Sherman Jackson – Diffused Congruence Podcast – The American Muslim Experience

Sherman Jackson
AI: Summary © The speakers discuss their past struggles with drug addiction and their desire to transition their careers and pursue homeboys' desire to turn their "monster" factor. They also emphasize the importance of understanding the meaning of the Quran and Sun parley, acknowledging the need for guidance and a strong understanding of Islam. They stress the importance of bringing Islam into meaningful conversations with people who want to be part of the movement and the challenges faced by Islamists in the upcoming election.
AI: Transcript ©
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Welcome to diffuse congruence. This is episode 21 of the American Muslim experience. My name is Stacie Hudson. And joining me as always is my co host Pervez ethmoid.

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Thank you, Jackie. Good to be here. How are you doing this Sunday morning? I'm doing very well i I'm sitting relaxed. It's it's kind of nice and ready to have a fun conversation. And to that end, why don't you go ahead and do the honors and please introduce our guest. switching things up a little bit. Yeah, usually is lucky does the honors. But it is indeed my honor this morning and to our listeners to introduce and to welcome to the show, Professor Sherman Abdul Hakim Jackson, who is the king festival Chair of Islamic thought and culture, Professor of Religion and American Studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

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He was formerly at the University of Michigan, he has taught in the past, at the University of Texas University of Texas, Wayne State University, Indiana, Professor Jackson received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. And so it is indeed an honor. He is the co founder chorus scholar, member of the Board of Trustees of the American Learning Institute for Muslims Olim started Michigan

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America and the former president of the shitty scholars Association in North America, that's a whole lot to say that we are deeply honored to have Professor Jackson on the show. Welcome, Professor Jackson. Thank you, Professor Malaika. I think

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and on a personal note, you know, it perfectly you know, Professor Jackson is someone that I consider to be a personal teacher, personal mentor, and someone that I've had the good fortune of studying with, so that it really means a lot to have you on the show. It's good to be here. Really good to be here. Wonderful, wonderful. So now, there you are in Southern California prior to that we were together in Michigan. But I imagine your story sort of goes back years prior to Michigan, if you like, we'd love to hear sort of your

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early beginnings in your early roots. And sort of your background.

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My background going back how far?

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I know, I know that anyone who has heard you speak on a number of occasions, or is this student of yours knows that you are you hail from Philadelphia

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born and raised out there, I guess I mean, I get the impression that, you know, sort of what you're alluding to is, you know, the whole the whole conversion story. Is that is that? Well, no, not necessarily. We get to know, you know, a little bit about Professor Jackson the person as well.

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Well, yeah, I mean, I was born in Philadelphia, I grew up in Philadelphia,

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sort of came of age, I was born in the, in the, in the mid 50s. came of age, of course, I mean, I was a teenager in the in the mid 60s, amidst lots of goings ons in, in the, in the country. You know, I grew up in a very

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urban context and Philadelphia. It's funny because, um, you know, now I can recognize that, you know, we grew up in a poor neighborhood. But at the time, I didn't recognize it as poor, it was just, it was the neighborhood, I, you know, had had no exposure to anything else. And to be quite frank, I think that one of the things that I still wax nostalgic about is the very, very high and sick and deep levels of community that I enjoyed, I enjoy it as a child. And, you know, the community can come in, and a lot of different a lot of different forms. Philadelphia, you know, back in the, in the 60s, you know, all the way into the, into the into the 70s was a city that was very

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much defined by its by its gang activity. And one's life was really, to a real extent sort of,

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not defined, although in some instances maybe, but certainly informed by the geography of where one lived, and that geography itself was defined by the boundaries of the boundaries of gang territory.

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So that was always a part of, sort of my mental landscape. And it's funny, you know, even I haven't been back to Philadelphia in a couple of weeks, few years now, but, but when I do, you know, my mental map is still sort of informed by those realities. And when I go to certain parts of the city still today,

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I get a certain tingling, that sort of reminds me of where I am.

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So, you know, I grew up, you know, in that kind of, in that kind of reality, I,

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it's pretty segregated. I mean, it was, like racially segregated, it was there was there was there was very segregated, but in some ways, you know,

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that, that was

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what made it feel unsegregated, if that makes sense to you. In other words, I mean,

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you know, I saw white people, when the insurance man came to the house back in those days, you know, you know, you had there was an insurance man, sort of, like a mailman, you know, he came out with a book and, you know, and, you know, collected premiums and stuff like that, you know, so you saw people like that you saw, you know, police officers, if you went downtown, you saw white, someone, you went to school, you know, you know, good number of teachers were Whites.

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But sort of, like, I think I heard did Gregory say at once, you know, um, you know, you know, us, I saw so few white people that, you know, I grew up, you know, thinking and actually feeling, you know, the world was, you know, 90%, black.

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So, that's how, that's how segregated the neighborhoods were. And there were a few whites. I remember when I was very young, you know, there was, there was still a, you know, a smattering of whites left in the neighborhood, but by the time I became a teenager, 95 97% of them had, had left.

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And so yeah, it was it was a very, it was a very segregated

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city. But but but as I said, as a young child growing up, I didn't sort of feel that kind of segregation, because my world was defined by,

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you know, the community in which I lived. And as a as a young person.

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You know, the reality of, of where I was going to school and who I was hanging out with, how safe I would be or not, that was sort of more immediate than issues of, of race and racial confrontation, I really became much more aware of that, as I got, as I got older,

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sort of

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beyond the confines of my neighborhood. I think that one of the things that sort of did inform me maybe,

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maybe even aspects of my personality is that in, in our neighborhood, we have the the misfortune. I'm not sure if that's the right word to use, but

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our gain territory, and I was very active, I don't want to put on any goody two shoes, sort of. No, please.

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So the guys here, I mean, I was I was I was an active member, in that in that culture, but one of the misfortunes that we had is that, and our whole gang territory, I mean, we had a large area, geographically speaking, but we only had elementary schools and our entire gang territory. So that meant that for junior high school, and there wasn't Middle School, and then back, when I was a kid, you had elementary school, junior high school, which was during high school was seventh, eighth and ninth grade. And then you went to high school, which was 10th 11th, and 12. But we had elementary schools, but zero junior high schools, and zero high schools in our game territory. So that meant

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that we had to go outside of our territory, to go to junior high school, and to go to high school.

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And that, in a sense, you know, reinforce the camaraderie and the meaning of being

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sort of now in my sort of sophisticated academic mindset, I would call it, you know, communitarian, and one's orientation. I mean, you couldn't, you don't, you know, I know guys who probably would have ended up in the NBA or the NFL, who's whose careers and never saw the light of day because we did not enjoy the luxury of being able to stay after school for basketball practice or football practice, because you had to leave right after school and then as we roll in with the homies,

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Yeah, rolled out with the homies or you may not roll it off. So that was a part of my, my reality. I had an older brother,

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who was

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actually how can we put it? We don't want to be too

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long to expose too much anyway, yes, yes. I had another brother who was really

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how can we put a prominent

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in our gang and

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my father was really quite

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a, he was a devoted father.

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in fact, I mean, one of his achievements, you know, I was in a family of five boys and urban urban Philadelphia, during the, what we used to call the, the gang war era. And all of my brother survived, and none of us went to prison, that was an enormous, enormous accomplishment for my father. And he was quite, quite strict. So, my brother, as we said, as I said, you know, we went outside of our church to go to go to high school. And, you know, he got in his share of trouble. And my father said that, you know, if you go to this high school, and you get, you know, you start getting the same trouble, you know, you there's gonna be trouble with me. So I ended up going to

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what is called a vocational technical high school, which was very, very far out of, out of my, out of our out of our church, I had to take two trains and a bus to get to school every day. And again, this was still in the, you know, in the gang war era. So, I mean, I went, you know, four times the distance from home, that my older brother had gone from home just to go to high school, but what that did was, it put me in a, in a situation where, you know, I became very used to venturing out on my own, and making alliances, you know, meeting people, almost as a survival mechanism.

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So, I've always

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been, I won't say comfortable, but the prospect of having to

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sort of Forge into new territories, by myself,

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was one that I sort of got used to,

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as part of a reality of

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surviving in my, in my childhood, so by the time I got to college, I mean, I, I can count on half a hand,

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you know, the, the number of, of whites that were in classes that I took, I mean, I was, this was just a continuation sort of, of my high school experience where I was, I just had to venture out on my own and had to, you know, find the survival mechanisms, the the fortitude,

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you know, the determination, you know, to survive, and, you know, forge ahead.

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And that sort of goes back to my, my childhood.

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So did you. So like you, again, like when you go to that vocational school, the technical said, I remember when I got to the University of Texas, there was a colleague I had, and we what we had in common was that we both were graduates, graduates of the University of Pennsylvania, and he was sitting around his living room one day, just talking about our childhood upbringing. And he said to me, you know, I don't know if you realize it, but I can probably, I can probably count on.

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On one hand, the number of people who went no, I can probably put in a phone booth of the number of people who went to a vocational technical High School, graduating with a degree from the Ivy League. Seriously. Right. That's, that was my question. Our that's what I was trying to lead to. Yeah, yeah. People don't know it. I vocational technical high school and see my father,

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you know, comes from a generation

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when my father went to the fifth grade.

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And, you know, he grew up in an industrial America, and of course, you know, had to deal he grew up in the South, you know, like many parents in the north, when he was 18. He just picked up,

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left South Carolina and then came to Philadelphia, I think he said with about $50 in his pocket and just made in life.

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he, he was very, very keen on education for his his boys and for him education was graduated from high school because that was sort of, you know, the forbidden fruit that he never had.

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had the opportunity to have. And he saw that as

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you know, his his his his Apex duty as a father to make sure that his children, you know, graduated with a with a with a high school degree.

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And vocational technical schools were sort of this innovation that said, you know, you know that there's a line in the autobiography of Malcolm X, where he talks about, you know, wanting to be a lawyer, and the teacher tells him wow, you know, that's sort of an unrealistic aspiration for, you know, you should really, perhaps think about being a carpenter or something like that. So the idea was that, you know, these kids are not likely to, you know, to be able to do very much with their minds. So let's teach them how to make a living with their hands. And so these were schools that were really designed to train blue collar, or urban and consider inner city of poor black kids. And

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at that time, and we were still in a, an industrial.

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I don't want to call it an industrial age, but maybe an industrial age.

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You know, the job finding prospects, we're not, we're not, we're not bad.

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I went to a vocational technical high school I studied, for I majored in instrumentation. I got my first job at Westinghouse, I was 18 years old. And at that time, they had had a program where you could, you could leave high school for your second semester, and carry all of your grades from your first semester into your second semester, and then graduate while working. So I went to work for Westinghouse Corporation. And just to give me an idea of, of how this work. And I left Westinghouse in 1979 1979, because my first year of college, I started college in 1978.

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And I worked full time, my first year of college, because my parents couldn't afford to

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pay for college. So I work my first year full time. And then I decided, I

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mean, I couldn't do that anymore.

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And I had some savings. So I went my second year, and then after that, I ended up on scholarships.

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But, but

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but the vocational technical school produced the following when I left Westinghouse in 1979, my salary, my hourly

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salary, my salary rate was $9.71 an hour.

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This is a 1979 with just a, you know, a high school, a high school diploma. And this was a job of, you know, full benefits medical vacation, the whole nine, I mean, this was sort of a, you know, a blue collar career.

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But at the time, I mean, I think I was just beginning to come of sort of, quote, unquote, intellectual age, and

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I could just feel a billion brain cells dying every day, then I went into work, and I decided that

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this is not what I wanted to do with my life. And this was around the time that I, you know, began my, my search for sort of genuine anchoring in life. And so I, I became a Muslim around 1978.

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And so this was a time of, you know, really getting serious, making some real serious life decisions. So all these things sort of coincide. And so I ended up

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sort of

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getting serious about college getting serious about the future,

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quitting Westinghouse and moved back home.

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And that was sort of the beginning of the next phase of my life.

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Well, and to that end, I would love if you could talk about your your own Academic Advancement, I mean, getting into an Ivy League school and, you know, UPenn, etc, I'd love to what, what was the process in transitioning? You know, a lot of people find that sort of, sort of strange and I think that has a lot to do, if I might be permitted to say so, a lot to do about certain stereotypes about about poor blacks in the ghetto. I can say, with all honesty, with no hesitation,

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with no exaggeration, that I know for a fact that, you know, I left behind and Philadelphia guys who I hung out with, I mean, homeboys who were, you know, Gangwon with me and doing all kinds of other things. Who was smarter than me?

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You know, I think, I think one of the real differentiating factors in my case was was my father

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because my father

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Earl was,

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you know, he was old school. And

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he was, he was a disciplinarian. He was, he was not in any way. He was not abusive. But when you did something you had no business doing, you know, you paid the Piper. And again, as I said, he went to the fifth grade and his burning obsession.

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There were two things in our household that my that was sent my father to the roof, one was fighting

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among ourselves. My father would not tolerate our fighting among ourselves. Um, you know, that was that was just a no, no.

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You know, bickering and stuff like that? Yeah. But like physical fighting, he just No, no, that's a no, no, the second, no, no, was getting a better report card. Period, he just didn't play that, again, he had been denied himself, you know, the opportunity to even get beyond Elementary School. And, you know, he always, he always suspected that had he had that opportunity, his life would have been met very, very, very different. Because my father, and I can tell you now, I know a little bit about intelligence, my father was an intelligent man just wasn't educated. Sure.

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he insisted that, you know, school was important. And at that time, you know, be poor cards, where you got two grades for every subject, you got a grade in the, the subject itself, and then you got a grade for behavior, right. And my father would always compare the subject grade with the behavior grade.

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So if you got a C, or a D, in the subject, you better get an A in the behavior. Because if the subject seemed to be affected by the behavior,

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you want to pay the price.

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So I think that the differentiating factor between me and a lot of guys, you know, in the neighborhood I grew up with, was my father. And the fact that, you know, he would just not he would not relent on the idea that you must go to school, if you can't understand the math, or the science or whatever, you can sit there and behave. But he made it very clear that our lives matter, and that he was not going to abdicate his responsibility as a father, to the end of allowing us to forfeit the opportunity to get some that he never had a chance to get. So I was always

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I was never permitted just to blow school off. Like, other you know, guys in my, my neighborhood, what I would just never wear was permitted to do that. Now, I could do all the other things. I mean, I hung out, you know, a gang Ward, I did everything, all the other things that everybody else did, but I knew I was coming home to a father who had who had certain expectations, and, you know,

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you know, a decent report card was always one.

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So I, you know, I, I had enough sort of,

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to get into college. I remember my mother taking me down to the University of Pennsylvania did take the SATs. And

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I mean, it was her idea if I remember correctly, because I was really interested in going to college. I didn't start college. So I was 22 years old. I mean, when I graduated from high school, I had no real interest in in going into college. And you know, that that interest sort of developed subsequently, once I started working, because I wanted to be tired by the time I was I started working at 18 I wanted to be tired by the time I was 21.

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But getting back to your question, you know, I, I,

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you know, I think what really sustained me was that I, I didn't think that I would get into college. I first went to Temple University in Philadelphia.

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And I remember talking to the guy on the phone and the admissions office and he said, Okay, we're going to admit you, and I was just elated. So I went to temple. And then two years later, I transferred to the University of Pennsylvania because by that time I started off my major was accounting. I wanted to be an accountant, you know, make a lot of money, wear a suit and all that stuff, you know, but I found it boring. And then I hit those

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reversing entries which just took me for a loop, I couldn't understand reversing entries and counting.

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So I you know, I changed majors I was a religion major for a little while. And then at that time Temple University had this program.

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Professor is valid photokey, the hammer Allah was at Temple.

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And he had made an arrangement with the University of Pennsylvania, whereby temple students could go to Penn to study Arabic, and exchange for 10 students being allowed to come to temple and take courses with photokey because he was recognized as

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you know, an eminent ceramicist at that time. So,

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you know, this is, as I said, before, you know, around the time that I,

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that I converted to Islam, and I, I wanted to learn Arabic, and part of that was, you know, really related to the sort of the state of the community at the time. I mean, you know, I remember,

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you know, like I said, I mean, I, I came from, you know, the, the tough streets of Philadelphia, and I don't, I don't want to exaggerate that, you know, lots of guys who sort of, quote unquote, make it out of the ghetto, they, you know, they like to turn themselves into these great, bigger than life, sort of, you know, gangsters. I wasn't that I helped my own. And, you know, my homeboys would rather have me there than not there. But, you know, I wasn't, I wasn't crazy.

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Some of my homeboys, I don't know.

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I wasn't one of, I wasn't one of them. But anyway, I mean, that's where I came from when I came into Islam, you know, coming to the, to the, to the masjid. And it would be people

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who, you know, in my Jamelia day, would barely be able to walk on the same side of the street with me, and they were dictating to me, you know, how I should live my life, because now I'm a Muslim, you know.

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And I said, No way, this is not going to work for me,

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on a drive me out of here, so that really gave me

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an incentive, you know, to learn Islam on my own. And I, from there, I really wanted to learn it for myself, because, you know, I just did not have confidence that, you know,

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people who now felt that the fact that, you know, we both were Muslims entitle them to,

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to dictate to me, you know, how I would live my life, that was just not that wasn't working for me. So I really decided that I wanted to learn this on my own. So one of the first steps was learning Arabic. And that's when I started going over to the University of Pennsylvania

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to study Arabic, and then,

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you know, I liked it, I really liked it. And so I decided, well, why not? Just, you know,

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and I'd heard about this, you know, they had an actual Near Eastern Studies program, a whole department at the University of Pennsylvania. And I'd heard about this, this Professor George mantasy, and, you know, all this stuff. And so I decided, you know, well, let me I might as well just transfer the pen, and, you know, major in Islamic Studies, and, you know, you know, make a go of it.

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So, so that's what I did. So I spent two years at Temple and then I transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. And that's where I ended up getting my PhD.

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But the point that I wanted to make is that, you know, there are lots of, of, of, of blacks in, in ghetto circumstances, who are extremely intelligent, they're not educated, but but extremely intelligent. And, you know, I graduated and, you know, my undergraduate degree from Penn was was was with honors, and I can tell you, that, you know, I can pick out homeboys that I hung out with, and I'm sure had they gotten the opportunity that they would, they would have graduated with honors as well. So it doesn't it's not as as as, as odd or strange to me that, you know, a young black kid from the ghettos of Philadelphia, you know, would end up in the Ivy League and performing well.

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I mean, I just think that some of these guys didn't have some of the guidance and some of the some of the incentives that I had, such as my father, and then I think, quite frankly, to be totally honest about it. It's

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lamb really did make a very fundamental difference in that regard because it imbued me with a sense of mission and seriousness. And then as I said, I, you know, I didn't start college until I was 22. And that was a good thing, actually, for me, because I don't know if I would have been ready for what at 18. And I, I still see kids today who are not really ready for college at 18.

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I think that was kind of like the least what I was wondering as well and I think is Lucky's question being informed by? Because it seems like you're, you'd like where you are headed in terms of your trajectory, you know, coming out of a vocational school was not a career in academia, per se. Right, or, and so how that sort of shifted and, and how your interest shifted. And so now, I think now you're kind of talking about how perhaps, you know, not only your background, and your father being a disciplinarian, but also, you know, your own

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conversion to Islam and in the role that played in that, in that growth as well.

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Yeah, yeah. So I mean, do you, I guess, without belaboring or, like the visit bearing lead here, but what sort of drove you to Islam? were initially was the point of interest there? Was it? Was it social factors? Or more religious theological?

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Well, I don't, I don't, I don't, I don't know that you can really, I don't know if you can really separate all those things out. And let me just say, upfront that I am personally not very much swayed by conversion stories.

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I tend to think that I mean, they're interesting, don't get me wrong,

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but I tend to think that sometimes they are sort of post facto rationalizations of you know, a series of

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engagements, events, epiphanies, that are not a sort of rationally stacked in a manner that they would logically lead to any particular conclusion.

00:32:17 --> 00:32:21

I grew up in

00:32:22 --> 00:32:24

a household that was

00:32:25 --> 00:32:26


00:32:28 --> 00:32:34

religious, in the sense of my parents sort of

00:32:37 --> 00:32:41

maintaining any kind of catechism in the home,

00:32:42 --> 00:32:53

but we went to church when I was a young child. And, you know, we all you know, participated in the Easter program, you know, that time you had to

00:32:54 --> 00:33:09

do a little performance for the Easter program, because you had to memorize you know, some verses from the Bible or some kind of religious poem or something like that, and performing in front of the congregation, we all did that.

00:33:11 --> 00:33:12

Call it say your piece.

00:33:13 --> 00:33:22

And, you know, my mother was and still is a very religious, my father

00:33:24 --> 00:33:44

had developed a very cynical attitude towards towards church and towards religion, but he was not anti religion, he just felt that it was practice in a way that was so hypocritical that it it turned him into a turn him into a cynic.

00:33:46 --> 00:33:52

Myself, I never recall

00:33:53 --> 00:33:58

being inclined towards any kind of atheism,

00:33:59 --> 00:34:07

in my in my life, even during the times, I mean, you know, with gang banging like crazy man, you know, and

00:34:08 --> 00:34:15

still, I mean, I, you know, the idea of my, my own.

00:34:16 --> 00:34:28

I mean, this is, again, post facto rationalization, I mean, me, but I do my own contingency. Now, of course, I mean, you know, 1314 years old, I mean, who, who even knows what contingency is, right? I mean, so,

00:34:29 --> 00:34:57

I mean, I can only think of it in those terms, in retrospect, but I never, I never had a problem with the idea of God. But I always basically believed in God. Um, but I never really found outlets for expressing that in a manner that seemed to be consistent with the sort of individual and cultural profile that was me

00:34:59 --> 00:34:59


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


00:35:02 --> 00:35:12

just wasn't, it wasn't, it wasn't cool. It wasn't masculine enough. It didn't seem to be serious enough.

00:35:15 --> 00:35:26

And at that time, you know, again, this is mid 70s, you know, the Nation of Islam was really, really making its bid. I was never a member of the Nation of Islam.

00:35:28 --> 00:35:40

One of the, one of the things that sort of impeded My inclination towards the nation was that I always knew that this sort of race based religiosity,

00:35:42 --> 00:35:43

you know, it might be

00:35:47 --> 00:36:25

it might, it might have a lot of utility and this or that particular context, but I never accepted it as true. So I was, I was influenced by, you know, sort of the general atmosphere that that the nation had spawned. But I never, I never, I never was inclined to be a member of the nation. And I think that in retrospect, I mean, people have to recognize that, you know, the nation did spawn a sort of atmospheric change, they really did redefine, you know, black American culture, you know, they rearranged the furniture in

00:36:27 --> 00:36:46

the black American mind, during the 1960s and 70s. I mean, you know, as I've written, I really do feel that I mean, not just as an academic, but as someone who actually lived that history, that they did do a lot to redefine Black Cultural orthodoxy, and we were all a part of that, and Philadelphia.

00:36:48 --> 00:36:49

So when I was about

00:36:51 --> 00:36:54

20 or so 21.

00:36:56 --> 00:36:57


00:36:58 --> 00:37:00

after I

00:37:03 --> 00:37:13

went to work for Westinghouse, I also left and went into the military for a couple of years, and then came back out. And by that time,

00:37:14 --> 00:37:16

I was really searching for,

00:37:18 --> 00:37:49

as I said, you know, some some spiritual anchoring some existential anchoring. Because I was, I wasn't afraid, you know, lots of people say, you know, religion is this crack this than the other I wasn't, I wasn't afraid. Other than, you know, the idea of, you know, well, you know, there is, this can all be just, you know, live II know, have *, you know, go to the club, you know, and just die. I mean, it's gotta be more than that, got to be more than that.

00:37:51 --> 00:37:56

And so I set out on a, on a spiritual track. And to be quite frank and honest.

00:37:58 --> 00:38:09

I knew that the sort of religious apathy that I had lived by up to that point, I'm at the end.

00:38:10 --> 00:38:16

But I did not know that, that Islam would be the expression through which that would happen.

00:38:17 --> 00:38:24

It could have been, you know, Buddhism, it could have been, you know, I don't know, you know, new world spirituality or something like that.

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

But I think that what did make the difference was that, you know, I met some people who happen to be Muslims, and people who

00:38:40 --> 00:38:42

I respected for,

00:38:44 --> 00:38:52

for what their conversion had to represent. And I remember, if anything, was a

00:38:54 --> 00:38:58

CIO tipping point, in this

00:39:02 --> 00:39:08

conversion to a slam I, there was one night in particular that I remember.

00:39:09 --> 00:39:16

And we were standing on the corner. You gotta remember, I wasn't a Muslim at this point. Right.

00:39:17 --> 00:39:28

And we standing on the corner group of us, you know, watching girls, you know, jump to the swimming pool and stuff like that. And there was one guy there,

00:39:29 --> 00:39:33

who I knew he was older than me. And he was,

00:39:35 --> 00:39:38

as we would put it, back in the day, he was showing up gangsta.

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

And so we were standing there, you know, shooting the crap, you know, these kinds of conversations that just, you know, sort of roam aimlessly. And I noticed one thing about him, which was that he wasn't using any profanity. And this was completely out of place for that kind of stuff.

00:40:00 --> 00:40:06

Adding, and for somebody of his profile. So I'm standing there. Okay. All right, this is interesting.

00:40:07 --> 00:40:11

And then I noticed somebody would, you know, pass him

00:40:12 --> 00:40:20

the wine bottle, and he would say, No thanks. Nothing judgmental? No, you know, no attitude, just a very confident No thanks.

00:40:22 --> 00:40:28

Until my Bessemer join, no thanks. And I'm looking at this guy, man, because I knew him.

00:40:30 --> 00:40:42

And I knew who he was. I mean, he'd been in and out of prison a couple of times, I knew this guy. And I'm like, looking at this guy. And I'm saying, What is going on with him.

00:40:44 --> 00:40:45


00:40:46 --> 00:41:19

he had clearly found a way of expressing his own sort of religious, moral and spiritual commitments, and a context where they would have seen out of place, but he had found the, the, the packaging, within which that could be affected. And I was very moved by that. So I remember, like, after we began to sort of disperse, I remember sort of, you know, edging over into him, and, you know, asking them basically, you know,

00:41:20 --> 00:41:20


00:41:22 --> 00:41:25

and he told me that these days, uh, well, you know, I'm an orthodox Muslim.

00:41:27 --> 00:41:28

And at that time,

00:41:29 --> 00:41:32

the distinction orthodox meant that you were not with an

00:41:34 --> 00:41:56

orthodox Muslim. I said, Oh, yeah. And so, he was working in a barber shop at that time. So, you know, I walked him back to the barber shop, and he was telling me about it. And then he went to the mama shaman, he came on and gave me a little, little small booklet, I still remember is green cover, towards understanding the slab by mail duty.

00:41:58 --> 00:42:21

And who said, you know, you might want to take a look at this, and, you know, if you want, you know, take it down to the mass sometime, and etc, etc. And I remember taking that book home and reading it. And that was really the beginning of a real transformation, for me personally. But it was more of a matter of finding the packaging,

00:42:23 --> 00:42:31

the the cultural, personal sort of expression of religiosity,

00:42:32 --> 00:42:47

in which I could feel I could stay within my own skin. It wasn't some, oh, I discovered God, I had always believed in God, that was, that was never a problem. To me. The problem was, how does one live a life of religious commitment.

00:42:48 --> 00:42:51

And at the same time, not lose

00:42:53 --> 00:42:58

the ability to sustain one's profile as oneself

00:43:00 --> 00:43:02

not become a weirdo, you know,

00:43:03 --> 00:43:06

you know, some some kind of outcasts or something like that.

00:43:07 --> 00:43:08


00:43:10 --> 00:43:29

that was the beginning of, of the, of the, of the move to Islam for me. And then as I said, once I came into the Muslim community, I very quickly became aware of, you know, the need to deepen this understanding and to learn it for myself.

00:43:30 --> 00:43:32

And that was the meaning of that.

00:43:33 --> 00:43:51

That actually, Mr. Jackson originally, you know, it being in the East Coast. And again, like, my history might be a little rough. But I mean, on the left steez, you have the, you know, slum movement that sort of grows out of Imam dellwood faces community right.

00:43:52 --> 00:44:12

Now, was that sort of a distinct community as the nation was? Or was it were they integrated into, quote, unquote, as you as you said, Orthodox Muslim or orthodox Muslim communities? Well, at the time, I didn't know it, but I mean, the dollar slam was actually quite

00:44:15 --> 00:44:25

what's the word I want to use here? It was quite influential in in the Philadelphia community. And in fact, I didn't know it at the time.

00:44:26 --> 00:44:36

But one of the leading institutions was the Islamic Center of Philadelphia, which was down on Broad Street. And

00:44:37 --> 00:44:41

I only learned this subsequently, the Islamic Center in Philadelphia

00:44:42 --> 00:44:53

had moved from 19th Street in Philadelphia, Masjid Mujahideen that was a Donald slam mask.

00:44:54 --> 00:44:59

It had fissured a bid and a faction had gone on to establish this time and center of Philadelphia.

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

Yeah, they by that time have shed some of the Darla slab ethos and was very much

00:45:10 --> 00:45:26

you know, inclining toward a more sort of mainstream, almost gentrifying version of Islam in black America. But that's actually where I I profess my Shahada. That's why I took my Shahada

00:45:27 --> 00:45:35

center abroad street. So it was it had Donald Islam, roots roots, right, which is

00:45:36 --> 00:45:42

very distinct from the nation, there was no hospitalization between Right.

00:45:43 --> 00:45:51

Right, right. And I think it grows out of Brooklyn and is formed by not only the, the Islam, what is it the Islamic men

00:45:53 --> 00:45:57

of America as well as the the famous sort of State State Street?

00:45:58 --> 00:45:59


00:46:00 --> 00:46:05

Which was immigrant based, I think, which was not like a, like a predominantly

00:46:06 --> 00:46:13

dark, but the dark itself, you know, broke off of that, in part, you know.

00:46:17 --> 00:46:27

You know, we tend to talk about these movements in a way, you know, in a single stroke, but there was variation. And I think that I mean, the dog have a sort of militant

00:46:30 --> 00:46:52

ethos to it. And that's part of what the Islamic Center in Philadelphia had thrown up and thrown off sort of that, that that militant ethos, and it was looking to itself as being both more, more international, and more mainstream American, got it. And I still remember the Imam down there, who was a very charismatic figure

00:46:56 --> 00:47:13

who really sort of steered steered the ship toward a more sort of a mainstream, but but very definitely sending ROM, especially of Islam, in in black America. And I think that one of the things that

00:47:15 --> 00:47:17

was very impressive about this community, you know,

00:47:18 --> 00:47:24

it was at the Islamic Center of Philadelphia that I first met

00:47:25 --> 00:47:27

Dr. Omar Abdullah,

00:47:28 --> 00:47:28


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

He was,

00:47:31 --> 00:47:51

he was at the time, he was a professor at Temple University. And he would come down to the Islamic center to teach classes. And I remember sitting in one of those, you know, sort of early classes, you know, just to learn a slide by Dr.

00:47:52 --> 00:47:53

Dr. Omar

00:47:54 --> 00:47:55


00:47:56 --> 00:47:57


00:47:58 --> 00:48:25

this was, again, part of the sort of, quote unquote, almost mainstreaming of this particular faction of the DAR was not exclusive. And you did have other members who brought more of the dark influence along with them. So it was something of a hodgepodge. But I think that the Imam at the time, who was a very charismatic and forceful figure,

00:48:27 --> 00:48:28

you know, was very

00:48:30 --> 00:49:25

intentional, and what he was trying to do with, with the movement, as this also where you encountered Dr. Ismail far, okay, is he very active in the community, that's my love was was, was a very interesting figure. And in retrospect, I mean, I didn't recognize it at the time, but I do now that you know, photo, he was one of those individuals who had, I mean, he had this academic profile and he had this international network of of connections, some of them and some rather very high places, and yet for those who would take the time, I mean, in fact, he seemed to see it as as a duty, you know, to come down and speak at places like this Lammott center, you know, he would be a

00:49:25 --> 00:49:37

part of the, you know, not conferences, but but, but, you know, Lecture Series that brought together various parts and factions of the community.

00:49:38 --> 00:49:40

You know, he really did,

00:49:41 --> 00:49:59

you know, to a limited extent, obviously, given his his profile, but I, I did recognize, you know, he, he felt a certain affinity towards the community and a certain I think sense of it

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


00:50:02 --> 00:50:08

obligation toward the community and he did what he could do to fulfill that sense of obligation. So yeah, I met

00:50:10 --> 00:50:26

Dr. Flutie through this connection with the Islamic Center of Dharma Abdullah. Another himself was a student of perhaps another leading figure as a Muslim Figure Figure in academia, that being Dr. Fazal Rahman

00:50:27 --> 00:50:55

Yes. Chicago? Yeah. That fascinating. Yeah. So well, the represent that history that a Muslim, you know, like Muslims in, you know, in academia, teaching Islamic Studies. Yeah. But I didn't recognize any of that history at the time, and quite frankly, did not. At that time, I wasn't really yet on my way to becoming an academic myself. Right. Okay. This happens during undergraduate.

00:50:56 --> 00:50:59

Yeah, late undergraduate, I think that it was,

00:51:00 --> 00:51:45

it wasn't very long. before it finally dawned on me that, you know, you're not going to do very much with a bachelor's degree in Near Eastern Studies. So you want to double down and take this, take this the distance, otherwise, this is going to end up to be, you know, just a royal waste of time. So I want to circle back and go back to something that you know, and pick up there, which is, so now you then transfer over to the University of Pennsylvania, you are now a student of Professor George makdisi, who himself is a just a leading figure in, in sort of an academia that through his mentorship leads you to

00:51:46 --> 00:51:53

your interest in pursuing studies in Islamic law and theology and the writings of

00:51:59 --> 00:52:13

I don't know, look, when I, when I went to Penn, I was an undergraduate still. So in fact, I'm not sure. I can't really be called taking

00:52:14 --> 00:52:18

undergraduate classes with with, with Professor Makdessi.

00:52:19 --> 00:52:25

I may have, but they're not a vivid memory for me. So it was

00:52:28 --> 00:52:37

four yes, no, maybe I did. When I was at when I was a senior, I took a couple of those, you know, undergraduate graduate classes, you know, the 400. Level.

00:52:39 --> 00:52:43

But then I just, it was Roger Allen, who actually

00:52:45 --> 00:52:46

asked me

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

if I was interested in pursuing a graduate degree.

00:52:54 --> 00:53:00

And to be quite honest, when he first broach that topic, to me, it sort of scared me, I didn't know if I was ready.

00:53:01 --> 00:53:19

Said Yes. Um, and so, you know, I went through all of, you know, the requirements for that. And I ended up getting accepted into the graduate program. And it was, as a graduate student that I really came into this relationship with, with Professor Makdessi. And

00:53:22 --> 00:53:48

his inspiration was not so much in the direction of this particular pursued I Islamic law or thought theology or whatever, although he did inspire in that, in that, in that, in that vein, by, by the way, he was able to make the scholarship just pop out of the books. I mean, he was a very

00:53:49 --> 00:54:08

vivid writer, he was able to just to make this stuff come alive. And in fact, I think that his articles I shot in the shadows are just classics in in that in that regard, but I think more inspiring not to say he was very

00:54:10 --> 00:54:37

intent on making sure that Islamic Studies was grounded in a very deep and fundamental facility mastery and wholeness with the sources, the Arabic sources of Islamic Studies than he used to tell us, you know, this is what's going to separate the men from the boys in this field. Right.

00:54:39 --> 00:54:54

And he used to, you know, he used to, used to tell us, you know, you go get, you know, a couple of these books written by some people you think a big shots and then you go to the bibliography and you see all this French and German and then the Arabic will be, you know, third or fourth.

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

In terms of priority. This is not the way to do Islamic studies. You have to be

00:55:00 --> 00:55:20

in a position where you can follow the sources wherever they take you. And he was very, very, very big in that regard. And so his real inspiration was in establishing a standard by which one was to pursue Islamic Islamic Studies. And that meant

00:55:21 --> 00:55:39

being very well rounded in it. So in his curriculum, we didn't just study history, in law and theology. We studied literature as well, you had to do from eminent place up to Adonys. And I mean, in Arabic seminars on this stuff,

00:55:40 --> 00:56:03

Arabic grammar, the whole nine. So his, his real imprint was again, on ensuring that as a scholar of Islam, you were in a position to allow the sources of Islam as a civilization to speak for themselves, as opposed to superimposing

00:56:04 --> 00:56:07

upon these sources, all kinds of presuppositions,

00:56:09 --> 00:56:12

attitudes, assumptions that come from without,

00:56:14 --> 00:56:21

right, right. Now, you do spend some time overseas, also studying language. I mean,

00:56:22 --> 00:56:57

as I started to mean, you know, when I, when I, when I first came into Islam, and it just became clear to me that I wanted to learn for myself. So what I did was, I mean, when I finished my undergraduate degree, I went to Egypt, I was a fellow in the center for Arabic study abroad program. So I went there. And by that time, you know, I, Arabic was sort of like everything to me. So I really immersed myself in this whole Arabic business. So by the time I went to cast, my first time was not was not bad.

00:56:59 --> 00:57:03

And I went to Cairo as a fellow stay there for a year.

00:57:04 --> 00:57:07

It was then that I will be I came in contact with,

00:57:10 --> 00:57:16

you know, the traditional scholars, and began that began that track.

00:57:17 --> 00:57:19

I came back a year later

00:57:21 --> 00:57:34

to university Pennsylvania to continue my graduate study. And then, a few years after that, I went back to Egypt, this time as executive director for the center of every study abroad, the concept program, which

00:57:36 --> 00:57:39

was at that time, that I was really actually able

00:57:40 --> 00:57:54

to pin down, you know, a sheriff and start studying medically fit in theology and other things like that. Man, I did that for the next two or three years.

00:57:57 --> 00:58:00

Alongside all the other things that I had to do, and then I came back

00:58:02 --> 00:58:13

when I first came back to the United States, I didn't come back to the University of Pennsylvania, I came back to my first job at the University of Texas. He was there that I had to finish my finish my dissertation.

00:58:14 --> 00:58:16

And then I, you know, went on to

00:58:19 --> 00:58:24

Indiana after Texas, right. Then I went from from Texas to Indiana, Indiana to

00:58:25 --> 00:59:10

to Wayne State for a year and then from Wayne State, to the University of Michigan. And that was in 1997. I still remember that year because that year was the year that you have been 114. A no and they want a championship in football. So you started a University of Michigan in 1897. Yes, okay. Okay, because where you come on my radar is when I'm an undergraduate at the University. So and I remember you being at the University of Austin at the time, or sorry, in Texas, in Austin, Texas from nine, the 89. I think it was to 1982. Okay, that which makes total sense. Right, right. Many of my older cousins even who attended UT, I took classes with you. And so yeah, that's when I first

00:59:10 --> 00:59:15

began to hear about Professor Jackson. So anyway, so fascinating so far.

00:59:16 --> 00:59:34

And for those just just for the listening audience, you mentioned Fatah. That's classical Arabic. You mentioned casa, which is the Center for Arabic studies abroad, which remains and certainly at the time when you were a fellow as well as the executive director, sort of the premier,

00:59:36 --> 00:59:53

you know, study abroad of Arabic, you know, program offered to students in the United States as well as you know, in the Western world. So now you are at the University of Michigan. You know, one of the things I didn't mention at the outset,

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

is that you have now published a number of, obviously articles but

01:00:00 --> 01:00:20

But as well as books, you know, we begin with the 1996, the Islamic law in the state, the writings of Shaheed with any other Qaddafi. And then in 2002, you do a translation and a commentary of a piece by Mohamed El zali.

01:00:21 --> 01:00:32

Face that's after two o'clock now, I mean, I can go through just for listing all of your numerous publications, 2005 Islam and the black American 2009 Islam and the problem of black suffering.

01:00:33 --> 01:00:51

And then more in some of the more recent works, which we will get to, but, you know, I want to say so in terms of a lot of your writings, on it seems that, you know, if we could put them in sort of two large buckets of, again, dealing with Muslim intellectual history, certainly, but primarily,

01:00:52 --> 01:01:11

in within the rubrics of Islamic law and Islamic theology. Because even especially, I would argue, like not only your book on Zadie, but also your book on Islam in the black American Islam in the black and the problem, black suffering, focus on the issue of theology.

01:01:12 --> 01:01:32

Could you talk a little bit about and I know this sort of begins, and one of the starting points of both your conversation on Islamic law as well as Islamic theology is from this notion of both Islamic law and Islamic theology being negotiated constructs.

01:01:33 --> 01:01:41

Could you talk a little bit about that, and how that now we can sort of begin to tie a lot of our conversation now moving forward into sort of, you know,

01:01:43 --> 01:01:52

some of the challenges that confront the Muslim community today, here in the United States, and real sense, I don't see how Islamic law

01:01:54 --> 01:02:02

and to a different extent, but also Islamic theology, I don't see how they could not be negotiated constructs.

01:02:04 --> 01:02:05

I mean, my,

01:02:07 --> 01:02:08


01:02:09 --> 01:02:11

emphasis on I shouldn't say emphasis, but my my,

01:02:13 --> 01:02:37

you know, it was it was after I came back from from overseas, I think that one of the things that really did dawn upon me, you know, studying overseas, was the extent to which, what I was studying was admitted require, ay, ay, ay, ay, real, heavy

01:02:39 --> 01:02:43

project of translation. Um,

01:02:47 --> 01:02:49

there were historical,

01:02:50 --> 01:02:51


01:02:52 --> 01:03:16

even in some ways, epistemological assumptions, that were perfectly fine in their own context. But that looks simply not have very much application in an American context. And I remember, you know, I'm just thinking to myself, you know, when I was studying some of these things, you know, how one would have to seek to translate this stuff into

01:03:17 --> 01:03:26

a form that would render it effective in addressing American American reality. And

01:03:27 --> 01:03:35

so after I published my first book, which was slamming the problem, I'm sorry, Islamic law in the state.

01:03:36 --> 01:03:43

It wasn't long after that, then I began to really become interested in this whole business of placing

01:03:44 --> 01:03:50

the classical tradition into conversation with real, contemporary

01:03:51 --> 01:03:58

American reality, and from my own perspective, most especially on the reality of slime and black America.

01:04:00 --> 01:04:11

And, I mean, I don't find that idea to be all that all that revolutionary, and I'm a bit surprised, sometimes people, you know, sort of, you know, see it as such.

01:04:12 --> 01:04:52

But in a real sense, I don't see that as entailing anything different from what those classical or they themselves did. But I think at the same time, you would appreciate the fact that although it might not seem revolutionary, you know, certainly to a lot of, for example, Americans, non Muslims who their interaction or what they know about Islamic law, or Islam in general, is not this idea of a of a negotiated construct, but rather, you know, it's just dictates from above and, you know, quote unquote, you know, Sharia and divine law and

01:04:53 --> 01:04:56

quite frankly, I think a lot of Muslims,

01:04:57 --> 01:05:00

even Muslims, I'm sorry, I think quite

01:05:00 --> 01:05:22

frankly, I think a lot of that has to do with certain assumptions that we have about religion that come out of the European past. Thank you. We, we assume, you know, when we say religion? Well, most of the time, we're talking about a very concrete specific experience of Christianity in the world. And then we simply assume that that has universal application to all religion and all places in all time.

01:05:24 --> 01:05:28

And, you know, given the hegemonic deployment of, you know, some of the major

01:05:30 --> 01:05:40

sort of facets of modern thought, you know, some of these assumptions have seeped into the Muslim contents as well. And so yeah, they too sent tend to think that,

01:05:42 --> 01:06:27

you know, you know, that that interpretation is, is blurred with revelation that, you know, we don't see the difference between accepting the Quran on the one hand, just as an example, and accepting this of that particular interpretation of the Quran on the other. And sometimes it's very difficult for people to differentiate between the differentiate between the two. But from my perspective, again, you know, having studied Islamic intellectual history, what I'm trying to do today, and this is not a it's not an apology, is this my perspective on the issue is not different from what Muslim intellectuals have been doing virtually from from the beginning. And that is, you know, how do we

01:06:27 --> 01:06:59

take the revealed sources along with the recognize story, choose me articulation of the meaning of those sources? How do we place them into meaningful conversation with the realities that actually define circumscribe and inform our lives? That's right. And for those again, you know, I don't want to throw around these academic terms. It's just assuming that our listeners are going to keep up is the very essence of what we mean when we say a negotiated construct, right? We're talking about translating,

01:07:00 --> 01:07:26

in this case, Revelation, the Quran or the Prophetic teachings and engaging them in a conversation. This is where this is where I do differ somewhat, I don't think it's the support and the and the Sunnah. Because Because if it's just the Quran and the Sunnah, I mean, you can get lots and lots of very different interpretations out of the Quran and Sunnah.

01:07:27 --> 01:08:16

It's the Quran and Sunnah, as these have been articulated by the community of Muslims that we recognize as being sort of the authentic community, in terms of its custodianship of these sources, and of these communally sort of understood and articulated meanings of these sources. Certainly, I was speaking more to this sort of earliest, earliest community of Muslims. And they're in the in the in the fact that this has always been the reality whether you go back to the first century of Islam, or you're talking about Muslim scholarship today, that's what I was. That's what I meant when I said, Yeah, I mean, I think I think one of the things that sort of may complicate this a bit is this

01:08:16 --> 01:09:09

is that, you know, the early community is responding in a very spontaneous manner. That is to say that what they are getting out of the court and and the Sunnah and the legacy that is remembered from the prophets, actual presence here among the community of Muslims, they are interpreting that in a context in which they are spontaneous in their interpretation, there are no sort of superior civilizations out there basically dictating to them, that you should be trying to reconcile this stuff with this, right. And that should be the litmus test in terms of whether or not you are really sort of arriving at interpretations that are valuable. I think now, part of the problem is that

01:09:09 --> 01:09:13

Muslims will tend to want to sort of seek refuge in

01:09:16 --> 01:09:32

what you might want to call prefabricated understandings of Islam and all of its aspects. Because they resent this whole notion that we should have to be, you know, reinterpret Islam, in light of realities that are not our doing.

01:09:37 --> 01:09:38

Wow, right.

01:09:40 --> 01:09:42

There's a lot to process there.

01:09:44 --> 01:09:44

I'm taking it

01:09:46 --> 01:09:59

I've just been listening. It's it. For me. It's it's like sitting at coffee and just listening to people who are way above my intellectual paygrade and just sort of letting it soak in. That's it.

01:10:00 --> 01:10:01

But you know that right?

01:10:03 --> 01:10:04

That's poor versus? Well,

01:10:05 --> 01:10:36

let me let me let me just try it. Let me just try and sort of simplify that, then I'd love for you to do that. And I think this also, like, for example, the way I think you engage a lot of this, in your book, in particular, Islam in the, in the problem of black suffering, you know, picking up a conversation that is already happening within sort of, you know, Christian, Christian theology, and I'm sorry, black, you know, like, in the black community is fascinating. And I think that would make it

01:10:37 --> 01:10:45

that'd be a good starting point. Well, I mean, the whole idea of, of Islam and the problem of life suffering is simply this, I think that

01:10:46 --> 01:10:50

and this is especially true in the post 911 moment in which we live.

01:10:51 --> 01:11:02

Muslims are not going to be the only ones now reading the Quran, and picking up you know, collections of Hadith and trying to understand what what is this Islam thing.

01:11:03 --> 01:11:20

We now live in a context where people want to know what Islam is, what it represents what It aspires to. And we also are, you know, we live with the history of Islam, I'm sorry, a religion

01:11:22 --> 01:11:55

as it grew out of the European experience, so people have certain expectations of religion, they have certain suspicions of religion, they have certain fears about religion, and many of those fears are a product of European history, not so much of Islamic history, and we can get to the ISIS thing and all that later on. But the whole idea that to the extent that you allow religion to express itself openly, you are bound to divine society, and you are bound to produce, you know, fissures that are enriched unbridgeable within society.

01:11:57 --> 01:12:03

And this, this, you know, this is this comes out of the whole sort of European wars of religion and the whole and the whole nine yards.

01:12:05 --> 01:12:12

And I think that what we have to recognize, then, is that there are these questions out there about Islam

01:12:14 --> 01:12:57

within the context of the Western society in which we live, and, you know, Christianity has had to face these questions. But now we are here in the same society, we live in the same context in which Christianity is living in the West, those questions will come to us as well. So, you know, the whole point of the problem of Islam and the problem of black suffering, is to anticipate these questions coming into the Muslim community, just like they came into the Christian community and into the Jewish community. And I think that whether these are questions of our producing or not, they are questions that we will have to confront. And so what I'm trying to do in that book is to put forth

01:12:59 --> 01:13:33

sort of an example of how Muslim theology would would would approach this question of how do you explain the reality of black suffering? disproportional chance, transgenerational enormous suffering, in the context of a claim that God is all powerful? And God is all good? Now that question came to the Jewish community. And Rabbi Richard Rubenstein wrote about this, it came to the Christian community. James, I'm sorry.

01:13:36 --> 01:13:46

I can't remember his name. Yeah. Jones way Mr. Jones, is got a white racist, wrote about it, and the black theologians have been have been writing about it. And so

01:13:47 --> 01:14:02

my, my point was that this is not something I mean, Islam also considers God to be all powerful, and got to be all good. And if that question was relevant for Christians, relevant to Jews, it's going to be relevant for Muslims as well.

01:14:04 --> 01:14:50

And so, you know, we have to take it upon ourselves to be able to put forth where Islam stands on these kinds of issues, because they're not issues that we can simply avoid or ignore. Now, the point that I was making earlier is that some Muslims may say, Well, look, that's really the West's problem. That's not our problem. Slavery, for example, was never racialized in Islam, right. So you know, let them deal with that problem. And, you know, I present the whole idea that Islam should be dragged into a conversation that really has nothing that has nothing to do with it. This is a Western problem. The West you don't worry about it.

01:14:51 --> 01:14:55

And on some level, I guess, you know, you know, some some, some Muslims will think like that.

01:14:56 --> 01:14:59

But I don't think that that kind of adds

01:15:00 --> 01:15:30

The two will be enough to prevent these questions from confronting Islam front and center. We now live in the West. And whether we like it or not many of the West's problems, issues, presumptions, points of departure. They are as much a fact of our lives as they are the lives of non Muslims. And this is the new context in which Islam has to articulate itself. And I think we have to be very careful

01:15:32 --> 01:15:59

that because we live in a context where we are not the ascending civilization, we can to carelessly internalize many of the many of the presumptions and points of departure that come from I Western approach to religion, that is suspicious of religion, that is perhaps a dismissive religion

01:16:00 --> 01:16:02

that is hostile to religion.

01:16:03 --> 01:16:44

And if we're not careful, we can internalize many of those sensibilities and then bring these into, you know, articulations of Islam. So I mean, I'm not I'm not naive, to the point of in any way suggesting that, you know, this is not easy, simple. I mean, there are risks involved. And that's why I think that, you know, Muslims have to be very assiduous in the way in which they approach these things. Because whether we like it or not, we are making history here. I mean, this, this will be the platform on which, you know, future generations, this will be their point of departure. Correct? Correct. I want to pick up on that idea of risk a little later. One of the things that I

01:16:44 --> 01:17:28

know, you've said on a number of occasions, in fact, something that's informed a lot of the way in which I tend to view not only the the role in the place of the Muslim community in America, but certainly what's happening just in modern times in general. And that is this idea of, and I think this is very relevant today. That, you know, the greatest challenge to religion is not persecution, but rather, the greatest challenge to religion is apathy grown or born of a relative of irrelevance? Right. I think that a lot of what you're talking about, you know, certainly in terms of, okay, well, how does Muslim theology or Muslim intellectual history in general or in as an aggregate, deal with

01:17:28 --> 01:17:48

whether it's the problem of black suffering, whether it's the problem of ISIS or whatever? I mean, how do you now you know, translate or sorry, enter into a conversation with Muslim tradition, into the into into issues that are relevant in modern and certainly lived realities today?

01:17:49 --> 01:18:24

Oh, no, I think that what we simply do is the same thing that Muslim tradition did. I mean, you don't, there were no martyrs. You know, in the in the in the time of the Prophet and the Prophet alayhi, salaatu, WA salaam, he was not addressing Zoroastrians, and mannequins, and even maybe perhaps up in places like Buddhist and other people like that. And what Muslim tradition is, is, is intent on doing is taking these realities as realities, and then articulating this time in such a way that preserves its integrity, while at the same time speaking effectively to these realities. And I personally, I mean, I just see that as being

01:18:25 --> 01:19:02

what Islam has done all along. Now, the two things that I think I want to say here. One is that as I said before, I mean, this, this can be risky business, especially when you live in a context where you are not the ascending civilization. And when that is the case, you will tend to try to sort of reconcile what you're doing with the standards that dictates the sensibilities of the ascending civilization, even if some of those sensibilities are not consistent with the slab. And this is where the risk comes in. And so we end up sort of

01:19:05 --> 01:19:36

interpreting Islam in such a manner that really demote the Quran and the Sunnah as the true basis of articulations. And sort of promotes Western sensibilities, Western points of departure, you know, Western concepts as being the real litmus test for whether or not we are successful in this whole enterprise of trying to articulate Islam. This is this is one of the dangers.

01:19:38 --> 01:19:59

And so, you know, to the extent that Islam comes out promoting all of the things that the West says are good, then we have a good interpretation of Islam. To the extent that Islam comes up not promoting the things that the West says are good, then, you know, we have a, an unsuccessful, you know, a retrograde

01:20:00 --> 01:20:18

A understanding of Islam clearly and all of that Islam has lost its place as the ultimate criterion for how we judge ourselves in terms of our engagement of Islam. So that's one one of the risks. The other thing that we have to recognize is that, and I think many Muslims are a little bit

01:20:19 --> 01:20:23

unconscious, uncomfortable with this. I mean, Islam has never been a single articulation.

01:20:24 --> 01:20:52

I mean, you know, you know, pluralism is a fact of Islam. And so when Muslims get into this whole business of, you know, let's, let's look at Islam, and how it would address the problem of black suffering from a theological perspective, I don't think we will necessarily all arrive at a single articulation of Islam, some of those articulations will be to my liking some, some, some will not.

01:20:54 --> 01:21:38

But this is this is the process, and this is what Islam has always dealt with. There's never been, I mean, it's certainly not from the time that quote unquote, classical Islam comes into its own, you know, the number of issues on which they there has been a unanimous consensus have been the minority on the majority of issues, there's always been more than one more than one opinion. And I think that, you know, while many of the opinions that come out of this attempt to place Islam into conversation with the realities of American reality, some of those articulations will not be my like, will not be to my liking. Okay. Um, and I will typically why that is the case, and maybe I

01:21:38 --> 01:21:58

will persuade those who differ with me that, that my idea is, is better, and maybe not, but this is a slap. And in the absence of the Prophet Alayhi Salatu was Salam coming back and identifying one of these parties as the right party and the other as wrong. I mean, we have to continue this whole, this whole business of negotiation.

01:22:00 --> 01:22:13

And, of course, there are risks there. But you know, ultimately, if Muslims are still holding on to an organic understanding of Islam, ultimately, we have to recognize the fact that

01:22:15 --> 01:22:22

guidance, divine guidance is a reality. And ultimately, that's what we all want.

01:22:25 --> 01:22:28

And, and so the idea that

01:22:29 --> 01:22:46

everything will be determined solely on the basis of how reasonable or rational my arguments are, I think that's, that's an idea that we have to be very careful about, because I can be very reasonable, very rational, very rational. And well,

01:22:47 --> 01:22:59

that's right and arrive at the wrong conclusion, right, in spite of having found logic, or rationality. That's right. That's right. That's right. So ultimately, what we're looking at is, you know, how do we approach God's pleasure?

01:23:00 --> 01:23:41

Right, this reminds me of something you wrote. I think it was in the introduction to a book, the idea of the notion of legitimate particularity something, I think you borrow from gold's there, right, in terms of talking about this idea of Muslim Muslim history, or Muslim mental intellectual history, always acknowledging the fact that it was never a monolith. Right, and appreciate and not only acknowledging it, but in celebrating that idea. Yeah. And so one of the, one of the one of the problems, I have one of those, I mean, if, as I said, you know, I become a Muslim, I think in 1978, by 1982, you know, I'm in the Muslim world, and classical scholars, not not modern Muslim movement.

01:23:41 --> 01:24:26

And I think that anybody who was one of the project is a classical tradition, this is so unproblematic. And again, I think that, you know, in the West, you know, in the, in the 18th century, you know, you had situations where rulers were determining the religious affiliation from for everybody who lived in their domain, Islam never had that Muslims normal, nor for non Muslims. And so the idea that, you know, Islam is very at home with with with with a reasonable pluralism. And that's, that's an important point to make as well. Of course, not everything goes. But there are lots of opinions on which, you know, the greatest Muslim scholars could simply say, I don't think

01:24:26 --> 01:24:32

that's the right opinion. But I'm not to the point where I can say that this violates the standards of,

01:24:33 --> 01:24:38

of interpretation to the standards of due diligence that we as a Muslim community recognize

01:24:39 --> 01:24:59

to the point where I can places outside the fold of Islam. That's right. I think this is something that's often missed, you know, a point you just made when, you know, especially in these conversations about, you know, banning Sharia from certain jurisdictions and, you know, all these state legislators and lawmakers trying to put it on the books that

01:25:00 --> 01:25:18

We're not going to consider Sharia is that? Well, for one, Sharia itself is not some sort of a codified law. I mean, even even throughout Muslim history is something you alluded to that, you know, even under the apparatus of, quote unquote Muslim state.

01:25:20 --> 01:25:30

The application of one law for all people, was not something that was found. That's that's that's an accoutrement of the modern state and I thought,

01:25:31 --> 01:25:48

surely anti Sharia bills and all these things. I mean, there is that based on, you know, I would say a combination of one ignorance, and then to just blatant bigotry. That's right. There are people in this society who fear

01:25:49 --> 01:26:12

that look, either we are dominated, or we dominate. And these Muslims are coming here, you know, the rising numbers, you know, they're an educated community, etc, etc. And we want to make sure that they are dominate JIT, for fear that if they are not dominated, then they stand to dominate us.

01:26:13 --> 01:26:16

You know, this is just this is just bigotry.

01:26:17 --> 01:27:07

But, but again, I think that Muslims to, you know, have to be very clear about what is Sharia then, what does it advocate? What, what is its attitude toward the American political sphere? What is the relationship between Sharia and the US Constitution? Can it recognize it, does it not? If not, what do you want non Muslims to do? I mean, these are all issues that have to be very, I think, clearly articulated. And I think that, you know, one of the risks that we run right now is that if Muslims are not at the forefront of articulating these things, they will be articulated for Muslims, by those who have the attitudes that we see in some of these anti Sharia bills. Right, we'll be

01:27:07 --> 01:27:07


01:27:09 --> 01:27:24

What should it is? Right. Right. informed of bigotry and ignorance. Of course, you know, by the way, I mean, again, that's to be fair here. I mean, you know, neither ignorance, no, bigotry are exclusive.

01:27:26 --> 01:27:27


01:27:29 --> 01:27:47

have a lot of ignorance and a lot of bigotry of their own. Certainly, certainly. And I would argue, and I mean, like the point I was making earlier, I mean, ignorance, or their own Muslim intellectual history, or their own intellectual history, or their own tradition, of course, and so much of the way in which they view their own,

01:27:49 --> 01:27:56

you know, whether it's proxy, or it's their own tradition, is it comes from a completely a, like a framework that

01:27:57 --> 01:28:41

isn't, you know, articulated, or isn't something that is historically valid and correct. Well, yeah, but I think that again, I mean, we have to be careful about that as well. I mean, look, I believe Muslim tradition as a point of departure, but you do have to make a decision here. Not talking about historically valid. Okay, this may X may be historically valid, but that doesn't resolve the issue, because the issue is, okay, then do you want to go back to x? Or do you recognize that X was valid in a particular historical context, and now we need a new X for a vertical context and simply try to black box that x into this space?

01:28:43 --> 01:28:47

That's potentially problematic, agreed, agreed. Agreed.

01:28:48 --> 01:29:38

I think I think, you know, if we could, you know, like I, in my view, or my estimation, one of the other ways in which you, you combat ignorance and bigotry is to create a, a culture, a produce a culture that is meaningful and relevant. And I know that's something that you write about, you talk about this idea of Muslim, unleashing their cultural genius, their, you know, the idea of cultural production. And, again, that being something that has always been the earmark of Muslim civilization as well. It's this ability to create, to negotiate cultural space wherever it's gone, and to create and foster a culture that is relevant as well as that is not. But to be honest with you, guys, I

01:29:38 --> 01:29:45

mean, I begin, you know, even just to question some of my own articulations about that, because I think that they might be a bit

01:29:46 --> 01:29:47


01:29:49 --> 01:29:55

You know, to drenched in this notion that poker is purely instrumental

01:29:57 --> 01:29:59

is purely instrumental instrumental

01:30:00 --> 01:30:55

By that, I mean that we use culture to promote this or that. Now, I'm not denying that there is an instrumental dimension to culture. But But culture is not purely instrumental culture is where we are. Right? In other words, I mean, we want to live life not always being, you know, in a position where we're trying to use it for this work use it for that, right. So I think that part of what part of what we need to do is get back to the understanding of, of Islam as more than just religion in a narrow Protestant modern notion of you know, interiorized believes that Islam is a civilization, it has this civilizational dimension. And, and, and it is the expression of that, because that's where

01:30:55 --> 01:31:12

most people aren't on a daily basis must be not with me, with all these books on theology, all these books on law and legal methodology. Most people are far removed from that most people live in the world of okay, how do I engage friendship?

01:31:13 --> 01:32:01

Okay, how do I engage neighbors? Strangers, right? How do I fill up the space between the masjid and my home? All right, that's where most people, that's where most people are. And I think that the point that I'm making about unleashing Muslim cultural genius is not so much to instrumentalize it, but to allow Muslims to develop a relationship with friendship, or relationship with neighbor or relationship even with strangers, or relationship with spare time. Okay, that that does not split them into 15 different pieces, all of which tend to contradict each other, that there is this at wholeness with my religious sensibilities, all right, even as I engage you as a friend, even as I

01:32:01 --> 01:32:12

engage you as a neighbor. All right, I can enjoy your friendship. I can have fun. I mean, fun, that does not leave me guilt ridden. All right, because fun.

01:32:13 --> 01:32:27

And Islam are not mutually exclusive. All right, how do I come up with cultural expressions that really carry that message? And one of the things that I asked myself this question sometimes.

01:32:29 --> 01:32:31

And this is gonna be a little bit controversial, because,

01:32:32 --> 01:32:38

you know, there are lots of sensibilities out there about this kind of thing. But let me try and keep it less controversial.

01:32:40 --> 01:32:43

I take somebody like Texas by like, abundant West.

01:32:45 --> 01:33:10

In the West is this poet, you know, in the best period, the guy talks about wine drinking, like, like, it's crazy. The guy, you know, Peter estery. I mean, the guy. I mean, you know, moral corruption. I mean, you know, this pouch is full of this stuff, right? I asked myself,

01:33:12 --> 01:33:17

Why didn't Elon the less? Mr. plasticize?

01:33:18 --> 01:33:19

Why don't you just leave us?

01:33:21 --> 01:33:34

You know, I want to drink wine. You know, I want to be with boys. I want to chase women. I want to, and I'm not going to slam Oh, let me do this. I'm out of here. Yeah. Why didn't you just leave?

01:33:37 --> 01:33:43

What was it about the slam? That kept me unawares? I did define as a Muslim.

01:33:46 --> 01:33:55

Right. And one of the things I suspect is that there was this civilizational matrix, right in which he lived

01:33:56 --> 01:34:24

to too powerful, too important to meaningful to him. That's right. All right, these contradictions notwithstanding, all of its contradictions on some level, right, but this is the power of Islam, a civilization? Yeah. And we can see at the end of all these guys live well, and, you know, and have somebody like, having the words around, and rightfully, they just barge in, you know, and all these kinds of things. But Islam has the civilizational power to it.

01:34:25 --> 01:34:52

All right, to touch people to caress people, you know, to be with people where they are on their daily basis, people who are not theologians who are not jurist. We've not sit around, you know, reading legal theory and all these kinds of things. But, but but can embrace them, you know, and all their contradictions and flaws and keep them aspiring to be Muslims. That's civilization. That's culture.

01:34:53 --> 01:34:53

All right.

01:34:55 --> 01:35:00

I mean, I don't think I mean, certainly you would agree. Someone like I wouldn't

01:35:00 --> 01:35:37

was is not anomalous, right? You know, I think you look at Messina. Why did these guys just say look? No, he didn't even just poets. You look, look at someone like Omarosa yum. You look at someone from the subcontinent like Mirza rollin I, you know who write about erotic love and about about about, about wine drinking and like you're saying, but at the same time we remain Oh, erotic love, it's fine. It's a boundaries that these guys No, no, no, I know what you mean, give people the impression that well certainly, you know, you know there's a rhotic love stuff. I mean, that's I mean even it hasn't writes about erotic love so

01:35:39 --> 01:35:40

great. All right. So

01:35:41 --> 01:35:55

I mean, we have this integrated stuff. And one of the problems of I suspect that we hit in modern times is there's something I'm still thinking about, I'll go out on a limb and just share my thoughts at the moment on it, please, please,

01:35:57 --> 01:35:59

is that I think that, you know,

01:36:00 --> 01:36:07

I have a lecture about this in Doha, in Arabic, maybe I'll send it to you sometime. But the point that I made is this.

01:36:09 --> 01:36:53

I suspect that when the colonizers come to Muslim lands, you know, it is the amount of Sharia, who seemed to hold the key to any kind of legitimization. And so what they understand is that they have to displace both Sharia and the legitimizing power that it contains, in order to be able to open the way for their own rule in these in these territories. And so what that produces is a reaction when Muslims have to retrench and circle the wagons around Sharia, right? What this does, however, is that it tends to block everything else out. Well, the idea becomes, if we reinstate Sharia,

01:36:54 --> 01:37:00

then we've reinstated Islam, we get it, we get it all back, we get it all back, right? Because it becomes

01:37:01 --> 01:37:51

all the civilizational all this intellectual and all these other pursuits, all right, don't receive the priority that they should that they should receive. And we ended up overly obsessively focused on shutter yet even our understanding of touch deed or reform today, it's all about reform and shutter yards. All right, that's not understanding that your kids and my kids, you know, you know, you know, a cool outfit can be just as permissible as an uncool outfit shut is not gonna determine what's cool, and what's not cool. All right. The question becomes, where is the intellectual genius? Where is the cultural genius? All right,

01:37:52 --> 01:38:18

that will, that will produce, you know, this sensibility of cool, that also does not erect the seeming barriers between that and my religious sensibility and identity. These are not issues of Sharia. These are issues of cultural genius. And these are issues of civilization. All right, you know, one of my favorite messages in the world is the blue mosque in Istanbul in Turkey.

01:38:20 --> 01:38:20


01:38:22 --> 01:38:42

the guy built this, look at the religious imagination, let's look at what goes into this. And much of it is appropriated, you know, from you know, old Byzantine architecture, and, you know, and all these kinds of things, but, but look at this, look at this, look at the power of, of caressing, you know, that occurred?

01:38:43 --> 01:38:45

I'm gonna get that from study shut er.

01:38:46 --> 01:39:28

All right. And the idea that Sharia and shutter is scholars and shining a scholarship is all that we need to bring it back. I think that's a fallacy that we've fallen into. And I think that's one that we need to get beyond. Right, we, you know, we need not simply theoretical articulations of is absurd, but practical, sort of practice. When I say practical, I mean, in practice, you know, how do we come back to an enjoyment of Muslim community that is not past this, that is not guilt ridden? That that is not overly dependent on

01:39:29 --> 01:39:38

values and presuppositions and sensibilities that, that either challenge or alienate Islam? How do we come back? How do we come back to that?

01:39:41 --> 01:39:59

Now, I think it's some Yeah, I mean, you've said so many profound things. I mean, bottom line is that everybody has their role. I mean, that might be one not jurist, um, who wants to play. I mean, if you look at Islam in America, take somebody like Muhammad Ali. Yeah, look at that. That's right. Look at that. Mm.

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

All right.

01:40:02 --> 01:40:21

You know, there are people out there who are artists, you know, who are architects who are interior decorators, designers, etc, etc. Why leave all of that genius thinking that it has no contribution to make to the texture of Muslim life?

01:40:23 --> 01:40:31

All right, to the point that okay, fine, that goes off? And does all that genius someplace else someplace else.

01:40:33 --> 01:40:37

I think that I think that's highly I think that's highly problematic.

01:40:38 --> 01:40:46

Right? This to me is part of again, bringing Islam into meaningful conversation with the realities that, that define and inform our lives.

01:40:49 --> 01:40:58

So much to get to Professor Jackson, I, you know, I don't even know where to where we're running right past the 90 minute mark, and with all this intellectual stuff.

01:41:00 --> 01:41:14

I'm gonna apologize to your audience. No, no, not at all. Everything that that's this has been fascinating. And in fact, I mean, you know, we this gives us more of a reason to have you back sooner than later. Because we didn't even get to talk about

01:41:15 --> 01:41:56

one of the things I really wanted to talk about, which was your most recent book, which is initiative to stop the violence. So that's assassinate assassins, and then enunciation and political violence, if you could very, very briefly to our listeners, because they can go and get a copy of the book. Amazon from the Yale University Press. Yeah, speak a little briefly about where the how that comes about. Because I think that it represents, in some ways, a departure from some of your some of your most recent works, but at the same time, not so much, because it continues in that same vein, I want to make two points about that book, one of them that I I gleaned as a subtle

01:41:58 --> 01:42:02

interpretation of that book, that's not quite accurate. And I mean, let me get to that second. But, um,

01:42:04 --> 01:42:28

you know, I arrived at each of my first time when I went back in 1982, as a student, this was about six months after Sadat was assassinated. And I didn't realize that at the time, but I was, you know, I was there, you know, just sort of witnessing the, the aftermath and all that, that I produced out of this. And I, you know, I read the papers, and I read all these kinds of things going on. And I at that time, I didn't really understand them in their full context.

01:42:29 --> 01:42:38

But what I came to see later on was the following. You know, the people who the guys who killed said that they went to prison, five of them got executed.

01:42:39 --> 01:42:43

But the guys that mean, which was the largest faction among these people,

01:42:44 --> 01:43:08

I mean, give me a sense of their size. At one point, the number of imprisoned members was estimated between 20 and 30,000. That's just the number in prison, not on the outside, right. So these guys were huge. And in prison, they began to study Sharia to study their actual tradition. And to make a very long story short, they came to the conclusion, you know what, we were wrong.

01:43:09 --> 01:43:11

We were wrong.

01:43:12 --> 01:43:13

This violence against

01:43:14 --> 01:43:58

the Egyptian state, this violence against our own society. This does not promote the interest of Islam. And we're not backing off of our commitment to the establishment of an Islamic state, to the reinstatement of Sharia as our code of life, they are still committed to that. But they're saying this wanton violence is not consistent with the law of God. So when 1997 They renounced political violence, and in 2002, they issued a series of manifestos that articulate why it is that they're renouncing violence, and they call it a realistic perspective. And they shut er based approach. And what they're saying is two things.

01:43:59 --> 01:44:37

Islamist movements have to pay attention to the realities of the modern world. All right, not look at them. agnostically not ignore them, not sort of try to, you know, to push them away, but to confront them as they are. That's number one. And two, they have to then have a shitty approach to this reality, once it has been correctly understood. So they produce these series of manifestos called correcting misunderstandings, and the first installation is the foundational one. It is called

01:44:39 --> 01:44:59

initiative to stop the violence, a realistic, realistic perspective and a Sharia based approach, and then they lay out why it is that they feel now that what they did in 1981 was wrong. And what should he or has to say about how much

01:45:00 --> 01:45:10

go about the business of reinstating Sharia in the context of the Muslim society now what I found to be interesting, and one of the reasons that

01:45:12 --> 01:45:15

I wanted to translate this book into English was the following.

01:45:16 --> 01:45:21

These guys renounced political violence in 1997. Have you heard about it?

01:45:23 --> 01:45:49

That's a very, it's a very little known fact. In the West, they produce these manifestos in 2002, that's 13 years ago. And still they have not sort of been looked upon as a meaningful movement within the context of modern Islam. This is despite the fact that these nine again, they have massive street credibility.

01:45:50 --> 01:46:32

And they are not quote unquote, liberals or progressives or whatever, whatever you want to whatever label you want to use, they are committed Islamists who are saying that Sharia Sharia is telling us that this is not the way in which we are supposed to proceed. So I thought that that was a message that would be very important for both non Muslims in the West to hear, as well as some Muslims in the West to hear. Yeah, all right, especially coming from people who about whom it could not be said that they're just, you know, soft, soft, you know, this is our G, we're talking oh, gee, right. And in the modern?

01:46:33 --> 01:46:33


01:46:34 --> 01:46:39

You can't get any more OG than that. decades in prison. Okay. All right.

01:46:41 --> 01:46:46

And, you know, they come out with with this articulation, and I thought it was very important

01:46:48 --> 01:47:03

that this be part of the discussion about this, this movement in the modern world, because the West wants, I mean, the West is obsessed with it with a pie, the ISIS version. And it just completely ignores,

01:47:04 --> 01:47:33

you know, these kinds of activities, these kinds of movements that are going on, I mean, as we speak, so sort of to balance out the picture, and especially to provide, you know, Americans, and even perhaps more, especially American Muslims with access to a discourse, all right, that is not apologetic. But that is 30, grounded in an understanding of a commitment to Sharia, in terms of how we address this issue of wanton violence in the name of Islam.

01:47:36 --> 01:47:43

Well, now, it's Jackson again, I'm sorry, go ahead. Go ahead. Well, I just wanted to say now, they are not traditional.

01:47:44 --> 01:47:54

They're not as Hadees although they study with us Hadees. And they themselves take it upon themselves to study the tradition, and they come up with their own understanding of it.

01:47:57 --> 01:48:09

Some people have the sense that, well, are you advocating that people move away from the ultimate in terms of their articulations of Islam? I'm not advocating anything, I'm simply showcasing what actually happened.

01:48:11 --> 01:48:45

All right, that's what you meant when you said you gleaned an interpretation of your book. Well, yeah, I mean, I mean, I mean, because they do not rely on as Hadees although they do go back to Muslim tradition, and they are holding a shot to be then even to me, and then has the fee and all kinds of other scholars in their in their articulation. So they have access the Muslim tradition, to the point of coming up with an understanding of Sharia that tells them that this is not the way to go. And again,

01:48:47 --> 01:49:13

you know, these are battle hardened, you know, committed Islamists who are saying, not that, well, you know, the West doesn't like this. You know, this makes us look bad. Well, you know, this makes us look barbaric. No, shoddy, I says, we not do this. Right. But like sort of post 911 expediency this is this, isn't that? No.

01:49:14 --> 01:49:51

It starts it starts 1997. Right, exactly. That's what hasn't even happened. That's exactly my point. Exactly. Um, by the way, this is one of my fears right now about what's going on in Egypt. Because no society can take No, I mean, society can only take so much. And it is a fact if you you know, if you go into the into the introduction to this work, the prison experience in the Muslim world contributes a lot to the radicalization of Islamists and what's going on now, with the massive incarceration you know, handing down of you know, that sentences

01:49:53 --> 01:50:00

group death sentences, you know, my I hope that this campaign or the point

01:50:00 --> 01:50:02

Other Gumma will hold up.

01:50:03 --> 01:50:16

I fear that, you know, there are limits. And if the present trend continues, I mean, we might hit that limit. That's one of my biggest fears about what's going on in Egypt right now. But for the moment, they seem to be holding court.

01:50:18 --> 01:50:36

So, again, Professor Jackson, we could have you on to talk about so many things. And we'd love to have you on again, very soon sort of a continuation of our conversation. I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't do two things. One is if I didn't ask you about your most recent

01:50:38 --> 01:51:05

opportunity to meet with President Obama, you were among a group of Muslim American leaders, I think back in February, who met with him? You are I think, among that you were chosen to make sort of prepared remarks to the President. Could you tell us a little bit about that? Well, that meeting was actually off the record. So I can't make any Oh, right. I can't make any direct articulations. I can't say that, in a general sense.

01:51:07 --> 01:51:09

I mean, I can't make any direct attributions.

01:51:13 --> 01:51:16

There was an attempt, you know, to

01:51:17 --> 01:51:27

reorient the President's thinking about Islam, to the point where Islam in America

01:51:29 --> 01:51:49

because he's the president of America, and American Muslims are his constituents. So that Islam in America becomes more prominent in his thinking when he thinks about Muslims, that, that we as American Muslims are not always just sort of

01:51:51 --> 01:52:02

dumped into this basket of what's going on, you know, 1000 miles away, as if that can represent our thinking, our sensibilities, our interests,

01:52:03 --> 01:52:17

as Muslims or as Muslims in America. And to think, in that context about all the contributions that Muslims have made, have made to America, I think that one of the things that Islam does not get

01:52:18 --> 01:52:28

sufficient credit for is all the contributions that Muslims have and continued to make a to America. And I'll say, especially, especially

01:52:30 --> 01:52:39

in poor black communities in America, where Islam has reached and has reformed and has

01:52:40 --> 01:52:49

really lightened the path for a demographic that the rest of society has basically given up on.

01:52:50 --> 01:53:05

Islam has proven itself in that regard. And I think that there needs to be more recognition of that, and more of an investment in that, in that very fact. So part of what was articulated to the president was exactly this.

01:53:07 --> 01:53:46

That, you know, I know that the media, you know, tends to calibrate all of our sensitivities to the point that, you know, the word Islam means Middle East. But I think it's a, I think it's important for it to be recognized that the Muslim community in America is in the millions in the millions of American citizens, and, you know, their perspective, their realities, their sensibilities, their aspirations, their hopes, their fears, has to be a part of what the President of the United States is thinking when he thinks.

01:53:50 --> 01:53:51

So here we are, again at

01:53:53 --> 01:54:10

on the crux of another election, so that, I think that that whole idea, it really kind of scares me in terms of how understanding or receptive you know, the president landscape looks with regards to you know, that community

01:54:12 --> 01:54:21

Well, look, I think that I think that we have some I think that we have some serious challenges, serious challenges ahead. Yeah.

01:54:23 --> 01:54:32

But you know, I think that we should not miss we, these these challenges. Enemies are not always bad.

01:54:34 --> 01:54:59

Enemies sometimes keep you sharp, they keep you aware of what you really stand for. They they force you some time to dig deep down and come up with your best self. And I think that I think that the coming years will, will do that for many of us. For some of us, we will we will run for cover, but for many of us

01:55:00 --> 01:55:20

It will bring us to the point where we have to locate our best, our best, our best selves, and to bring our best resources to bear on the future of our reality in this country. And I think that in some ways, it will force us

01:55:21 --> 01:55:41

out of the luxury of thinking that we can just, I mean, just float through life without making our commitments, explicitly long known both to ourselves and to others. So again, I mean, as I said, I think that yeah, we're in for some, I think we're in for some difficult days.

01:55:43 --> 01:56:12

But difficulty, difficulty is not all difficulties, not all bad. I mean, the, you know, you know, the legacy of the Prophet alayhi salatu. Salam is it teaches us nothing, it teaches us that, you know, ultimately, we have to do the best that we can do. And there are no guarantors of success, other than Allah, and what He wills to be successful and be successful. And what he does will not what we have to do, we have to always be clear in our commitment.

01:56:13 --> 01:56:14

And I think that

01:56:15 --> 01:56:25

sometimes when you are put on the spot, you're forced to, to come to terms with what you really are. And I think that we could use some of that, quite frankly.

01:56:28 --> 01:56:29

Yeah, here's the here's hoping.

01:56:32 --> 01:57:12

That's a wonderful place to close out. I can't think of any other better place. Professor Jackson, I've done this on record on the past, but I think I'd be remiss not to do it to have you on the show. Or while we have you on the show. The very, very title of our show diffuse congruence, you know, comes from comes from your writings and your teachings. And I've shared with the audience where that comes from, and how that sort of emanates from Muslim tradition. And I think in many ways, it sort of dovetails on something that you've said throughout the show, which is this idea of having a conversation with our tradition, but in a way that is meaningful. And that's what we're

01:57:12 --> 01:57:14

hoping to doing, hoping to do with this podcast. So

01:57:16 --> 01:57:26

I think the again, thank you so much for taking the time out, to be with us, and to sharing your experiences your your insight

01:57:28 --> 01:58:00

with us. Well, thank you very much. Pervez and I want to congratulate you on on this on the show, I really do think that one of the one of the things that we do need more of is the ability to come together and to exchange ideas, experiences, and to actually encounter each other. I think that one of the one of the problems that Islam in America faces right now is that with all of the optics of media coverage of this time in the world,

01:58:02 --> 01:58:44

the basic human faculty have encountered, the ability to counter other human beings, as human beings, has been degraded and diminished. And, you know, this works in favor of the forces of bigotry and ignorance in this country. So what you're trying to do now, I think, enhances the ability on the part of people to engage, you know, Muslims as human beings, and whether we agree with them or or not, you know, as long as our, our our faculty of human encounter is intact, then we can find ways other than, you know, bigotry and prejudice, blind bigotry and prejudice, because not all prejudice is bad. But that's another that's another,

01:58:45 --> 01:58:46

we'll save that for

01:58:48 --> 01:58:49

the line bigotry

01:58:50 --> 01:59:32

and prejudice, that refuses to engage me, you know, as as a human being, or I refuse to engage the other as a human being space. This, I think, make a make a healthy contribution to bridging that gap. So congratulations, and keep up the good work, man. Well, thank you so much. Yeah, that means a lot. That means a lot. And I don't think I was lucky, or I could have sort of articulated any better in terms of what the the sort of real or one of the purposes of this show has been and continues to be. So thank you so much for those for your thoughts on that. Well, does that come along here and keep up the hill? Appreciate it. Thank you. All right. And with that, that wraps up our fascinating

01:59:32 --> 01:59:55

This is our the longest conversation that we've had on defuse congruence and for a show that prides itself on conversations. That's that's definitely a high bar for us. So we're very excited to be able to share this with everybody and to everyone listening. Please do seek us out online. We're at congruence, you can also email us diffuse [email protected] Pervez you're on Twitter, what's your Twitter handle?

01:59:57 --> 01:59:59

I think Professor Jackson will appreciate this. It's out

02:00:00 --> 02:00:04

At the new Madhab ma de de nada, HH AB

02:00:06 --> 02:00:28

and Zakia about yourself, where can people find you on Twitter? I'm at Zacchaeus corner that's the aka is corner. I'm also at the Huffington Post where my reviews and interviews go up regularly as does this show. And with that, that wraps up this episode. Thank you once again to Dr. Jackson for coming on. And we will catch you all in the audience next time. Thank you for listening

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