Edward Said and His Work Orientalism

Yasir Qadhi


Channel: Yasir Qadhi

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Smilla l salatu salam ala Rasulillah who either early he was so happy woman well I'm about today inshallah we'll do something different. As most of you are aware, I'm speaking to those that are visiting, I know some of you are visiting from outside. Generally we talk about obviously any phoron see or something from our tradition. Once in a while, I think it is useful to mention a fact that is related to our history as an OMA but not necessarily straight from our texts. And as you know, in the last two years, I have sometimes given issues of psychology, issues of sociology, things of benefit. And by the way, footnote here, this is sooner, our professor scimitars reporting Sahadi

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that many times after Salah, the Sahaba would speak of the days of jaw helliya The words of jaw heylia they would even recite the poetry. So to have beneficial knowledge in the masjid is something that is a part of our tradition. And so today, Inshallah, we'll go to the tangent, which is going to be especially useful to those who are engaged in dialogue with people outside of our community, or in trying to understand the media and current affairs. My talk today is going to be about one of the most interesting books written in the last 100 years in Western academia. It is considered to be one of the 10 most important books that revolutionized Western academia, written by a non Muslim, and

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Arab Christian, by the name of Edward St. Edward site. This is a figure that anybody who's involved in understanding modern politics and modern media should be aware of a little bit about this person and why we're talking about him in today's quarter, because it is a very interesting topic. Edward side comes from a christian palestinian family. And he was raised in very elite schools in federal saline and Cairo back in the 40s. And 50s. His father was wealthy and managed to send him to America as a teenager. So he was one of the first out herbs to graduate from Princeton, and then Harvard back in the 50s. And he has a PhD in English literature, like some field that is not related to us,

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right. So he became a professor in Columbia. So his Ivy League entire way, professor in Columbia, English literature, but he is Palestinian. He's out of, of course, he's Christian, but he's Arab. And he sees what's happening in this country. And he sees the news media and the analysis about how they portray Islam, and how they talk about Palestine and how they portray the Arabs. And so even though his PhD is in linguistics and in literature, he writes a book that literally shook the world of academia. It has said that hardly any book impacted universities as much as this book did in the last century. And it's a book called Orientalism, you should all be aware of this today's hot is

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about this book, Orientalism by Edward Saeed, published in 1978. The impact of this book is beyond what I can mention in a hot era, it literally destroyed an entire field called Orientalist studies. And it created multiple different fields, such as a post modernism post colonialism, post colonialist studies is a new field, you can get a PhD and post colonial studies. This entire discipline was created as a result of this book, one book, the book deals with us as an OMA, that's why we're talking about it. It's about us. It's about the Muslim world, written by a non Muslim, but because he's born and raised amongst Muslims, and because he's out of because he's Palestinian. The

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book that he wrote, was an amazing work that still has an impact to this day. This book itself has been the subject of multiple PhDs. The book itself is the subject of multiple dissertations. And it is an accessible book. It's not a very difficult, advanced abstract book. It's one that any educated person can or you can borrow on Amazon Orientalism, by the way, before this point in time, Islamic Studies programs were called Orientalist studies. And the person who studied Islamic Studies was called an Orientalist. Okay, this was the term Orientalism and Orientalist. This book, demolished the term nobody uses it anymore. This book demolished the Department of Oriental Studies. Now it's

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called department of Islamic studies because of this book, Department of Islamic Studies. Nobody wants to use the term Orientalist anymore, because this book devastatingly critiqued the concept of Orientalism, in another

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And I'm being a little bit obviously, off the cuff I haven't prepared for this and obviously has to be simplistic for we're not doing an advanced topic is very simple talk here in a nutshell. Edward Saeed created multiple disciplines by sifting together topics of psychology of colonialism, of literary theory of power dynamics. And he demonstrated this is now the key point, that when people from America and Europe, talk about Islam, and the Arab world and the Muslim world, they are not coming from a place of neutrality. On the contrary, there is a deep psychological reality, a bias that they're not even willing to acknowledge. And as they write about us as the Muslim community,

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they stereotype and caricatured us in the most basest of fashions, they generalize he goes, firstly, there is no such thing as oriental, Chinese and Malay, are totally different. Pakistani, and you know, somebody from the Middle East are not the same. But this construction of everybody have brown skin is Oriental. It is done in order to stereotype. And in order to another point, he says, to actually accuse the enemy of what you yourself are guilty of. This was one of the key points of Orientalism, he demonstrated that, in fact, America, Europe and the academics of this country and this nation, usually, they themselves are guilty of certain onze ideas, and they blame the Muslim

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world for those ideas as a psychological tactic to get the blame off of them. And he mentions two things in the book that I can mention here that more than mentioned, number one, he goes sensuality. Now, if you look at any movie 50 6070s 80s About Arabs in the Middle East, right? There's always some Herim you know, there's always some, you know, lady, when you get my pointer very fireshot whatnot. And he goes, which society has more fascia, which society has, you're accusing the Muslim world of these things, which of the two is the producer of evil and fascia and filth? And then he said this before 911, violence, the stereotype of the Arab terrorist throughout the 70s, and 80s,

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the stereotype even in the cartoons, of our Arabs, being Muslims being associated with terrorism and violence, right. And in reality in human history, which civilization has been the most invading the most colonizing the most bombing of other nations, which societies have killed more people, West or East. So he says, by accusing them of what we are guilty of, he's calling himself a Western here by accusing the Orientals of what we are guilty of, it's actually making us feel we're not guilty of anything. Those are the real evil people, right? So there's this notion, therefore, of taking your own faults, and accusing your enemies of having those false so that your false appear without any

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fault. You understand this point, right? Another point that he writes, which is a very profound point, he says, when these academic thinkers write their dissertations, their papers, even the movies and literature, they're not writing it from a vacuum, they are benefiting from a system of oppression, colonialism, and their stereotypes play in to validating colonization, when you claim that the Orient is backward, and we are civilized when you claim that Muslims are, you know, not able to be democratic. So we must be the Democratic invaders. You perpetuate stereotypes that are able to be used by politicians by culture, to then commit crimes against humanity invade bomb, you,

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oh, academics are not neutral, you are tools of imperialism, even if you don't recognize it. And this is a very serious charge, if you understand, right, because academics, they love to say we are neutral, we are not involved with the government. And he says no, by default, you are not writing from a vacuum. You're writing from a power differential. You are a superior in terms of GDP and bombs and whatnot. When you caricatured that level of people and societies, you are perpetuating the crimes of your own people, you are sugarcoating your whitewashing, and you become a part of the apparatus that you so willingly claim you're not a part of. Okay, those of you understand what's

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going on with the CRT issue as a black and white. These are all predating Edward sides mind is thinking along those lines 30 years before what we are seeing right now of the woke culture, right? So Edward Saeed comes with this devastating book. And as I said, the book literally caused like an academic, you know, avalanche within the communities because he did a very thorough study of some of the biggest names his main Nemesis was one of the worst Neo cons

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who eventually joined George Bush's war on Iraq? The worst academic of the other side? Bernard Lewis, if you know his name, so after 911 he wrote an article that went viral. Okay? Why do the Muslims hate us so much? And in the article and I kid you not literally I'll summarize it in one sentence. They hate us because we're so good. Literally. That's why 911 happened. Forget any I'm not obviously we don't justify, but no politics, nothing. They are evil because we are so good that we're angels they become devils. This is Bernard Lewis, Bernard Lewis and Edward side were completely at odds with one another, and in lifetime and even up until that's like their obituary,

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so very harsh enemies, because he quoted Bernard Lewis multiple times as the quintessential example of this type of person that, by the way, the irony of ironies, Bernard Lewis actually joined the Neo con cabal after 911. Literally, the book came out in 1978. And Bernard Lewis said, I'm not to the politician, I don't have any through politics. And after 911, he actually visited George Bush in the White House, he instructed George Bush about words to use, he wrote articles that justified Iraq's invasion, literally what Edward side had predicted back in 1978. That person became because of this book, as I said, Orientalism became a taboo word, nobody calls themselves Orientals anymore, because

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he mentioned and he proved that the notion of studying the east as you're a Westerner is not neutral, you are a part of the apparatus that kills and rapes and ponders and lutes. And when you perpetuate these crude stereotypes, when you portray the the Muslim world as backward, and us as civilized, then when your countries bomb, your peoples understand, okay, we're the better people, your people overlook what your governments are doing. So you are an accessory to mass murder. Obviously, nobody likes that accusation, the entire name was eliminated, departments changed. So he also pointed out, by the way, a fact and I will testify to this fact myself, in my own studies and

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whatnot, up until the 70s and 80s. The only people who would study in these departments were Caucasian people, if you are out of or Middle Eastern, or Muslim or brown skin, you would not get admitted to the program. You would it would the assumption would be you're not qualified to study yourself. Only we can study you. He pointed out this hypocrisy, because of this book, active recruitment began that we should bring in some Middle Easterners and some whatnot. So when I applied to my Ph. D program, I was one of the very, very few people in that timeframe that was an openly practicing Muslim doing a PhD in Islamic Studies. The default was that people doing patient Islamic

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studies are not Muslim, much less practicing. It was very rare. It still is very rare to find somebody like this because Edward side pointed it out, they open door a little bit, but still the door remains just a small amount of opening. Also, as I said, he began an entire discipline of literary studies and of history. This discipline is called post colonialist studies, this discipline, you can now have an undergraduate degree in it or a PhD in it. What is this discipline? This discipline seeks to examine the relationship between the colonized and the colonizer. Because that's a very deep topic. Those countries that have broken away from colonization, that's all of our

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countries, by the way, right? Our identities, whether we like it or not, are shaped by by whom? The colonizer, okay, our identities, even as we broke away, we cannot help but be shaped by the very countries that we broke away from the classic example our own home countries of India, Pakistan, what is the national language of India that the parliament itself speaks in? English? English is a national language, right? And almost every educated Pakistani speaks English and Bengali speaks English. How why Where did that happen? Our own construct of what it means Boxen India itself comes from colonization as we were right not to get too, too controversial, but it's the reality. So he

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brings up this topic, can you even have an identity without the other? So he goes down this very philosophical notion of looking at literature and, you know, movies and of the rhetoric between nations, in any case, summary of it all these types of books and these types of disciplines, even though he was not a Muslim, it really benefited the Ummah very much and our professors and I'm said, sometimes Allah helps this OMA with a ritual Kaffir so Hadith, in Allah, Allah, you know, how the deen berjudul Kaffir. And these types of people had they been Muslim. Their books would not have been given much credit. It was Allah's hikma, actually, the fact that he's a Christian and his

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writing in a discipline. That's not really you know, he became famous because of this book. By the way, this book literally made him a world household name in academia, and he died right after 911 He died 20 something years right

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In a year or two after 911, he passed away and he wrote things about 911 as well by the way that you should read. So this book is actually a very useful introduction to the mentality of those people who study Islam and call us to call themselves Orientalist. I went in to introduce this book, the author and the topic to you, Inshallah, tada if you're interested, you can read summaries online or buy the book, believe it or not, it's a very easy read. It was meant for anybody who's interested in this notion you will find in shallow views and interests. Next time inshallah we'll do a more standard mainstream Doctor Don't worry is that Kamala Harris Santa Monica wanna hula? barakato?

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