Philosophical Liberalism Vs. The Sharia

Tom Facchine


Channel: Tom Facchine

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The speakers explore the history and meaning behind philosophical liberalism, including the French declaration of independence and the political agenda of the people. They explore the concept of universal universality and the need for schools to teach around the facts and values of the liberal system. They also touch on the risks and uncertainties that come with the development of the US economy and the potential for growth in the future. The U.S. tax reform is discussed, with Speaker 1 expressing confidence in achieving their full year guidance and not giving guidance on the outlook for the year.

Transcript ©

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Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa salatu salam ala l Mursaleen. de vie in our food what Mr. Medina he sought to offer us Hello as Qatar slim. Our Hamada May and found no and fatten. I'd be mad at them. Tina. Was it No, no money out of that. I mean, first of all, thank you very much for inviting me here. First time in Atlanta, definitely enjoying myself digging the lives. Michelle, you've got a lovely city, lovely community. You're in good hands with Sheikh Ibrahim. And it's my pleasure to be before you all today, I have to apologize. And be frank, I'm not at my A game. Today. I played basketball with the YM guys last night, and they roughed me up quite a

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bit. You see this big? Well on my forehead? Yeah, that was from the post from down downloading the posts, and also got my jaw realigned a little bit. So I'll do my best. I think the plan is to present for about an hour, I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of questions. So we'll maximum maximize time for questions and comments and sort of a conversation. After that. I'm not sure what you were told about this particular program, but it might be a little bit different than what you were anticipating, because there's a lot of confusion as to the usage of the term liberalism. When we say liberalism, we mean several different things historically. One of them is philosophical liberalism,

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which is different. It's more comprehensive and widespread than political liberalism. political liberalism is what you would oppose with conservatism, right. So you think of liberals and conservatives.

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That's only going to be a small part of today's presentation, we're talking about philosophical liberalism, which actually, both liberalism and conservative conservativism are part of,

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if you couldn't tell already, my first sort of

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training was in political theory, before I became a Muslim. And then after I accepted Assam in my senior year of undergrad, then eventually I went abroad to Medina and studied in Michelia, Sharia with Ibrahim. So my sort of passion for political theory is very much informed has informed my thought of learn. And it's something that I am able to, and very, very grateful to be able to exercise in my current role at 15 Institute, or I am the Research Director of assignments society, where we deal with a lot of these sorts of ideas, ideologies, and the ways in which they might pose threats to Islam and our relationship to

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the possibilities they might hold, right for our navigation of the North American post scription space.

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I'll start off with the best possible way to start off a lecture after obviously, beginning with the name of the law and citations upon his final messenger on a sort of sedan, which is with a Joe ha story. Nothing Hoja or Joe has known depending on which part of the only you're from, so there's a story where a jofa was sitting beneath a tree, and this particular tree was an oak tree. Okay, and oak trees produce what

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hickory nuts, acorns, right? Nuts, sometimes nuts, okay.

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And he's, it's a massive tree. So he's leaning up against that he's very comfortable. And then he looks out and he sees in front of him fields, you know, crops, farmers are going different things. And he notices a pumpkin patch. We're almost to almost the fall. So we can imagine the pumpkin patch.

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And he looks at the pumpkins. And he looks up at the, at the acorns. And he says, You know what, this is all backwards. Well, I got it wrong.

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He said, you take something as big as a pumpkin. And it's growing on this tiny, tiny, tiny vine.

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That if you just touched it, the pumpkin is gonna fall off the vine.

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And then you've got this big massive oak tree.

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And it makes this tiny, tiny, tiny acorn.

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He said, If I was ALLAH, I'd switch it.

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I would make the massive oak tree called the big pumpkin and the little tiny via hold little acorn.

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And then what happens? Think, what falls on his head and acorn and he says a hamdulillahi rabbil Alameen. And he says thank speak to Allah Who created the acorns that grow on the oak tree. And I'm glad that I'm not the creator of the worlds because I will be dead right now. This is a powerful story because it shows that despite the best intentions of human beings, epistemic ly speaking, we're very limited, okay, and what we can hope to improve upon Allah's creation. If mankind sets themselves towards a certain task, we're very, very good at solving the particular problem of a very narrow task. However, what often happens is that there's 10 other problems that our solution has

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created. Take for example, the automobile, the automobile.

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A very, very efficient solution to the problem, which was created to solve, which is the fairly rapid transportation between point A and point B. Excellent. However, were the negative consequences to the automobile. Yes, there were emissions, right? Environmental concerns, among other things. So when human time intervenes. Okay. That's not to say that we're completely pessimistic, but we should be cautious as to our efficacy, how well can we intervene? Now, when it comes to the dunya, you know, it's open season, we can experiment, we can try different things. But when it comes to religiosity, when it comes to spiritual matters, when it comes to things that the guidance of which

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is rooted in wacky, and Revelation, we should be even extra careful, careful, and extra cautious of getting it wrong.

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And this sort of reflection or meditation is relevant to the entire discussion tonight. Because when we think about ideologies or philosophies, we have to situate them properly, from the source from which they come. They are not divinely revealed.

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Revelation, they are not

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wacky. They are not things that come from Alaska to audit that are incontrovertible. By definition, they are the product of human design and human effort. And therefore, they're going to contain quite chuffed, they're going to contain good and bad, they're going to get it right, on particular issues. And they're going to go horribly, horribly astray on certain issues.

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So we're here to talk about philosophical liberalism. Why is it a particularly difficult by the way, this is a brand new lecture, a lot of traveling speakers, they recycled lectures, myself included. And that's not wrong. That's actually expected. Because when you have a new audience, you know, it's new to them. However, Abraham wanted me to talk about philosophical liberalism. And I have never given a dedicated talk about philosophical liberalism. So you're the first people in the world to hear this talk.

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That this is

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it's akin to asking a fish to describe water.

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Okay, because philosophical liberalism is the dominant ideology that most of the world is sort of inundated with. Okay? Contemporary 2023. Actually, it's been that way since the French Revolution, at least. Okay. So if you ask a fish to describe water, well, he's constantly swimming in it. He his response might be what water? What's the color of water? He would have to know something outside of water in order to properly contrast it, which is say, What's the color of it? Has it smell? What is What are its characteristics? That's a very useful sort of metaphor for understanding philosophical liberalism, this thing has been dominant for some time, the ideals or even just the political

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technologies that have come about in sort of the wake of philosophical liberalism, democracy, and, you know, human rights, etc, etc. These things are so dominant, as to be almost hard to grasp, and hard to touch, let alone hard to stand outside and evaluate.

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Nonetheless, we're gonna give it a shot. Because if you look at philosophical liberalism, it departs significantly from a summit guidance, not in the outcomes that everybody likes to talk about, like abortion and gay marriage and stuff like that. But we're talking about the roots. What's the idea of a human being that is implicit in liberal philosophy? versus what's the idea of a human being? That's implicit in the Koran? What's the teleology? That's implicit in philosophical liberalism. What are we here for? What's our purpose? What are we? What's our aim? versus what is implicit? What's our purpose? From the Quran and the Sunnah? This is the concern for us tonight. And if you

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take care of the roots, and if you spend time and look at that foundational level, then usually the things downstream of that take care of themselves.

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It's very important, in addition to mentioning that we're situating philosophical liberalism within human endeavors, okay, it is the product of human minds and not the product of divine revelation, that it was not a universally Human Project that actually it was produced from a certain place in a certain time. Okay, it was not produced from Africa. It's not produced from Asia was not produced from indigenous Americas. It was the product of European history and thought, okay. That's going to be extremely significant because I hope to show you if nothing else, by the end of this presentation, that

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when things are occurring in history, they're all

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Often responding to something else that preceded it. Okay? So if liberalism is seeking to solve certain problems that were specific to European history, then what happens is sometimes it over corrects on some problems. Sometimes it actually ends up assuming some of the underlying beliefs and values of the thing that was responding to, we'll see that as well.

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So when I talk about liberalism, again, philosophical liberalism is much broader than maybe you thought coming into this talk. Philosophical liberalism includes neoliberal capitalism, as well as communism and socialism. Philosophical liberalism includes constitutional liberalism, in addition to radical liberalism. It includes feminism, it includes queer theory, all things that I studied quite a bit before I was a Muslim.

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And so we have to be aware of the historicity of these ideologies, what are they responding to? How are they responding to them, and actually be able to compare

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what they have might have picked up along the way, either intentionally or inadvertently.

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So what was philosophical liberalism responding to? What was the dominant sort of arrangement or configuration of European life and society before liberalism took shape? I'll just give a couple of reflections about how again, this is a very historically specific arrangement that Europe had, it is not the arrangement of the Quran and Sunnah. It's not the arrangement that Islam advocates in the Sharia. So if we talk about aristocracy and hereditary privilege, that was dominant within a feudal system, you know, if you look at Islamic society, there was much more meritocracy much earlier on, in there are times and are loaded with Baba little Han, was asking his assistants to give him sort

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of the background profiles of the different governors across the Obama during his he left. And he was going across the different regions, this region, that region, that region, and the vast majority of the governors were freed slaves, free slaves, or the direct descendant like next generation of freed slaves. Okay, this is something that is unfortunately, under appreciated within the Anglo, you know, speaking sort of Dalit sphere, how Islam was such a powerful avenue for social mobility. And how then it leads you two questions. Well, it's like what we call these two things. Slavery wasn't really the same thing. The answer's no, it wasn't, we have to actually develop probably a new

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language to talk about what those differences were many of the great, great, great, or not scholars of the Tebbe Ain. And that's, that's at the end of the generation right after them were indeed slaves were freed slaves are the children of freed slaves. Right? So if we're talking about social mobility, eighth century Arabia, under the Sharia had it had it in a way that Europe would not experience until the dramatic liberal revolutions, French Revolution, American Revolution, and then 1848 revolutions, right. But there's a qualitative difference between the way in which each of those paradigms goes about trying to establish social mobility, okay, and that's what I want, basically,

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to keep in mind right now, is that just because one, just because both of them provide social mobility doesn't mean that both of them do it in the same way. Maybe one went too far, maybe one achieves of mobility, but added on to it different sorts of things, or residual elements of other ideologies that, you know, have other sort of consequences.

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Getting back to religion, thank you, again, the first response to the question of what was dominated European society before the liberal revolutions, and sort of philosophical liberalism, totalitarian Christianity is what I like to call it. What do I mean by the totalitarian aspect, it's really, really important because it distinguishes Muslim history and Islamic history from European history, there was a legal principle that was in effect for centuries and centuries that you could not have a different religion, from the religion of your political leader. Okay, I don't speak Latin. But there is a phrase in Latin, you know, so it's in the law books from that era, where if your Ching or even

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your local lord was a Protestant, and this goes after the Protestant Reformation as well, you had to be a Protestant. There was no freedom of religion, there was no religious diversity. So this is an you're going to start to see how this actually informs a lot of European history and then the responses to it. They thought due to their historical particular historical experience, that you could not possibly tolerate another religion and believe that what you believe in is completely true. They completed those two things, which will be very, very significant as we continue on, this is not so they had, let's say, again, I call it totalitarian Christianity. We could also say, a

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certain sort of uniformity, enforced religious uniformity, which is why they have inquisitions and you know, all these sorts of things that they had regular

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The the witch hunts, etc, etc. If you look to Islamic history, do we have any such thing as an inquisition, the only one that you can find is the mecca of Lima madman, right. And that was done by the people who weren't necessarily part of the Orthodox Summit.

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In addition to sort of the absence of inquisitions, Islamic society was able to tolerate religious diversity at a much, much earlier stage than European society was the me system, right, the system of having recognized religious minorities that were politically you know, they had a degree of political autonomy under a broader Islamic system was something that Europeans could not even dream about, until 1000 years later or more.

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Going lastly to the kings and the divine right of kings, right, the idea that absolute monarchy in Europe, the ideology that was usually marshaled to justify absolute monarchy was that the king was divinely appointed, and that he could do no wrong he was above the law. This is what Foucault referred to when he said sovereign wealth or sovereign power, he is the sovereign everything, the buck stops with him, right, the absolute authority to contravene the rules to suspend the rules, right. And this type of authority is unheard of in a Sonic Society or Muslim society. In the city are the only absolute sovereignty belongs to a loss of hundreds audit, and it's communicated through

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his revelation in the city. And so, who gets to be the people who are interpreting the laws, which are what he wants? The

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who are the interpreters of the *tier, the interpreters of the Quranic interpretivism know what sort of assault on where Khalifa had the abilities to suspend the *ty, right, this is unthinkable within Muslim society and Islamic society, there was no absolute sovereign in Islamic society in the way that there was in European history. And if you want to a very practical comparison, look at the speech of Abu Bakr, Radi Allahu anhu, when he becomes the first Khalifa it's very, very well known, all of you probably know it.

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He tells the people to hold him accountable. He says, I'm not the best one among you, if I stray sent me, right. And this was the attitude and the disposition, the orientation of Islamic leadership,

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completely diametrically opposed to the absolute sovereign of the Divine Right of Kings and European history. I try to bring these things out to show you that the world that liberalism, philosophical liberalism was reacting to was a very particular world. It had a lot of problems with it. It had a lot of things that were contrary to that. But then the question becomes,

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did the replacement for that corrupt system? Was it something that also introduced introduced new corruptions? Right things that maybe went too far react overreacted? Or things that were conflated, like in the, within the example of religion that we'll see shortly? That really, Assam provides a better way.

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So we'll go in reverse order here, these three pillars of pre

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pre liberal society. In Europe, we said that they were sort of the aristocracy, heritage, hereditary privilege, the state religion and the uniformity of religiosity within a territory, and then the absolute monarchy and the divine right of kings, we're going to flip it and go in reverse order. We're going to see how liberalism responded to each one of these, how did they respond? What did they replace the absolute monarchy with? What did they replace the state religion and the uniformity of state religion with? And then finally, what did they replace the aristocracy and hereditary privilege with

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when it comes to sovereignty, and the idea of replacing the absolute sovereign? Right and the absolute monarch, it was replaced with the political doctrine of the will of the people. Okay, we have the first statement of the, you know, the Constitution, the declaration of dependence, all these documents even as well with the French Revolution, the French constitution, we the people, okay, this is no accident. This was philosophical liberalism's response. If the monarch the absolute monarch could abuse his authority because he had absolute authority.

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And he had absolute authority because he had absolute sovereignty, then we have to take away sovereignty from this person, we have to put it somewhere else. This came with a political ideology that well the team wasn't really sovereign, he only existed to represent the sovereign people. That nation here comes nationalism, where the nation is what a sovereign and either the constitutional monarch later the Constitution itself later the parliaments and the elected representatives, they are merely the representatives of the sovereign will of the people.

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This is the

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of the this also, sorry, it was at the same time, the introduction of the idea of the consent of the government. Okay, before no one cared about the consent of the government in European history, you have an absolute monarch, you're a peasant. He owns you. Right? No one cares if you consent or not, there's not even a pretense that there's any consent going on. But with the liberal displacements of absolute monarchy, there came a concern with the suppose of consent of the government. Now, in reality, this is more of a political myth than it is actual reality. And I like to give this example, you know,

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2024 is an election year, right? We're the people, right? So we should have sovereignty, correct. The government should be accountable to us, the government's there to represent us, right? So what happens if all of us stay home and none of us look,

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the whole nation?

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What's the government going to do?

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Oh, I guess we're not legitimate anymore, we better go home and let them form another government. Now they're going to still maintain their power. So you have to distinguish sometimes between justifications, or mythologize and facts on the ground when it comes to the consent of the governed, the supposedly sovereignty of the people, right, this is a mythology, that liberal philosophy that attempted to theorize and attempted to replace absolute monarchism with, but it has limits and it is sort of a formality that exists on paper, and not an actuality, the theorizes such as Locke and etc, that consider this idea of the consent of the governed that we're trying to build out this theory.

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They underestimated and didn't anticipate the way that the state, the liberal states would continue to expand his own power and pursue its own aims to secure its own sort of longevity.

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Islamic sovereignty, as we've mentioned, is completely different. So we've seen how sovereignty has been removed from the monarch and replaced with the people that mess and there's various ways that we can sort of imagine how the popular sovereign will might represent itself in some way.

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in Assam, and Allah Spano Tata says this in a few places in the Quran,

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the hokum belongs to a lost continent, which means that ultimate sovereignty only belongs to Allah azza wa jal, that's a very radically different way of structuring society and conceptualizing sort of even leadership and rulership. Right. If there is a king, a monarch, the will may it's or anybody, do they have the same level of authority and sovereignty that a European King did? Absolutely not? Absolutely not. They are considered accountable to something higher than themselves, even if there was oppression, even if there was about the right transgression, people who went beyond the limits, yes, 100%, but not in a structural way, not in a systematic way. They eat at the

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very least had to give lip service to the Sharia supremacy and their accountability to the Sharia very, very different way of structuring society.

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Liberalism and philosophical liberalism also replaced this sort of absolute monarchy, with the idea of equality before law, and the rule of law, what they were attempting to do is they're attempting to get away from what they saw as the arbitrariness of sovereign power. So again, if you have an absolute monarch, who's able to do whatever they want, okay?

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It is, what's one of the weaknesses of that system is arbitrariness. Okay? He says, You are like you have, you know, I'll give you a high position, you don't like you off with your head. And this is arbitrary. And this is not fair. Everybody recognizes that. So philosophical liberalism attempted to solve this problem by introducing the idea of equality before law, everybody is the same in front of the law.

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The idea was that this would ensure equal outcomes for everybody. However, when it came to imposing equality, and assuming that equality had to mean the sameness, it actually resulted in a type of insensitivity to differences that Islamic law was never troubled by it's not a law actually is a mix between sort of the ability for individuals to have discretion in some situations, versus a sort of fixed text and baseline laws that apply to everybody. Right? So if we look at even between religions, under the Sharia, we have legal diversity. Okay, something that's unheard of today. Now, within lip philosophical liberalism, there's an expectation that everybody has to have the same law

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applied to them, or else it's not fair.

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Under the Sharia, the Christians were allowed to sort of rule themselves for the most part, and the Muslims had their law that applied to them and a different religious minorities had their law that applied to them there was something was called legal pluralism. Interesting that philosophical liberalism is associated with pluralism yet it does

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has not subscribed to legal pluralism. Whereas Islam had legal pluralism from the start.

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Even within the Sharia was talking about all Muslims being subjected to certain authority, certain figureheads coming before a judge seeking effects. While these sorts of things, there was room for individual discretion. And perogative, it wasn't a simple liberal bureaucracy of every law has to apply to everybody in the exact same way to the point where perhaps you're even getting into a place of insensitivity towards difference in reality. This is a much larger discussion that we don't have time for. But I think it would just touch on it.

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Another thing that philosophical liberalism instituted in order to replace the idea of absolute monarchy and the divine right of kings, was a moral Universalist. Okay, so this idea of tolerance, okay. Now, it's called tolerance. But one of our objectives is to sort of excavate that term and to see how tolerant is it really, I mean, I could claim to be the most tolerant person in the world, right? As long as you don't move next door. Right. And so there's lip service, just like we said, with the consent of the governed, and then there's reality. So we need to be critical about these things to observe. Is this really tolerant? Is it relatively tolerant speaking in European

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historical terms, but even when we compare it to Islamic society and Sharia? How does that tolerance stack up against the tolerance that's built into our tradition? I think if you compare them and go deeper, you'll find that liberal tolerance is not very tolerant at all. Because philosophical liberalism understands itself as a universal, universal system of values and rights. That means that no one has the opportunity to opt out. Right there. Everybody is subject to these ideas. And I've put a couple of quotes that are from the you know, figureheads of philosophical liberalism, both in foreign policy. Well, let's start with foreign policy when it comes to here's a classic question and

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political theory, you're a liberal state. Okay, that prides herself on tolerance for different ways. What do you do if you come across a different country or society that's not so liberal or not so tolerant? How far is your tolerance reach?

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John Stuart Mill said, quote, barbarians have no rights as a nation. And

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so we see that the extent of liberal tolerance is actually quite, quite limited.

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There is no discussion of well, what qualifies you as a barbarian? As Muslims, we know that we've been cast as barbarians unjustly, throughout much of our history. So who gets to hold the keys and have the final say, on who's a barbarian and who's not? And therefore, who is considered to have rights and sovereignty, or not

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another major theorist of liberalism, John Rawls, he argued something very similar. So this is not isolated. I'm not just pulling quote selectively. Okay, he argued that liberal peoples have to distinguish between what he called decent, non liberal societies from, quote, outlaw, non liberal societies, the former the decent ones, have a claim on liberal people's to tolerance, well as the latter do not. And all you need to do is review the history of racism. And that is sort of an endemic problem to European history and philosophy to guess, who's going to be labeled a decent, a decent, external sort of state and society that will be have a claim to tolerance and who wants

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liberal philosopher Hegel said that Africa had no history. So, you know, probably not eligible for liberal tolerance.

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And whereas John Stuart Mill obviously was reading an 1800s. Rawls is writing in 1999.

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domestic policies, not very different, but the extent to of liberal tolerance, it doesn't reach as far as it portrays itself as reaching. So if you look at education, we're actually playing out some of these issues right now on the ground, the United States, where as the liberal nation state, again, we're talking philosophically liberal, not necessarily Democrat or left leaning, has certain prerogatives that it deems as essential to teach people in public schools, whether that be about gender, whether that be about sexuality, or that'd be about different sort of family arrangements, cetera, et cetera. And many citizens have values that teach the opposite, or at least sort of

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dissent from some of the things that are being taught in education. This also goes on for evolution, etc, different ideas of creationism, there's many different sorts of venues where this same problem plays out.

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So who wins? How far does liberal tolerance extent? And again, my argument is that it does not extend very far. If you've been following some of the events in Montgomery County, Maryland. One of the

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while the city council or sorry, the school board members said that when it came to Muslims that wished to sort of take their children out of you know, sort

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have lessons about gender ideology in elementary schools that

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they could, quote, teach around the facts at home. That was the quote when talking about sort of Muslim parents and the obligation for Muslim students to be in the classroom and receive this type of education and be inculcated with these particular values. So you see how your how there's no sort of hermeneutic to even grant this validity as a possible truth, teach around the facts at home, basically, we're going to give you the facts when you come into the public school setting, that there are, you know, 270 genders, and that, you know, every sort of family arrangement is just as valid as the other one.

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And you can teach around the facts at home. So how far does liberal tolerance extend? The liberal state has its idea of education and what you should be taught, and it will achieve it.

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And not necessarily have a ton of tolerance for other viewpoints. We also see this in the phenomenon of conscientious objectors. If you go back to the Vietnam War, right. Many people in the United States were conscientious objectors of this war, and they had to literally flee the country. Okay, they could not exist. Muhammad Ali was a very, very famous example, where he was conscripted to fight in the war, and chose to go to jail rather than than flee the country.

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How far is liberal tolerance extent, again, when it comes to sort of the the state getting to decide what's important, and what's not what's essential, and what's not what you can opt out of, and what's not. What you cannot opt out of? Vaccines are another example, right? We see, you know, everything that happened with COVID-19, you have people on both sides of the fence, right? Up in New York, where I live, you know, the state is very sort of liberal in both senses, philosophically liberal and also sort of socially liberal, as we'll say, and vaccine mandates were expected, they actually took away the possibility to get any sort of religious exemptions. In other places, you

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find the opposite, you sort of find people who are very, very resistant to this sort of thing. But notice, again, how far does tolerance extend?

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It doesn't always extend very, very far despite sort of ideology being priding itself on having tolerance, especially if you consider it compared to Islam in society. I think that's the main takeaway that I'm trying to emphasize here. The things that liberalism claims to do well, it's not actually does them better. That's if you walk away from this talk with nothing with that, and humbly that.

00:32:23--> 00:33:00

That was the first pillar. So the first pillar we're talking about the divine right of kings, absolute monarchism, etc. How did philosophical liberalism attempt to replace this way of doing things with something completely different? All of what I just mentioned is part of that. The second pillar, like the sister said, religion or let's say, the totalitarian Christianity to be a little bit more specific. What was philosophical liberalism's answer to that? I'm going to spend the least amount of time on this because I've done a lot of work on this with blogging theology polemics online, in different forums as well talking about secularism. Okay, so the answer for philosophical

00:33:00--> 00:33:03

liberalism to Christian totalitarianism was secularism. Okay?

00:33:04--> 00:33:19

The idea behind secularism is that if people again, remember I talked about the conflation that was made in European history, they assumed due to their experience, that if you and I don't agree, we're just going to kill each other.

00:33:21--> 00:33:48

On religion, if we don't agree that we have to have religious uniformity, if we tolerate somebody that's outside of this, that it's going to lead to, to violence. How do we solve this problem at a societal level? The response was, or a possible solution was secularism. Let's not have people identify primarily with their religious sort of group, let's have people identify with a transcendence, political ideology, such as the citizen.

00:33:49--> 00:34:30

And that's something that all of us will have in common, and that's what will hold us together, and then your religious identity will be something that's private. Okay, so all of us go from instead of being Christian souls, like part of the Catholic body of souls or the church, the Apostolic Church, like Christianity preaches, or part of the Ummah, right, sort of a parallel concept. We go to Okay, well, we're American citizens who passport, okay, and you have your faith and it's private in the home and I have my faith and we don't even have to talk about that. So the idea here was that this would be more neutral, that this would actually allow a greater degree of tolerance and

00:34:30--> 00:34:35

respectability between people, but again, that is up for critical evaluation.

00:34:38--> 00:34:41

Immanuel Kant was one of the, you know, leading sort of

00:34:42--> 00:34:58

enlightenment philosophers or post enlightenment philosophers and he had this idea of contractual ism that's very, very important to this discussion about secularism. He said that society is best governed by principles that do not presuppose any principle of good or any theory of good

00:34:59--> 00:35:00

now if

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

He picked up on that statement, it's actually quite ironic because that itself was a theory of good, right? The idea that being able to organize a society without a strong idea of good is in itself good and the right way to go. This is responsible for sort of philosophical liberalism's idea of, we don't want to impose anything on anybody else. Very different from Islam to cry for D, okay, we have a parallel sort of principle of non imposition. But the content of these two things is different. When it comes to philosophical liberalism, there's a sort of idea of It's my life, mind your business, and I don't need to justify anything to you.

00:35:38--> 00:36:19

What's the idea of the human self that is operational here within philosophical liberalism? And how does it compare to the idea of, of the human self that we have in a snap, the self that is assumed here, the one that can apply the ties the religion that can identify with the nation state as a citizen, as a citizen first and forget the OMA maybe on the weekends or after school, this is the idea of a materialist individual, it assumes that What is real is materialist. Your real Self is your body, the atoms that make you up, you know, your culture, these sorts of things. And your religion is something that is extra, right? It's almost similar to your culture, you can have it,

00:36:19--> 00:36:54

you cannot have it, it can be part of you, you can leave it, it's not really that important. paradigmatically. Okay. This is an entire metaphysics, which is really important to realize that liberalism is not just a political ideology, it's a whole philosophy and a worldview. And it assumes a type of person for whom religion is something that a separate table, this is where we get the idea of, well, if you're an elected official, you have to leave your beliefs at the door. Or if you come and teach, you have to leave your beliefs at the door. Very, very interesting that my beliefs are something that I can separate from myself in the first place like a pen in my pocket. This is a

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

particular philosophical worldview, and a philosophical worldview, that is characteristic of philosophical liberalism.

00:37:02--> 00:37:07

It presupposes a certain definition of religion that is separable from the real self at all.

00:37:09--> 00:37:46

And it assumes that religion it has a materialistic definition of religion as something that has beliefs and practices, rituals, symbols, etc. and not something that we would say is hot and bothered truth and falsehood. So we're talking about the three pillars of pre liberal society in Europe and what philosophical liberalism replaced them with. So we had absolute monarchism and the divine right of kings, and it was replaced with the sovereignty of the people popular sovereign will consent of the governed equal equality before law, etc, etc. We had sort of totalitarian Christianity, and that that was replaced with secularization. And then finally, we had sort of

00:37:46--> 00:37:56

aristocracy, okay, we had hereditary privileges. And that was replaced by Liberty and autonomy. This is where you get into the sort of,

00:37:57--> 00:38:04

you know, liberalism is based off of liberty, okay, so it's a very, very central concept, we can go back to John Locke,

00:38:05--> 00:38:48

who was a really interesting human being, by the way, if you were ever to read, again, this book that I referenced ugly freedoms goes into Locke's theorization of liberty and autonomy, and he actually takes his ideas of freedom and liberty from sugar plantations in the Caribbean. So his ideas of liberty were actually very tied up in the racial slave economy. And he took that model Barbados particularly and actually he was on the board to draft the constitution of South Carolina and exported that, that sort of mentality to the Constitution of South Carolina and then scaled it up for the United States. So John Locke is kind of looked on with like, warm fuzzies of this kind of

00:38:48--> 00:39:10

person who helped define and pioneer individual liberty. But he was a stakeholder in the North Atlantic slave trade, big time and a lot of his theories of, of freedom of liberty of autonomy is really him theorizing white colonizer, liberty and white colonizer autonomy. Lots to unpack there, not for this talk.

00:39:13--> 00:39:35

So locked started on this premise that you own yourself. That was his whole sort of launching point for his idea of sovereignty and autonomy. The idea is that your body is analogous to a territory, okay? You can move your body, nobody else can move your body for you except by coercion.

00:39:36--> 00:39:50

We can argue that but that's his sort of idea. Therefore, you have sovereignty over your body. Okay, this is your territory. You're the king. Interesting how he kind of repurposed as the divine right of kings and absolute monarchism, but he routes it in the body.

00:39:52--> 00:39:56

From this results and on sort of

00:39:57--> 00:39:59

unequivocal self ownership

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

Do you completely and absolutely own yourself. And the most, the highest expression of freedom and self ownership is the ability to do what you want, which is known as its autonomy, right? The ability to forge your own path, to take what you want and to make it into reality.

00:40:22--> 00:41:09

This is a very, very different notion than what we have in Islam, where we have an idea of just as we have, we started with a laws complete sovereignty. Allah has complete ownership, including our bodies, right? If we have popular arguments today, such as my body, my choice, this is something that violates a principle of Islamic metaphysics and theology, which is that it's not our bodies in the first place. The body belongs to Allah subhanaw taala Allah Spano Tata is the only ultimate sovereign and He grants a conditional sovereignty, a derivative, secondary sovereignty to us more of a stewardship really, than something of a sovereignty. If you release something into somebody else's

00:41:09--> 00:41:17

care that you own, let's say you leave something to your children. And you say, Hey, here's this watch. It's very, very nice watch. It was your grandfather's he passed away?

00:41:18--> 00:42:00

Here's a swatch. If they take it and use it in inappropriate ways, it's going to be upsetting, we would say that would be insulting. Why because there's an expectation for the one who owns it originally, it has full sovereignty over it when they grant a limited degree of sovereignty in a derivative sort of way. The understanding is that that secondary owner is going to be a steward of that property, according to the dictates of the ultimate sovereign owner. Okay, so when Allah subhanaw, Taala gives you a bod. There, there are strings attached, okay? You don't have ultimate sovereignty over that body, you don't get to do absolutely everything with it that you like. And

00:42:00--> 00:42:41

that might look like a positive thing or a negative thing sometimes. And what I mean by that is that there might be things that you have to do, like salah, right? Or things that you have to stay away from, like Xena, right? And you can't pull this argument? Well, it's my body is my choice. No, that doesn't fly here. It's not a valid argument. And it all comes from the theory of the body, you are actually not yourself. Why is this significant? This is extremely significant within the course of history, because this idea of bodily ownership and all ownership and sovereignty, being limited to the territory of your body was also a really important ingredient in the European dispossession and

00:42:41--> 00:43:10

extermination of Native Americans. They came to the North America's with this assumption that in that ownership had to look like a certain thing. And if your ownership didn't look like their ownership, this complete control over the body and certain certain sort of productive use, that it wasn't ownership, and therefore it was up for grabs. And that was basically the logic by which they dispossessed the Native Americans of their lands and their territories was by this sort of logic indebted to John Locke,

00:43:12--> 00:43:14

among others, the papal bull of

00:43:15--> 00:43:16

14, what is it?

00:43:17--> 00:43:29

I forget what year 1495 Or earlier, what's called the Doctrine of Discovery, you should look that up doctrine of discovery was a past papel bull that was equally aimed at Muslims and Native Americans.

00:43:31--> 00:44:12

You guys know this? Very, very well look it up. That's called the doctrine of discovery. The Pope declared, and the papal bulls and official and the Pope is infallible and the Christian church. So again, I'm talking Christian totalitarianism. This is what it looks like that any land owned by Saracens, that's us, Muslims, or pagans, that's Native Americans is up for grabs. Any European anywhere in the world comes across it Christian European, you can take that as the Doctrine of Discovery. Okay, yeah, that's a long time ago. we've progressed so far from there. Ruth Bader Ginsburg referred to the Doctrine of Discovery in her 2008 decision against the United Native

00:44:12--> 00:44:22

Americans up in central New York, where I'm based in order to justify not giving them their land back. So this is still law. And it's still recognized.

00:44:23--> 00:44:30

But that also is off topic for tonight. But you see how these things intersect. Liberalism has a sort of

00:44:31--> 00:44:51

posturing of tolerance, of acceptance of open mindedness, but it's extremely significant, like you mentioned in the beginning that the majority of colonialism was actually animated by philosophical liberalism, and not the ideologies that came before it. Especially the, I would say more brutal and totalitarian forms of colonization.

00:44:52--> 00:45:00

We're getting a little off topic, but this is interesting stuff. Where'd I get to? Yes, Allah's ownership come

00:45:00--> 00:45:49

Please sovereignty over anything and therefore our stewardship, what is the Las Panatela say in the Quran, in Surah Baqarah, one of the first instances in which he's talking about the future creation of the human race, to the angels in Niger, I don't fill out, Khalifa, very fascinating that I lost count the other begins the story of man of humankind, not as a description, of Bishop of nests of INS of something that we already are, but rather an aspiration, something that we are destined to become and live up to and fulfill. Do we come into this world, as a Khalifa, the children, the young children here, are they prepared to be full of fat? Not yet, insha, Allah, may Allah make them for

00:45:49--> 00:46:01

the fat on this mountain, we're not just talking about the political role, or the political station, we're talking about Stewart's somebody who takes care of something calleth, after it has been left for them by a loss of pounds.

00:46:02--> 00:46:29

So it's a very different sort of calculus here, you're not free, sorry, not in the way that liberals intended, you're not free to do whatever you want. This is not actually the ultimate goal of human life, you have responsibilities, and you are actually created into this world with expectations. And those expectations are actually good for you the expectation to steward the things to take care of things to actually facilitate and develop things, rather than just do whatever you want. It's rather crude when you think about it. And compare that to

00:46:33--> 00:46:50

this idea of ownership of self, versus the Islamic sort of idea of qualified ownership was also in addition to being responsible for the dispossession of Native Americans, was responsible for the brutal exploitation of nature. In European history, we're talking about the clear cutting of forests a complete,

00:46:52--> 00:47:25

you know, denuding of the natural world of its resources, the idea that we can just use and cut and spend and do whatever we want, this is a very, very small logical step from this idea of complete individual sovereignty over my body, whatever I own, I can do whatever I want within what I'm that's with a machete or even if you own property, you can't do whatever you want with it. You can't take goods and light fire to them and burn them. Right? This is something that is a sloth something that is sinful waste, right. And so we have two completely different paradigms

00:47:26--> 00:48:07

in addition to this, so tucked in with, again, liberty and autonomy that are replacing sort of what came before in terms of aristocracy and hereditary privileges, society shifts to focusing on rights rather than obligations if you want to talk about feudalism. Okay, Feudalism was you could describe it as a society that's based off of obligations, okay? Now, it didn't always work. And we talked about that in the very beginning that it had excesses and major shortcomings in those obligations. But theory was that the aristocracy and the kingship would feel their obligation and have an obligation to the peasantry. And the clergy would have an obligation to it's, you know, it's sort of

00:48:08--> 00:48:24

a congregation at cetera, et cetera, even if it didn't work out that way. But liberalism, seeking to displace this arrangement replaced the idea of obligations with rights. Okay, so instead of focusing on what am I do to another person, what am I entitled to from somebody else?

00:48:26--> 00:48:36

Your concept and I gave a talk on ECMO last year, about human rights, and we don't have time to go into it all here. But your idea of rights

00:48:37--> 00:49:10

is completely determined by your idea of what the human being is in the first place. When we talk about human rights. Many people, they zoom right past the idea of a human being, and they go right to the rights, the rights that you think that you're entitled to completely depend upon your definition of what a human being is. If somebody's a hard materialist, they don't think that there's any sort of thing as heaven or hell, they don't think that there's anything after you die. They don't think that there's a God, they don't think that there's revelation, etc, etc. The rights that you feel entitled to, are going to be completely different from the person who thinks no, the human

00:49:10--> 00:49:48

being is primarily a soul. The human being is going somewhere in the afterlife, they will be held to account they will go into either gender or Johanna. Right there is Revelation there is sort of falling, there are prophets, right? This sorts of thing. So we have an emphasis on rights, that this place the emphasis on obligations, problematic as it was, but these rights are predicated on a very materialistic understanding of who the human being is, okay, we're not talking about your rights, the rights of your soul, the rights of your unborn child upon yourself, like we talked about in Assam, he talks about, you know, in Holocaust on choosing the spouse, right? How do you choose your

00:49:48--> 00:49:59

spouse, Oh, it's from the rights of the unborn child. This is rights. Islam has rights, but the content of what those rights are, are completely different, because they're predicated upon a different understanding of what the human being is.

00:50:00--> 00:50:07

If it's just a materialist human being, we're just a sack of cells, we're just matter a neurons firing, then the rights look completely different.

00:50:08--> 00:50:32

Another thing about this regime of rights is that they're completely individualistic. Okay? This is another sort of thing that philosophical liberalism ushered in rather than sort of communitarianism or things like that. All rights essentially, are individual rights. And we have a quote here from John Stuart Mill, it is only the cultivation of individuality which produces or can produce well developed human beings.

00:50:33--> 00:51:10

When you look at what's the purpose, okay, so how does what's the good that this sort of philosophical liberalism is predicated upon? We talked about liberty as being one of these things and autonomy. It's worth mentioning here that historically within European thought, there's two types of liberty and the philosophical liberalism basically pushed one of them to the forefront and displaced another. political theorists refer to this as negative liberty and positive liberty. positive liberty goes back to the Greeks, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, etc, which has to do with the capacity to act. Okay? They actually conceive of this as a type of freedom. Right? Let's say for

00:51:10--> 00:51:53

example, I played basketball last night with the guys who I am they they roughed me up, okay? Jump shot. A layup is a positive freedom. Okay, you work on your jump shot, you work on your layup until you can do it. Once you can do it, you have the freedom to do that thing. Okay, that's called positive liberty. This is something that goes back to the Greeks. negative liberty is the idea that it's the freedom from obstacles, it's not the capacity to do something. It's no one standing in your way. Right. So when it came to philosophical liberalism, displacing sort of everything that had come before it, the emphasis became entirely on negative liberty, removing obstacles to autonomy, if if

00:51:53--> 00:52:35

you own yourself completely, absolutely, you're completely sovereign over yourself. And the best sort of expression of the highest expression of the self ownership is doing what you want, then anything that stands in the way of you doing what you want, is basically a heresy. When it comes to philosophical liberalism, the thing has to get out of here, it has to be removed, it has to be neutralized. And this sets us up to have very, very tense relationships with what with tradition, with religion, with any sort of hierarchy, any sort of external authority. Anything that stands in your way I asked at mushy Hamza, last night, I asked the kids named me a Disney movie, where there

00:52:35--> 00:52:38

is a single positive father figure.

00:52:42--> 00:52:43

Can anybody think of when

00:52:46--> 00:53:04

he dies, he's dead. They're all dead? There is none. There is no Disney movie with a living positive father figure. Why? What is the father figure in most Disney movies instead representative of

00:53:07--> 00:53:35

an obstacle to your autonomy? Something that's in the way, just doesn't understand. Do you want to marry the prince you fell in love with this dude off the street? Oh, there's the father again, standing in your way. Right? This is a trope that has been hammered into our heads time and time and time again, as a society. It's got an entire philosophical worldview behind it. And entire metaphysics. Nobody talks about it. It's philosophical liberalism, it's on display also comes back to our relationship towards

00:53:36--> 00:53:42

towards gender roles, the idea of patriarchy, right as being an inherently evil thing. Okay.

00:53:43--> 00:53:58

It's very, very interesting, because we know that oppression has occurred in gendered ways since time immemorial. And women in Arabia in the seventh century in the eighth century, suffered oppression in gendered ways to

00:53:59--> 00:54:07

the open ended question was, Is this oppression due to the patriarchy? Or is it due to something else?

00:54:08--> 00:54:27

Is it due to the reason the fact that males inhabit roles of authority? Or is something else going on? And I would encourage everybody to consider the responsibility to auto with the *tier. And the response of the Prophet Muhammad SAW said on to critically evaluate this dynamic because

00:54:29--> 00:54:36

most strains of feminism, the type of intervention that they advocate for, and we can talk about feminism, but that's not why I'm here, but I can

00:54:38--> 00:54:59

advocate for a removal of males from from authority, even if it's a proportional removal, okay, we're talking about equal representation was known as representational ism or sorry, theme females aren't in roles of responsibility enough and females a won't be done justice to until they are adequately represented. Okay.

00:55:00--> 00:55:04

might be right might be wrong, but this is philosophical liberalism, right? We can talk about, we can think about.

00:55:05--> 00:55:07

And yet, food for thought.

00:55:09--> 00:55:50

That's not the response we saw from the Prophet salallahu. A center when it came to the types of roles and authoritative roles that men had. Men were not removed from positions of authority. They were rather redeemed as individuals. And there's a sort of metaphysics of the human self that's going on here. How optimistic are we about how much people can change and how they can be redeemed? Are people limited? Or maybe to make an open ended question? How limited are people by the end group that they belong to, to represent the interests of other people? Okay, that's the open ended question. Extremely important question in political philosophy. So feminism, most feminism,

00:55:50--> 00:56:00

especially Judith Butler onward, is based on what's called standpoint, theory or standpoint, epistemology, which is fairly deterministic. It basically says, if you're a woman,

00:56:02--> 00:56:09

for input, let me rephrase it from that from other direction. Nobody can represent you adequately. If they're not part of your in group.

00:56:10--> 00:56:17

Okay, that standpoint theory, okay. And it goes for race, it goes for gender, it goes for sexuality goes for anything. Okay.

00:56:19--> 00:56:22

I would also like to encourage people to critically evaluate this.

00:56:24--> 00:56:26

Can we apply that to the time of the Prophet Muhammad?

00:56:27--> 00:56:29

Muhammad was a quarter sheet.

00:56:30--> 00:56:33

He had power, he had nobility?

00:56:34--> 00:56:42

Was he able to represent the interests of people beyond his own group? Was he able to do justice to women?

00:56:43--> 00:56:46

Was he able to do justice to Abyssinian slaves?

00:56:49--> 00:56:51

And if so, why?

00:56:52--> 00:57:36

There is a feminism or assuming a pessimism or optimism at play here in human beings ability to represent or adequately sort of advocate for people beyond their own in group. And a slam at a space is about a moral redemption. So rather than a bureaucratic intervention, it attempts to be a moral intervention, that if the people in power, right, because we don't have I think the other difference here is a theory of power. is power. Simply bad, then we just have to like, disperse it like as much as possible because it's so bad. Or tenant be good. If the person wielding it is good. Okay, philosophical liberalism says the first power sucks. That's basically what they say. It's horrible.

00:57:37--> 00:58:06

You have to diffuse this thing and disperse it so much. And counterbalance checks and balances, because it is inherently bad. And so it's just about trying to counterbalance. Whereas Islam, I don't believe that we have the same understanding of power. I think that there is a righteous power that can be exercised the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi salam had power. And he exercised that power justly. Why did he exercise power justly? Okay, maybe you can say, well, he's a prophet. He's exceptional. Okay, what about he said,

00:58:07--> 00:58:18

was Suniti, a qualifier? Rashi didn't matter. You know, Abdullah had been no agents. Right? He said, it's a little awkward. He said, he said, and the thought of Russia deemed the forefather came after him, I will record both men and Ali.

00:58:20--> 00:58:50

He said, The follow their example as well. And they don't have a smart, they don't have the sort of infallibility that a prophet has. So are we saying that I'm, for example, a bucket could only represent an advocate for people of their certain age group? Or were they able to fairly advocate and govern and facilitates the success both in the dunya and in the afterlife of people beyond their enrichment? And if so, why?

00:58:51--> 00:58:57

Because of their morality, because of their test key because of their purification of the soul.

00:59:00--> 00:59:06

This is going to be a forthcoming 18 article. And so it's a very, very important topic that no one talks about.

00:59:07--> 00:59:48

So again, we've gone very far afield philosophical liberalism is pitted against any hierarchy, it assumes that power is bad, and therefore it tries to disabuse excuse me defuse it and disperse it as much as possible. Whereas in a snap, we don't necessarily have this theory of power. Yes, power can be bad, it can be horrible yet, if the person is sufficiently purified on a moral plain, they can actually transcend the interests of their hold it we're almost at the end, and I loved it. This is going to be a good question. I can tell that they it is possible. That's the question, is it possible or not? Is it possible to transcend the narrow interests of your in group we're not. I'm

00:59:48--> 00:59:56

pretty sure a Stein says yes, you can. But it takes tusky it takes purification. Last thing we're talking about liberty and autonomy.

00:59:57--> 00:59:59

This is where we get into the

01:00:00--> 01:00:34

Historical sort of watch how this played out in history. This is actually where the idea of the split between classical liberalism and new liberalism came into power that's came into play. New liberalism is what you think of when you think of liberalism, social liberalism, social justice, etc, etc. Okay, it came about because all of these sorts of philosophical ideas were put into practice for a time. And then they actually saw the results. So now people get to respond to them. So the initial sort of classical liberalism, they were very optimistic about the free market. They're very optimistic about capitalism, right? They were optimistic that this was going to lead to

01:00:34--> 01:01:10

the best of all possible worlds. And then it happened. And then capitalism ran amok, and then the environment was destroyed, and people were killed, and you know, colonialism and all these sorts of things. And philosophical liberals had to reckon with that history like, oh, no, wait a second, this is not really working out the way that we had envisioned it. Those early classical liberals theorists were also very optimistic. Obviously, they're optimistic about the free market and very pessimistic about government. Okay, so this is where you get minimal government, limited government, right, people left to exercise their autonomy and their freedom and their liberty and then mutual

01:01:10--> 01:01:12

exchange, mutual interest, etc, etc.

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

After historical reality set in a new sort of generation of theorists, they flipped it, they became more, let's say, optimistic about government checks and balances and controls, and more pessimistic about the free market. And this is where we get social justice. This is where we get political liberalism, right, which is something that people I think, are a little bit more familiar with. The first camp emphasizes just different emphases, okay, within philosophical liberalism. So the first camp, the classical liberalism emphasizes the procedure of freedom, the procedure of autonomous choice, okay, whereas the second emphasizes outcomes of equality, okay, is that and that equality,

01:01:55--> 01:02:17

by the way, is usually defined as sameness, whether it's the distribution of power, the distribution of wealth, etc, etc. So, my belief, all of the goods, that philosophical liberalism provided, or attempted to provide, in the history of the world, and specifically European history, Islam had already provided a better version of those goods,

01:02:18--> 01:02:58

not tainted by the excesses of retaliating and responding to the feudalism that preceded it. If you're looking for tolerance, you're not going to find any more equitable tolerance than the tolerance of Islam and the Sharia. If you're looking for meritocracy, and social mobility, you're not going to find any system that not only theorized it, but achieved it in one two generations, social mobility and meritocracy, like that of a slum in the city. And there's a reason for this. And it comes back to our joke, a story, or an Australian horror story that we started with, because Islam is not a man made ideology. It's not, it's not a product of human minds, or epistemic ly

01:02:58--> 01:03:36

limited to their experience that are reacting to things in real time. And so they're going to overreact sometimes or under react sometimes, or bring along things unwittingly from the previous regime that they didn't even realize. Islam is founded on based on the divine reality, the divine reality, communicated by the ultimate divine reality allows power to auto through genuine revelation. And I'll end with this, that, again, I mentioned that my My specialty was in political theory was post colonial theory. And there's something that's known as the post colonial problem. Basically, it happens like this. A group of people's colonized, okay, obviously don't like it. They

01:03:36--> 01:03:38

want to fight back against that colonization.

01:03:39--> 01:03:59

But they find that in their struggle for freedom, and liberty, they end up adopting some of the ways and assumptions of their colonial masters across so that the freedom that they pursue and even achieve is not as free as they thought it would be. They actually end up reproducing some of the assumptions of the colonial masters.

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

We have to be very careful about this as Muslims, because we are living in a political reality. We live in a post Christian space in North America that is still rocking in the waves of problems that were made by Christianity and the responses to them. We have certain historical experiences that we're responding to, we have to be very, very, very careful that the paradigm that we're using, and the place that we're speaking from is one that is indigenously Islamic actually something that is constituted through and through by divine guidance, and not something that is inflicted, or corrupted or derivative from external understandings. We'll go to autumn Butterfield