Islam Teaches us to Save the Environment

Tom Facchine


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Salam Alaikum and welcome back to dogma disrupted. Today we're here to talk about environmental destruction, the world's very, very quickly becoming an uninhabitable place. This is an existential threat for Muslims that unfortunately Muslims are not taking the lead on remedying this issue. And to talk about this very important discussion, we have our esteemed guests, guests, Ramesh Kent or miss Kent is somebody who has a lot of hats. So I

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running down his CV is going to be rather burdensome, I'll suffice it to say that he's the co founder of the IGE Perl, the Islamic gift economy program for ethical appropriate and regenerative livelihoods, which sums up I think, the general thrust of his work permaculture, sustainable living, and recapturing all that we lost when we moved away from those models. City remain. So welcome to the program. Thank you for having me, city. It's good to see you. And it's good to be on with you. Now, we're basing this conversation off of a very important paper that you wrote for Yaqeen Institute entitled saving truth and beauty, the destruction of nature and the Islamic solution.

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For people who unfortunately, unfortunately, the default situation is that the environment is not something that people think about until it's gone. It's if health is human health is any indicator, we don't think about the days that we're well until we're sick, we don't, you know, think about sort of, you know, our muscles until we injure them, the environment is even more so that we don't think about it. It's they're surrounding us, nurturing us doing these things for us, until we're about are on the brink of losing it. So if we're to have an honest look in the mirror right now, where do we stand? How do we grade our society when it comes to how we're treating the environment?

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Well, first of all, there's no human handler for that. I mean, we sort of love Muhammad Ali, he was so he was sort of slimmer.

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Yeah, we're not, we're not doing too well.

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You know, the, immediately what came to mind if I can use a, you know, an old or an older, popular culture reference, you know, the, the,

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the Joni Mitchell song, you know, you know, Big Yellow Taxi, you know, don't don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

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you know, this art crisis is in many ways reflective of

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what I often like to frame as a as a problem of what for one is a problem and sort of a worldview that we've subscribed to,

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kind of collectively subscribe to, is specifically in reference to the type of economies that we have relied upon in order to provide our needs and, and our wants.

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And, also, any, that there's, there's this view that somehow we are separate, again, from this habitat that we've been placed in the midst of, and,

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and a view on ourselves as being separate. And also, and seeing the world is only being comprised of material that is there for us to manipulate, as opposed to it being, I think, in terms of our understanding of religion, that the world is, in many ways a theophany, right, it is an expression of sort of divine attributes, if you will,

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you know, if you live in a world where you believe it is an expression of of the Divine, then then you're going to be in it in a very different way, as opposed to if you just think this is some kind of big cosmic accident, and then you are sort of left it, you know, to do things on the basis of whatever it is you feel you are capable of doing.

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You're going to come I think you're going to arrive at a very different place, depending on on which ideas you feel as though is legitimate. Right. And that is,

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and that is, again, available to you in terms of what your capacities what your technical capabilities are.

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But I mean, I think this is a problem that I think in particular, and this is one of the things I addressed in the paper.

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I think it's something that is has been a problem specifically probably since the enlightenment,

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especially, but kind of human history has been characterized by, you know, by these chronic collapses of the environment that are based on our attempts to try to create a life for ourselves. Right. So, you know, we're talking about the development of communities, societies.

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civilizations, and we're trying to secure the products and services that make those lives possible, you know, especially with regard to living in dense population centers, right, that puts a certain amount of pressure, again, on the physical environments that we, you know, that we occupy. Yeah, I think that's profound. And something that is, I think, refreshing for a lot of people to hear. So you're saying that, you know, if we're trying to diagnose this problem, it's not as simple as well, we need to reduce, reuse, recycle, and we need to buy less and, you know, have our little smaller plastic caps on our water, our plastic water bottle,

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rather than that, and we'll go through sort of the logic in a second, but you're saying that this really comes down to your beliefs that, you know, this is a whole downstream thing, you it's like, if you're aiming a gun, or you're aiming a bow and arrow, how you face is going to completely determine the trajectory of where you're going to end up. And if you regard the existence, the material existence as sort of a spiritual, fundamentally spiritual thing, then you're going to treat it a lot differently. It's got different capacities for moral action, right? Then if you're just a materialist, you think this is just about cells, it's all just about random. It's just about, you

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know, you know, quote, unquote, brute matter. Right? There's a couple things I think we should go into further. So you talked about the enlightenment. So I think we need to make it very, very clear to people. What exactly were the shifts in worldview that led us down this path? And an issue that I find myself having to address the other people? Is, can secular environmentalism work?

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It does environmentalism have to be grounded in a metaphysics that has to do with a law and the things that we believe in? Well, I mean, one of the people that I've, I've, I've leaned on to, again, provide a basis of understanding

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the problem, right, the really what lies at the root of the problem that kind of plagues us or we are a challenge with his professor Muhammad to keep a lot of us the, you know, the Malaysian scholar, philosopher, theologian. And in specifically, you know, he talks about this in his book, Islam and secularism. And for those who are not familiar with it, this is the book here, Islam and secularism he and I think he brought he, he frames this brilliantly in the, the, in the opening chapter of the book, where

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he sees he sees the environmental problem, I mean, there are other issues that he also highlights but he sees the the environmental problem, this destruction, nature as being a product of secularism, and secularization, and that the that secularization is really about cutting the cutting off of the past, you know, the cutting off of

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tradition, the cutting off of there being any kind of understanding of our existence, being tethered to something aside from the present moment, you know, the zeitgeist of the of the day and time.

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So, that means, most notably, the cutting off of worldviews that come that come from some understanding of the human being outside of against simply being material.

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And so,

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again, if, if, if there is, if there is no belief, right, in anything, aside from what one can see, at the moment, right, then you're sort of left to believe that, well, I suppose we just need to figure it out the best way we can, and you sort of left to your own devices. And he actually talks about this, you know, brilliantly at the, at the beginning of the book.

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And, you know, I mean, we have, what time, I'd love to sort of read through,

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you know, this, this first portion of the chapter, but, you know, he has this, this really powerful explanation of how secularization has basically caused us to de sacralized nature, right. And also you have this this de consecration of values.

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Right. And, and also, you know, even talks about how, you know, politics has have also been affected by this. But I think if you look at it, if you look at all of these issues, has been connected, it's not being again these isolated siloed

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phenomena. You know, the way I often like to talk about this, especially, you know, we talked about this

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big pro class myself and Dr. Addy, Satya, you know, it really you're looking at a problem of again, management. And what I mean by management is if you if you think of what ethics are, right, you begin with ethics, what's what's ethics, ethics or ethos, right is a is about

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sort of a code of morals or, or a manner in which you are managing the self. Right, so that you can be in the world in a certain way, right, especially in a way that doesn't harm others.

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You go from this management of the self, to then sort of the management of, again, this, this habitat of this place that you've been putting in the midst of, right, and what is that? That's economics, that's economy, right? Literally the etymologically the word means management of the household, then you, you go to sort of a larger scale version of the same thing, regime of management, and when what is that that's, that's politics, right? Cosmos, because as Cosmopolis, right, you're, you're it's the management of the larger household. So so when you sort of examine all of those things, you realized that, again, the consistent factor here is that we are primarily

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concerned about the management of again, ourselves, then this household, and then this larger household. And if you fail, especially if you fail to do the first one, then everything else is going to fall apart. And I think really, ultimately, the the, the, the, the environmental crisis is really rooted in a crisis of management, first and foremost with with ourselves, and our ability to manage our own desires, our Caprice, ar, ar, ar behavior, all of all of these things, then simply sort of radiates out to the world around us. So it's almost like a materialist worldview, it the capacities that it creates our capacities for greed, right? capacities for ingratitude. There's no,

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like, gratitude isn't even legible in a materialist framework, right? As a concept, how, like, what do you have to be grateful for the universe, the cells, the, you know, there's nothing, there's no object of, of gratitude, and there's no necessarily imply gratitude in the fabric of the creation or of the existence, and also probably scarcity. And we talk a lot and people I think are a little bit more familiar with the scarcity mindset versus abundance mindset. If you're operating from a materialist worldview, you're fundamentally starting out with a scarcity mindset. Absolutely. So yeah, absolutely. So people, you know, they sit in econ 101, and their college courses. And they

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don't realize how much philosophy or values are built into this supposedly self evident truths that you learn about such as well, human beings are rational actors. And the market is going to do this. And you know, the invisible hand is going to do that. This is all sort of the tip of the iceberg of what is really an entire worldview that starts with materialism, it starts with sort of turning its back on ethics. And what do you think you're going to get as a result, I think that's what I hear you saying, it's like if we're all letting ourselves go, like, I like to give people the analogies that have to do with like exercise in the gym, right? If you take like 20 of us, and we let

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ourselves go, we're just eating potato chips, and watching Netflix and whatever, and you sign us up to play a basketball game, we're gonna get our butts kicked, right, we're gonna be really, really bad. Sure, if you have everybody sort of they understand the duty, they understand their purpose, and they're working towards something, it creates a special type of capacity. Even the goals that we set for ourselves is sometimes like, if you think about econ, what's the goal of a materialist culture? They measure it? What do they measure success by? Right? You measure success by GDP by something like this? GDP is through the roof and everybody's miserable.

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What does that tell us? What does that tell us about the human being and how, you know, really, we've got a fundamental problem, when it comes to how we even think about living in the world. That's

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for sure, I mean, if I can say something about that, I mean, I think the industry because this is something I address directly in the paper is the fact that

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the health of a nation has merit as measured by again gross domestic product gross national product,

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which is

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I mean, it is mostly driven by consumer activity, right. So so one of the things that I remember years ago when this this is thought

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occurred to me was that well that that means that if I actually if I produce the things that I consume,

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right if I if I'm if I eat if I'm actually responsible for my life, right then I am that I attend

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Technically, I'm not contributing anything useful or beneficial to the national economy, which is, which is a, which is bizarre. If I produce if I become responsible for my life, or for the the community that I live with, it becomes responsible for their lives by actually providing themselves with the goods and the services that they need in order to live a life, we don't contribute anything beneficial to the nation.

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So I think to go back to your point about there's a certain set of assumptions that accompanies

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it specifically that accompanies certain conceptions of of economics. And even the way that economics is defined, right, it's the, you know, the consumption and production of goods and services.

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produced from

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scarce resources. Again, there's a whole that's a that's a loaded proposition has a whole set of assumptions that we often don't question as to whether or not the assumptions are valid. And in many instances, if you really break it down, I mean, this economic sounds something akin to religion, right? Because there's a there's an entire worldview, that you have to subscribe to, in order to believe, and that way of rendering the world.

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And I think, unfortunately,

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we're not necessarily trained

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to examine these things, you know, beyond sort of the surface,

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kind of declarations or definitions that are that are that are provided to us in question, and to the, to the degree to which we're able to sort of stress test whether or not these definitions are, in fact, legitimate. Yeah. Rather, we're trained to operate within them and then considered successful if we're able to make a certain wage off of them. That's kind of what success is, right? If we, if we're, again, if we're able to sort of, you know, we can succeed within the confines within the parameters of, of the definitions that are provided to us, regardless of what kind of what kind of detrimental impacts that that success actually produces. So this, you know, this gets

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into the whole topic of, you know, externalities. Right, right. So you, you know, you your success is often a matter of privatizing the, you know, the benefits or the profits that are produced from operating within the system, and then externalizing, the negative impacts to everybody else. Yeah. Let's, let's go into that in a second. But I want to backtrack just a second to one thing you said, I'm really glad that you brought up secularism, because as Muslims, we are in the crosshairs of secularism. What do you think it means that the Muslims are not at the forefront of these issues? Like because if you look at the Muslims, especially Muslims in North America, let's just say we're

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indistinguishable from the rest of society when it comes to buying plastic forks and spoons for our mesquite events, and, you know, like the way that we, you know, just complete asphalt parking lots and right, what does it say about us, and what secularism has done to us that we are not at the forefront of remedying this issue? You know, you know, and I think we actually, you know, spoke about, we touched on this during our conversation, and I think in when I saw you in Pennsylvania, because,

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again, another point that I just, you know, remember when when this realization hit me that there is nothing

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that meaningfully separates the Muslims from anybody else, in terms of how we function, well, certainly within this society,

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and that, we participate in all the same,

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you know, type of all the same consumer behaviors

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as everybody else, I mean, a believer, a non non believer alike, right. So, you know, the only thing that that, you know, we can say,

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as, as a quote unquote, religious community, is that fine, we pray differently than everybody else, kind of our ritual, our rituals are different, but what impact does our ritual What impact do originals witches have in terms of how we are in the world, and in that sense, we are indistinguishable. We are indistinguishable shop, like you said, we shop at the same stores, we use the same products.

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We are, you know, we engage in the same consumer behaviors.

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You know, there's there's nothing that actually distinguishes distinguished us. There's nothing to distinguish us from anybody else. And I think one of the communities that we had mentioned, you know, we've talked about

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I'm as being I think, sort of a model of people that sort of demonstrates how one's worldview causes them to be in the world differently as a community like the Amish. Right? And I think and I think a community and a community, like the Amish demonstrates that people can still maintain the integrity of their religious identity. Right. And, and be

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and be consistent, right with the principles that supposedly define them as a community in terms of their religious outlook. Yes. And I think that this prioritization of,

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of number one, I think being able to operate independently of the society, especially if that society functions in a manner that is,

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that is diametrically opposed, right to what it is that their, that their faith tradition, says that they should be

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engaging in or, or it is something that actually

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Jonnie it's definitely something you don't want to, you know, to promote or enable to gain strength. I mean, this is what we do when we engage in an economy is that you are sort of voting with your dollars, right, you're voting with your feet. And you are, you're endorsing a certain way of being in the world on the basis of, again, what you buy, and, and

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you know, what kind of behaviors you engage in. And I think, this is something that I think a lot of, unfortunately, a lot of folks don't think about, you know, there's, I think there's this feeling that you and I pray I fast, like if my you know, I give my charity, you know, I made my heart and you know, and I declared my faith and that's it. And, you know, one of the things that we pointed out in, in, in our course, and this actually comes from a passage in book 13 of the Medina, you know from remember Ghazali is that you don't learn anything. You don't learn anything, none of the things you need to know about people, you don't learn anything about people by watching how they practice

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And, and ultimately,

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even the way that, you know, the province listen, I'm sort of defined what a Muslim is and what a movement is, what a Muslim isn't what a believer is, in some of its, you know, some of the Hadith traditions, some of the require, he doesn't reference acts of religion. So for example, when he says that, you know, a Muslim is one from whom other people's

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Muslim is one from whom

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people are safe from their hand in their tongue. Right? He doesn't really he doesn't reference religion, or he says that a believer movement is one from whom other people's lives and wealth are saved from them. Right? Right. This, you know, this is a demonstration that there's there are things about the way that we engage the mundane in the world, is a much more reliable reference, for us to understand whether or not a person is in fact, ethical, or moral, etc, etc. Yeah, I'm, I'm in a hotel has the famous quote about you know, it's like, let me see him. Have you been on business with him? Right, exactly. This was him. Have you traveled with him gone on a journey with him? Or have

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you seen how he deals with his neighbors? Yeah, with his neighbors. And those are considered what you're saying more.

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You know, they're better indicators of somebody's ethical behavior than going to the masjid and looking how they are in the masjid.

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And what's Najeeb about that passage, and actually, that's precisely the one that I was that I was referencing the second one, it's in the fifth chapter of book 13 Is that the man that he was speaking to was was supposed to serve as a witness, right. And then, and then he had asked for a friend of his to, you know, to vouch for his, you know, his his veracity for his truthfulness. Right? And then he asked the questions, and then he's and then again, he responds, No, to each I haven't seen, I have not been with him to witness how he, how he actually deals with people in those in those ways. And then And then, and then he says to him, I said, I suppose you've only seen him in

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the mosque. Right, right. You've only seen him in the mosque, you know, you know, with people sort of reveling in his recitation of Quran and he's and he's bowing and doing all of these sort of outward shows of of,

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you know, of, of his subscribers practicing his faith and the man says yes. And then on that basis, said Omar tells him go for you do not know this man. Which is a G A Facebook Effect, that's what I call the Facebook.

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When you you get to present you're going to the masjid your your absolute best self you curate, you know all the rough edges. You smooth them out, you make sure you're completely on point. But who's going to do and this is like, the essence of ethics, who's going to do the right thing when no one is looking when no one is looking or

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When it's inconvenient, and against your material interests, right, that's exactly to be nice to your neighbor, or to not even be nice, because be nice is ethics is so much more than being nice to serve your neighbor and take care of their interests is inconvenient, you know, to, you know, to be to go out of your way to be just to somebody in business is inconvenient. Right? Like, and so, and I'll put myself under the, you know, under the microscope before anybody I know, I have room to improve with this sort of stuff. But that's really where the rub is. And that's where ethics comes in. What are your principles? What are your, where's your intentionality? Or how intentionally are

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you living your life? Because if you're not living intentionally, and if you're not living according to principles, convenience is always going to win out when you're when it's against your material interest. Sure.

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And I think one of the one of the other important things about, you know, what is

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what is implied, right, by that particular story, is that

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if you don't, if people that live within a community are only seeing people

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in a setting, right, where they are their own, they're only around folks when they are sort of engaging in this in these practices, right. And again, there's this outward show of piety where this according to say, no Omar that you don't learn about people by

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watching how to do these things, than to what degree do we actually have communities? Right? Right. If you're not dealing with people,

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outside of, you know, these, you know, these, you know, outside of the setting where, again, the only time you come together is his when you are again, observing certain, again, ritual practices, which were religious practices. And if we aren't dealing with people again and doing the mundane, and we're not either willing or able to deal with people and and work with people and doing the mundane, then I would venture to say that we don't really have communities, right? Yeah. If you were to do a survey, for example, this could be an interesting thought experiment or an exercise for a community to go through, you know, how many people have you been inside their home? Right, I'd like

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to know, their, you know, their address, right. And, unfortunately, I've been, you know, a part of, you know, a handful of communities and for most, I'm willing to say, for most muscle communities, it'd be very few. Very, very seldom do the relationships spill over into the every day outside, you know, outside the Masjid. Right. That's, that's a damning question, to be honest, on us, like, what kind of community do we have? Yeah, yeah. And I think one of the, I think one of the things I really appreciated about, again, our conversation back in June was, you know, when, when,

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when you had actually brought up as an example, the Amish. And one of the things you wish you had said was, you know, you would ask the question, why, you know, why don't they, you know, why do they have this this prohibition against using, you know, motor vehicles? Yeah. Right. And, and actually, I want you to repeat the example that you gave about the sugar. Yes, exactly. No, I mean, like, this is amazing. I find the Amish fascinating. And unfortunately, some people are allergic to this example. Because they immediately go to, you want us to live back, like with camels. And like, that's not what I'm saying. Even though I think that'd be cool, personally, but that's not what I'm

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saying what I'm saying, again, it comes back to intentionality to principles, because why most people don't know why the omit the Amish refuse to use cars, right? Nobody usually asked that question. They don't even think about it. The reason is, because they said, if we use cars, if I run out of sugar, I'm not going to go to my neighbor to ask to borrow some, I'm gonna go to the store and buy it commodity alienation, lack of community. And now, my, the whole community is suffering, because I don't have that reciprocity, that relationship of mutual aid of trust, accountability, right? If I borrow sugar from my neighbor, I'm going to have to see him again, when I give it back.

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I'm gonna have to accept when they have to borrow from me, like the relationship is so much thicker than that. Right, when you're in this sort of relationship. And so yeah, I mean, they said, No, we're not going to, we'll, again, convenience, we're using against convenience, and we're gonna choose for the relationship and the community. And I think that that's amazing. Our if we were to give like an audit for the Muslim community, we don't have to come to the same conclusions, obviously as homage to the just the fact that they've that that's the level of their thought that they're thinking about, what are our principles? What are like how are we going to be intentional

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about what we choose, and which technologies opportunities, habits of consumption, etc, etc. Which ones are

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are harmonious with our principles, and which ones contradicts our principles? Or contradicts, we're going to leave and we don't care. Even if everybody laughs at us, everybody thinks we're freaks, like, we don't care, and the ones that are with us, we'll take them, we'll use them. Well, I think that's what we need in the Muslim community. And actually, to your point, there's a, you know, if you think about the way that even, you know, the proximate sort of qualified states, right, none of you truly believes unless, right, unless you wish, you know, you love for others, what you love for yourself. And even in, in the, in the identification of who, you know, the sort of these others are,

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these brothers and sisters are, I mean, they was not confined to one's co religionists. But I think to the point,

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the point to which this does apply to those who subscribe to the same faith, as we do, and I think there's even that much more of an onus on on us to extend ourselves to those who believe the same as, as we do, such that we want to create as much good as possible, we want to strengthen the bonds with those people as much as possible. I mean, one of the things that again, the other references I made in the, in the paper was, was actually to Ibn Khaldoun, he talked about who made reference to one of the things that actually causes a civilization to collapse, right to dissolve. And he, and he said, he made reference to people falling prey to the pleasures of civilization, right to luxury, to

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convenience. Right.

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And, and if you think about one of the, the impacts of sort of products of

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increasingly levels of convenience, is that you need people less than less. So if you think of, for example, sort of, in the extreme case,

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if you go to Japan, and they have this phenomenon known as the hikikomori, right, these are people that have not left their rooms, or their apartments, in some cases, for years, because they've, for various reasons, decided to sort of drop out of society, but because they have the conveniences of modern living, they don't need to leave the house. Right? Right. Because if they want something to eat, you know, DoorDash, or UberEATS, or whatever, if they want, that they want to work, they can, they can work from, you know, the comfort, you know, the comfort of their home, you know, they can, they can sort of, you know, saying their pajamas, and do their work on their laptop, without having

00:32:42--> 00:32:46

gone into the office or having to go into the office, you know, some of them are even hiring,

00:32:47--> 00:33:36

you know, sort of surrogate siblings, for parents or, you know, or, you know, a significant others. I mean, so the social cohesion that is created by people actually engaging in, you know, in these activities, that actually makes a community possible. So again, if we refer to the Amish, again, these are people that farm together, they build barns and houses together, you know, they maintain their animals, they're doing all of the things that the act of community needs in order to actually exist and function. And really, this is the story of civilization, is that it's, it's this ability for people to come together, cooperatively, and they're all doing their part, to actually create

00:33:36--> 00:33:56

this, this edifice, that results in one's ability to live a life, and, and most importantly, to live a life that they're not dependent on, on any one, say, outside of that community, in order to have the things that they need. This is really what ultimately,

00:33:57--> 00:34:40

what ultimately needs to be built if we are to have any kind of kind of communal or social integrity, that enables us to be able to, again, address these challenges face these challenges that are increasingly facing us. Yeah, no, I mean, that that brings us back to the idea of externalities, right? Because I, you know, this doesn't, this comes at a cost right to live and SubhanAllah. You know, the example of Japan, almost like the full logical conclusion of the individualistic society with the phenomenon that you're referring to. Right? It seems to me that there's three sort of categories of externalities, right. So so one, is that a complete, like, destruction of community

00:34:40--> 00:35:00

and civilization? The second is the de Skilling and the alienation of the individual. Absolutely. Absolutely. No, thank thank you for mentioning that because that's another that's another very important point. So no, please go ahead. Well, I'd love to hear your comments. But just to think about that, that hyper urban hyper sort of individualistic person

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

And you're pressing buttons, pressing buttons, pressing buttons. So you can't, you can't do anything. Right. Like, really, like you can't build a house, you can't build a boat, you can't, you know, like, you know, birth an animal, let alone a child, right? A human, right, like, different for every technology. And this goes back to the Greeks, like for every technology that has introduced, a skill is lost. Now, again, that doesn't mean that we're against technology, but you have to be intentional in principle, in which technologies you're going to utilize, you know, have that cost benefit analysis, and which ones it's like, the cost of losing this skill is actually a liability.

00:35:37--> 00:36:07

If we lose the ability to grow food, the Muslim community in America does not grow its own food, right? Then we're vulnerable as a community, someone can control us, if someone wants to turn off, you know, the spigot and like and mess with us in a certain way. That's a vulnerability that we have, both communally and individually, there's a huge D skilling of the population where we just don't know what to do, how to do things anymore. Yeah, and it's funny. So again, this is something that's referred to in the paper is a great book written by

00:36:09--> 00:36:14

James D. Scott, who's a professor of American Studies at Yale, he wrote a book called

00:36:15--> 00:36:21

against the grain, the deep history of the earliest states. And he actually makes mentioned at this point of, of de skilling,

00:36:22--> 00:36:33

because what he what he, he talks about something that he calls the four domestications Right, so he says that they were that, that basically agriculture,

00:36:35--> 00:37:02

and sort of his analysis of the, you know, of this, this, you know, this phenomenon is a product of what he calls the four domestications, which would be plants, animals fire. And the last one is, I think, particularly interesting people, right, so, you have this domestication of plants, animals fire, and people, I would, I would actually say that there's a fifth water, that, that, that's something else that has to be sort of domesticated in a way such that you have again access to it,

00:37:04--> 00:37:31

but how do you domesticate people? Right, and one of the ways that he talks about the manner in which people are domesticated is through the process of de skilling to where they become less independent. Right. And they and and, and as they become more and more dependent, right, less independent, they become more sort of ripe or ready for capture,

00:37:32--> 00:37:34

right. And so,

00:37:35--> 00:38:13

this is something that certainly could be said for this transformation of people from functioning primarily as producers. And they increasingly become more and more defined as consumers, right. So, if if people are only valued, and what they consume, more so than what they produce, and this is precise, this, this goes back to the point made about, again, measuring the health of a nation by the GDP, right. And if GDP is mostly

00:38:15--> 00:38:24

driven by consumer activity, then you need people less than less to produce things, right? Why because so much, so much of production is

00:38:26--> 00:38:51

increased as more and more provided to us through automation, again, through outsourcing to fewer and fewer people, right, so you need people less than less in that regard. And you need them to still function in some way, shape or form as customers for the things that you're producing, then yes, you this is where the scaling becomes a really

00:38:52--> 00:38:59

critical part of the conversation. Now, the, the, the, what I mentioned about capture, and this actually speaks to our,

00:39:01--> 00:39:11

our eschatology, if you think about a figure like the job, right, right now and a lot protect us from, you know, from from his machinations. I mean,

00:39:12--> 00:39:32

one of the things that people are asked, and folks need to be reminded of this. One of the things people are asked when he emerges, is, that's why do you follow Him? Right, and the end, and the answer is quite frightening. And it speaks directly to what we're saying. The response is, because he feeds us Yeah.

00:39:34--> 00:39:35

Which is,

00:39:36--> 00:39:40

which is a stunning realization, is that

00:39:41--> 00:39:46

the most serious threat to humanity,

00:39:48--> 00:39:49

you know, in

00:39:50--> 00:39:51

its since its inception,

00:39:53--> 00:39:53


00:39:54--> 00:39:58

is going to have people fall prey to Him, because He feeds them

00:39:59--> 00:40:00

which would

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

imply that they no longer have the capacity to be able to feed themselves. And I think people should be

00:40:08--> 00:40:25

extremely frightened by that. Yeah, that's terrifying. And he has to find a lot. So, you know, that's, I like this conversation because we're talking about externalities and the human cost. And we haven't even talked, we haven't even talked about pollution. Right? You know, it's like,

00:40:26--> 00:41:09

like, just, I love it. But it has to be done to show people how expensive this thing is, you know, artists, the broadest sense of the term, sure community is gone, individual sort of being able to sustain yourself is gone, like the human life is miserable. That's not even getting at the destruction to the world of making it uninhabitable, the pollution, what's in our water, you know, the hormones and the medicinals, the pharmaceuticals that are in everything that we do, and everything that we touch, you know, the list goes on, and on and on. Right. So I think that if we're doing a Scared Straight episode, this is the Scared Straight sort of component of this conversation

00:41:09--> 00:41:51

is that, yeah, we got to wake up, like if whatever is the button, the push, if it's the jail, if it's, you know, the end of the world or etc. You know, though, you know, and I mentioned this in the beginning, but, you know, I critique secular environmentalism. Right. As as not, I don't think that it's ever going to be able to do it, because and I try to make things as brief and provocative as possible. And some of the things I put on social media, but some people might not understand it. So someone asked me one time about global warming, and I said, provocatively as a global warming is irrelevant. Right? Yeah. Not because it's not happening. But if we're making the debate about if the

00:41:51--> 00:42:30

argument is the globe is warming, therefore, we need to do something about it, then that invites somebody else to say, No, it's not it's not warming, or it's warming, but it's part of a larger cycle, it's going to cool down again, or it's warming, but we're not responsible for it. It's something else that's going on, you can't win that argument. Rather, I think the way of the slam in my perspective is, what's the right thing to do? Whether whether the earth is warming or cooling or whatever, what's the right thing to do in the most like the thickest sense of what it means to do the right thing? And then we'll be fine with the consequences, you know? Yeah. I mean, what's so I

00:42:30--> 00:42:34

think what's interesting about that is, you know, I think this speaks to

00:42:35--> 00:42:39

a larger question of, you know, what, why are we here?

00:42:41--> 00:43:23

You know, why, why do we exist? And, you know, this gets into, you know, what, you know, what, often, and this actually, I got a credit, she comes in with this, you know, sort of the five big questions, you know, the, you know, the, there's the cosmological question, the epistemological question, the, the ontological question, the material, logical question. And the eschatological question needing to be answered, you could probably throw in to, you know, the teleological question, actually a logical question, you know, who are we? You know, what are we? Where do we come from, you know, what is all of this? You know, what am I supposed to be doing while I'm here, you

00:43:23--> 00:43:24

know, if I want to meet a good end,

00:43:25--> 00:43:56

and what happens after this, like, where am I? Where am I heading to? And I think there comes a point when I think you, you become aware that these are things that you need to become that these are questions needing to be answered and demanding to be answered. And I think when you become serious about your life, you become aware of the fact that these are things you need to be concerned about, then you undertake a search. And I think for many of us, you know, trying to trying to answer these questions eventually led us, again, to becoming Muslim, you know, it led us to Islam.

00:43:58--> 00:44:12

But, I mean, all these are things that are also directly, humbly not thanks. You know, thankfully, they are, they are actually directly answered, you know, by the tradition. And so, you know, one of the one of the,

00:44:13--> 00:44:58

one of the quotes that I actually haven't, you know, in the in the piece is from Oregon, Melissa Hardy, who, you know, he says he mentioned that, you know, the human being is here to, to serve sort of three existential roles, right, and the first, you know, the first one you mentioned, is a monocle out, right? We're here to, you know, for the betterment or the cultivation of Earth. Right. And, you know, what, again, the betterment and cultivation what does it mean to cultivate something? Right, you're you are participating in it's being made better, right? And sort of this it's further beneficial development, like it's fully able to express what it was made to be. The second one he

00:44:58--> 00:44:59

mentions is you

00:45:00--> 00:45:15

Ibadah right worship, and and this could extend beyond solely the ritual acts of worship, you know, this could also extend to, again mundane acts that are intended to be as worship.

00:45:16--> 00:45:26

And the third one he mentions is Khilafah. Right or the stewardship of the creation. So it's interesting is the sort of the three purposes he highlights,

00:45:27--> 00:45:28

two of them

00:45:29--> 00:45:40

have direct reference or make direct direct reference to the manner in which the human being comports itself in relation to the creation. Right, and then he and then he says that, that in doing so

00:45:41--> 00:45:44

that the human being is to rule

00:45:46--> 00:45:47


00:45:48--> 00:46:01

sort of divine attributes, right. Right, and the imitation of Allah, and the five attributes you mentioned. And basically, they're almost like the cardinal virtues right of justice, courage, temperance, and, and,

00:46:02--> 00:46:05

and justice, courage, temperance, and

00:46:07--> 00:46:07


00:46:09--> 00:46:13

I'm not sure I gotta, I gotta, I gotta remember the Four Virtues. But I'm drawing a blank right now.

00:46:15--> 00:46:29

So and so he mentioned the five right, the five that he that he that he highlights in his sort of his version is wisdom. Okay, wisdom, actually, that was the fourth wisdom justice, beneficence, graciousness.

00:46:30--> 00:46:42

Right, wisdom, justice, beneficence, graciousness and forbearance. So those are the five dimensions. Right. I think the previous again, the cardinal virtues of wisdom, justice,

00:46:44--> 00:46:50

temperance, and courage. I'm sorry, that's what it was courage was the was the other one. So.

00:46:51--> 00:47:41

And in putting those those qualities on display, he said, and this is where the scatological portion comes in. Right? Where are you headed? Where are you trying to go? He says that doing so allows for a person to gain paradise and ultimately proximity to God. Right now, that's the goal. The goal isn't necessarily to save the environment. Right. You know, it's not to heal the climate of the Earth. Right. That's, that's something. Jani we should all be. sort of automatically. Yes. You know, sort of, again, as given what we've been made, we should be we shouldn't be drawn to doing that. Anyway. Yeah, the goal is to literally our goal is to arrive to God, it's almost the consequence of

00:47:41--> 00:48:02

arriving to God, it is the consequence of arrivata gonna happen. Yeah, absolutely. And so I think this is, and I think that one of the problems of not all the modern modern environmental movement, but I would also say, kind of modern, sort of contemporary, conventional economic theory

00:48:03--> 00:48:09

is ultimately what is the end game? Yes. Right. You know, what, where are you trying to go?

00:48:11--> 00:48:19

And if you're not able to definitively answer that, if there's no consensus, then I think, you know, that should give people pause.

00:48:21--> 00:48:39

You know, and so, you know, that, and then also the fact that we're given an understanding as to what it is that we should avoid, by the tradition. So for example, the I set up the room, right, corruption has appeared on the land in the sea. Right, right, but what the hands of human beings have brought,

00:48:40--> 00:49:22

and that they might taste the pain of what it is that they've done, and the hope that they might return, right, or whatever, or whatever misfortune befalls you. He pardons much. Right? So that, you know, I'm sorry, whatever misfortune befalls you it's been, it's because of what your hands have earned, sorry. And then He pardons much, but the fact that we can sort of go either way, we can either we can either be in the world in a manner that actually again makes it better, or we can corrupt it, no, meaning we can introduce errors into something that has been made sound, right. And we're told that over and over again, you know, within within the Quran, or within the tradition, is

00:49:22--> 00:49:59

that the is that this world, the world is made perfect. Right? It was made sound, it was made green and verdant. Right? And that Allah is actually watching what we do, put in this environment, put in this habitat, and then on the basis of what we do, this is how we are able to actually show who we actually are. Yeah. So the way forward, I think I'm gonna just pull out a couple of things that we've already sort of mentioned, if we're thinking about the way forward, you know, the first is to change our thinking, right and to understand, to understand ourselves properly, the creation

00:50:00--> 00:50:33

improperly or purpose properly, all the things that you just mentioned, it all starts with how you think about the thing. We, we also talked about sort of the the cultivation of virtue, you have to have a virtuous human actor, if any of this is is going to happen? Absolutely, we are only going to go as far as our sincerity and virtue take us. And it's the absence of intentionality and sincerity and virtue that has landed us in this entire mess. What else needs to be there? Or what else can be there when it comes to the way forward?

00:50:35--> 00:50:40

Yeah, I think that also, it's not only about kind of

00:50:42--> 00:50:59

how we resolve to change, we are change the way we are as individuals, we also need to do the work necessary to actually again, actually create communities that are operating, that are operating according to these these principles to these ideas.

00:51:01--> 00:51:03

And, again, that is done.

00:51:04--> 00:51:21

Not by only coming together, to observe, you know, again, certain kinds of ritual religious observances, you know, those are practices, that it really comes down to whether or not we're actually coming together to do like, kind of the mundane things.

00:51:22--> 00:52:01

And I think in particular, you know, the reason why something like, again, agriculture or the cultivation of land is so important is because this is the basis this provides the basis upon which our lives are made possible, as communities, right, we're not outsourcing that to somebody else. Right, that quite literally, the, the, you know, what, what Scott, you know, says in his book, is that, you know, policies, right? States were made possible, through this collective engagement of, again, cultivating a space,

00:52:02--> 00:52:35

to provide the things that actually makes they're coming together and staying together possible. In addition to and this is something I neglected to mention earlier, bringing us closer to a lot of signs, you know, one thing that I've tried to get people to shift their perspective on is that, if you spend, if you're just in your air conditioned house, then you walk down the pavement to your air conditioned car, and you go to your air conditioned office, and that's your life, you live in a city, you can't see the stars at night, you know, estimates of things, you're cut off from all of the tools that allow users to persuade you in the Quran

00:52:36--> 00:53:01

tries to appeal to human beings to strengthen their conviction to help inspire and motivate their obedience. He always goes through these signs that he has made. What I created, yeah, look, look at this, and then tell him so we're, we're only we're cutting off the branch that we're sitting on, right, by alienating ourselves, in addition to the other things about, you know, community and society. And

00:53:02--> 00:53:41

you know, another thing that that occurs to me, I'm thinking a lot, especially with what's going on now and Philistine about naming in language, right. And I think that there's another front that we need to fight when it comes to the way that what we call things and the terms that we use, think about, think about the whole concept of throwing it away, right? Like, we live in a very disposable throwaway culture because there's the optics of it, the reality of it is removed from like, what actually happens to your trash? When you get rid of it? Where does it go? What happens it's completely out of our consciousness. And so just like, you know, segregated housing or something

00:53:41--> 00:54:20

like that, if you don't see poor people, if you don't see people of other you know, ethnicities or whatever, you don't have that lived experience that you you're sort of your metrics are all wonky, you know, your instruments are all new, then absolutely calibration, like to have a living relationship with my food comes from here, this plot of Earth, and my trash goes here, this part of Earth, I think, goes a long way. I'm not calling it something like throwing away I don't know, maybe we need a new language for these sorts of things. But I think nificant No, no, no, it absolutely is significant. I mean, one of the kind of one of the central themes that

00:54:22--> 00:54:24

I often like to discuss this

00:54:26--> 00:54:32

you know, under underneath the umbrella of is is you know, this idea from sunup to Israa.

00:54:34--> 00:54:41

Where, you know, Allah, Allah says Verily, the wasteful responders the Bethanien mod, the brothers,

00:54:43--> 00:54:43

the shell team,

00:54:44--> 00:55:00

right and ever had shaytaan been a grateful to his Lord, yes, the look. So look at what look at all of the qualities that are mentioned in that I write the those who are wasteful, those who squander the blessings that are given to them. They are the brothers they

00:55:00--> 00:55:07

Yeah, the kin, right of the shell team. And that and that this also is a hallmark of one being

00:55:09--> 00:55:10


00:55:11--> 00:55:14

Right. It's, it's it is a it is a hallmark sign of ingratitude.

00:55:16--> 00:56:07

Now, if you if you look at okay, well, what's what's the other side of the coin from that? Right? So, Abraham, right, if you are grateful, right, then has he done that? Right? I will, I will increase SubhanAllah. Right. But if you're ungrateful, My punishment is severe Subhanallah now, it's, it's spelled out very clearly. Okay. So if if ingratitude in the world, is to squander or to or to waste, then what does gratitude look like? What is what what does that look like? As a practical matter? Yeah. Right. And I think, you know, I would suggest that gratitude looks like, regeneration, restoration, right, betterment, right, you're given something, and you actually, you

00:56:07--> 00:56:21

are you work in a manner or you operate in a manner that actually makes that thing better. Or it is able to, kind of, again, fully sort of express what it has been made. Right. And you are an agent, and facilitating that.

00:56:22--> 00:56:55

So, and I think this is something that is, you know, again, speaks to the problematic nature of, of, you know, the whole consumers rendering of the world. Ideas like planned obsolescence, right? Yeah. Yeah. We're calling every year lessons. Yeah, yeah. Right. All of those all of these ideas are, it grows out of this, this view that somehow the wasting of things, right for the sake of being able to bring in the new

00:56:56--> 00:57:04

right to constantly recreate it, status. Yeah, to be able to leave food on your plate to be able to leave food on your plate.

00:57:07--> 00:57:18

Which is crazy, which is crazy. From a from a working class household where, you know, my father would a wolf to me if I left my plate and working in restaurants. Exactly. Yeah.

00:57:19--> 00:57:25

Like, how do you leave food on the plate? Thank you for saying that. Yeah. Yeah, no, it's

00:57:26--> 00:58:05

just, it's not even understandable. But no, I mean, but it shows you how far ideology does play into it, because it's all about symbol and meaning what people think that they're doing when they're leaving for their players, they think that they're showing a stick not, they are showing that they don't need it, and they're above it, and they're etc. But this is this is ingratitude. And this is something that's morally appalling. Absolutely. And I think this and again, as you said, it's, it's so much of this is about recalibrating the way that we, you know, we see ourselves, right, and also our understanding of as to what the world is, and how we and what we understand, ultimately, sort of

00:58:05--> 00:58:34

the, the mission that has been assigned to us, right to carry out. And ultimately, the the ability for us to be able to fulfill, you know, the, you know, whatever role that we've been given, ultimately, that being able to take us to where it is that we say that we want to go. Right, but the proofs in the pudding. Yeah, right. We either, you know, we either got to put up or you know, remain reticent.

00:58:37--> 00:59:09

Beautiful. All right. Last Last question. Last thought before we wrap up here, okay, are there any because a lot of people, you know, if they get inspired to get motivated, they want to know a model. And this is from the Sunnah of Allah subhanaw taala. When he sent messengers, he could have just given us books, but he sent messengers to show us how it looks embodied. Are there any models that we have that we can look to or look towards when it comes to this type of regeneration that we're talking about? Absolutely. I mean, I mean, it's, I mean, historically, interestingly enough.

00:59:12--> 00:59:19

I mean, this was actually said to be a hallmark of the Muslims. I just, I just did a speaking engagement at Baylor University. True at seminary.

00:59:21--> 00:59:26

You know, this is a few weeks, you know, a few weeks ago, and I brought to the attention of these folks.

00:59:28--> 00:59:39

The you know, the work the work of art, you know, a brother, Dr. Cream, Latham actually wrote a brilliant article called The vocational society, which actually speaks to a lot of what we've been talking about.

00:59:40--> 00:59:59

He manages the Fila texts project, which is, you know, which is about these books of land husbandry. You know, that in some cases, I mean, the earliest book they have in the collection, I think dates back to the early 10th century, in early nine hundreds and their books from V

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

various portions of the Muslim world, dealing with

01:00:04--> 01:00:10

the topic of, you know, the cultivation of land the betterment of land, right, and then how this served as

01:00:12--> 01:00:37

the basis upon which these incredible civilizational achievements that the Muslims were able to accomplish. It was on the backs of their ability to be able to provision themselves, not only themselves, but also those people that they came into contact with. And a lot of what we see, you know, in, in the, in the New World, actually is a legacy of what our, you know, our our ancestors were able to create,

01:00:38--> 01:00:40

you know, some of the so for example,

01:00:42--> 01:00:47

I mean, there's, there's, I mean, there's a point that that I meant to mention, I mean, there's a beautiful Hadith

01:00:48--> 01:01:10

that's attributed to the Prophet was salam mentioned in imagery, Bonnie's book on Kassab, you know, on our livelihood. And it's it's actually the section that asks the question, which is superior, or more commerce or farming, right. And actually, in his estimation, you know, he says that the, you know,

01:01:11--> 01:01:30

Kenny, the the majority of scholars actually say that farming is more superior, or the cultivation of land is more superior, because more broad benefit is produced from it. And so he happens to mention a hadith where the prophet of Islam says that the farmer, the cultivator of land, is trading with his Lord.

01:01:31--> 01:02:16

And, and so I think that sentiment was something that was really taken to heart by the earlier communities. I mean, of course, these are, you know, these are sort of pre modern pre consumer people's Yeah. And so they saw the, the importance of being able to provision themselves. And, and because of that, you have a civilization like the, you know, like the the Muslims of Spain, that, at one point, during the Middle Ages, what were the dark ages for Europe, Spain had a population of 30 million people. And this is, and this is at a time when you took if you took the four most populous countries, and Europe at the time would have been, which would have been England, France, Germany,

01:02:16--> 01:02:23

and Italy, maybe had a population, a combined population of 15 to 20 million people. And, and so,

01:02:24--> 01:03:04

not only do you have this apparent, you know, ability to provide abundance to all of these folks, it also served as the backdrop against which all of these amazing civilizational accomplishments were, were produced, whether you're talking about arts, architecture, literature, law, mathematics, science, that all of these things were actually produced on the backs of their ability to demonstrate their willingness and their skill and their acumen, as cultivators not only of land not only of the actual physical landscape, but you also see as a product is cultivation, and this development of the human landscape.

01:03:05--> 01:03:21

And that that symmetry sort of that Yani, this mirroring, of one's ability to function as a cultivator as an agent of improvement and Betterment is you can't you can't

01:03:22--> 01:04:04

it I don't think you can become a better person, a better human being without engaging this aspect of our existential purpose in the world is actually making the world a better place by by helping it to to fully express what it was made to be. Well, I think that's a perfect note to end on that we could talk about this for a long long time. We'll have to have a follow up at some point but CMEs can't thank you so much for joining the program today. Wonderful reflections may Allah bless you know you do well I again thank you for fighting for the invitation. Yeah. To get together again. So yeah, I'm looking forward to Inshallah, Allah Subhana Allah Hello Hamza shadow Allah Allah, Allah

01:04:04--> 01:04:08

and Estelle critical to Blue Lake Salaam Alaikum. After Allah, Allah groups