 programs.
The focus was mainly on matters of belief and worship in Islam. For example, once it is dealt with monotheism, the question of Prophet who Muslim believes Pillars of Islam, in other words, the focus mainly matters of belief and pure acts of worship.
In the second, and the second group, or I should say in the sixth series, don't just be finished
moral teaching of Islam, it looks basically into that issue of moral code in Islam, the prohibited things, the moral virtues, and so on this word like the search program stolen.
Now, how this series connects and how other future series possibly can connect, we go back to the very basic definition we started with very early in this program. That is, Islam is a way of life it's not a religion, quote, unquote, in the common, understood word of religion as a set of beliefs or devotional acts. But the Arabic word is Dean, which means a complete and comprehensive way of life that guides human existence, not only matters of belief and worship, but also moral aspects, social life, political life, economic life, all aspects of life are all integrated in one complete halt. So this is how the issue of the social
problems are how Islam organizes or proposes to organize and regulate life in a society pertains to the overall comprehensive view
of life as depicted by advice, then, I wonder if at this point, you can give us a bit of a preview or an overview of the kinds of topics that you consider are relevant to this whole question of social system Islam, perhaps where information our viewers give them another clue of the kinds of things that we might be looking at in this series. Okay. I would say that there are two basic groups of topics that seem to nicely fit under the broad title of the series, such as system of Islam.
And the first group of topics, we hope to be able to show the connection between social system of Islam and its basic roots. By that we mean specifically, the belief roots are Foundation, moral foundation of the social systems, then conceptual foundations. In other words, the basic principles that rule how the social system should be established and how society should run according to what you know, the revelation or the Word of God proposes principles such as the one that we're getting into today. human equality, brotherhood, justice or
More accurately, the just balance in the life of society, social solidarity, cooperation, the role of leadership, these are all areas that pertains more or less to the foundation, or perception of, of what an idea and, and truly stem exercise not what X or Y practice but what an ideal standard society really looks like. And the second group of topics which connect with that, also, quite logically, is a look at the family because when you talk about society, yes, the archetype of any society or community is the family, obviously. And that's when we talk about the family also, the cornerstone of family, according to Islam, and I suppose other phase two is the woman. So that would
lead to the question of the position of woman in Islam or the status of woman Islam? How is it regarded, from the human point of view split your rights and obligations, social, political and economic rights? How does the view of Islam of woman is similar or different from others, beliefs or ways of thinking? From that you we gone to the issue of the family, which is very important in the structure of Islamic Society?
The rules of engagement? What does Islam propose? How should the engagement take place? Marriage, and the procedures and law dealing with marriage rules regulating marital life, husband wife relationship?
What happens if there's any family problems? What does Islam propose to solve those problems?
The case of inevitable dissolution of marriage, what stages and steps should be followed what rights and obligations belong to both parties as well as to the children the question of custody might fit and the issue of rights and obligations, mutual rights and obligations of parents, children, rights of relatives, neighbors, and in general, the regulations of home human interactions within the family, the smaller circuit or the narrowest definition of a family to the larger
human family. These are all issues which I feel more or less touch on this broad concept of social system.
gardening, I trust that our viewers will find these programs of interest and informative in the months and weeks that lie ahead. In terms of today's topic, when we use the term human equality and brotherhood,
many, more or less, regardless, is a motherhood kind of statement, which is endorsed and reiterated and accepted by all facing philosophies.
From the Islamic perspective, is there anything unique about the way in which human equality and brotherhood is
perceived, from the point of view of Islam is certainly unique about it. Right. So, you know, what, definitely, there may be some points that are quite unique. In the case of Islam, there's no question about that. But one would not start a topic like that by saying that it's totally different I, for sure, there are some similarities between Islam and other revealed faith, for example, in terms of the idea of common origin of mankind, for example, many faithful following different faiths believe in the origin of Adam and Eve, as the common parents, for mankind. Yes, this is one thing. I would even knicker it further by saying that it is not only people who are religious, or believe in
the so called revealed religions who believe in common origin of men.
Even the evolutionists are people who don't believe in God at all, agree also, at least on that particular point of common origin, except that they say that the origin of mankind is not Adam and Eve, but the apes. Well, even if you assume it's the F's, it's a common origin, when people have to pick up whichever ancestors they wish to identify with.
asked for example,
creation is so called the people who believe in the human being being created, they say what I suppose they may be,
they might have been, I should say,
stages of evolution have lower levels of existence, but still they uphold that mankind was created different is created as he was, it might he might have gone through stages of development, but there is a big and separating line between the human and other lower forms of of existence. But in any case, I mean, the main point again, is common parenthood of Adam and Eve.
So in that sense, we could say that Islam may not be different on that fundamental level. But on the other hand, I think it's important also to indicate that Islam is quite a distinct face on
So, it is not like some people
wrongly think that it's just a copy of previous face or previous scriptures, or just a kind of so called borrowing or
continuation in a sense of just borrowing and taking ideas from others. Because after all, Muslim believed that the source of Islam is God, its revelation revealed information from God, and God does not copy from other people's writings or, or beliefs. Now, more specifically, we find that there are some areas, which are not quite consistent with Islam, in terms of the origin of mankind. In ancient in some of the ancient religions, for example, a belief used to be held that people were created in different castes, or different levels. For example, there are those who believe that there are some categories of people who are created from God's heads. And those people has a particular function to
be the religious teachers, there are those who created from God's arm, they say, and these are in charge of being gods and soldiers, those who are created from Gods legs or thighs, and these are people who are supposed to be farmers. And then finally, they believe that there are those who are created from God's feet. And these are the shudras, or the untouchables, whose function is basically to serve other levels of human beings. So you have four different levels of human beings, according to that theory. And as you know, until now, even you find still some people who uphold this type of views, they consider even that if a shadow of untouchable person touches the shadow of a person who
is not touchable, then, you know, this is something that requires cleaning and all that, well, definitely, this kind of belief, has nothing to do whatsoever with the belief in Islam. Actually, it's totally contrary, it's inconsistent with the common brotherhood of mankind, that all people are created equal in the sight of God. There are also other faces also that uphold certain beliefs that when you check the scriptures, for example, the basic story of Adam and Eve is there. However, there are some fundamental differences. An example of this, is that in those scriptures, you find that God is referred to quite frequently as God of and then it mentioned particular race or racial group in
the Quran, nowhere do we find a single example, where it says God is the God or lords of Arabs of Muslims of east and west of blacks and whites, it's always talked about Robin Allah mean, the Lord of the Universe, Robin ness, the Lord of mankind. And that's a much more nobler and higher way of depicting God as not favoring just a group of people or a particular race, but He is the God, of all humanity of all mankind.
In other in other places also in previous scriptures, prior to the Quran, or religious writings, we find that men are referred to as the sons of God, women are referred to as the daughters of men. Why the distinction? Why should men be identified as sons of God, while women are referred to as daughters of men? Again, that might reflect an idea which in our belief, as Muslims did not originate from Revelation, but this word, people's own religious writings, which are not quite expressive of the the Word of God.
The Quran, on the other hand, talks about men and women are all the same are all being creatures of gods, all of them are children of Adam and Eve, and all of them are servants of the Creator servants of God.
The other basic difference also is that even though previous scriptures prior to the revelation of the last
holy book, The Quran, also mentioned something about the story of Adam and Eve. But usually the story is mentioned as a kind of history, you know, chronology. This is what happened. This is the name of those who are born, this is the name of this generation, that generation, and more or less leave it at that. In the case of the Quran. However, the story of Adam and Eve is not presented just as history. It's much more than that it is something that is appealing not just to the mind, but appealing also to the heart. It motivates the individual emotionally in terms of feeling to carry through this concept of common origin of mankind to establish a more explicit and detailed way, the
true human equality and brotherhood. That's why the Quran throughout starting from the very beginning where the study is mentioned to the end
The concept is always reiterated, mentioned, repeated in different styles and ways depending on the objectives behind it. But all of them are reinforcing. And putting the concept not as a history or a story but as a practical implementation of practicable and workable system where human equality and brotherhood can really be related.
Not to history, but also to beliefs, to morals and other aspects of human life, it may be useful for us to analyze some of the connections that you've just stated or alluded to. How does the human equality and brotherhood relate to the
matters of belief in Islam? That's an interesting question, because for many people, when you talk about human brotherhood and equality, and you mentioned belief, say, what what belief? What difference does belief make, you know, if people are good, and the feeling brothers and so on, that has nothing to do, it's independent of their beliefs. I think this sometimes sounds like an opinion statement. But I beg to differ with that. Because when you talk, for example, about belief, the cornerstone of beliefs in Islam is monotheism, absolute, pure, pristine monotheism, or the belief that there's only one sole creator and Sustainer of the entire universe. Now, what difference does
it make? Well, if that belief is not there, there would be other consequences affecting the concept of equality. How, if a person believes that there is more than one God or more than one power in the universe, you cannot have a foundation for unity or equality of mankind, because automatically, you're negating that by assuming two different powers. If you assume that there is any other being or creature of God, who shares in his authority and omnipotence, then again, there is no equality, because you're making two different levels of people, at least in terms of basic humanity, there are different. So the belief in any kind of
existence or creatures anywhere between human beings and God, as intermediary, for example, would negate a profound and deep a deep foundation for human equality, and brotherhood. And the opposite is true when you talk about the true and pure monotheism of Islam, by believing in one single creator and Sustainer of the universe. And by believing that this is the only creator who created all mankind, regardless male, female, black, white, you name it, it follows from that, that one would have the clear, understanding that all human beings are equal, at least in one sense, that they are all the creatures of God, they are all the servants of God. And as such, you will lay down
a foundation of true equality and brotherhood not just as a slogan or statement, but as a profound basis for this kind of brotherhood because all of those humans are supposed to be equal in the sight of their Creator. That's one example. Let me give you another example. From beliefs. A Muslim for example, belief in the unity not only of God or oneness of God, absolute oneness and uniqueness, but also in the oneness of prophethood. That is to say that all prophets of God, were chosen people, the most righteous people that God chose throughout history, all the way from nowhere, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, the last Prophet, peace be upon them on that this was selected with the cream
of humanity, selected by God to convey his message to mankind, and Muslim belief furthers which connects with brotherhood, that all of those prophets carry the same essential message, knowledge of God, knowledge of self, the human nature, its throne, purpose and wisdom of its creation. what's supposed to be doing here on Earth.
It stems the Oneness also and similarity in the message in a sense of the basic guidance that God provided for mankind in the conduct of their political, economic, economic and social life. So in that sense, then, all of those prophets are viewed by the Muslim as brothers. It follows from that, if these prophets were brothers, if this prophets word like links in the same chain of revelation throughout history, it must authenticity follows that anyone who claims allegiance to the surface, anyone who claim to belong or follow those profits must be brothers also as they are negating the very foundation of relationship between their own profits. And this is again another deeper
implication of things that might sound too remote from brotherhood to talk clearly about belief in Prophethood. While that's a matter of belief, yes, but it has implication also in how human beings should relate to each other if they are sincerely followers of those prophets.
You also mentioned that human equality and brotherhood also relates to the moral code of Islam. Can you explain how? Well as we were discussing earlier in the program that the last series in this program, series number six, moral teaching of Islam can easily connect also with this? And they can answer that question perhaps in two ways in a general way and in a specific manner. Generally speaking, we can say that the moral code or stance or moral teachings of Islam relate to the human brotherhood or the structure of society. In the same way that all other acts act aspects I should say, are activities of the human on Earth are related in Islam. As a one organic whole nother way
there is organic connection between what is belief, worship, moral code, economic, political, and social life, they're all connected just like the human body.
You truly for convenience, you can talk about the bone structure of the body, yes, you can talk about the circulatory system in the body, you can talk about digestive system, you can talk about nervous system, but these are not compartments that are separate from each other, but they are all interconnected. So in circulation, you have nerves also connected digestive system is connected. That's everything. Organic relations are organically connected, like I said, we have that have this organic relationship. Now, by the same token, Islam does not view life as separate compartments. This is religion. This is state, this is secular. This is sacred. This is mundane. There's nothing
like that in Islam. So by the same token, moral code in Islam
is diffused, if you will, it goes through as a theme, overall theme within all teachings, including the particular topic that we're touching on, more specifically give you
specific examples. In our discussion of the moral teachings of Islam, one portion dealt with the prohibitions in Islam, things that are prohibited. Now, these prohibited things like drinking, gambling,
more than indecency, and all that fornication, adultery and all that. These are not simply individual personal morals, for sure, this also our activities or actions, which has something to do with social morality, with social behavior, if you will. And the harm of committing those prohibited acts is not only limited or restricted to the individual himself, but it harms the cycles. So in that sense, there is connection between social and moral. Another example, in the last 10 programs in the series on moral teaching, we'll discuss varieties of topic dealing with moral virtues, including things like, for example, trustworthiness, fulfilling the trust or honesty, generosity,
sacrifice, forgiveness, and all that, again, these are not just individual acts of piety, they also affect positively social structure in their present, they negatively affect society, if they are not implemented. So in that sense, then we can see that how the the social system of Islam, including our our specific topic on equality and brotherhood of mankind, has its own roots not only in place, but also in the moral teachings of Islam. In the beginning of today's program, you made some reference to the story of the first couple, Adam and Eve. How does the story depicted in the Quran? And are there any differences in similarities? Or? Or is it any differences between the version in
the Quran and other versions of the story about 21? Let me look first at one aspect of it since you're looking or interested more on the question of comparisons.
I would say that, even though the the basic story that they were a couple one, Adam, one Eve, who left in the Garden of Eden or paradise, and, you know,
all the rest of the story is basically this in the crowd. But some of the main distinctive features in the way the Quran present the story include, number one, a point that was mentioned earlier in the program, that it is not just the kind of chronology of story that you mentioned that And now on to talk about other events in history. It's a theme that runs through the entire Quran emphasized and reiterated in a variety of ways. This is one point that we mentioned before.
But in addition to this,
the Quran also is quite distinct in a sense that it does not
throw the blame for the first mistake by Adam and Eve on Eve alone. As you know, some people believe that it was the snake who tempted Eve and Eve who tempted Adam, so she carries the responsibility of tempting
Adam and cheese in some beliefs, the reason actually are one of the causes of the fall of mankind, and they're coming on Earth. In the Quran find the approach is quite different in this we can come back to when you get to the issue of woman in Islam. But at this point we can say that the Quran talks about Adam and Eve as both equally to blame for their mistake, not that one of them tend to the other. But both of them are to be blamed for that. Now, how does that relate to human brotherhood? It does. Because if you start blaming one section of humanity, half of it women, for the fall of men, then you cannot really achieve the ultimate and the most noble form of human
brotherhood. Of course, you can say brotherhood and sisterhood. So brotherhood includes also both male and female. And that's the approach of the Quran that none of them is to be no one side is to be blamed alone for the for the mistake. Another aspect which again is I see I should is relevant is that the Quran indicate that both Adam and Eve prayed for repentance, pray to God to forgive them for this disobedience they have committed. And it says that God forgives them. And as such, there is no concept of original sin at all. And Islam. There is no notion that their descendants would carry this stigma of original sin, so called
for the rest of the lives of four generations even to come. The Quran simply said that they were forgiven. The implication of this is that the human was not created on earth by way of punishment because he fell from heaven. No. He's living on earth here as a trustee of god he's created for the purpose of living on earth. And that lesson symbolical lesson of obedience and disobedience consequences of them is a matter of just a listen. But forgiveness was there. The beautiful thing about it when the Quran speaks about the the mistake of Adam and Eve, it says
so much about what abou photography. It says Adam, and even in this verse, by the way, it talks about Adam as the guilty party. Adam disobeyed his Lord, so he was misled. And then it says so much about what God chose him.
A third lie, forgive him, what had guided him, there are three blessings there. The Quran mentions, number one, that God chose Adam, still for a very important function and mission, that he's meant to play on Earth, despite of his, you know, tendency to fall into error despite of his mistakes.
Not under this God forgave him. So forgiveness was there. So there is no Original Sin. Not only that, what had he guided him, he provided him also with the foundation of guidance as to achieve the happiness in his life, earthly life and the life hereafter.
Now, when you look at it this way, it makes it quite clear that when the Quran talks about the origin of men, about Adam and Eve, it takes a little different slant, a slant that emphasizes that all human beings are equal in the sight of God, that all human beings are brother and whether they are male, or female, regardless of any of the artificial boundaries that people speak about barriers of race, color, social status, sex, or any others or nationalism. These considerations are not to be in the way of the fundamental and basic human brother. Another I think we should conclude our program for today. We want to thank you for watching, invite you back next week when we'll continue
with our new series. So dealing with the social system of Islam. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum Peace be on