Tom Facchine – Reforming the Self #36

Tom Facchine
AI: Summary © The speakers discuss the probability of a certain conclusion being true and its support by the text. They question how people are getting to their conclusion from the text and what evidence is stronger. They also discuss the benefits of Islam, including its simplicity, simplicity, and simplicity, and its importance in relation to religion. They emphasize the importance of understanding the religion to avoid cutting people off from the tradition and avoiding negative offense.
AI: Transcript ©
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Just remember him

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100 I mean, so that was that salam ala schauffele mbi Omar Selena be in our products in Muhammad Ali after Salah was Gottstein

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Aloha My name that'd be my in fact on our on fat and everything that I'm doing I was in that and then out of that I mean so then when they come out, but everybody welcome to Sunday evening, performing yourself with Robert also handy. Today's class is going to be short and sharp, hot Tada I was traveling and I just came back literally 10 minutes ago.

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So we're gonna do a little bit of a review of the last class and then introduce the next concept.

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And then inshallah save the next topic for next week.

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So previously, a lot of us, Oh, honey, are human Allah was talking about the spate disputes and debate and argumentation. And its role in

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our religion, whether it has to do with the role for us as laymen, or for the scholarly class, or how it affects the body politic of Muslims in general. And recall that previous to this, what's the springboard for this sort of discussion at all. So he was talking about the different types of influencers, right, that society is going to be made up of, and he's talking about a situation in which there are kind of everybody's working as different cogs in the same productive machine. So if you have, you know, people who are orators who are able up, stirring the masses up, but they have a good relationship with the kind of elite academics who are kind of steering the ship when it comes

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to people who are more educated. If there's some sort of coordination between these classes, and coordination between these influencers, and these influencers that are actually working together for the goal of establishing a slam, and building up an Islamic society, then that is exactly how society can move forward, that's kind of running on all cylinders, everybody's kind of working together towards this goal, and everybody's fulfilling their role. Everybody has a role to play. And how it goes wrong, is when people break off,

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first of all, and they do not coordinate with each other. So you have the orators over here today. It's like the social media influencers, people who have access to the masses. They're the sports stars in the celebrities, but they don't have any relationships with people who are educated people who are really thinking about, you know, the subtle differences in slogans, and ideologies and history and where the, where the culture is moving, where the society is moving. And we see, we see, and we're living through the damage of this separation, we because we have celebrities, and sports, you know, athletes and people who are very, very influential and very, very popular, but they become

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prey to slogans and particular trending ideas that become popular. And then all of a sudden, now the rest of society follows them. Because they don't know any better, right? And there's a million of them, you can choose whichever one you want to, if the shoe fits, wear it as we say. So that was the first sort of problem that the author of novels for Hani had alerted us to when it comes to this sort of thing. And the second problem is worthy enough of a whole, you know, set of sub chapters, which is, what if the individual influencers are losing the plot, and they don't realize the importance of being united and being together and constructive and building the Islamic Society

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building the individual capacity for piety and righteousness and thus building the capacity of the entire Ummah, the entire society for piety and righteousness? What's What's the quickest thing or the easiest thing that fills this void is the bait controversy, right? And we see this if you go on to Muslim social media, including YouTube, including Twitter, including anything else. It's always one controversy after another he said this, oh, I can't believe that you hear what the latest thing that so and so said, No, he shouldn't have said this. Either. He's He's this or he's that and it goes on from all sides. This is not referring to one specific

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flavor, flavour or one orientation of, of Muslim, whether it's from the one side, saying that the other side is off the path and astray in some sort of way.

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or from the other side of the aisle saying that these people or maybe they might use different language, but they're saying the same thing. They're off the path they're astray, et cetera, et cetera. Everybody does it. And it is a calamity. Why is it a calamity? That's what are all us behind? He was trying to tell us.

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First and foremost, because well, let's get into what he said. So he said, and the the title of the chapter is discouraging arguments and debates among laymen in every situation. Okay. So if, you know, you hear sometimes these general kind of comments in order to defend, you know, debating, right, if we're just trying to get to the truth of it, there's nothing wrong with it. If we're arguing in the sake of the religion, we're just trying to get to the truth. That

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sentence is based upon a,

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an admission or a an assertion that you're able to discern the truth in the first place. Right. And that's exactly what log of assignee is going to take to task this kind of person. Listen, if you're a layman, if you haven't studied, and this isn't to put anybody down or discourage anybody from studying. But if you don't even know what it looks like to construct an argument in physics, or in Sharia, then you don't belong arguing about these things. Because you wouldn't even be able to recognize which path or which side is stronger that we have this happen all the time. And people say, Oh, well, I was convinced more by this side or this side, or the evidence is stronger. Right?

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The stronger opinion, right? Stronger according to who, according to you, Masha Allah, and what education do you have that informed you or armed you with the ability to decide and determine and discern? What was the stronger opinion? Right, what are the types of evidence? You know, are they difficult? Or are they something that is something that is completely agreed upon by all schools? Or is this something that some schools took issue with? How are you getting to your conclusion from the text? What is the

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the level of probability or explicitness that that text is supporting what you're saying? A lot of people they're quick to cite an A or cite, a Hadith of the Prophet SAW Allah while they were Saddam, but they have not done the work, nor have they trained to be able to recognize how those units of evidence, prove or disprove what they're trying to say. Right? And so that's why I'd audible. So he says, this is all in reality, an exercise in vanity and ego. Yes, yes, it is. If you're a layperson, if you have not studied, if you do not know it will sort of stuck. And this isn't just to get jargony and it's not just a gatekeeper, because I also criticize that as well as everybody should

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know. But if you do not have the categories, or the training to understand and evaluate the strength of an argument, then you don't belong arguing the thing in the first place. Basic. What's it going to do? It's only going to, as the author will say in just a bit, it's only going to distract you from things that are actually going to benefit your afterlife and every single one of us should be concerned about what's benefiting or afterlife and

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keen to be busying ourselves with what's going to benefit our afterlife woman Huff at Noah Zeno for Omaha via Allah's power to Allah says in surah, Tatya Surah that probably all of us know, whoever has a light scale. He didn't say like nothing in the scale. He didn't say, you know, like somebody who just like, No, no, who just had a light scale, right? Do you want to be left with a light scale on the Day of Judgment? Of course you don't. So you should be busying yourself with that which benefits you if you're not a scholar or you're not a student of knowledge, I'm talking about a real student of knowledge not a, a kind of do it yourselfer, right YouTuber student of knowledge but

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somebody who has gone through an actual program either in the US or abroad, you know, then that's not your way to get close to a Las Palmas Tada. Your way is not through arguing these things or debating these things. Your way is through worship or through community service or through cleaning the masjid or through connecting with the youth or through visiting people who are shut in at their home or through helping people with their groceries, financing if you have money, any of the acts, aspects of worship that you have available to you. The author's telling you if you're not this particular trained class, then arguing and debating is not an avenue for you to achieve a lost power

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to all those pleasure and to benefit yourself in the afterlife. It is really just at the it's going to only result in enmity and ego and that's because it's extremely hot.

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hard, it's extremely hard. Once someone has put down their name, on a position, or on a statement, it's very hard for that person to retract it especially, it was always hard for that person to retract it. Even more. So in the days of YouTube and the days of webcams and live streams and everything like that. And we ask Allah subhanaw taala, to keep us sincere, and keep us humble, and keep us give us the ability to accept the truth when it comes to us. And to not just be in the business of defending ourselves and what we said yesterday, and defending our brand, at cetera, et cetera.

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And so, Hannah uses very colorful language to talk about kind of what a calamity it is when the layman or people who are not trained are allowed to engage in these sorts of debates. He says that it's similar to letting loose demons he says that it's similar to knocking down the wall that holds you know, yeah, Julian met juge Gog and Magog, right?

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And the reason why is he says if because, listen, Pete most average people don't understand the basic Muslim doesn't understand that there are satanic forces that are waiting for you to start an argument, to start a debate to get involved in some sort of thing that's above your paygrade. They are waiting to make you feel offended by something that somebody says in the course of an argument, they're waiting for you to, to suggest that you overstate your familiarity with an issue, or overstate your study of an issue, or overstate your confidence in a certain conclusion. And it's a minefield, entering into religious debate,

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no matter who you are, and the author is going to say in a second, but especially if you're not trained is like a, it's like walking through a minefield with a blindfold. And that's not the author's example. That's my example. Because there's so many traps and pitfalls of the devil that are trying to snare you when it comes to your ego when it comes to your sense of self, when it comes to your self image. And when it comes to how we interpret the things that other people say. And all you have to do is spend 10 minutes in the comment section on facebook or twitter to see this play out in action.

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And then I'd also harneys Like, if you're not convinced by this point, then know that many, many, many of the scholars, perhaps the majority of them, are of the opinion that it's disliked, even for scholars to debate and argue, this sort of thing. And so if that's the situation for even people who are qualified, because it's so treacherous, it's treacherous, excuse me, it's so treacherous to the soul, to even enter into the arena of debate or argumentation, etc, etc. That even the majority, perhaps many certainly, of scholars said that it's disliked for a scholar to even argue and debate. And so if that's the case for a scholar, somebody who has received training to understand what is a

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valid argument and what is not a valid argument, what is a strong argument, and what is a weaker argument, than what about for somebody without that training even more so.

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And then he brings the I when I lost found to Allah says to argue, or to respond to things with that, which is better, right, argued by that, which is better. And so I'll so honey said the best thing, or the better thing in this case is not to argue at all.

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And then he leaves us with what we had said previously, that, in reality, what's going on is that this does not do anything, it doesn't result in finding the truth. It doesn't result in a more elevated, you know, state of consciousness or awareness. Right? It simply results in enmity, right? You leave the discussion, and now you're kind of just like, Oh, I'm gonna go home. And these were the points of his argument, and I have to disprove him. And he said this, and what did he mean? Was he kind of insulting my kind of intelligence or how much I read or, you know, the scholars I listened to, right? That happens a lot he offended, you know, he, he doesn't believe in my scholar,

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he doesn't believe, you know, he doesn't take Abu Hanifa at his word, he doesn't take shahada, even if they mean at his word, right. And so now, all these sorts of things happen.

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So I've got also he's very, very strict against this. And this was something that we saw in Medina that some of the machines were very, very strict against this. They told us to not and anybody who's gone through the medina system especially knows how many years how many collaborative efforts how many potential productive relationships were ruined by argumentation.

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Um, it's just not the way.

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And there's means right? There's so yeah, probably the worst thing to do is to get on a camera with somebody, I have me on the camera and I put someone right next to me. And he's gonna take this position and I take a different position. And now we've got a live audience. And so each of us wants to win over the live audience and convince them, you know, get more likes all somebody checked out my channel, because I did a better job in that debate or something like that. That's the absolute worst, there are conditions or techniques that can be done in order to try to make a dialogue, sincere. If it's done in private, if it's done over email, or something, we're letters where there's

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a long time to respond, and you can think and you can, etc. And it is possible to do it on a shelf at our human Hello, he's famous for saying that he never debated anybody, except that he sincerely wished that his adversary was correct. Right, and that if there is such a thing as permissible debate among scholars, not amongst people who aren't trained, then that's what it should look like. It should look like, you know, you wanting to be right, or you want to excuse me, the your adversary better your interlocutor

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to be right. But you simply don't understand and so you're asking questions in order to

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to better understand their position. And if something doesn't add up at the end of the day, then it's almost accidental. It's not your point, you're not going out to try to disprove or disgrace the person you see all these videos and all these you know, texts, so and so humiliated and smashed and all these sorts of tabloid

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you know, titles and language and

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you know, perhaps maybe when it comes to debating particular

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provocative non Muslims that that might have a time and a place but when it comes to between Muslims people have the fibula people of Salah, you know, people whose hate AF is set of people who you know, have an app behind them and a dilla behind them, from the Quran from the sun accepted things and this type of language I don't believe is appropriate and Alana its power to Orlando's best.

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The next several chapters, and we'll just give a brief kind of intro to these before closing it down for today, and then we'll go into them more deeply next week in sha Allah to Allah.

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Allah also Hani is going to focus on why do people disagree in the first place? Right? Some people and I can speak from experience because coming from a non Muslim background and then accepting Islam and and studying, you know, many people, they are kind of attracted to Islam, because of its simplicity.

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And we can compare Islam's simplicity, say to Christianity, or to Hinduism, or to any sort of system where there is kind of this multitudinous sphere of divine beings,

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especially Christianity, with the Orthodox understanding of

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homeostasis and personhood. And somehow, you know,

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Jesus is God, but not the father. And he exists in homeostasis, and has two persons and all this sort of stuff. The average person who's, here's the stuff, so this is insane, this doesn't make any sense. And so the simplicity of the call of Tawheed resonates with so many people. Now, there's only one God, and we worship that one God, and anything else that exists is dependent upon that one God. And so it doesn't make any sense to petition or to worship or to have devotion to any of those creatures who are dependent upon God. When we would straight go to the source. I remember one time one of my Catholic relatives they were like, you know, when I lose something I pray to Saint

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Anthony, right who's supposed to be the

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you know, the quote unquote patron saint of if you lose things, right, that's like okay, who does st Anthony Anthony pray to if he lost something? Right? I doubt he prayed to himself, right? He relied on somebody else. And everybody if you keep following up the chain, okay, maybe he relied on someone and some of them they all rely on a loss peloton. So this simplicity, the simplicity of Tawheed, of Islamic the uniqueness of Allah. Islamic theology resonates with so many people, which is why it's it's very, very powerful and attractive to so many non Muslims all over the world.

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And there's a temptation, there's a temptation to want to believe that the rest of the religion is just as clear and just as unambiguous to imagine that every eye in the Koran only has one meaning and to imagine that when it comes to fit, there's only one correct position, right? It's very

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very tempting to want to,

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to want to believe in this level of simplicity. Right? However, they are not the same things, right? They're not the same things. And part of that is due to the nature of the difference between theology and law. Right? It's something that I tried to teach the young people in our community all the time is that theology deals with reality. What is what isn't. And so there's much, much, much less room for debate. And there's much, much, much less room for ambiguity, right?

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Either there's Original Sin or there's not, either the angels are divine or they're not, it's not going to change from community to community, it's not going to be abrogated. There is no abrogation, and in a buff, write in things that are informative, write things that are actually telling you the reality of things. Allah would never say that alcohol is evil, and then go back and say, Well, you know, it's not so evil. No, even if the rule that governs how we interact with that substance might change. The reality of the thing of it in and of itself does never change. Right, which is why even if you'd rather all three areas in the Quran that have to do with alcohol, then none of them

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contradict each other. Right? Because the reality of alcohol is still the same, I was found to have a sudden sort of the buffer, that it has some benefit, and its harms outweigh its benefits. Right? That wasn't contradicted by then Allah later telling us to completely avoid it.

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Right, the reality remained the same, but the rule for how to interact with it changed. And that's the difference between theology and Sharia inhabitable in short, is that

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when it comes to theology, the reality what is it doesn't change, how he doesn't change the Oneness of Allah doesn't change the status of the angels, what happens in the afterlife, the life in the grave doesn't change, but the Sharia? How do we interact with things? What does the law expect of us

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to interact with this substance, or this type of contract, or this type of employment or et cetera, et cetera, those things are not only subject to change from community to community, but they're also subject to change within the life of one community. Right? As we saw, as the Quranic came down was revealed over the course of 23 years, some things were abrogated the rules for how to deal with a certain sort of situation or a certain thing, in the beginning,

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was sometimes different than what the rules were at the end to deal with that same exact thing. And that is based off of muscle ha off of what is beneficial to people. And the last one was auto knows what is beneficial to people best. Right? So right there just from talking about that there's going to be more ambiguity in Syria, than there is going to be in Al Qaeda, there is going to be more room for debate in Syria than there is for al Qaeda. And so

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when it comes to these sorts of

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people who are new to Islam, they need to be made to understand the differences between these two things. Because what happens is, if they're sold on the idea

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that Islam is so simple, there's only one way to interpret it, everything is all preserved. Even all the Sharia interpretations, right on ambiguous, right? Then what happens is that, okay, 123 years as a Muslim to hate is easy enough, okay. But then they start to become exposed to hit off to differences of opinion and stuck. And then it's actually can be a source of frustration. And actually, it can be a fitna, that can be a test for that person's faith. That person can be like, wait a second, what are you talking about? I thought that Islam was all one, I thought this was the preserved religion. Right? And so we need to be upfront with people. Okay, we need people to

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understand exactly what we mean, when we say that the Koran was preserved, we need people to not understand exactly what we mean, when we said that, you know, Islam is exactly how it was in the Prophet slice that, um, came with it. Right. We need people to understand the difference between theology and law. Right. And that, yes, I mean, theology takes precedence over law, right? It's the thing that makes you a Muslim. It's the thing that keeps you muslim is the thing that gains you salvation on the Day of Judgment. Not that following the law doesn't, but there are many debates within the interpretation of the law as to how it should be applied. And many of those debates are

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fine, they're legitimate. They're not it's not an issue of Orthodox heterodox it's not an issue of, you know,

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sects or schisms. It's not an issue of right and wrong or sunnah, and tada, etc, etc. So as long as I think Insha Allah, Allah were upfront with people, I think they won't have any hard time

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accepting it.

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So I'd also honey, he's going to go into the reasons why do

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differences happen. And he says that basically, you can trace all differences differing back to two types if we're going to categorize it. And the author loves to categorize things, he's very categorical mind or not, and our loved he says, what things mean? And what is said.

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Right. And so when he starts to talk about what things mean, you know, this is where he starts to drop the hammer kind of on people who have no training in it will sort of stuck because it's like somebody who's trying to, you know, you take most of us, maybe we're assuming most of the people listening to this or city folk, right? Let's say that you were brought out to buy a horse, or somebody said, Hey, look, I'm looking to buy a horse, I want it to be a good horse, this not the other, you would not even know where to begin the types of horses, how to tell a healthy horse from a not healthy horse, how to tell a strong the type of horse that you want for the particular type of

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application that you're looking for, whether he's pulling a plow, or running a race, or you know, just to, you know, take the kids around, like, whatever, you have no familiarity with the subject. So, you know, what are you going to be able to,

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to say, when it comes to evaluating horses, you're not going to be able to say anything, right. And so when he says, when it comes to people who don't have the tools to evaluate the meaning of texts, sometimes throwing themselves right at the text is problematic for them. Sometimes it's, it puts them in a position that they're not ready for. And, you know,

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I think this mostly applies to talking about people's relationship with the Hadith. But sometimes it can happen with people's relationship to the Koran. And that's why I should say that we were advised as students, and especially in the beginning, when we were beginning students of knowledge, that if somebody wants to understand their religion,

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in a quick kind of condensed way, and intensive, if you will, then perhaps the best avenue for them to go is to see the subtle and to read the Sierra, listen to the TV, listen to the Sierra, Sierra, Sierra, Sierra as much as possible.

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Why? Because everything is contextualized. Right, you're not going to get anything out of context. If you read the Quran, it's true, that it's possible that you could come across something that is out of context for you, you don't understand what Allah is referring to, either in the life of the prophet Muhammad slaves that I'm that he was responding to, or sending guidance for. Or you might not understand the application, the true application and meaning of that verse, you might not understand that it's specified, or circumscribed by another verse later on in the same chapter or somewhere else in the Koran. Right? And this happens when you see non Muslims try to pick up the

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Quran and they find the one little verse, you know, like, look, look, Muslims are, you know, blood thirsties at kill the, you know,

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the kuffaar wherever you find them.

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Right? It's like, Well, okay,

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that might be what it says, within the brackets that you collected, but finished the verse, right? And if they stopped fighting, then stop fighting. Right? Or you. That's what you what are you thinking that this is meaning?

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You know, this is actually responding to a very specific situation, which doesn't mean that the ruling is only applicable to that one situation, all of history. And that's it. It's not just the ancient story, but it means that if we're going to apply that to a situation today that it has to match that situation, right? And so this is kind of an antidote against this sort of reading. And this happens probably less with the Koran, and much more with the Hadith, right? Because the Hadith

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with the Hadith, I'll say this, with the Koran, Allah is found to Allah is directly speaking to you. And directly speaking to me, but with a hadith,

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the compilers of the Hadees, right Bukhari and Muslim

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you know, an essay Tirmidhi, I will, I will write it and more than right, because Aima, and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Most, if not all, of the Hadith books were not compiled to be read by average Muslims. They were compiled for the scholarly class. They weren't. The authors didn't intend that their books would sit, you know, on the shelves in Massachusetts, just for anybody to pick off the shelf and crack open and read, write if they knew that that was going to be how they were used. They would have probably done things a little bit differently. Because for the uninitiated person, you know, there are a whole

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or, you know, things that are completely left unexplained other Hadith that apply, or abrogate or restrict or a cetera, et cetera,

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the Hadith that you're reading and so it's much much easier to misinterpret a book of Hadith opening up trying to read it from beginning to end, unless you're going through it with somebody who has studied, you know and understand so that when they studied it from a che, or from one of the books of the mache, if classical books, you know, like a no a we or anybody else, that they've gone through it, and they know that this hadith says this, and yes, there's other Hadith on that subject. And they say this, and this and this, right, or there's other anyway, at of the same Hadith that shifts a little bit our understanding of what seems to be apparent from this hadith. And so it all

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comes back, it all comes back to knowing your role. And working staying in your lane. Right? Very, very popular, you know, concept or thing to say these days. But it is true, it describes a reality that lay people, if they want to understand the religion, the religion, they need somebody to break it down for them, whether it's an Imam, whether it's a book, whether it's somebody who's reputable on YouTube, right, it's just that it's just to stop people from going

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right to the source, not to control them, and not to cut them off from the tradition. But just to be humble and realistic about how much we're benefiting, and how much we're able to understand from directly ingesting that tradition. And to

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use our limited time on this earth in an efficient and productive way, instead of just wasting our time,

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kind of splashing and floundering around and something that isn't really, really benefiting us, at the end of the day, well, whose final data

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was better.

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And that's not to say, you know, I'm the last person and I will just say this once more before concluding this class, I am the last person to try to gate keep, I can't stand the gatekeeping. I can't stand you know, certain people within the scholarly classes or even more prevalent within the student, a class of students of knowledge, who are constantly trying to make things seem so difficult and so incomprehensible that it's basically you might as well not even try,

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you know, or saying, Well, you can't do anything unless this shape, you know, approves it? Or well, that's not what the scholars say, right? Well, who's whose scholars? Are we talking about? Right? You see anybody who just throws around the scholars, the scholars, the scholars all the time, and is trying to shape your impression of the religion and your understanding of things, then, you know, ask yourself, how much of an exposure does this individual have to the scholars? Which scholars? How many scholars? Where do they live? You know,

00:33:06 --> 00:33:45

there's scholars everywhere, there are scholars in Africa, there are scholars in America, yes, there are their scholars in Asia, their scholars in Europe, the scholars on every continent, and chances are the one individual who's telling you, the scholars, the scholars, the scholars, they probably only have the five to 10 people in mind, if that, that they're familiar with. And so, you know, there's two extremes, right, don't let anybody control you, you know, to this cultish mentality, where they're saying the scholars, the scholars, the scholars, and then you can't do anything, you can't think a thought you can't take an action. You can't, you know, whatever, unless the scholars

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say so. Right. But then it's also there's another extreme where we're going back to all the sources ourselves and saying, Well, you know, I can understand this and you haven't, you don't know Arabic, and you don't know, who sort of felt and you don't know, sort of Hadith and you don't know these sorts of things. So there's two extremes and we have to be in the middle, we have to be in the middle. When it comes to the average like Muslim. You know, you're gonna have to develop your relationship with a certain scholar or a group of scholars that you like, that you trust that you feel are qualified, especially first and foremost, that they have good character, that they have

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good character. Right? Because if you have someone who is very knowledgeable but they are arrogance, then you are going to catch their arrogance. And all the knowledge that you learned might be a Hijjah of proof against you on the Day of Judgment and not something for you and we ask a lot of protects us from that.

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Okay, that's the end of this class, inshallah. Tada. Next time, we'll talk more about us for Hanny's reflections on why people differ when it comes to the religion in the first place. What are the different causes for that, and what should we do about that? Well, tada, Adam said, I'm already going off to La he

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