Navigating The Boundaries

Jonathan Brown


Channel: Jonathan Brown

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Navigating the Boundaries of Culture and Religion

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out under Jim smilla rahmanir rahim al hamdu Lillah

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wa Salatu was Salam ala l mursaleen. While Allah, he was a marine. Thanks very much for the introduction and for the prayers and good wishes. And I didn't know I was unpopular in some circles. I'm just joking. I think that was probably my destiny to be unpopular in many circles, which is not a problem.

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Okay, so

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they gave me I love the topic they gave me because it was so enormous that it forced me to do a lot of work, which is good. These talks make me you know, get off my

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self and

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do some research over here.

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So, I it's easier to do these things, not because I'm, you know, some I don't agree with sort of PowerPoint culture, and everything has to have a PowerPoint, but when you're dealing with things that have technical terms, and it's sometimes easier if people can see instead of trying to hear, you know, odd words or odd names pronounced. So I also want to say that I really love traveling and meeting people in different MOS communities, because it always makes me very optimistic. I think it's really, it's not normal to wake up every day and have just see people on TV saying how much they hate you, and how much they want you out of their country. That's not a normal way to live. I

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decided that's not normal, I've decided it's stressful. So it's okay to feel stress. Recognize that. But even though things seem very difficult than they are difficult for the Muslim community here and around the world, I'm very optimistic because when I meet, especially young Muslims, I'm so impressed by them really, really impressed by them. And also very impressed by the older Muslims. People love to make fun of the uncles and Auntie's and how they didn't understand understand this country, this the mosques, I feel I don't feel comfortable in the mosques. This is really I don't think people say, I don't think really go to mosques. I really don't think they actually go to

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mosque. I I meet uncles and Auntie's, they might have accents. But they understand this country much better than I do. And they built institutions that kind of built the institutions in this country that provide the infrastructure for being Muslim. And I, the more I travel, the more I appreciate that. So you know, here's to the uncles, and Auntie's out there who don't get enough respect.

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Even though they may, they may get their their ships ships brought to them occasionally. Okay. So the

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today's talk is about custom.

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And this is what I want you to think, broadly first about this.

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There are certain

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societies, certain civilizations, certain views of law, that say that people don't need any values to come from above or from Revelation or from eternal sources, that in fact, all you need to govern yourself all you need to tell you what's right, and what's wrong is just your local culture.

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So for example, ancient Greece,

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what was right and what was wrong is basically what people in their in your in the city of Athens believer in the sea of Sparta believed it was your boat, that was the only source of right and wrong.

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So it's actually

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Muslims. And Christians and Jews

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are different, at least historically. Because they believe that human beings on their own, are not able to cope with all the answers about what is right and what is wrong.

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That the human being is too weak, too feeble, mentally,

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and spiritually, to know what is right and what's wrong on their own. They need reminders, they need direction from from above from God, and that comes to Revelation.

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as we'll see, that doesn't mean that local custom is irrelevant. It's very important. But it fills in the spaces. It contours, the edges, it doesn't provide the skeleton doesn't provide the framework that comes from Revelation. So what happened

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beginning, let's just pick a date around 17 101st in England, and then it moved into Western Europe and then into Central Europe, and into the colonies of England, the United States and other places. And then the whole world, what happened was something called modernity, modernity, this was a transformation of human society, in the social, political, religious, economic, technological spheres, complete transformation of society, human society, before in the year 2000, around the year 2000 over 50% of human

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lived in cities, the year 2000, we hit the 50% mark. That is the biggest change in human history since human beings settled down, stop wandering around and gathering nuts and berries and stuff like that and decided to do agriculture. That's the biggest change. So, human society has since the 1700s, undergone changes that are before the last biggest change was settling down and stop one and and not being hunter gatherers. That was the biggest change.

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Now, what happened is that as society changed so rapidly, remember, people growing people living, let's say, from around 1850 to 1950, they experienced change in every year, that people 100 years earlier, 20 years earlier, wouldn't experience in their whole lifetime.

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What happened was, society changed so much,

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that people, many people, not all, maybe not even the majority, but many people believe that this transcendental rules that had come from Revelation, were simply no longer applicable to human society, they human society had moved beyond these rules. And now the only source, even people who have previously been committed to Revelation, like many Christians, and many Jews, not all but many.

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They believe now that

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human custom, our custom, what we believe is right and wrong in our community. These are in fact, the only sources of law that we need the only sources of morality that we need.

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Now, they enshrine these values in almost pseudo religious notions like human rights. So for example, you don't want to be at a dinner party or a cocktail party and say, I don't care about human rights, you do that you're not gonna be popular. Because that's the new sort of source of absolute values as human rights. You don't want to be coming out against human rights. But human rights come to the UK human beings created

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in the 20th century, in effect.

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Yeah, they're interesting things before that, but in effect in the 20th century, but

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what I'm trying to say is that,

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for most people living in the West today, I would say most, our customs are the only source of morality for us. If we decide that gay marriage is fine, gay marriage is fine. If we decide 10 years later that gay marriage is not fine, gay marriage is not fine. If we decide that incest is fine and 20 years, incest will be fine. There's no controlling external control on this. And I'm not I don't want to say

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just assume that that's bad. I mean, I think that's bad as a Muslim, but I mean, I just I'm not trying to judge here. I'm just trying to lay out the setting for this discussion. Okay.

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How much longer till we have to stop?

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Five minutes. Okay. So, huh?

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forgotten a piece of paper in my bag. I'll try and do it from memory. So the, what is orphan Ida, these are two important terms in Islamic law.

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Now that I've given myself a challenge, I'm still going to try and do this from memory, but I have the backup. Okay. These are two important terms. Sometimes they're in it from Muslim scholars, we'll use them interchangeably but they're, they're very different in their basic meanings. Okay. We read the Quran all the time. And the Quran talks about a little bit narrow roof, do something big roof. Right, for example, for marriage, and divorce. The court and says in Sakhalin did not rule out a 300 Billy's bill as an

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either talking to men there's several different kinds of ways to end a marriage in Islam. There's talaaq which the man does there's a whole lot which the woman does, there's a freak which the judge does. Which by the way is the best way if you want to minimize your divorce payments of either party, do tuffrey that's my analysis.

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Get a judge to do it. But the what is the claim say for men if men are going to divorce their wives or tilaka says either

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keep them keep your wives by what's not a roof or send them away their son in a in a godly way with godly conduct or with with good intentions.

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What is this my roof?

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What does not roof mean? Now roof comes from the root earth or RFR, which means to know something something is known.

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Something is known. And if any of you are so bad that you watch Game of Thrones, which is really, really bad TV show.

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But in the first season, I heard, there's this people called the Dothraki and they're always saying, it is known as it is no

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The way that's the way they say this is that it's the exact same meaning in Arabic. Something is known, it means it's right. What we know to be true is what is correct. What we know to be right is what is correct. So a lot of is, what the custom of a people is. And what is not a roof is what is defined by that order. And it is what is known to be correct. And so it's a very interesting concept, because it's almost by definition relative in a sense. So the famous ninth century grammarian, as a judge says, no roof is Matt steps in the middle of the aisle. It is what is considered to be goodly from actions what actions are considered to be goodly.

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And in another, the the the famous Tafseer scholar and jurist, quote to be from the 13th century of the Common Era, he said that he defined maruf is

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not a definable hoc, what is known that it is truth, what is known that it is correct. And in other verses in other discussion, he says it's tofield.

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And Hawk, it is giving people making sure that people get their rights.

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So what is not a roofer is known who is what is the truth? And what guarantees that people get their rights.

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So this is the concept of off its custom, and is what custom deems to be correct. Now, as I said, this is this is kind of

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what custom is the custom of the people of Boston is a custom people of Medina.

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It depends.

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And this is where there's, you see that there's ambiguity in this issue, and we'll discuss that more.

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The second thing is what's called either either means, what's normal, or what happens normally. So when you go to people in Egypt, and you say,

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How have you been doing this last week or something, Daddy, normal things are going normal.

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Either is, it's what you're used to. It's what it's a normal course of affairs. Now.

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This is very important in Islamic in Islamic law and Islamic theology, because Muslims believe in miracles.

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God could, if God one, God is all powerful, if God wanted, God could turn me into right now it could turn me into a turkey, a talking Turkey, that would give

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a lesson. This is entirely possible. God could make, you know, my student coming to class, God could take that student, transport him to Mecca, so he could do his prayers and Mecca, and then return him five minutes late to my class.

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And that's entirely possible. As a Muslim, I believe that's entirely possible. It's possible, but it's not ideal.

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And when it comes to law, and when it comes to our obligations to one another, we go by Agia, not by what is rationally possible, is a very important point.

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So for example,

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if this is one famous scholar, Egyptians calling him booj, to me, who died in the early 1800s, he's discussing what if someone says,

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I'm in a divorce, she says to his wife, I will divorce you the next time, you have your period.

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And then she never gets her period again, even though she's only 20 years old.

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What would happen? That is possible, is medically possible, maybe it's can see God could prevent this, this woman from ever having her period again. But in this case, he says, you go what's harder, you go by what

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generally happens? What are the general rules of nature? What are the general rules of society?

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Because he says, well, Jamie says, if someone it's not possible by Agia, that a woman just stops having your period. It's probably it could happen.

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But it's not either. And in law, we go by Ida.

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By the way, this might sound weird, but this is exactly how American law works.

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You could say,

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you know, I,

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yeah, I know that. You know, I know the IRS sent me 10 letters, and I know that they called my house and 100 times, I know how those letters got lost, and somehow the answering machine deleted every single event. I'd never heard this

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as possible, but it's not either. An idea is what the judge is gonna or what the IRS official is going to rule by

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So it's actually very common. In legal systems, you can't always take exceptional situations, you have to go by what generally happens.

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I know one second, we finish this slide, and then we'll finish. So this is the important difference between or an either they both have an impact on Islamic law, Islamic ethics.

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But idea is much more about the relationship that people have to God's power, God's all powerful. Yes, it's possible

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that God could, let's say,

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another example is let's say somebody dies, and they come back to life.

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Does that person get there in all their property back off, even after their inheritance has been given away? Do they get remarried to their wife, even though that marriage has ended when the person dies, it's possible that God can resurrect the dead. But it's not either. And now you go with either you don't go with what there's extreme situations that are technically rationally possible, but not don't really actually happen. Okay, so after this, we're going to talk about the big issue, which is, which everyone thinks about when we talk about, which is, the Sharia really always says this, but we're not going to do this because of

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so all this as a way of getting out of what would normally be the law. Because this is really how people talk about life today, they say, you know, normally Muslims, these are the rules you follow, because that's not the way people live here. We're going to change the law, we're gonna see, we're gonna talk about when that's possible, under what circumstances is possible on when it's abused.

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So, I think it's also important to I want to note something, which is that there's nothing more powerful in our lives.

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I mean, not in terms of obviously, God is the most powerful forces in our everyday life, there's nothing more powerful that we feel to be more powerful than culture.

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People tend to poopoo culture, but this is a famous Greek poet in the fifth century BC poet named Pindar. He said, a very beautiful verse of poetry said, custom is the king of all, custom is the king of everything.

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And always, I want you to keep this example in mind. If I brought you a plate of dog meat,

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would you eat it?

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No, in fact, you'd probably throw up.

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If you brought in any American a plate of dog meat, they'd probably throw up. If you go to countries like China, they serve dog me in restaurants. So something that you feel is so disgusting that it must be morally wrong, because you feel it so deeply in your soul, it must be morally wrong. There's another human being who is just as smart as you just as moral as you on the other side of the world. He thinks there's absolutely nothing wrong with eating that.

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So those things, even those things that we think are the most disgusting and most unacceptable things, other people for very good reasons, have no problem with them.

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So even deep disgust is actually culturally conditioned. It is culturally conditioned.

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That's important, very important thing to keep in mind. Because a lot of times you know, you will hear people say that's just horrible. I don't even you describe how horrible it is. I don't need to justify why I think that

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just because someone feels Something is wrong, doesn't mean it's wrong. evidence that's not proof might just be the way their culture thinks of something. Is it important thing to keep in mind? Customers extreme? What are the what are the the foreign Mecca the unbelievers in Mecca? What do they say to the Prophet lo says that I'm over and over again.

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We didn't find our fault, our forefathers doing this? This is not what our culture says. That was their main defense. This is not the way we do things here.

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Why don't Americans wear shoes inside?

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It's such a stupid I mean, it's really a stupid way to live, right. I mean, you grew up outside, you walk in dirt, you walk in dog poop, and you walk into your house doesn't make any sense either pay for carpet cleaning out so often, it's much more reasonable to not wear your shoes inside. But people are attached to this. This is the way they do things. And they don't like people telling them to change their. We don't like being told to change the way they do things. Very important principle. Culture is extremely powerful. Okay.

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So I mentioned before that we talked about Earth.

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Let's I just I think this is one of those times when it's really useful to just get down to brass tacks. What are we really talking about?

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If you're a Muslim who likes to talk about issues of Islam and the Sharia, and you've, you've all had this discussion.

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Here's the way the discussion goes. Yes, the Sharia generally says x are you

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This is usually harem. And yes, this is usually required. But we're not going to do that we are going to do this because of our order, because order changes things.

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Is that a valid explanation? The answer is sometimes, and sometimes not. It's a very complicated the role of art

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in how Muslims decide what is right and wrong. What is pleasing or displeasing to God is very complicated. So I'll try and do my best according to how I understand it to explain it. Okay. So order is, in effect.

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In effect, it shapes I think this is a very important, I think it's useful. It shapes the contact surfaces of the law.

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And here the law, I'm in the Sharia, it shapes the contact surfaces. So the Sharia has principles, it has general rules, but where those general rules turn into details, where those general rules come into impact with our lives, where those details shape our everyday interactions, that's where life comes. And it shapes, it shapes, those, those those contact surfaces to make the law fit into our lives into our time into our place.

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It doesn't mean you abandon those principles, it means it's actually or allows us principles to rest comfortably in a society.

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And here, we all have to always have to remember that there's two types of rulings in Islamic law.

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two categories. One is the rabbits, the rabbits, things that don't change. Alcohol is how long

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it's always going to be how long, unless you're done dying of thirst in the middle of the desert, and you come across a six pack of beer, then you can drink it. And then there's even debate about how much you can drink. Can you just drink enough to survive? Or can you drink the whole six pack?

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I'm not sure. Right? But it's still around. It's just just a necessity. So there's no doesn't matter if you're on college campus, where every night, every single person goes out and gets drunk until they can't see. That doesn't matter. It's still wrong. Even if everyone in the society every night drinks alcohol with me, it's still hot.

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These things don't change. Certain things do change.

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A lot of the deed the laws of marriage, what if husband owes the boy his wife, what a wife is your husband, what their jobs are in the house. These are almost all shaped by life, how much money you pay

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this all shaped by Earth.

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It's very interesting that something being from the rabbits or from the motor carrier at the motor carrier at are the ones that don't change. A second category, I think actually forgot to mention that. So the thoroughbreds which are the rulings that never change, and then the Motorhead at the rulings that do change.

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Sometimes you find for example, things that are from the rabbit that might not even be clearly mentioned in the Quran. So for example, it is a man cannot have more than four wives.

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Does anyone disagree with that?

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No. Okay. The Prophet Allah says lamb had more than four wives. But as far as I know, there's no Quranic verse that says,

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The Prophet cannot can have more than four wives, but no one else can. This is this is actually unstated explicitly, but everybody knew it. And Muslims always have known it since the very beginning. And no one ever, ever question it. So it's not really explicitly stated. But it's so clearly understood that it is never it has never been a question. There's never something that can change. There's never a situation in which it's allowed for a man to have more than four wives, except for the profit they saw. So now

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there's other things that are mentioned in the Quran very clearly, that might be whatever irods

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so for example, the different types of people who can take that coconut are eligible to get a cat.

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There's eight different groups. One of those groups is mentioned Kaluga home, those people who originally it's the meccan elite, the elite of Mecca and have thought if they convert to Islam, even though they lost all their money or their property, and the Prophet base Aslam gave them back from the squares of orphans as a cat money to make him they're all Muslims. And in fact, people like Wally are

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very loyal Muslims after that. It was very smart strategic decision.

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For example, in the Hanafi School of Law, that category exists anymore. The Hanafi say this only applies to the time of the Prophet after that there is no more people who are who can be more or less a palooka home.

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So even though it's still in the clan,

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The Hanafi school said no this category, it was only during the time of the Prophet, the other schools of law say none of this, this category still exists today. So for example of this teaching this class on Islam in Southeast Asia, so I've been reading all about Malaysia and Indonesia. But in Malaysia, when Muslim says I don't like being Muslim anymore, I want to leave Islam. Oftentimes, the the, the government or an organization will help them out financially,

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to try and ease their situation, because maybe they're actually suffering socially or economically, and that giving them help with a business or something will actually ease their heart. So this kid, this category still exists for all the other schools except for the 100 people that still exist. So sometimes, just because something's mentioned in the Quran doesn't necessarily mean it's from the Philippines.

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Or just because something's not mentioned explicitly doesn't necessarily mean it's from the Moto hierarchy, it might be a permanent ruling.

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But let's look at how order functions as a license here mean a license means something that is going to change,

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change the ruling of the Sharia ruling, or shape the Sharia ruling. So I have, I wanted to make these things appear and disappear with buttons, but I didn't have enough time. Because I have two kids, I call them

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you're not gonna have enough time. And you better stay up late tonight, because what I have to do in order to get anything done, and I failed to do that, so sorry, I'll just have to point at them with the cursor, right?

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Sometimes the Quran or the Sunnah of the prophet in his headset is excellent, you actually have direct commands to do what is maruf.

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So for example, as I mentioned before, in marriage, and divorce, in Sakhalin, maruf OTA 300 is an either keep your wife according the maternal roof, or the worse your wife in a godly way, this is the command to men, women have their own rules for dealing with divorce, or to stick with men because they use the word maruf.

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This means actually, that

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most of the details of marriage and divorce are going to come from what is now live in a specific time in a specific place. So in America, for example, we might say that

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wives expect their husbands to help out with dishes to be cooked some of the time to clean up, right to help out with kids. There might be other societies where that's not expected of men. American husbands might expect their wives to do a beast do this do that neither and other societies might not have these expectations. So a couple in America might end up being getting divorced, because they're not living up to their expectations of each other. And these are intact, that's entirely justified, that's entirely justified in his thought, because a lot of these expectations are, we're told, we're supposed to follow what is not of our time in our place. Things like matter the amount

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of your mother you pay when you pay your mother.

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Originally, Muslims didn't do this thing where they paid a little bit up front and then a lot and if you divorce your wife, you paid everything upfront. This law only started in a couple of centuries after the the time of the Prophet so that's about as far as I know, from the evidence I've seen. And then it became very common. And now you have relatively small upfront Mahara and big, big, big back end model to prevent you from from just divorce in your life without any concern for your financial well being right. So this is these are these are all allowed, because these are these are based on our culture. Now, notice, I have my arrows there.

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Just because your God tells us and the Prophet tells us to follow what's not Earth doesn't mean you're allowed to follow what's now even though it contradicts clear evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah, it can't contradict those two rabbits, those unchanging rules.

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So for example,

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it's not enough to drink alcohol in the United States. But that can never make it okay for Muslims to drink alcohol in the United States.

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It's not enough for

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let's say, it becomes maladaptive for

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men and men to get married or men and women married, and it becomes an that's legal in the country. It's not in my opinion, it can never be mounted within Islamic law and the Sharia, because in the Sharia marriages has to be contract between men and a man or woman or man and a man and a woman basically. Right? So these just because you have changes in culture doesn't mean that those changes allow you to cross red lines, those four rabbits, those unchanging laws of the Sharia, there's unchanging laws of the Sharia.

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Then a lot of times you have in the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet

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implicit commands to do what matters?

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To do What's matter of,

00:30:09--> 00:30:15

for example, are contracts with each other. The Quran says, are you who believe, who will, who will

00:30:18--> 00:30:22

fulfill your contracts for your covenants that you make.

00:30:24--> 00:30:45

This is a principle the Quran sets up for us. Now what type of contracts we can have is really as in almost all the schools of law in Islam is set by Earth is set by ORF. So for example, if I go to the tailor, and I say,

00:30:47--> 00:30:52

I want you to type, you know, make my I'm getting fat. So I want you to loosen my pants.

00:30:53--> 00:30:54

And he says, okay, that's fine.

00:30:56--> 00:31:36

I generally understand he's not going to charge me a million dollars. If he comes back, and he says, that was a million dollars. I'm not paying that. I'm sorry. This is what I did what you asked. I said, Yeah, we know this is not going to be that much money. If you go to a restaurant and you order a steak, and the bill comes in is $20,000. You don't have to pay that because it. Why didn't you look at the menu? You should have looked at the new buyer beware, no. In American law, that's not true. You can say, look, generally we know steak isn't going to be $20,000. Even if I didn't the menu, so a lot of in American law and in Sharia, what kind of things you can stipulate in a

00:31:36--> 00:31:46

contract, the things you can expect. These things are dictated by ORF, there's certain things that you can't do, because you can't cross the red lines of the Sharia. So if I say,

00:31:48--> 00:31:49

I will

00:31:52--> 00:32:02

give you this money, provided you pay me back in a year with 20% interest. That's not allowed. Because you can't have interest bearing transaction in the Sharia.

00:32:04--> 00:32:17

If you say, I want to buy this giant jug of alcohol. And in return, I'll do this for you. You can't do that, because you're not allowed to buy alcohol. These things again, you can't cross red lines in this area.

00:32:20--> 00:32:36

Even things like, Oh, this is interesting liability. I love reading these cases in Muslim and Islamic law. It's very interesting. Like, let's say, I'm a shop owner. And I say I'm going to go pray. And I go and pray. And somebody comes in steals things from my store

00:32:38--> 00:32:41

is the neighboring shop owner liable.

00:32:43--> 00:32:57

In some places, it might be the custom that shop owners look out for each other stuff. In that case, the other person might be liable for those things that were saying he was supposed to look out or she was supposed to look out for that stuff. But in some places,

00:32:58--> 00:33:35

it's like, Here's just not my shop. It's your job to take care of this stuff. So this is because I fly a lot I have access to the lounge, the United lounge, which by the way is more crowded than a normal airport. So a lot of times I just go into the regular part of the airport because it's easier, but I've noticed this in the lounge people don't they leave their stuff. The audit of the business class Lounge is you can leave your computer you can leave your phone doesn't matter it's like a some kind of scenario that people don't take each other stuff the regular part of the airport I wouldn't do that fact I don't do it in the business lounge either because I'm paranoid.

00:33:37--> 00:33:51

Dress even things like dress. So the era of for example, what a men's hour is their navel to their knees. This is known from the commands of the Prophet Lisa them his descriptions from heads.

00:33:52--> 00:34:05

But that means in theory, I could come tonight and give this lecture wearing a really long pair of you know, Bermuda shorts or something like that. That happened to go to my navel. Would you be okay with that?

00:34:09--> 00:34:22

No, okay, I'm kind of offended But no, you wouldn't be okay with that because that would be ridiculous. But in theory I'm not Hey, this is this is my uncovering my IRA Why are you complaining I'm doing what's required of me in Islamic law

00:34:23--> 00:35:00

because we have notions of propriety to go beyond what's your our gesture our but that can change. So for example, you might be in a place where it's, it's totally okay for men to walk around. I mean, again, go to Malaysia, in Malacca in what's now pullets or Peninsular Malaysia and in our che in the 1500s in the 1600s. After people had become Muslim there with the European travelers lady described the Muslims there is the men would walk around they have to sit on, right so they have their kind of their calves to their navel covered, and they might have like a piece of cloth over their shoulder.

00:35:00--> 00:35:02

But they were basically not wearing a shirt

00:35:03--> 00:35:06

and that was their that was their off their order was covered.

00:35:08--> 00:35:15

But other places like the United States that would not be okay unless you live in California which case probably is okay.

00:35:17--> 00:35:18

So even things like dress

00:35:19--> 00:35:33

the details beyond the what's required beyond those laws that don't change the details are shaped by ORF but you can't again You can't allow that to go outside the boundary of the Sharia. Now, the over here

00:35:35--> 00:35:44

this is the second type of function. So we just looked at sometimes the Quran and the Sunnah tells you do what's not hoof

00:35:45--> 00:35:56

or it's it gives you laws, it gives you principles like contracts dress, and then the details and the additional material is filled in by ORF

00:35:58--> 00:36:08

but another major function of art is that it it it it it works with the principle in Islamic law which is that a dat are used

00:36:09--> 00:36:13

are rough and hemorrhage that are used that means harm should be removed.

00:36:15--> 00:36:35

Well, Mattia cottage liberties here, hardship or difficulty, should should you should bring ease to remove hardship or rough and hard edge removal of hardship. These are principles that Muslim scholars follow as much as possible Muslim judges and lefties will try to remove hardship from people.

00:36:37--> 00:36:39

And so a lot of times this is

00:36:40--> 00:36:43

strongly informed by ORF because all of

00:36:45--> 00:36:52

it they are gives you the the actual functioning of society, what are the rules that you will follow into society? what's expected of them? What are their customs?

00:36:53--> 00:37:16

And how much can you work with the details of the Sharia to accommodate those customs because you don't want to cause people difficulty. You know, you don't want Muslims to have to walk around looking away that's going to make them stand out so much of people hate them or something like that. You don't want to have you know, if if you live in a society where wearing

00:37:18--> 00:37:41

a white hat is extremely offensive, it's the most insulting thing you can do. Maybe an outsider you shouldn't wear a white hat should wear another color hat because why you're causing Muslims problems by putting them in danger in the situation. Okay, so how does it what kind of what kind of actions can Muslim scholars as judges or as MFIs take to accommodate off

00:37:43--> 00:38:11

in the level of starting from the least serious or the lowest in degree would be they can leave the mesh for now, people sometimes say who the Shafi say this, the Maliki said that the Hanafi say this, handily say that Guess what? Your conversation is not complicated enough, because Shafi is don't just say one thing. Maliki's don't just say one thing. In every school of law, on almost every issue, there is more than one opinion.

00:38:13--> 00:38:16

So in that way, a sonicwall. It's like American law, right?

00:38:18--> 00:38:29

It depends what state you're in. Depends what jurisdiction you're in. The rule of law in Boston might not be it might be different for the law in Delaware might be different. The law in Maryland, there's a lot of diversity in the Islamic legal tradition, a lot of diversity.

00:38:30--> 00:38:58

Because Muslim scholars are always trying to, they're looking at the core and they're trying to understand they're looking at the Hadith. They're trying to understand them how they interact with the Quran. Looking at the Sunnah of the Prophet, they might disagree about which heads are authentic, which are inauthentic. They might disagree on which Quranic verses the general rule, which is a specific rule which is abrogated by which other Hadith because there's so many steps in interpretation, you have a lot of tremendous diversity

00:38:59--> 00:39:38

in the Islamic legal tradition, and as a scholarly saying goes, if the life of the oma is Rama, if the life of the oma, the difference disagreement in the oma is a source of mercy, because what it means is that you can actually accommodate What if a lot of the time so one thing you can do is you can leave the main the mature, this is the in the Maliki school in the shot and Maliki school they call it the mature Hanafi school they called via a wire and a sharpie square they called it martenot. It's the main opinion of the of the School of Law. So you can leave the main opinion and go to another opinion in the School of Law, if that's going to accord with the AAF. So here I have

00:39:38--> 00:39:44

examples from classical times. And here I have modern examples, but for example, face covering

00:39:46--> 00:40:00

or looking at should muslims for Muslim men look at women's faces. And again, seems weird in the United States as we're always looking at people's faces. But if you are living in let's say Bukhara, and the 10 hundreds

00:40:01--> 00:40:13

Especially if you were a wealthy person, you would not a man would not look at an unrelated women's faces and he would not want any man looking at his wives or daughters faces.

00:40:14--> 00:40:20

But if you're in a society where it's normal for people to walk around with their faces uncovered,

00:40:21--> 00:40:24

then the the the head rewire opinion

00:40:25--> 00:40:38

in the Hanafi school, and the Shafi school is that women should cover their faces. But if that's not if that's not the order from that area, they'll go away from the main opinion of their school of law to another opinion, which has not required

00:40:41--> 00:41:01

something called is this nice, it's not means we all this is very important to us. We're always buying stuff online today. This is like factory ordering making things to order. The general principle as stated by the prophet Lisa Suleiman a Hadeeth, Ensign sultanabad widowed is lots of malaise and IQ, do not sell what you don't have.

00:41:02--> 00:41:29

The general principle is you can't buy and sell things that don't exist, you can't buy and sell things that you don't have, or the other person doesn't have. So if you if you order, let's say I ordered a shirt, you can order custom shirts online, I ordered that, and I pay with my credit card, it takes my money, that shirt doesn't exist yet. I should not that's technically wrong, according to the general principle. But because in our society.

00:41:32--> 00:41:49

This is a known activity. For example, if I don't get the shirt that I like, I can get my money back. There's full accountability now that the company is probably even going to give me the shirt for free. Right, we know that we can get our money back, if you don't get what you want. This is part of our off.

00:41:50--> 00:41:58

So this becomes an exception to that general rule. And by the way, you can't just have things be exceptions just because you feel like it.

00:41:59--> 00:42:16

When you see cases where there's a general rule, like don't sell what doesn't exist, don't buy and sell things that don't exist. The profit has already laid Islam, he already made an exception. So for example, the prophet they said Salaam give the permission for what's called the Bay Area.

00:42:17--> 00:42:43

If you're really poor farmer, you can sell your date harvest on your date trees, even before they're ripe. Normally, you couldn't do that because you're buying something it doesn't exist yet you're selling something doesn't exist yet. But you have to do this. I don't have any money until these dates are ripe. I can't feed my family until my dates are ripe. So I can sell people a portion of my date harvest now

00:42:45--> 00:43:05

to survive. So this becomes an important exception. So you never I in my opinion, from what I've seen, you'll never find a situation where Muslim scholars will make an exception to a clear rule, unless the prophet Nathan slam already made an exception and kind of opened that door, create a precedent for things like factory ordering.

00:43:08--> 00:43:11

And another issue, having a man that's paid,

00:43:13--> 00:43:14

which is wonderful, right?

00:43:15--> 00:43:21

In the Hanafi school that had a few scholars, they came up with a rule which is you can't get paid to do a bad job.

00:43:23--> 00:43:30

This is in the Hanafi school. It's not a Quranic verse, or this is the principle of the Hanafi school they came up with. But they

00:43:31--> 00:43:35

made exceptions for this based on off because in some places

00:43:37--> 00:44:17

you know, it was interesting if you came to the US the 1980s probably a lot of the mosques. There was no pay the man the man was just so and so. And we were uncle so and so the guy who you know comes in and gives it but now it was more mosque, there's more Muslims, Muslims have questions about that normal uncles and Auntie's can't answer. So we need to have scholars that we pay this is we need this to survive. So in that the Hanafi School of Law and all the other schools will allow you to have someone who is a to be the amount of the mosque because otherwise Muslims would not survive as a community. It's just part of their life.

00:44:19--> 00:44:21

Okay, just as an example of this today,

00:44:23--> 00:44:54

in in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, everybody in Malaysia, Shafi falls the Shafi school, the National Law, says Chaffee school of law is the law for Muslims in this country, their marriage, their divorce, their inheritance, walk, everything is Shafi School of Law. The Shafi School of Law main opinion is women have to cover their face. But if you go to Malaysia, you will very see very, very few women covering their face. Why? Because that's not the order for the people of Southeast Asia. That's not the order.

00:44:56--> 00:44:58

In fact, a lot of times you'll see a

00:44:59--> 00:45:00

woman wearing his

00:45:00--> 00:45:08

Jab with short sleeve shirt. Very common see this in Malaysia. And this is just we'll get into that example later. But my point is

00:45:09--> 00:45:29

people don't cover their face. They're in general. And so, the they took the scholars in Malaysia, they moved away from the main opinion of the Shafi school which has women have to cover their face, and they took the non secondary opinion in the school. The second possibility, which is outside the method.

00:45:30--> 00:45:46

Muslim orders can mean that scholars go outside their school of law that they normally work in. And especially if you're in a place like North Africa, everybody is Maliki you go to Southeast Asia, everybody is Shafi. You go to Tokyo, the Balkans, everybody is Hanafi.

00:45:48--> 00:45:54

So this continues to be a big deal. Because you're really going against the established School of Law. They're

00:45:55--> 00:45:59

a good example of this is in the Hanafi. School.

00:46:01--> 00:46:09

The main rule was, if there's a couple that's married, let's say the husband goes off on a trip as a merchant never comes back.

00:46:10--> 00:46:24

What happens? The wife is sitting there, she needs you know, is he dead? Cannot can his inherit his estate be dispersed? Can I get remarried? How many years have to go by then the Hanafi school said

00:46:26--> 00:46:46

last thing, we knew he was alive. We're sure he was alive until we're sure he's dead. We assume he's alive. So they had to wait the normal lifespan of a human being in order for the for the marriage to be dissolved. That is, if you're living in a place especially where there's a lot of travel, a lot of merchants going on sea voyages and getting racks and things.

00:46:49--> 00:47:12

Good way to live. So in the Ottoman Empire, even though the modern Empire was officially hanafy, judges would say, well, we ruled by the Shafi school and the Shafi School of Law, it's only four years you only have to wait four years, and then the marriage can be declared over and you can women can remarry. By the way the same thing. I guess for a man it would be not necessary unless he has four wives.

00:47:17--> 00:47:17

And then

00:47:19--> 00:47:27

this is very I've found this fascinating examples. Berber tribes in North Africa, in Morocco, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Libya.

00:47:29--> 00:47:35

They had customs, they were very different from the Arabs in North Africa. So for example, if somebody

00:47:37--> 00:47:40

got caught drinking alcohol, they burn his house down.

00:47:42--> 00:47:57

It's pretty harsh, right? or they'd find the person they get they asked them for monetary fine. Actually, monetary fines are pretty rare in Islamic law. It's like the opposite of dealing with the IRS monetary fines, not the normal

00:47:58--> 00:48:17

tool that Muslim scholars used Muslim judges used the burgers, use them a lot. And so what Muslim scholars in North Africa it is It was hard enough just to get people to become Muslim. But they didn't really want to try to make them give up their cultural entirely, especially when there's really strong customs. So they would say

00:48:19--> 00:48:51

even though the scholars in North Africa are all Maliki, they'd say Ah, I haven't been handled Rahim Allah He said that if there's a person who who's been required to pay a certain amount of money, a large amount of money, but they refuse, they just refuse to they refuse to pay up. You can destroy that person's house as a punishment The only someone's refusing to pay up. So they took that one opinion and they use that as the basis for for justifying the Berber customs. So you can see here going outside the net add to this opinion of a might have been humble.

00:48:52--> 00:48:53

Oh, and the word the word.

00:48:55--> 00:49:06

They would The idea was these burgers would write these on on low, like boards. They call them out Wah, wah. The oldest one we know of is from the 1400s, early 1400s.

00:49:07--> 00:49:17

Today this is this has become extremely important. If you go to a country like I think Pakistan, you go to Jordan, Egypt, many Muslim countries.

00:49:19--> 00:49:22

You find a rule which is that if you have

00:49:25--> 00:49:33

let's say somebody like my father just died, okay, God rest his soul. My father died. Let's say I had died two.

00:49:34--> 00:49:35

I have two children.

00:49:37--> 00:49:51

The normal rule would be in the other methods except for the handling method that my children don't get any inheritance because inheritance is like a river it goes as a flow through people. So I'm no longer here so my children are cut off inheritance would go to other people.

00:49:53--> 00:49:59

The handle is School of Law says no, no. If you have orphan grandchildren, the person is required.

00:50:00--> 00:50:02

To leave them specifically a certain amount of money.

00:50:04--> 00:50:12

There is the person whose will is being discussed has to leave specifically money or assets for those orphaned grandchildren.

00:50:13--> 00:50:26

So, this is actually the rule even in places that nobody who follows the hanbali School of Law, we'll use this rule from the Humphrey School of Law because it seems to be more just in our day and age.

00:50:29--> 00:51:01

fathers to the right, you can even go outside of all four methods in the insomnia slot. This is pretty rare. It's pretty rare in the classical period, someone who did this a lot was even taymiyah famous scholar from Damascus died 1328. Even he was a handling scholar, but he was extremely creative. And sometimes he felt that the real message of Islam was best expressed by going back to sometimes even the opinions of the companions of the Prophet,

00:51:03--> 00:51:21

or the law of tadano. So for example, travel in the Maliki school or Hanafi School of Law Shafi School of Law humbly school law, they very specific rules for how long for example, I'm coming to Boston, in the handle the School of Law, if I stay here for more than 21 players,

00:51:23--> 00:51:36

I'm not traveling anymore. So if I stayed here for four or five days, I can't remember exactly where it is. If I stay for two weeks, not travel, I saved for five days, I can't cut I can't do comment combined my prayers, I can't short my prayers.

00:51:38--> 00:51:47

Well even tell me is that is even a bass, the Companion of the Prophet if not bass, his opinion was that you're traveling as long as you feel like you're traveling.

00:51:48--> 00:52:30

So we really left it up to the individual as long as they feel like they're traveling. Maybe I'm here in Boston for five days. But every day I'm moving from a different hotel, I have meetings all day, sometimes I don't even have a place to put my bag. I'm walking around just I'm here for five days, beyond what the humbly school would say is that limited travel, but I feel like I'm traveling. So this is an example. He's going outside all the methods and he's going to his opinion of a companion, even our bass and taking his opinion. Also, even timea denied that it's a guy a man says I divorced you I divorced you I divorced his wife. He said this is not valid. You have to say this

00:52:30--> 00:52:31

over three months

00:52:32--> 00:52:45

as the Quran states and he goes to the opinion of advocate bass as well on this issue, even though all the methods said that, no, if a man says I Divorce, Divorce, a divorce you in one sitting, he's divorced from his wife, even not even 10 years old. That's not the Quranic

00:52:46--> 00:52:47


00:52:48--> 00:53:27

A good example of this today is handshaking. Which is, you know, I guess a controversial but nowadays, there's so many other controversies. It feels like it's not that controversial. But if you look at some, for example, the European Council of federal and research and shampoos if avocado Dali, their opinion is that it's okay for men and women to shake hands. As long as there's no risk of fitna. So if you're walking, if you're going to business business meeting in America, you can shake hands with another man or woman, you're in a business meeting, there's no risk of fitting on this situation. Right? They would allow that some people still say it's wrong because if you look at

00:53:27--> 00:53:34

the schools of law, in general, they'll say this is wrong. It's wrong to for unrelated men and women to shake hands.

00:53:37--> 00:53:37


00:53:39--> 00:54:07

he or you have scars like Yusuf al qaradawi. Going in general outside the methods even though in the humbly school, I think there's a minority opinion that you can shake hands if you're like a merchant or something like that, or you're a merchant, there's a another woman who's selling pistachio nuts or something, you have to shake hands about a big deal about pistachio nuts or something like that, that would be acceptable. But here, they're really going back and looking again at kind of reinterpreting the deets on this and coming up with a law that goes outside the existing schools of law.

00:54:10--> 00:54:11

everybody happy with those examples?

00:54:12--> 00:54:15

Much more time Okay, I'm gonna end pretty soon

00:54:20--> 00:54:21

it ends at nine

00:54:27--> 00:54:27


00:54:29--> 00:54:32

Okay, I'll and I'll get through this quickly.

00:54:34--> 00:55:00

Polling things to keep in mind. Just because a scholar gives an opinion doesn't mean it's correct. Sometimes people, even classical Muslim scholars who weren't tempted by the West or weren't trying to get on CNN because they're liberally mom or something like that. They call with rulings that were just wrong. For example, a scholar and a Hanafi scholar named Kumari or Kumari, sorry, who died in 90

00:55:00--> 00:55:21

991 common error is from bokhara. He said that these workers were loading bales of cotton and stuff like that. That their their stomachs were always showing the area between their navel and their pubic area was always showing just the shirts were getting lifted up. He said, No, no, that's fine. It's not your hobby. This is your order. It's necessary. It's not our

00:55:23--> 00:56:04

No, that's not this is the order is set by the from the Hadith of the Prophet. There's we don't know where they have exceptions to this. So if people have to, you know, yank up their sarong or yank up their pants a little bit, he got very he was really criticized for this. A lot of times Actually, it's women who suffer. Nowadays, we think about orifice being this thing that's going to liberalize Sharia liberalize Islamic, but actually historically, artifacts, it was something that oftentimes took away women's rights. So in, in North Africa and the Middle Ages, it was a lot of times off was used as an excuse for men to take over their wives property and say, in our society, the husbands

00:56:04--> 00:56:09

really control their wives property. Even though in Islamic law, the wives property is her property.

00:56:11--> 00:56:20

And then, as a great example of this actually happen now, in a court case, the United States, but I don't want to get into it because it's making me too angry, that take too much time.

00:56:24--> 00:56:49

Just because Muslims did something in the past, doesn't mean it was right. Sometimes Muslims did things that was wrong, and there's nothing any but nothing any Muslim scholar did could change that. And Sharif, and I were talking about this on the phone, if you ever want a very interesting read, read the voyage, the travels of Twitter by scanning Ross Dunn, it's a great book a travels of him, but to the

00:56:50--> 00:57:33

famous Moroccan traveler traveled all over the Muslim world outside the Muslim world in the mid 1300s. And when he was actually a judge, he worked as a judge in the Maldives, Maldives islands in the Indian Ocean. And he tried his best to change customs eat that considered bad or if so, for example, one customer was that if a woman man divorced, his wife, or woman left her husband, she had to live in her former husband's house until she remarried. That's kind of awkward, right? He said, This is unacceptable. And he actually would have people find or lashed if they did this. So he really tried to change this. Other things he couldn't change. The woman went topless, a lot of the

00:57:33--> 00:58:11

time. He said, the most you could do is if they came into his court, he made them wear something over their upper body, but he just couldn't change people's life. And the Ottoman Empire, rebar was common. It was so common, in fact that Muslim scholars stopped trying to prevent it. And they just tried to try to regulate it. So they wanted to make sure that you didn't have people being charged too much interest, did it, they wanted, they didn't want people getting charged usurious amounts of interest, like 11 12% interest. So they set a limit, I think 11% interest and they would try and make sure no one went above that, because they just simply could not get rid of the actual practice

00:58:11--> 00:58:13

of usury. So sometimes you just can't get rid of things.

00:58:16--> 00:58:23

This is something that we have to think about today, in America, because everything in America is that

00:58:24--> 00:58:41

men and women are participants in public life. women participate in leadership, women expect their voices to be heard as part of communities. Women expect to have facilities that are comfortable in the mosque, they expect that you know, these are all I think these are fair expectations.

00:58:43--> 00:59:19

But where does or where's the word of the meter higher at and and as the wabbits begin? So for example, we can say, we want to make sure that women have a large space in the mosque, where all the women who want to come to jamak and pray they can see the Mmm, they don't feel like they're shut off and that there's something shameful about them. Right? But at the same time, does that mean that we're going to allow women to lead prayer to be communal prayer, does that mean we're going to allow men women to pray side by side? Here, you start coming up against the

00:59:20--> 00:59:33

fact that in Islam, the default assumption in worship, is that things are prohibited until you have evidence that they're allowed and everything else except for marriage, everything else like contracts,

00:59:35--> 00:59:53

buying, selling, eating, whatever the default assumption is, something is allowed. It's held out until it's proven that it's Haram. in worship is haram until it's proven that it's hella by evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah. So you have to be here we have to be very sensitive, because we have to take into consideration or we also don't want to be

00:59:54--> 00:59:59

I hate to say maybe some of the first Muslims in history to really trample on those

01:00:00--> 01:00:01

Changing rules of how we worship.

01:00:03--> 01:00:15

And so this is something that Muslim scholars and Muslim communities are debating today. And it's a I think probably the best example of where we're dealing with the issue of life in at least in mosque and things like that.