Reforming the Self #01
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 37.74MB
Okay, this one let her off man Rahim Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala Ashraful MBRP. One NurseLine nabina offered Latina Muhammad Ali he offered the salah who has got to sleep
will begin in sha Allah. This is the first class of a weekly class that's going to be going through a book of what call it a book of manners.
And that book is called at the Elana carrim Shetty.
Written by the chef, the on Lana prerogative as for honey.
The structure of the course it's a weekly course we're going to start at 6pm. Every week in sha Allah on Sundays, recordings are available, we now have all recordings are going to be uploaded onto the YouTube channel. If you don't know where to find the YouTube channel for the MSG, then you can simply go to the Facebook page of the machine and find the YouTube channel. It's a post that's pinned to the top of the newsfeed. So if you ever miss a class, or you want to see the other classes that we're offering, that's where you would find it.
Today, we're going to talk about, it's just going to be an introduction about the author about the book, and about the times and circumstances in which the author lived because he lived in some wild times.
And it really exposes kind of a key moment in Islamic scholastic history. And it's going to teach us a lot about not just Islamic history, but it's going to teach us a lot about the formation of Islamic scholarship
is going to inform us about what is our kind of orientation to modern, political or social events that are happening around us. And it's going to be able to inform us as to really understand the balance of Islam when it comes to a lot of extremes. So without further ado, we'll get into that so you will see what I mean inshallah.
As we said, this book is by a scholar who's named or called, we should say a rob us Farhadi
His full name is Abu Clawson. So we we've talked about in other classes, the relationality of names in the Islamic tradition, how, you know, you're not just referred to as an individual, you refer to in kind of a chain of relation, you're the father or mother of so and so. And this is your name, and you're the son or daughter of so and so, and how that places you within a larger context that has to do with other people and influences. So his full name is I will cost him his son's name is awesome. His name is Hussein, the son of Mohammed, the son of Elmo football, or rather allows for Han so despite that extensive name he's simply known as a ragab us for honey. Has anyone ever heard of this
You can respond either by unmuting your microphone or by responding in the chat box like hitting the chat button. Has anyone
will give it a second for the shake families joining up mashallah, welcome.
Has anyone ever heard of okay, so Samira says No. Has anyone ever heard? I'm interested if anyone in the shift family has heard of Robin and Elsa Han, who is our, our author for this class?
No, that's good, because I would be shocked if any of you had heard of him. Wrong about us for Hani is kind of like a scholar's scholar. Right. He's like the opposite of in the women's class. We're reading from Imam unknowing. Mm hmm. No, he is a rock star. He is somebody who everybody knows everybody loves nobody has any sort of opposition or says anything bad about em and no, we universally loved, right.
A round of applause for honey is the opposite not in the sense that he was universally despised, but in the sense that he was virtually unknown.
Both in his times and after very little is actually even known about his biography. If you read his biography of any of the famous books of biography like the hubby's car, or many of the other ones, you'll find that he's going to mention a lot of different possibilities. No one's really sure what date he was born or what year he was born in. And nobody's really sure when he died, and in between is even more filled with uncertainty. But how do we know? Because there's two things. Why, how is this possible? Well, how is it possible that we can study a book by a chef that is kind of unknown about the details of his life?
First, the first thing is that when it comes to
how history was recorded, especially via biographical history, a lot of the history has, let's say, a bias towards figures who are connected to the states, or figures who are kind of in the, in the thick of things. So if you're in Baghdad, or you're if you're in Damascus, or you're in Egypt, specifically Cairo, right, you're much more likely to have
people know about you record your history, and take care of it for future generations, I've often been asked for when he lived in us for him. And what's Today, Iran, as his name indicates, which was at the time, kind of a backwater of Islamic knowledge. So because he was so peripheral, there wasn't a lot of state action going on. It wasn't the seat of power for the political entity at the time. So he was kind of out of sight. And then in on top of that, he was someone who, from his
personal moral code refused to have anything to do with the government. Right? So you had some positions that were government positions, to be the official move the the official teacher of the school, the official quality, and
a raga. But us for honey was the kind of person that refused all of that. He preferred to be unknown, he preferred to keep a low profile, because he probably thought that that was better for his religion, and his independence. And that's a common theme that we see in the biographies of the scholars. So how do we know enough about him to trust him as a person that we should study from as somebody who, you know, is worth kind of delving into their material we know around us for Hani because of the books that he left behind. And even though many of his works were lost throughout history, especially after the Mongols sack to Baghdad, the works that remain reveal a scholar of
immense erudition and ability, specifically in the Koran, and in the Arabic language. So some of his well known works to anybody who studies Islam formally, he has a book that's extremely beneficial. I have it right here in the office. It's called a Suraj fee ban methodical Quran. So it's a small book. And what it does is it goes from the beginning of the Quran to the end, and it has all of the difficult vocab words that was that you wouldn't know as a as an Arabic speaker, even like from common usage. He has the entries, and then the definitions and examples to elucidate the meanings of kind of all of the difficult vocab of the Koran, which is an extremely useful book. He has a
Tafseer. He has a work about the theory of Tafseer. He has books in Arabic rhetoric and eloquence, particularly a book called Fit Bulava, which actually also have in the office here. And he has this book, which is remarkable because
it is very, very tied like closely follows the Koran and raga. But also Hani any sort of principle, any sort of technique that he brings up in the book, he's always backing it up with the Koran. So we can tell from his works, that he was a master of the Koran, a master of the Arabic language. And so the works that have survived until today. They continue to be studied and continue to be taught throughout the centuries. So that's about him. That's what we know about him. And that's kind of about this work.
We really should go into his life and times, or I should say the historical moment as a better way to put it that he lived in. Because as I mentioned in the very beginning, it's going to elucidate a lot of things for us for the moment that we live in, as well. So, because a lot of us for Hani was kind of unknown his life, he didn't really leave behind any students this sort of thing. After he died, a lot of people accused him of different various things and heresies. The most significant thing that he was accused of was something called TOS that it says, refers to a heresy of a group within Islamic history known as the Tassie that and understanding and who them or Tesla were, and
what their kind of
is going to be beneficial for us, and we'll see that shortly inshallah. So what were the Tesla about the Tassie though were concerned, they believed in a kind of hyper rational revisionism of Islam. What does that mean? What we mean by a hyper rational revisionism is that these were people that believed that there were kind of intellectual proofs or facts that came before and proceeded revelation. Okay, so their main problem, or the main problem with them was that when it came to interpreting the Koran, and interpreting the Sunnah, they were constantly trying to take the raw material of the Quran and the Sunnah, and make it fit inside of the,
the ideas that they had already, the conclusions and assumptions that they had already formulated ahead of time. Okay, anybody who does scientific research, right? This is the opposite of how the, for example, the scientific method is supposed to work. You're supposed to have a process a method, and you're supposed to follow them the evidence to whatever conclusion you're led to? Well, this is kind of the opposite. This is choosing a conclusion, and then kind of selectively cherry picking the evidence to match and backup your, your conclusion.
Why is this significant? Historically, there's not a whole lot of this group around today, because the three main branches of the Sunnah, right, or what we think of as Islamic theological schools, the SRE school, the SRE school and the school of matter idea. They all arose or at least kind of formalized in response to this, to this movement. And this movement actually got political power. This is part of the movement that was responsible for mmm, Akhmed being imprisoned and tortured, and, and so on and so forth.
Why do we bring all of this up? What's the point? It's just this kind of complicated history and a lot of philosophical speech.
Why we bring it up, or why I thought it was important to go into
was because thinking about these issues forces us to articulate what the relationship is between Islam and the human intellect. This is something I was telling the ladies in the ladies class on Thursday, that a lot of times
when our children come to us, especially our teenagers, they come to us with very, very difficult questions. They want to know why. That's kind of the cultural force of America at play. We're taught to ask questions, we're taught to ask why things are the way they are. We're taught to challenge authority and to challenge conventional thinking. So, a lot of times these kinds of questions make us nervous. And they make us kind of
maybe jump to the conclusion that Oh, no, my child is kind of thrown into this doubts or my child is maybe even on the verge of leaving the religion or getting involved in something else.
And so we respond to the questioning in a way that doesn't satisfy the questioner. We respond
On with sort of these
exhortations? Well, we just believe because this is a loss command, and we submit to a loss command, and we have to have faith and these sorts of things, all of which are true, all of which are true in and of themselves. However, Islam has a lot more to offer a person who asks questions and a person who's seeking answers than kind of these other answers that stopped the line of questioning.
So, in Islam, there is no conflict between the intellect and the revelation. And we know that for several reasons. One of them is that Allah is constantly appealing to our intellect. In the Koran. How many times does Allah say in the Quran, about wahome Lay afternoon, he says about the people who disbelieve, he describes them as people who don't use their reason. People who don't? Who aren't seeing things clearly, who aren't understanding. I'll also use one if Gohan Bell Hong Kong one lie, of course, oh, no, there are there are people who do not understand. So understanding and using our intellect is something that Allah actually commands us to do. And sorta to look, the people of the
Hellfire actually regrets and lament the fact that they didn't use the reasoning in order to arrive at belief. I said, Well, Callooh lo COULDNA. Never smell Oh, nothing, right is that if only we had in the dunya, we had either listened or used our reason.
And this is really an interesting idea, because it kind of shows that there's two types of people there. There is a group of people, that for them, it's enough to just be told, hey, well, this is you know, what a law asked me to do. And that's enough for me, I don't really need to go further, I don't really need to ask any questions. And I feel like we've probably all met people like that in our lives. But then there's another group of people that won't be satisfied by that sort of argumentation, they won't be satisfied by these kinds of very simple, almost surface level answers, they want to dig deeper, they want to understand why they want to know as much as they can about the
reasoning behind things. Because once they are informed about it, once they explore and uncover and discover all of the complexity of what's going on, it's actually going to increase them in faith and make them a stronger believer.
So this is why talking about all of this, in my opinion, is very important, because people are essentially accused around the US Rouhani of this heresy, because he was somebody who strongly believed in the intellect. And he strongly believed in Islams support, and
accounting for that human intellect. And we're going to see that all over this book. One of the reasons why I chose this book to teach manners and etiquette, and there's a lot of books out there that teach manners and etiquette and kind of self reform is that the author of audible as for HANA, he does two things that most other books don't do.
One of the things he does is that he gives reasonable logical explanations for everything. So he's coming at you, trying to convince you through your intellect, and we live in a society and a time and a place where scientific reasoning, logic, they're all kind of the currency by which truth is, is purchased, if you'll allow the analogy.
The other reason is that erotica isn't just going to give you techniques. He's not just going to tell you that, you know, you have to smile when you see a stranger, you have to give Saddam, you have to feed the poor, you have to let other people sit before you though all of that stuff is in the book. But what it does is a lot of them starts with a theory of who the human is in relationship to his creator, and how all of our self reform, all of our etiquette, all of our manners, all of that flows from kind of our understanding or ideas about who who we are.
So he talks and will see us and I'm beginning of the book he talks a lot
thought about what's the purpose for human existence, and how every single manner and etiquette and technique that we should try to emulate and we should try to embody actually is connected back to this foundation, this theological root about who we are in relationship to a lot, and in relationship to the creation.
So it's not necessarily going into work, it's not necessarily worth going into all of the different distortions of the group called Tesla. But there's a few that are well known, the idea that the Koran was created, for example,
the idea that all of the names and attributes of Allah, were kind of empty signifiers. And you might think, how can they come to these kinds of egregious, outrageous beliefs, or we talked sort of about before about their kind of process. And so they imagined that, if we say that Allah is merciful,
let's say that a Rockman means the Most Merciful.
And we find that there are people in the creation that are also merciful,
then this is kind of making a likeness between a law and his creation. And that likeness is not appropriate. And so those names that Allah told us in the Koran, they must not mean what they seem to me, they must be a symbol for a larger mystery.
A larger theological, theological or mystical mystery, right? The same thing with the Koran, the reason that if the Koran wasn't created, then it must have been,
then it would have had to be eternal. And there's nothing eternal except for Allah. And therefore, it had to start at some point, anybody who's interested in these kinds of finer points, you can always, we can always talk about it another time. But suffice it to say, it's enough for us to know that this was the kind of methodology. These were the kinds of beliefs that they and conclusions that they came to. And it was a very, very galvanizing moment in Islamic intellectual history because it provoked a wave of responses from all different sectors of Islamic scholarship from all over the Islamic world.
One of the things that we learn or we can say one of the historical lessons that we learned
from this whole issue, we see that okay, Rob, double us Farhadi. He's this person who respects the intellect. And he is trying to honor that respect that Allah gives it in the Koran. And then at the same time he's living, there's this other movement, this kind of heretical movement, that kind of seems to resemble what he's about what he's doing. They also honor the intellect, but they go too far, they go too extreme. So the people who are accusing a lot of us for Hani of this heresy, they're kind of lumping him together with this group.
What we can learn from this, this point, or this, this historical point, is that sometimes we can become oversensitive to the issues that are happening in our time.
For example, we can find many examples. Right now. We see that there is a project, for example, to liberalize or secularized Islam, when it comes to how we practice our Islam in the West.
And many times the language that that project is carried out with is a language of tolerance and mercy and things like this. However, it would be a mistake to group everyone that's talking about tolerance and mercy in with this project. In reality, we have to be very careful, and we have to investigate and put things in their proper place. So that's pretty much the intro to the context of Iran with us. Rouhani. What about this book? How important was this book and then we'll get actually it looks like we're going to have time to go into the actual text of the book and shot along
Everyone knows I love causality. And causality is one of the most famous scholars we have in the Islamic tradition. This book is the book, the book that we're about to study is the book that I love us. Ali used to carry around with him everywhere.
His contemporaries said that they never saw Al gazali Except that he was carrying this book.
And that's because of US ally believed that this book,
tied everything together, it tied together law, it tied together theology, and it tied together.
It tied together manners and etiquette. So when it comes to what's the structure of the book, the book is called again macadam.
The RIA Illa. macadam is Sharia. It spends time talking about rules, it spends time talking about appreciating
the mercy and the wisdom. Okay, so this isn't a book about
this isn't a book about rules, like we're used to hearing, right most people when they and the Internet has kind of made this worse, where we think about us now we think about the city. We think about rules, we think about what we're allowed to do, what we're not allowed to do, what's allowed and what's haram. This type of book that arrived at us for Hani wrote is the opposite. He's not concerned with the rules so much as he is concerned with the wisdom and the mercy and the compassion behind the Sharia. And his job is he wants to get you to see that. And he wants to get you to realize that all of these things that Allah has given us in terms of rules and regulations are
really coming from an immensely loving place, a place of immense wisdom, and concern and consideration for our nature, as human beings. And we talked about this, most of you were present for the class last night, but so forgive me for being redundant. But
we talked about compliance, compliance to the Sharia, and its rules, all stems from
this organic faith that grows in the heart.
When you love Allah, when you feel inspired by Allah,
and inspired to worship Allah, compliance becomes automatic.
If somebody is not in compliance with anything in Islam, whether it's their fasting or their prayers, whether it's issues of clothing, or meats, or what they eat and drink.
It's almost as if we approach the issue,
as if all we had to do was give that person some information. And that will make everything better.
No, no, no, you can't do this. This is not permissible. No, no, you have to do this. Didn't you know that that was Whadjuk? That's fault. It's something that is an obligation.
Of course, the times we live in, we know that this doesn't really work. Why doesn't it work? Because people are really suffering from the place of faith. They're really suffering from a lack of wanting to comply in the first place, or caring about complying in the first place, or realizing who Allah is that his rules and regulations should be followed at all.
Which is why our other classes so important, but we'll get into a little bit of it with this class to understanding who Allah is, and understanding what our purpose is and what our nature is in relationship to a lot.
So rather than Elsa Hani, he begins, he has an introduction to the book he talks about, what is the purpose of life?
What is the human purpose on this earth? I'll throw the question to you. You can either unmute yourself or you can type in the chat box. What if you have to if you have a teenager, a thoughtful, intelligent teenager like many of you have, and he's really struggling and he comes to you, what is the purpose of human life?
Why are we here on this earth? What would you say to them? How would you respond?
To worship and obey Allah, very good chick family. That's the answer that everybody gives. And it's true. Everybody knows that I an accordion. Right? Well, now Hala Jin our insight Eulalia Boom. That's true.
Are there any other answers though?
Because if I tell a teenager, if I told my teenage self, my 1617 year old self, or the purpose of life is the worship of worship Allah and obey Him?
That wouldn't convince me. I'll be honest, that wouldn't I would not have been impressed with that answer.
Very good. Samira brings something else to the table my that my daughter asked me, Why does Allah need to be worshipped?
You said Tell her Samir that is it a law that needs to be worshipped? Or is it we that need to worship Allah?
Because Allah is Allah Vani.
And this is something we're going to get to in Saturday's class, part of the meaning of levani
is that he is free from NEAP.
So somebody who comes and thinks
this is this is some Petey sky, God, this is some Zeus figure, this Allah that needs us this, these these people on Earth, weak people, short lifespans, that needs us to worship him.
It's a misunderstanding of who Allah is, you see all the associations and all the assumptions about who Allah is that Allah would need us to worship him. Like he needs as almost like he's narcissistic, or the biller, or that he needs to feel good about himself are important. Right? So you see how this whole constellation of misunderstandings about Allah leads to that question.
But if you understand that Allah is so funny, he is the self sufficient.
And he is a little dude, he's the most loving, and he is on Hakeem, he's the most wise, then you come to a different question as that, oh, Allah doesn't need us to worship him. But Allah is the one that created us, as well as this mind, and this heart.
And just like everything that we make human beings, appliances, tools, cars, have regular maintenance.
He has obligated upon us, our regular spiritual maintenance. He's told us that, okay, if you want to maintain a strong relationship with the One who created you, this is what you have to do. You're in need of it doesn't Allah say in the Quran, I believe in surah Taha, whoever turns away from his remembrance, then he will have a life Allah describes it as bunk,
which can be translated as just a restricted.
arrested, unproductive, stressful existence.
Right? So we're the ones who need it. Allah doesn't need our worship. He couldn't, it doesn't benefit him at all. But we're the ones who need it. So let me know what your daughter says after you give her that. That response. Ali says to have a meaningful personal relationship with Allah.
Yes, that's there to have a meaningful personal relationship with a lot.
that is one of our purposes.
That's true. It wasn't the answer that I had in my head, or the one that RhoGAM is for honey mentions in his book, but it is true.
Rather, but as for honey, because it's flashing on my screen that we have six minutes left that I want to get to questions. He gives us three purposes. And he backs it all by the Koran.
why humans are on this earth? Why do we have the life that we have to lead? And I'm only going to give you one and we'll cover the other one next time in sha Allah, just to
first of all, give us a taste. Second of all, leave time for questions. And third of all, to explore the kind of different
results or consequences of the answers we give, because I guarantee you and before I read this book,
That was the answer that I would give to anybody. Someone asked me what's the purpose of life. So the purpose of life is to worship Allah. Easy.
But look at the different consequences of the answers that we give. So one of the purposes
that Aurangabad asked for Hani gives is Khilafah.
Sila Khilafah. On Earth, right?
Allah says in the Quran, many in many different places, one of them the sorts of the Bacara,
that he has intended for us to become his successors as a translation on earth.
What does it mean to be a successor of Allah on earth,
it has a lot of responsibility tied to it to be a successor of a lot of means that we're kind of in charge of maintaining and looking after this creation.
until a certain time comes when Allah is going to take that responsibility away from us.
Right? So you see how one of the answers to worship Allah is correct. It's backed by the Koran, and it produces a certain list of imperatives are things that you should do, it's like, Well, okay, so if your purpose is to worship a lot, then the things that you have to do you have to pray, you have to fast you have to cover yourself, right? You have to do this and that and the other. But for the person who's asking,
because they feel uncomfortable with all of those rules with all of those rituals, it leads to circular logic, right? They're kind of looking for an answer to why do I have to do this? And then you're like, the answer is kind of, you have to do this, because you have to do this. That's your purpose. And then the person who's in doubt is like, that doesn't make any sense to me, or that doesn't satisfy what I was trying to get out. However, now look, we've responded with a different, equally true response that's also backed up by the Koran. Your purpose on earth is to be a successor to a law and to look after be a steward
of this creation, for the time that you are able.
And that produces an entirely different constellation of, of required actions of orientation towards the universe of responsibility. It gives people a role.
Right? There's kind of this, it gives people an interconnectedness.
Because it's not just about our obedience, our kind of personal obedience or compliance with a law and his rules. It's now something social. Now we're talking about what are oh, I'm supposed to be a law successor here. I'm supposed to maintain a laws order. In the creation, I'm supposed to use my free will, to manifest a laws will and what he loves.
While I'm on this earth.
Well, that gets me thinking about my brothers and sisters, that gets me thinking about my parents and elders, that gets me thinking about the youth that gets me thinking about my community, the people I see at the gas station of people I see at the grocery store. Right? So this is this type of thing is what rob us for honey is is trying to do. He's trying to really dig deep and provide these kinds of responses to these questions that are going to come from multiple angles that are going to satisfy the intellect of the human being, even if they might be a little doubtful. So we only have a minute and 30 seconds left. Anybody have any questions about anything related to what we talked
about or not? You can now
and the environment Yes, very good. Thank you. Oh, how did I neglect the safety environment? Excellent.
Yes, what are your responsibilities the environment? What are your responsibility to animals? What's your responsibility? We could go on all night.
Very good. Anybody have any questions before our time is up about anything related or unrelated?
Okay, that's Ollie
Khalifa yes is a representative representative as another translation. Yes, very good. Khalifa
Representative, a steward a successor, right? Because there's also health that comes behind. Very good. I leave the YouTube channel and this also answers his question. You can watch all previous lectures on the YouTube channel. You can find the YouTube channel on the Facebook site for the MSG. Okay, so go to Muslim community association in Mohawk Valley and Facebook. Go to there's a pin to post that has the YouTube channel and that has all classes, all those all lectures, and I will