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al-Raghib al-Isfahani #70 – What Good Is Knowledge Without Ethics

Tom Facchine

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Channel: Tom Facchine

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What else for him? He talks a lot about knowledge and ethical knowledge. This point is so important for the time that we live in the modern era, which has separated ethics from knowledge. And so we look at knowledge as something that's just completely ethically neutral or morally neutral most of the time, right? You have the phenomenon of people who study Islam, they study the Koran, they study the Hadith, and yet they're not Muslims, right? Well, we would say like, well, what's the point of you studying this thing, if you're not going to benefit from it? Ethically, this is not an Islamic conception of knowledge. And it's not the type of knowledge that allows for Hani cause us to

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cultivate or to seek. And so the type of knowledge that he's talking about, he's he or he raises a question he says, How can we tell that knowledge is beneficial? Remember the the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa salam ala Houma, Linda may in fact know when fountain Abbey met I limped in I was in their element. Oh Allah teach us beneficial knowledge benefit us by what you taught us? Well, how do we tell what knowledge is beneficial? And what knowledge is not beneficial? Some things are obvious, right? Obviously, things like the Quran and things like the deen and stuff like that. But if you're going about in the world, that there's a lot of knowledge out there, right, from everything from

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celebrity gossip, to theology, and everything in between. So how do we tell which knowledge is beneficial and which isn't a log loss for HANA? He says that there's a couple of ways. One of those ways is that beneficial knowledge will result in something noble than something honorable. Right. And so the paradigmatic sort of example is knowledge of the dean, what is it result in the best possible thing, the most noble and honorable thing, which is salvation, salvation in the afterlife? If it's again, that ethical knowledge where we're practicing what we're learning, and we're letting it transform us, not just like this encyclopedic knowledge, then there's other types of knowledge

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that we can tell are beneficial, right? The knowledge of medicine, okay, what are the results of the knowledge of medicine? Well, they end up producing medicine and cures and different techniques that help people live longer or stop people from having pain or things like this. And that's a generally noble cause and an honorable enough sort of result in our time, we need to seriously reflect about what are the types of knowledge that have resulted in negative consequences. And this is where Orientalist scholarship comes into play. Look at all the people who studied Islam, without an any intent to have it transform themselves, without any intent to become a Muslim. What is it produced,

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by and large, it's produced the colonial situation, it's produced knowledge of groups of people in order to subjugate them in order to dominate them in order to change their subjectivities in order to mess with their senses of self, right, we have the sort of textbook example of the French orientalists, who came into Algeria, trying to teach Algerians that the luck for the religious endowment that we know and love and need was actually an innovation, actually something that was against the Koran. Right. So you have these people, this group of scholars who are non Muslim scholars trying to educate us about Allah's religion, okay, what an evil type of knowledge that is.

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And then you see some of the scientific knowledge that goes on today. Or at least we can say scientific knowledge that has separated fact from value, cast aside all moral concerns, what does it resulted in? Think about the napalm, think about depleted uranium bullets, think about the atom bomb, right? Entire portions of the earth are now uninhabitable. Right? Radiation, people, you know, like Subhanallah, right? When it comes to the birth defects and people growing extra limbs and having crazy sort of intergenerational effects, right? What did this knowledge bring us? What did this knowledge bring us? This knowledge brought us destruction and chaos, right? The knowledge of

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plastics and the knowledge of sort of all the new materials that we have nylon and these sorts of things? What did it do for us? Is it a noble type of knowledge that it result in something noble now we're destroying our ability to live and inhabit this earth? So is this knowledge noble? No, it's not. And so that's not a beneficial knowledge. This is the this is one of the ways one of the tests that allows for Hani uses is the results of the knowledge beneficial or not, if it's resulting in something that is salubrious something that is contributing to our success in the afterlife, or something that is wholesome and good and leads to good results in this life, then it is noble

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knowledge, it's good knowledge, and if it doesn't, then it needs to be abandoned. And it needs to be thrown aside. Another sort of thing that we can look to for a test the arrival so honey introduces How can we tell if knowledge is beneficial or not, is the trustworthiness of what it proves. So obviously, Revelation is extremely important here and Revelation is the most trustworthy thing, once it's authenticated. And once it's known to be authentic and authentic communication from the Creator, okay, that's the most beneficial knowledge that there is because the stuff that it produces is the most

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is beneficial again, it goes back to our salvation and things like science, you know, experimentation and empiricism, you know, they, it has a lesser degree of trustworthiness, right. Some of it is cooked, right, you can cook the books and you can fudge the data, or some of it is just simply misinterpreted, right how many times the the entire project of science is to collect data and come up with a narrative or an interpretation of the data, and it's our best attempt. But that interpretation, you know, those conclusions that are drawn are not set in stone, and they might be overturned, either by a new interpretation tomorrow or by new evidence that we couldn't detect

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before down the road. And so which one is more noble? And this is an important message for the parents, you want to send your kid to school. Your kid wants to study Islam, you want them to become a doctor. Okay, great. Is it permissible to become a doctor? Of course it is. But in the Muslim community in North America Hamdulillah. We've got enough doctors, we're good. All right. So what's the most beneficial knowledge, the most beneficial knowledge is the knowledge of a snap? Way more important, right? You know, we can kind of laugh and joke because everybody who grew up in America, you know, he probably had a gym teacher that would tell you, you know, I used to miss gym, sometimes

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for chemistry lab or things like that nice to have a gym teacher tell me it's like, well, you know, you shouldn't be skipping gym, because Pickleball is more important than chemistry. And we would laugh because like, What a joke. This is ridiculous, right? Chemistry is way more important than than pickleball. Or, you know, whatever else. They're, they're teaching in gym. Well, we need to apply that metaphor one step further. Okay, if chemistry is more important than pickleball, then the dean is more important than chemistry. Right? And the dean is more important than medicine. And Dean is more important than all these sort of other fields of knowledge that result in okay, maybe maybe

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good things in this world, but they can't be compared. They're categorically inferior to knowledge that's going to bring us salvation.