al-Raghib al-Isfahani #71 – Gatekeeping & Jealousy Among Students of Knowledge

Tom Facchine

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AI: Summary © The speakers discuss the theory that the deen is categorically superior to any other knowledge, and the obstacles and pitfalls of pursuing knowledge of the deen, including evil people and respect for the traditional culture. They emphasize the importance of healthy relationships with the church and the need for people to overcome jealousy. The segment also touches on the importance of understanding and surpassing negative comments to avoid embarrassment and confusion, and the potential for revenue through advertising content.
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And he's established that the most beneficial knowledge is knowledge of the deen, that it's categorically superior to any other knowledge that's out there. Right? We can't overgeneralize and we'd like to do this in the materialistic West, we say, you know, seek knowledge even to China, right? And we said, well, that can mean medicine and that can mean engineering. We do a disservice to the deen when we think that way because the knowledge of deen and the knowledge of Allah is founded on the knowledge of the Sharia is categorically superior to any other type of knowledge, even if other types of knowledge are good. So when we're pursuing this, let's say that you've kind

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of gotten the memo and you're like, okay, yeah, let's do it. You're motivated, like this series on Ragosa Hani has gotten me really motivated to go out and learn the deen. Okay, you should be aware that there's certain pitfalls and obstacles that are kind of come your way. And one of the biggest obstacles and pitfalls that are also Hani keeps us aware of are the evil people that are out there that might dissuade you. Now, okay, there's evil people like really, really bad people that were that we're used to thinking of. But there's something more subtle going on, that he's drawing our attention to. And that is sort of the phenomenon of naysayers and gatekeepers, and this is extremely

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relevant to anybody who wants to pursue knowledge of the deen, what happens, okay, when somebody wants to even if somebody reaches out, you might reach out to a scholar or a student of knowledge or something like this and be like, hey, you know, I really want to learn about Islam, I really want to learn the Koran, or where should I start, you know, we get these sorts of questions all the time. And some people in their zeal for expressing how deep our intellectual tradition is, they go overboard a little bit, they discourage, they discourage people, they discourage people in a way that really looks like gatekeeping. You know, some people will say, Well, you need to study for 10

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years. In this one particular thing before you can even say anything about it, uh, you need to, you know, cover 20 books in this particular field, if you want to even be a beginner, you know, and, and I understand the sentiment that these statements are coming from, we don't want the opposite extreme, we don't want people that are going to trivialize our intellectual tradition, or the scholarly tradition, it's extremely important. And people who don't have access to the classical Arabic, they don't really get, they don't understand how deep these things go. Right? If you're talking about all the books of science, right, from the Western tradition, all the books of you

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know, even social theory, it only goes back a few 100 years, right? It's all very, very new stuff. For the most part, you know, the stuff that goes back further than that, it's very few and far between. But with Islamic knowledge, we're talking about 1400, solid years of, you know, amazing works, you know, works that are very short, but are very dense, and need to be unpacked works that are extremely long, we've got works that are 30 volumes, right or more. And so it's true that you Okay, yeah, we want to have respect for this tradition, respect for this sort of, you know, this knowledge, but at what cost, we don't want to go to the other extreme, and then discourage people

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from ever walking the path and trying to engage in that tradition and educate themselves. Because even if they only make it a few steps on the path, they will have benefited, right, and they will be able to benefit others. So what's going on emotionally, or what's going on spiritually, when you have, you have people of this disposition, it happens in a few different ways, this type of gatekeeping. And unfortunately, a lot of it comes back to jealousy. Unfortunately, a lot of it comes back to a disease of the heart that has to do with jealousy. One of the ways that jealousy manifests itself in this sort of thing is when people try to make themselves the only gate to the scholars.

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And that's why we call it gatekeeping. Because they're like, going to check everybody at the door. Right, there are some masajid. And some organizations, you know, that are, you know, they emphasize, like, with the scholars, you know, we're gonna have this with the scholars and this, you know, with the scholars and stuff like that, and the telelinks, right, and those sorts of things. And it's, listen, again, don't get me wrong, it's extremely important to have a living relationship with scholars and scholars in the eastern scholars that have a higher degree and caliber, and standard of what scholarship is, and we do in the West. However, however, there are some people that thrive off

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of keeping their hand on the faucet so to speak, that are putting themselves up in positions of authority by virtue of their ability to connect you with others. And how can you tell because when you go to other scholars that are not in contact, or when you go to the scholars directly themselves without going through the middleman without going through the gatekeeper, they start to become angry, they start to become upset, they start to go into your motivations, or they start to question why are you doing this and you don't have proper respect and these sorts of things, right? That's one way in which it plays out. Another way in which it plays out is when people put on airs, right

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and people can put on airs like you

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People have vastly different types of scholarship. And then they're asked about a certain individual. And they say, Well, you know, I don't agree with everything that they say We hear that a lot. Well, of course, you don't have to ever say that sense. And I've probably been guilty about this too, you know, in private conversations. So I repent to Allah and I seek his forgiveness. It's like everybody understands that you don't agree with everything that somebody else says, Why are you saying it? You're basically throwing shade at somebody else i saying, you know, it's like, oh, well, him, is he beneficial? Can I study? Can I learn from it as well? I don't agree with everything. He

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says, Well, who are you first of all, to agree or disagree. And second of all, that should go without saying you're really kind of virtue signaling here that you think that you know something better than somebody else? The key point, the key point that rod was for honey wants us to understand is that true teachers, and true students want their colleagues or their students to succeed, and actually surpass them? How do I know if my teacher or my local leader or whatever is a gatekeeper or a naysayer, or they're actually Nussle, or they're actually a well wisher? They want you to surpass them? That's the test. How do I know if my student my colleague, Mike, CO, you know,

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my co student in a particular pursuit, actually has my best interest at heart, they celebrate your success, and they want you to go further than they do. Right? When it's about jealousy. It's about holding you back, whether it's a fellow student who's trying to discourage you, it's like, you're not going to the true scholars. I heard this a lot in Medina, you get in the cab with somebody, first thing they'd ask you is like, oh, who are you studying with? Trap question, never answer that question. Because it's never going to be good enough. They have their idea of who you should be studying with. And guess what, it's who they study with, and who have already been studying with

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longer so that they can put you in your place down the pecking order and say, Yeah, well, you're lower than me, because I've been studying with this guy for longer. That's exactly what that is oriented to. So you know, that's not a true friend. And that's not a true colleague, you know, a true colleague, they know that the knowledge and the tradition is bigger than them, it's bigger than their shake. It's bigger than the book that they're studying. And they are happy for you. If you go out and study from somebody else. In fact, they actually want to benefit from you, in the sense that it's like, hey, let's sit down once a week and swap notes, because you're studying over here, this

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thing that I don't have the time or the bandwidth to study, I'll swap notes with you, you swap notes with me, that's somebody who's sincere. That's somebody who has the right attitude towards scholarship and towards learning and towards these sorts of things that somebody who doesn't have that disease have hacked or have hassad in their heart, you know, of jealousy, or mutual competition or things like that, right? Somebody who's going to gatekeeper and naysay you and say, Well, you're not studying with the true scholars. You got to go directly to the big scholars. Now you're not studying with the rice College? No, you're not studying the right books? No, no, and it always has

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to go through them. This person is somebody that you should avoid. According to out I was fine. So now I'm gonna take him off to La you to commit Shana is trying to be on the forefront of masajid in North America when it comes to being financially sustainable. And part of that plan is having a source of income that's beyond just donations. So we've purchased a property and we're turning it into a religious endowment. Currently, we're $30,000 short of what we need to close out and completely be done with this acquisition. This Ramadan, we are raising money to try to cover the $30,000 shortfall. And we ask for everybody watching who everybody supports you to commercial

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