Channel: Jonathan Brown
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Bismillah Al Rahman Rahim Al hamdu lillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah. Either early he was happy on my way that obado Assalamu alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh. To all our guests, our visitors, our viewers and our listeners, and of course to my co host this evening, Dr. Molina Yusuf Patel, so I want to go to LA while they're going to sit down, but I want to live in a ghetto. I thank you for having me Novara graphic. I'm really happy that you joined me on this podcast. And of course, let us not delay and bring on our guest of honor this evening in sha Allah, and other than Dr. Jonathan AC Brown. I said I want to go to law, Islam, or much better cattle.
Are you doing so lovely to have you and thank you so much for agreeing to join us in the podcast? My
family? nice compliment to me to be
Oh, no, no, I think that is as really I've known you for a couple of years. Now. I'm gonna, I'm happy to call you teacher.
I remember the first time walking into a into a lecture hall, this small little lecture room. And we're going to learn this course and Hadith with this book, Hadith, Muhammad's legacy in the medieval and modern world. And I'm reading the book, I'm thinking okay, it's written by Jonathan Brown. Like, where'd you get the Jonathan Brown who writes a book on Hadith, Muhammad's legacy in the medieval and modern world. And I was just expecting to get this whole igneous gold Zia. Joseph's shocked, you know, type of thing. And then as I read the book, I was like, Oh, this is interesting. And then I met Dr. Brown Hamdulillah. And also have a Senate that goes through.
And I had nothing I had chef Jonathan Brown, Carla had nothing. In fact, we had so many requests, we do not eat that that hadith al Musa Bill Oh, Alia. There are many of our colleagues and teachers here who didn't have that opportunity the last time and they said, You know what, you have to ask him to tell us about Eazy snad and his ma che, and he studies in the traditional world. So over to you Dr. Dre what you have to say about that.
Man, Rahim i, i
scarfs. I'd serve silly I mean, I that's not a silly request. It's silly for people like you and me, you out you all it's done so much more study than me. That is why you know, it's true. It's not it's not a like a matter of interpretation. It's factual. I mean, I don't, I don't even
I wouldn't even like pretend to have gone through the kind of studies you've gone through to.
I mean, I just have a different perspective. And that may be like,
I asked different questions, I try to explain in a different way. And so it can be useful. But you know, I don't think that anything in that book is something that is, you know, is an insight that you're not going to find the Islamic tradition, it's just sort of organized differently. Although presented, presented really well, for Western audiences, well, I can really thicken
doing a good job of presenting the tradition in in the English format to a western audience, and telling the story of Hadith really, as opposed to no normally what what we tend to do when trying to present hadith is we or at least I did in the past, basically, just try and convey Musala Hadith, which is like a whole lot of terminology. And when people start using all these terminologies, then they just get completely turned away from Hadith, because it's like, no, this thing is just too complicated. And, you know, it's not for me, and then they leave it, but the way you've laid it out in that book in particular, which is what really got me into your, your articles and your books and
so on. It was somewhat different. Right, Dr. Yusuf? Definitely. And let me state here, Dr. Brown, Maloney Ashara, was my teacher at the madrasa when when I came into third year. And so you taught us Hadith. And I remember, you know, obviously, studying and various other other sciences within Hadith, but every lecture, we got an article from the respect itself, we were asked to read the book. And again, I mean, definitely, you will benefit by reading the classical texts, like Nakba, and so forth. But personally for me, and I'm sure for the other students in the class and in the madrasa was that your works, augmented what we studied. And I think that's important, especially
from an academic perspective, being able to articulate certain points, because usually students, you know, madrassas, they tend to remain within a cocoon and within a sort of a traditional shell. And they're not really aware of the studies that are going on within the academic centers, Liberal Studies here. So what was your inspiration? I mean, this is surely like uncharted territory for you. Where did you draw from in terms of presenting the traditional sciences in this field?
Well, Matt, what was your, you know, Gu doing this?
Well, it was by the way, it was funny because I think that class that I taught that year in South Africa I was I walked in and they were recording the lecture by they had an iPad leaning on sitting on a pile of my book and leaning on a pile of my books, and then looking at me, it was just sort of this incredibly narcissistic
image of just like, lecturing on something and being recorded on a pile of my own books that day on I think I still have a picture of that. But
yeah, I mean, I think for me, it was I kind of I think I was really influenced by two general threat trends or strains one would be reading the books of Muhammad Zahara Sheikh Mohammed is a bizarre him a whole lot he died in 1974. Egyptian I was hurry scholar who wrote a volume on each of the the 40 mams. He wrote one on giacca sodic. He wrote, one I don't even has them he wrote aren't even Tamia. And, and then,
but he really looked at each of these figures, and kind of explained how like Malik, or Abu Hanifa was trying to, they're all trying to accomplish the same task. Right? So he was, he would kind of look at their perspective, and he wasn't judging them or, you know, trying to, you know, engaging in kind of polemics. It was really trying to understand, like, what was this person trying to do? And why did that lead them to make this choice and that choice. And
then I realized that he was drawing a lot on Java Lila
hola that a great Indian scholar died does 1762 Milady and so when I read his books, especially his his Alan soft he has Babbitt actually laugh is hajat a lot a lot Balika. And I saw kind of the same approach where he's, he's really trying, he's really looking at all these meth heads are all these schools of thought as kind of
perspectives on one approach, they're all kind of trying to do the same thing. They have different priorities, they have different anxieties, or they have the same anxieties, but different ways of addressing those anxieties. By anxiety here, I don't mean like some kind of teenage thing where you know, walk into where you don't have your pants on or something. I mean, like they're they want, they're worried about misrepresenting the profits words, are they it's awesome, they're worried about misunderstanding their religion, they're worried about corrupting it. They're also worried that people will understand it, they're, I mean, it's so like, they they have these anxieties, and
whether it's like the more Tesla or, you know, I might have been humbled him home, Allah, they all have the same concern, right, they want to understand their religion correctly, they don't want to corrupt it, they don't want to misrepresent it. They want to understand what aspects of it are kind of eternal and unchanging, what aspects of it are changed with, with which circumstance. And, you know, although they might sometimes oppose each other barely, on some particular issues, they're all motivated by the same approach, I think that that, see that like, and when you look at history like that, an Islamic thought like that, it's it stops being this, as you said, sort of like a dry and
academic examination, and it really, you go back and live, like, you put yourself in the shoes of those early community that you're at. And then as the generations move on you, you can like almost kind of live relive that experience of like, trying to address these challenges. And as as time goes on, as you move geographically and temporally away from Arabia, and so that was really like to try and go back and see show how the Hadith tradition emerged, not as some kind of kind of dry academic or obscure science, but actually as a very, very common sense way of trying to preserve information and trying to sort through claims people were making and how do you know which ones are correct,
which ones aren't. And then so that was one way and the other way was through what you know, what people who study Hadith today would talk about is like men hedge Academy and, and I got this from some of my teachers in Cairo. And especially, they turned me on to the books of Sheikh Hamza Millbury in the UAE, and his Indian or Indian scholar, and I read his books, and I eventually actually met him it was really nice to meet him in person. But you know, where that approach also kind of goes back and says, Let's like these masala hot they don't really work very well. I mean, which is true that I mean, this is
in some ways I, you know, it's the most out of the useful way
You're learning about things, but you, it's not really.
I mean, it's not. It's not that useful, right? Because you say like, oh Munkar means this and then you go and read that guy doesn't mean that by munkar it's very little practical application to understanding the story of Hadith in that seems. Yeah. So you don't you know, you all you always have to know what a certain person means by a term.
Because that they don't follow these books that are going to come off that they didn't know were going to come centuries after they died. And so I think that, that that approach really, also, it's very common sense. And that so those two, I think those two perspectives really, it's quite interesting that, I think and this is maybe why I was so taken by your work, especially when I read, misquoting Mohammed, and your your fascination of the shower, the EULA. And our own teacher, the later Manasa Rahim Allah who sadly lost them, algorythm Jana, he was also he was he was very fond of the works of Shaolin yoga, and we read many of his works. aktuell Jeet, who jetlagged vallila was
actually one of the one of the works in the final year to study and finally I once upon a time, and in an Insaaf, as well. But it was more of the accomplishments in the revival of Hadith and his approach. That was that really stood out. And it's quite evident in your works as well. And so Hannah, it was, it was it was quite enough for us to dislike Yeah, we ever Rockstar in, in the field of, of academia, who's representing the tradition, I think that's how many of us felt I mean, of course, I can't speak for everyone. That's at least how I felt, and Hamdulillah. And you know, when I met you, it was like, wow, that not only is a rockstar in terms of ease,
clean talking about that.
Yeah, I mean, I think
yeah, I was, I was really sad to hear about Madonna Krons passing.
I was really I met him, I think, in Cape Town. And I really thought he was a really interesting person. I mean, he was very open minded. He was very, quote, unquote, conservative, but also very open minded, which I thought was really impressive.
You know, just wishing to have and?
Yeah, I don't I mean, I think like, I,
I've tried, I think maybe if I've, if I've attributed anything, it's to just sort of just show you can be, you know, Muslim, who's really proud of their tradition and be an academic in the West that I'm not sure that's a big accomplishment. But I mean, I, I, I don't see those things as intention. I mean, I see the Islamic tradition as a tradition of academic excellence.
The same thing in theory that I'm supposed to be pursuing as a professor or as a writer or a researcher? And I don't, I don't see these things as in any way in any kind of
in conflict at all. I mean, I see. So I think that trying to kind of
reveal that the idea that these are supposed to be in conflict to the reveal this illusion has been one of my main objectives. Of course, there's Oh, there's there's disagreements or incompatibilities.
Those are not inherent in those two kinds of traditions, right? So if you say, oh, you know, you have to be secular to be an academic.
I don't know who said that. I mean, why is that the case? I mean, these are perception. Yeah, that's definitely a perception. I think also in the past, you know, that that dichotomy of sacred and sacred always plays out. And, you know, sadly, so I suppose in the madrasa systems, if we want to be honest about it, it does play out there because there's this historical baggage,
not to blame the students or to blame the structures, but I think it's something that needs to be looked to be ameliorated.
And again, I think it's these type of works, these type of engagements, finding that common ground between scholars like yourself, scholars within the traditional settings, sharing platforms, speaking, engaging, working on shared projects, those type of engagements definitely help and I think it breaks that perception. Absolutely. But how do you do it? Dr. Brown like Like seriously, we were just discussing this before we started and we said you know,
this man mashallah is producing like, really amazing works, and yet you active in Facebook, whenever we're whenever we hear from you, you're always commenting about some movie or something of this sort. And yet the words that you produce it like when you find the time to accomplish
What you doing? This is no ordinary feat. This is your your latest, your largest or other huge latest large publication, slavery and Islam. I haven't read the entire book yet. But you know, mashallah, the way you tackle this topic? Is this a brave step? This was interesting, because I remember at the madrasa when I was, I think it was the fifth year, this topic came up in one of the classes, you know, we were discussing Maqasid, and so forth. And so slavery and Islam came up. And it was something that a lot of the students were, I wouldn't say battling with, but they were trying to understand in a bit more detail. And then a week later, you know, I just saw a message coming out
that you'll be pursuing a book on on the subject. So it's really interesting how these things sort of spur
I think that
Well, one way I was able to, I think, to do a lot of produce a lot of material was that I didn't get married till I was 32. I mean, I didn't. I mean, I just take notes, all the students at the kind of, like a, sort of like a,
you know, hermetic existence, you know, for a long time, I would sort of just, I would travel a lot to do research to meet people, but I would,
you know, I just sort of read and read and read and read and just researched and researched and learned and studied and stuff for, for a long time. Maybe when other people would be busy with other things, you know, and I was just like, obsessed, and I didn't, I just did nothing but but read and read and read and study, and listen and listen for for years and years and years. So I think that's, and so when I was eight, when I when I
started to write stuff, I had a lot of kind of research to draw on.
then the second thing was, you know, to, to know, Muslim scholars who I could ask for help on things, who were, you know, able to direct me to sources that I wouldn't know about, or I wouldn't have thought of assaulting people like you, you know, we pull on people like you guys.
So you know, that, that that was a big thing. I mean, a lot of what I've done is really just to take work of Muslim scholars and kind of translate it, not literally translate it, but kind of translate it conceptually or, or kind of shifted, shift its presentation to, you know, a kind of English language, kind of secular facing medium.
So those are two ways.
And I think this is, you know, you people have a negative somebody will have kind of negative view of Muslim scholars, they're all stupid and backward and stuff. And that's just a very unfortunate view. And I think that people who have that view, maybe they haven't really met enough impressive Muslim scholars, and I think when you do, or when you you meet some or when you, and then you read books of others, you know, you're just kind of blown away. I mean, I to this day, I don't, I don't think there's a day that goes by where I don't just like, just, I just can't, I'm just can't man, I can't believe what these people do. I mean, I just sort of, you know, I have internet and word
processing and search engines and all the indices we have, and, and just like, keeping up with, let's say, the books that that would be exciting, or even have your site, I mean, you know, you're you, you have all these tools, and you're just using them to kind of keep up with what this other guy was doing. Yeah, we didn't have any of these tools, you know, I mean, and, and this was just like one of the massive multivolume books that he wrote, let alone, you know, you could. So I think that that's, you know, what, my point is that there's people, you know, I don't think there's necessary people like even Hubbard today. I mean, there's very rarely other people like that someone
like how theory was, or himolla, the Lemare brothers were like that.
But you know, you there are people like that today. I mean, there are there are certainly one or two, right? And if you can meet those people and learn from them, and then, you know, meet their students and learn from their students, and then have those people there to help you when you have a question, then you're going to be, you know, you're gonna have an amazing guide to the things you want to study. And for me, it's always there's always questions I want to answer and then they're not just sort of, I'm not trying to act like you know, my questions are somehow important, but I mean, the, the questions I have I've found over the years are usually questions other people have,
you know, that they're using. So, you know, like one
set of articles I did was
sort of on, like, medicine criticism and how you like, how you can show that the early Muslim scholars are doing that in criticism? And then
then you get to the question of like, okay, well, how do you get? Is there a way to sort of get over the problem of subjectivity with medicine? Criticism?
I mean, I don't think there is, but I also don't think that's necessarily a problem. I mean, that's not a that's not an impediment. It's just something to keep in mind. Another, you know, question I had is okay, well, you know, Muslims have been all this tick eating cereal material, but they also are at least some Muslims use material that they know, not authentic. So why is that like? So those are the questions I had,
you know, questions about miracles, like, you know, Muslims are supposed to believe in miracles of saints. What does that mean? Does that mean have Muslims always agreed on that, I mean, I'm not even talking about bringing some kind of insane left field progressive, right, you know, view or something I'm saying, like, just within the Sunni tradition, what have been used on this and like, and you see that when, when Muslim scholars like, you know, when they differ on these topics, their disagreements are really, really,
not only are they kind of sent, they're very sensibly grounded disagreement, but they're the same disagreements that people would bring up today. Right? So,
you know, if, if,
if you believe in miracles of saints, and if miracles of saints keep happening, then eventually miracles sort of lose their meaning, lose their right or, or, you know, people will end up kind of harming their relationships, they'll say, like, well, I'm going to this miracle happen. And so I'm going to, like, leave my wife and, you know, go off and wander around in the wilderness or something, and, you know, you
have some scars, like, hey, you know, I just like a social cost of using this. So, I mean, I think that there's a, you know, you, when you explore these things, you realize that,
you know, we tend to look back at, you know, to look at these Muslim scholars, quote, unquote, and say, you know, these guys are sort of, they don't really, they never really had, what they don't, they don't, they don't have what it takes, and they never had what it takes to address modern problems, like, they're always kind of lacking that capacity. And I think that you find, what I find that over and over again, is quite the opposite, I feel like they are very aware of, because a lot of these problems are perennial problems, we think that there are new problems with their perennial problems, and they have addressed those, and when they disagree with each other, those are the same
disagreements we have today, right? So
you find that there's, there's not really
an objection you can bring up today, or some kind of concern that we have today that some Muslim scholar in the past, some prominent Muslim scholar in the past hasn't, hasn't already looked at. And, and you and you probably has the same point you have, you know, and was making that, you know, 1200 years ago or something. And,
and then, you know, just in terms of other things, like literally the questions that I have, like something about slavery or me, yeah, those are,
you know, these tend to be questions that a lot of Muslims have, and that that's really like the misquoting Mohammed book, came out of that, of trying to sort of going giving lectures and talks at mosques and Islamic centers, and then you know, you just hear the same questions over and over again, and he realized that somebody needs to and then of course, the writing I do for European Institute, you know, a lot of that those articles and essays are all on this precisely these topics, cruddud
apostasy, you know, the Quran and Sunnah addressing men and women.
And so that's really like,
you know, I think those books are here to provide,
I hope very thorough and scholarly, but also accessible answers to these questions.
Oh, my job well, then. Yeah, no, no, definitely. Dr. Brown what I wanted to ask, I mean,
obviously, many Muslim students, academics know that your PhD was on the canonization of berhadiah and Muslim, but what was your initial study is on a in terms of your BA? Did you explore languages or was it? I mean, did you immediately go into Islamic studies? What was your foundational years like? When I was an undergraduate, I, you know, I was originally I think, at a Russian major.
Before I was before I was Muslim, and then I became Muslim. I just got interested in everything. I wanted to take any classes on anything to do with Islam or morals or Arabic, so I started to do that. And a lot of the times
So work history, literature,
things like that. And I, but I took anything I could and I just really got. I mean, again, I was trying to answer questions I had, I mean, how do I understand? What am I? How am I supposed to live as a Muslim in the United States? Like, where? What does it mean to be Muslim in a place that's so different from where Muslims began? And in a lot of ways, that's the big question that everybody has.
Um, so I think that many people kind of miss as well, like being Muslim in the United States is not like being Muslim. In, in a predominantly Muslim country, it's quite different. The dynamic is different.
I mean, in some ways, I think you're, you know, you're really lucky in a place like South Africa, because you have both very strong Muslim community, but also, you know, a diverse, larger society or be part of.
So I think that that's a really
good combination. In the US, it's, you know, it's the most the communities obviously, a lot younger and established and, and has spent the last 20 years, you know, as the object of
immense scrutiny from the government and constant attack from kind of conservative groups constant attack from liberal progressive groups. And that's, that's had a big taking a big toll on Muslims in this country, unfortunately.
yeah, so I think I studied that a lot was like history.
And what that really was kind of intellectual history, which is really sort of studying Islamic thought.
And then I went to Cairo for a year, and I studied Arabic, and I did some
sitting in unlike traditional study circles, but I was I mean, I didn't know Arabic well enough at the beginning to do that. But I met a lot of people were later on, I would go and study with them. But then I went to grad school. And I, I, it's funny, I think, if I could go back, I would have spent a lot more time studying in, you know, like a Muslim country and traditional studies. I did a good amount of that. But it was never a never like a systematic study. And more informal. Well, yeah, I was. I mean, I would say informal is a, I don't think you meant men mean, that is an insulting way. But I think like, it's normal, if you're doing a one on one study with somebody
that's informal, but it's also a hell of a lot more effective than immediately class with, like, 30 other people who are, you know, passing notes to each other and throwing paper or something. That's, I mean, I think like, but it wasn't what I mean, it wasn't systematic in the sense that I didn't get, you know, this just kind of
A to Z study course of study, like all these different subjects. So I mean, like, people will ask me, like, how do I do this? You know, Okay, God, I'll be like, I don't know. Like, I don't really know.
I don't know, I leave the funeral rare. Like, I don't know, I don't know, I never like no one I never learned about my religion, like Islamic Studies, Islamic sciences is a way to like, actually live my life. It was more like intellectual topics.
Interesting. So in terms of your traditional studies, duck was asking you about your academic studies, but in terms of your traditional studies, what was the most impactful? Or who was the most impactful teacher? And or what is the most impactful the reading that really affected and impacted you in terms of the way you thought? I mean, you mentioned some of the scholars, but in terms of your own ditches, and books that you did with him. Was there anything that stands out?
Yeah, um, I mean, I think that
I mean, it's kind of unfortunate, because the people that I really benefited from, I think, you know, I would have I disagree with them significantly on some political issues, but I, I still really, still really, really, really respect them as scholars.
One of them
you know, one of them was is Sheikh Khalid Juma the Egyptian scholar and you know, I got to know him when he was still relatively not famous
in the early 2000s, and I got a chance to study with him and read one full book with him which was thick, Aloha, Violet, snowy, snowy, and, and the, you know, to hear some Hadith books, or that he did commentary on
On. And, yeah, I mean, it wasn't, you know, the just like, kind of being exposed to his way of thinking was really had a big impact on me, you know, it just showed me how, what it was like to be around a Muslim scholar who was really, you know, had the kind of gigahertz that kind of mental capacity that, yeah, somebody who is from like the, the, I, this doesn't I don't want to say this as like a elitist way, but I'm what I mean is that he could have, he could have been like anything in Egypt, he could have been a neurosurgeon, or like, or whatever, you know, and he decided to become a an island. And so to an end to have somebody who brought together like, half of and
the car, you know, and a half.
And to see that was just like, was really inspiring. And to end, you know, you, you realize, like how in some ways how impoverished one is if one just reads books, because the books are not to be?
Or they're not kind of guides, they're living guides, or sort of resources, and you
use their tool, that's when you see someone using the tools and you're like, oh, that's like otherwise, you'd be like, Oh, I don't understand this thing. This part of the book says x, and this part of the book says, not x, and that's a contradiction. Look, most of the contradict themselves and look at our heritage all messed up is, you realize that that's not that's not the case that these people were not idiots. They didn't
just kind of they weren't stupid, they didn't. They mean, they wrote things and they understood that sometimes this thing was the tool use and that was that thing was a tool use and that's was completely fine for them.
And so, and to see that and to really be humbled over and over again by somebody, you know, when you ask a question, you think you've got somebody and you know, and then they just sort of wipe the floor with you and you're like, Oh, wow.
You really it's really humbling for me, it was really humbling and then some of his students, especially if there's a number of his students that I studied with that I really benefited from,
but the one I think that I ended up studying the most with personally and then I he really had a big influence on me was a scholar named Osama
state mood, Officer
sama Sade, Muhammad, Allah's hurry. I don't know why I forgot that. But he's, he was, he's only about a year older than me or so a year or two older than me. But he was really, I mean, this guy was
incredible. I mean, no, that's when you, you realize,
you know, when someone
has memorized like coal books and books and books, and just then then just, that's just like the databank they're drawing on. And then they're also, you know, cognitively really capable. And you know, and they're, and to sit and read with them. And to hear them reply to questions and is, it's just kind of all inspiring for me. And I think it would be for anybody, like, I don't think I'm particularly it's not like I'm insightful, either insightful, or kind of have low standards. I was, I think anybody
intelligent or not, would be impressed with these with his with his experience.
So, yeah, we read.
I read a lot of books with him, but he would mostly sort of assign me books to read and then I would come back and talk to him about and ask questions. So one, I think that was like, I mean, I remember that really being
kind of learning a lot from his reading the whole design Latuda
like, the whole thing. Yeah. And you know, and then reading like, the Mocha Dymocks, like Muslim reading illustrator of a telemovie reading
with you. Oh, really? Yeah, I hope it was probably hope, like it made sense eating good.
And also reading like, the first quarter of
the son of a dad me, which is, if anyone hasn't read that, I mean, you're interested. I mean, it's really fascinating.
You know, what is it?
Man other than Pamela Datameer I think died
55 injury, about 878 or so 868 68.
He's from near Samarkand. And he was kind of a scholar in the Shafi not yet Shafi med habit Shafi tradition, and he, his son
And I think it's the first about quarter of the book is sort of like an O stool
of the Atleti. It's sort of like a sewer approach to interpretation and epistemology
pulled through and constructed out of, a, a thought of the companion of the Prophet. And the Prophet A says on the Companions, the successor is that sort of the first two or three generations. And it's really amazing, and sort of to read that with him was,
I really, I mean, so I think that he's kind of those experiences were formative for me.
I think those are interesting points. Something definitely, I think, many of us experience as well, with someone like one on a TA, I remember, I mean, I came from the medical field, I studied medicine first. And so when I was in med school, you know, you sort of had this grand picture of a professor when they present, you know, the ward rounds. And that's something that you aspire to, and you really impressed with the with the with the breadth of knowledge in terms of how they apply clinical medicine, and studies and theory and so forth. But then, you know, when you meet people, as you mentioned, like shahadi, Juma and so forth, you really, you really get affected an influence in
terms of how scholars of the past, and, as you mentioned, as well, scholars today, actually still hold that legacy. I remember when, when, when I met Malala, for the first time, I was just blown away in terms of his bid, like you really appreciate this concept of when they say someone's an ocean of knowledge, like he's a bar.
I mean, it's EDM used in English as well. But I really appreciated that within the Islamic Studies. Domain when when I met someone like Monica, and I think it gives confidence to Muslims, you know, just to know that there is a tradition,
a lot of people speak about the Reformation. And I think that has its place, definitely. But at the same time, you need to also understand that there is a tradition, and you cannot just do away with the tradition. And before you actually want to enter that domain, you need to know what the tradition actually talks about, you need to know the boundaries, you need to know what can be achieved within the tradition and the tools and instruments. So I found that really, you know, influencing on me personally. Absolutely. All right, hang on, guys, I gotta run, grab my power cord, because I Okay, my computer's gonna die, I'll be back in one second.
out or whatever.
So So I actually have a secret, right? So we started the internet Academy, podcast, and this channel, basically. And I did not delve into what any snack is, or speak about it, because I was kind of saving that for the day that we got Dr. Jonathan brown on, so that he could explain it, because I felt that, you know, it's such a central concept in our tradition, like, from the tabby I mean, it's now to me that Dean, right, and it's so central that every single science that we have every single discipline, whether that's Hadith, difficile, Kira, you name it, every science in the traditional world, you don't just pick up the book and read it, you get the internet. And that's
essentially what connects you to this legacy. And you can see the impact that it has, I mean,
you know, people see Oh, Dr. Brown, you know, Semitic in Scotland, but he's connected to scholars who essentially, you know, even attaches himself to as part of this tradition. And this is, this is the traditional Islam. And for me, this is kind of just like, what sets it apart. So now that he's back, we can start speaking about him.
Dr. But I was just saying that we started this channel, right.
We said, we were not going to actually delve into this, this concept of a snad. And I know many people were thinking isn't advocating me like, what's this about? But I was telling Dr. pettalia, that it's such a central concept to the traditional world, you know, traditional Islam and its study that every science comes through this, this eastern ad. And I remember, when I read it from your book and Hadith, I just felt that it is just so beautifully explained, that is not just this,
this chain of, you know, verification chain that you can verify authenticity with, but it has so much more than that. Would you like to share your thoughts on internet? Let's talk here tonight as Dr. Jones came down.
And I guess, you know, I think, oh,
in 111 perspective, it's just it's very,
very obvious. And I think that we,
ourselves, have a lot of benefit by not seeing. So surely Allah when he talks about
out knowledge, right? I mean, you either. And this is kind of a again, this is not some profound insight he came up with, he's just gonna give you a summary of how Muslims talked about not just how Muslims but how, like Aristotle or St. St. Augustine would talk about the acquisition of knowledge like, and hear, I mean knowledge, like literally just perception, and it's rock of the world around you, right? So
you either you get things through perception, or principles of reason, which are very few extra sense, perception obviously, is a lot. For anything you haven't experienced, you get through, it's not like, whether it's someone telling you something, or it's something you read, or it's a video you watch, right, so everything getting by some kind of transmission, that you anything you haven't experienced is comes by transmission. So in one sense, like you to think about that and think about, like, everything that you if you, if you want to verify the world that you are perceiving from outside your own experience, you have to be critical of that, right? Or you're not critical, but
like you just be honest about that, right. So like when I, when I
you know, when I look on like the,
the weather forecast, and it says, you know, it's going to be cloudy today or something like,
I don't think about that critically, or when I you know, when I,
you know, when I,
you know, hear that,
like, my son's soccer practices are gonna get moved to some other time. Like, I don't want to be like who's telling me this, and we so much of our lives, we just, you know, we kind of trust things, because we're used to them, or it's not that important, if we're being misled, that we don't need necessarily,
is not going to cost us that much. But that when things are important, we do make a lot of effort to verify information. So that's one sense like that. Thinking about, it's not as like data we learn, or the way that we perceive the world around us is, I think, very important. Because that's how Muslim scholars thought about it, right? They thought about anything you don't, anything that you can't experience yourself or grasp first principles of reason, you're going to have to get through some kind of chain. And then you should be aware of what that chain is, and what its potential risks are. The second thing is,
you know, that
our traditions of knowledge, to this day are still it's not based even in the West. Right? So I mean, there's a, when you go to, like, you know, you could buy my book on Hadith, and just read my book on how to eat. And that's like, pretty much anything. I mean, I mean, my class is like, I might give examples that are not in the book, but like, you know, everything I'm going to tell you is pretty much the
same thing. I've written so many books now, if people could just read my books, like or, you know, but why do you go to class to be with a teacher? Because you interact with them? They correct you, you ask them to specify, right? You, you learn to think critically, like they're teaching you how to think critically, like one of my students asked me yesterday from one of my classes, like, you know, what am I supposed to learn in this class? And I said, actually, for this class, I don't really care if you've learned anything, because this class is not really about you learning material, it's about you learning how to think critically read critically Speak, speak, articulately, right.
And so that's what you get from being around people who are more knowledgeable than you and more capable than you or more experienced than you. So the same tradition in our in any kind of place of education, any kind of traditional education, or practice, whether it felt like medicine or not, how do you learn how to like, cut a liver or to transfer a liver. I mean, you could read books on it, but you got to basically, someone who's done that a lot, it's gonna teach you how to do it.
So that's the other thing. And then finally, the last thing is just,
you know, the idea of connection to the past, the lot reliance on the past, the idea of
being both a
inheritor and a kind of a junior inheritor of, of something that's bigger than you and greater than you from people that were better than you and greater than you, but also having to rise to the occasion of that right so that you, you are now the
face, you are now the latest, the edge of this the leading edge of this tradition as it moves into the present and future. And that you then have to step that you have to fill those shoes, even though you, you know, might not be as capable as you'd like to be, you have to fill the shoes. That's a big response, OSHA says. Yeah, and I think that, you know, that's like really important. And I think that
you know, I think that's, that's very important.
Awesome, you know, where this is leading to
culminate into getting that snatched from?
You know, what I found interesting, really, in these, in these recent times of COVID-19? Is the application of Hadith principles, we actually got to come in just a moment ago. In fact, we should actually look at the comments. I think it's exactly what you were saying. Just reading the
Yeah, so basically, that as Tokita, Isaac says, even during the whole experience of COVID-19, is not as been essentially has been, essentially
discarded. That's really just what I wanted to say as well, in terms of the practical utility of Hadith principles and the value of isnaad. With all this mass information, not really being verified from sources, particularly on WhatsApp, emails,
people are more confused than ever, in terms of the authenticity and the value of what they're reading. And especially when it comes to, you know, something so serious as COVID-19 With so many people have passed away so many people have become sick, have been impaired, it's important that we at least are able to draw on our tradition is I mean, it's not Hadith, proper in the sense of, you know, practicing the principles, but it's something that we could translate into our general daily activities in our daily lives. I don't know, what's your thoughts on that? Dr. Dr. Brown with regard to the situation in the US.
But yeah, that's what we've been experiencing in South Africa, a lot of criticism on misinformation and fake news. Yeah, I mean, definitely. I mean, first of all, the idea that you you know, you verify information, you verify it by getting corroboration, you verify it by checking out who the sources, you vary, you assess the reliability of a source by their history of providing information, right. So it doesn't matter if I think, you know, Melania Shad is a nice guy or not, that just doesn't matter. What matters is, Have I consistently gotten reliable information from Alana or shad, right? Or does it matter that Melania Shad is a Hanafi? Or Shafi or Shiite or Sunni, right? You
know, that doesn't. Like that's the issue is his performance.
That that people are very, you know, that somebody, you know, that you don't like trusting people with claims is just never a good idea in the sense that so, you know, Melania should come and say, like, oh, you know, I heard from this guy who I really trust this thing. And that guy's full of it. Like, you know, it doesn't, you don't like you don't, the world isn't we don't get information just because somebody told me something. And, you know, yeah, he says, the guy's reliable. Like, which guy who is this person? You know, really like, go and check, really? And then go and check. Did that person really say this?
Like, because she had misunderstood the person, right. So go and check. I mean, I always remember this. This example in
alomost. Muhammad, I think it's in.
I think what key I know I think it's in Al kindI is to recall Kadar that you know that
I think it's because rabbinical Taiba, the Hanafi, chief judge of Cairo, in the kind of time of Shafi Mannschaft that he he is wants to revive Imam Shafi is some of his opinions, but he doesn't just do that, he goes these tends to like his reliable secretaries to go and attend. I think Adam was in his class and he says,
Did the most any active Shafi actually say this and this and they read they listen to the whole book, and then they check did he say this thing? Yes, he said this. Then he comes he gets the report back and then he robots the opinions right? He doesn't just say like, iron Shafi says this and oh my god I am
typing about because maybe that's not what a Shafi said maybe he never said that maybe somebody misunderstood him, right. So how much of our, you know reaction to each other or reaction to information or reaction to situations? Is this based on this kind of off the cuff?
unverified and that's not how Muslim scholars did things like and it's it did they did that because they knew that the way that errors come into reasoning and two chains of transmission and this is not just I mean, we're talking about Hadith, but this is like in any that what I just gave you an example from law, like whether it's law
Our theology or Sufism or anything? In this, the methodology of the snad is permeates all Islamic sciences.
Except right, it doesn't remember, you know, there's this ecard of, you know, the like, you know, Matt Kana
what is it?
My canon Mako Bolin for the fee? Well, I have to add you into a charter of monopoly. Right. So, whatever is Maqbool? It's, it's proof is inside it. It doesn't you don't need to know. Like, if someone says two plus two is four, you don't need to like who said that? Yeah. Like that person rely on like, where did you get that information? So if someone says, So, you know, like, we're kind of critical point, right? So if someone says, like,
you know, like,
trying to think it's something from like, COVID-19 or something like, you know, if
you know, if
someone says, like, if your immune compromised, it state, it's more dangerous to get this is yeah, like,
it doesn't really make that just, that's a basic kind of almost rational principle, like, if you lack the resistance of a regular person to x, then you are going to be more vulnerable to x, then regular. So.
So that kind of thing is, but then you know, you also have to be very careful about when you like, where that division between makhoul and Mon cool is, because if someone says like, Oh, I am really nervous about COVID-19, so I'm gonna wipe my groceries with
Lysol wipes or something. And then you because you're thinking about kind of, like you're getting a cold or something, but then you don't, you're, you're thinking this is reasonable. And maybe it's a good precaution when you don't have access to information yet, but then you find out like, actually, this is transmitted sort of through inhalation and through through through air, right. So it's not like something you get like a cold, where you're going to touch something and then put touch your eye or something like that. Right, like, so it's a, you know, that sometimes we think that some that a conclusion we come to is, is reasonable. Whereas in fact, we don't understand that it's actually
not accessible to like, first principles of reason that it's actually a specialized subject of study that and so for example, a good example of this would be like that,
you know, improving health care reduces
reduces population growth.
like wait a second, what do you mean, your bad hat health care more people die, that means there's less people.
Okay, but if you look just sort of over time, how is this how the how this actually functioned in society, if you increase health care, people have less babies. Okay, I don't know why that is just like this specialized that people have observed to study at one area. And so, you know, a lot of times we get mixed up between
you know, my uncle will not call what it's like not cool and have a well yet, or better yet, like first principles, this reason, versus what's actually
what has come from another right another so if you nether and treasurable. So you have to have investigation and then empirical study, before you can say that you can like rationally grasp certain things. So I think like we are failure to to,
to kind of appreciate these categories. And of course, then like that, it doesn't matter who says certain things like you know, are you gonna listen to that point, that guy is a bad person or that guy is a Republican or a Democrat, doesn't matter. And you when you when you don't listen to people because you don't agree with other things they say, then that's your, you know, you're fundamentally misunderstanding how knowledge and truth we could do an entire podcast just on that last point. It's such a huge thing these days, I mean, with canceled culture, you know, sort of flowing over into the traditional circles. All of a sudden, like these a scholar, you said one thing some way you're
willing to write off every single thing is everything because of that one statement that he said, Look, I've got I've got one question from karamaneh. Salim gayby is one of the top scholars of Kiera in South Africa. And he said, I need to ask this question. So in honor of one of my teachers, one of our teachers actually among us and gave me wants to know what's your advice to a student who you know wants to further their studies either they just beginning as a student of Dean you know, study
Islam, traditional seminaries, et cetera, and they want to, you know, go further, do you advise them to enter into academic studies in formal universities?
And how should they approach that? If you do?
Um, well, I think it depends. One, wherever you are, it depends what you want to do with it.
I think like, in a place, let's say you're in South Africa, I think,
I'm not sure who teaches in universities there. But I mean, it kind of depends, right? So if you,
in general, I would say be very careful of academia, because,
you know, I might not see any clash between, you know, being a Muslim in the Islamic tradition, and being an academic, but most people, most people do. And those people are not fans of the Muslim part of that, right. So in a lot of ways,
and by the way, like, people like free to sock, this is why I think they, I mean, I don't want to speak for him, but that I think, I imagined I would agree with me. You know, I think one of the reasons they kind of got turned off by aspects of academia in the West is that they saw that a lot of kind of Islamic studies or discussions about Islam in the Academy are essentially political projects that they're,
these created to sort of just suck in Muslims and just crushed the crush, crush them spiritually, and then also kind of neuter them politically, in a lot of ways.
So I think that this
sorry, I think that, you know, I tell Muslims, like they should not don't take class, not Islam in universities, because you're, that's that the person who's been selected to teach for you is,
and it's just there's not like, there's some conspiracy, there's not some committee of people were like,
it's just the way that academia works. So in the United States, like, let's say, I don't know how things are in South Africa, but like the United States, you know, you have,
okay, Muslims are a problem, because this is how they're seen by the mainstream, they're a problem because they are their security threat.
We don't want them to get rattled about radical flies, and their problems are conservative, and they don't have right views about wet gender, and they don't conform to our culture, right? So the, the origins of that society, the infrastructure that society is going to work to break those things down.
Right, so if you, like, you're gonna ask me, for people who are generally progressive liberal, on these, right, and they are going to
perpetuate those views and to push those views on there students, like that's just the way and who's gonna get the job, like, who's gonna get the job as academic, like the guy who writes the book on how, you know, Islam says that actually, homosexuality is great, or the guy who said write two books, as long as I'm homosexual is prohibited, who's gonna get the job, who's gonna get the fellowship, who's gonna get like, like our our societies are,
are built to produce and to encourage results that the power elite in those societies wants, right. And so they won. liberal, progressive, depoliticise politicized, unsure, understandings of religion, that's what they want, right? They.
And so that's what they'll and you can see this, you know, if you read the 2007, building moderate Muslim networks report that was produced by the RAND Corporation, this is I mean, basically says, We should go and promote like liberal progressive Muslims and Sufis and, you know, Googliness, and stuff like that. It's what they literally says this stuff, you know, and so, it's not some kind of conspiracy. It's how it's how societies function. So I think that you universities are organs in that system. And that doesn't, I love universities, I never left university I this is not a criticism, this is just a sense of like, you need to know what you want to go to university go to
really going to benefit us that you're going to be kind of put into a meat grinder over now it depends like if you
if you go to
if you can, if you can study with people who are not like that, right? So if someone can say, oh, I want to study with Jonathan Brown, well, I'm not going to be like that, you know, I'm not going to if he's in my classes, you're not going to be subjected to that kind of treatment.
And, you know, it doesn't mean
I'm not going to try my best to make you a good scholar I am. But it just means that, you know, the environment is very different. And so I think that it, it depends who you have the opportunity to study with.
And I would say that you should not, whatever you do, do not go do not study Islam, or anything about religion or philosophy, anything about kind of morality or knowledge.
Without this very strong, traditional grounding, you really have to feel to know your stuff, or you're gonna get chewed up. And I've seen this happen more times than I can count. And now, I mean, I look at my, the kind of Muslims that I went into grad school in the same cohort, not just at my university, but kind of across the board. And then ones who went in 1020, over the past 20 years. And I mean, it's been like,
you can see, like, a few programs where you have professors who have, like, more kind of integrity as Muslims, like, they they're producing, I think, really good Muslim scholars and good scholars period. But a lot of the programs are just producing, essentially, not just people who have completely lost themselves to doubt and skepticism, but that are then committed to propagating that and, and sucking other people into that as well. And that's very disturbing and sad.
it's new, and that we're not really like that episode. I think it's a beautiful perspective. And I think many, many of our viewers who, you know, informed me that they are waiting eagerly for this podcast there. They'll appreciate that advice. And also many students currently and people who intend on, you know, pursuing the study of Islam. It's a big question, because, I mean, the there's real benefits to taking you your studies further at university, for whatever reason, but you know, these are the concerns that they have. Dr. Brown as we proceed to the end, I know we've had you on here for about an hour now. How do you feel about that request?
I mean, I don't know. Can you? I don't know if you can give? I mean, you can be in a snad I guess but I don't think you give a Jazza over podcasts. I don't
know, I know people have written books on or written stuff on this.
We've done my friend Garrett. probably know this, the answer to this. I mean, I'm sure that people have done it factoids on this topic.
Yeah, I mean, it's been so long since I
yeah, I mean, I collected I should actually collect my snags and to avoid me it's not going to be like an award winning book or anything, but it would be I mean, and I have friends that have shorter snags than I do, but you know, I try my best
so I understand what do you what do you want you just want
me to like read in a stat for you is that the Yeah, I think the one in particular we will be speaking about was the hottie thermosensor will only Yeah.
If possible, you know we don't really put you on the splitting tissue into there.
I mean, I
I haven't I'm not going to read it to you because I'm not going to remember it because I haven't I'm not confident that I wouldn't make a mistake and there's no reason to make stupid mistakes. But
yeah, it's not a it's not a shortest snad but it's a nice one there's other ones missed I think I can find some other ones maybe.
oops. Yeah, this is from Bokhari Snagit Bahara which is a pretty short
Okay, I'll do two and then you can
I can I can just do two and then you can
Yeah, I know. It's sort of cheap to read but otherwise I'm not gonna it's not going to be accurate. I don't feel comfortable Um, okay. Bismillah R Rahman Rahim had nothing up. Chef
IsatHub I will carry on
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be Jimmy and are we RT has the best shooter motivator and
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to Zakho love heroin. Dr. Brian, thank you so much for your time.
All of us and we look forward to having you in South Africa again really soon. I know you love South Africa. You love the people of South Africa. So we really, really need to get to play. Yeah, I really want to come. You know, whenever you you are whoever can manage to finagle an invitation for me this time, I want to try and bring my family. So you know,
bring my kids Oh, get that. No, I mean, not asked. I'm not asking anyone to pay for them. But whatever, whatever. however much they can you guys can chip away at the cost. I
will make a plan.
Yeah, just just the sideline question.
Your favorite espionage movies?
The reason why I asked this is that I heard the FBI today
with a couple of friends off the drama
regarding the Bourne trilogy, or the set of The Bourne movies, the bond will be better so coming out now. So we were just discussing, you know, what would probably take the top view or movie or the best like, just in terms of just in terms of these espionage spy movies like what would you write in like as your personal preference obviously. Do you enjoy
the Ay, ay, the Bourne movies. You know, the one I really liked was the the Bourne Legacy the one that doesn't have Matt Damon it's not not that
I just really liked the Bourne Legacy with Jeremy Renner. I thought that was really good.
i It's funny because I was a bizarre circumstance but I ended up talking to the director of some of the other Bourne movies. Okay, this is a very bizarre like I said, you know, I just want you to just
I liked this other one the most. He said, Well, that's the one I liked the least I was like, Okay, well, anyway,
then I really liked spy game with Brad Pitt and Robert Redford was very good.
He came out not long after 911 So it's interesting kind of document of
almost pre nine pre 911.
Film last night. I liked
the spy game.
I like all the James Bond movies, obviously.
I like my favorite James Bond is either
Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby. Like I did not expect them without him. Yeah.
So much passion you know he's yet to really.
I liked I think the living daylights is my favorite one. Okay, interesting. Yeah. Other golden eyes like close that close second. I would have gone for Pierce Brosnan. Yeah, he's watching Roger Moore. I enjoyed. Oh,
this is not not to knock any other one. But I just
simply Dalton brought a kind of level of passion to the role that I hadn't.
And then you know which movie
but their Mission Impossible fairly. The mission the boss. Yeah, I like Jim. I like them. I like the mission. But maybe the last one or two didn't blow me away. I think the I liked
one. I liked the one who said Philip Seymour Hoffman. I liked
Yeah, I mean, yeah, of course. Mission Impossible is great.
Yeah, I think that's
it good. Summary. I don't I mean, I don't know. I think books like you do when I start watching movies
that I just seen. Yeah. I mean,
one of the ways I don't I don't watch I mean, I almost never watch movies.
On television. Like, I mean, I just had a fish I used to draw before COVID-19 I travel a lot. So I would watch them on the airplane.
Oh, yeah. That's, that's what I do as well and just catch up on everything. Yeah. So I mean, I don't you can do ever since I had kids, and maybe even since I got married I my wife was trying to call me actually right now I'm probably have to go into second because Oh, yeah, no, I mean, we've
we really, really are looking forward to having you in South Africa. Like
you're invited me. Sorry. The point. Invite me
and invite my wife because she can also give talks on lots. Absolutely. Yeah. And we'd love to come as a fan. Well, we'll Yeah, we'll set something up. I'll speak to one of my good family friends, Professor Yasi. Mohammed, I think he's with Yaqeen as well. Yeah, and a few of our local our local academic centers that I believe will work out something as soon as COVID allows inshallah we will do it. I think it's allowed now. I think it's basically yeah.
Everything is a lab now. Sort of, like, it's kind of the it's sort of a hard situation because you're like, I can go to Germany in a month or two. I'm like, should I just go to Germany? Actually, I It's fine. I went to Turkey in the summer and it was a lot less stressful though. But it was also kind of before all this stuff happens. So today Today my suppose to should I do this or not? I don't know. I don't know what that will hopefully we'll all know what to do and do times and you can be the doctor and because you know doctor is actually a medical doctor. So
yeah, but I think it's looking
things go Yeah, the next couple of months see how things pan out it's I mean, it's a novel virus. We don't know how the vaccines obviously in a sense with regard to long term immunity so I think it's worthwhile just to see how things pan out but inshallah in the near future. We'll we'll definitely work on something then he has the in the Himalayas there so absolutely. And meteor that Jaza in person as well each other. I'm sure you'll appreciate the holiday in Cape Town just to
food, the food Bonnie Chow all that stuff. That's
all that stuff. The Gatsby's conveys
prawn the prawn place the was that camera that there was some place that had prawns? No, no, that's in JioFi. That wasn't Joburg. Yeah.
Yeah, we also there was a place Jimmy's. There was this place in Alto in Johannesburg, but I remember this coffee shop called motherland coffee. And it had called the dictator. Make the day obey you.
If any of you go to the coffee
Take a picture of that drink like on the menu I somehow just stupidly didn't take a picture of the dictator make the day a little bit I did enjoy that as well.
Thank you Vicki. So Nancy your family and we hope to have you on soon again. Thank you so much later.
shukran everyone for joining us, you know, it's it's quite late. We all have other things to do tomorrow inshallah. But thank you so much and Shukla and to Dr. supertall for joining me as a co host on this podcast, and I certainly welcome anytime inshallah.
So, I would love to get to
live like that.