Channel: Yasir Qadhi
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Looking at the critical and contemporary issues,
facing the Muslim world,
from different perspectives,
generating new ideas, bringing to you all this and a lot more in voices from the Muslim world
nobody should be angry at Allah who be loved, but you don't have to be satisfied. And I have said very clearly that our ultimate goal is the preservation of the dean. What the Muslims of Pakistan should do is something very different than the Muslims of America should do. To what level of compromise Are you going to do in an Islamic party until it loses the favorite flavor of Islam? ISIS and Dinesh for example, we rejected them we don't want their version of Islam.
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim we are honored and humbled to have
a very esteemed guest today a person with immense knowledge, a deep understanding of religion, somebody who needs no introduction. She has a crazy Welcome to Islam
to lie over Salam Razak Allah for having me. Thank you very much for appropriating time for us despite your very busy schedule. Zack Allah Hi Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah anytime it's I was informed about your institute by multiple people, they were emailing me and So alhamdulillah you have a good reputation amongst people. And so without any further ado, let's switch the questions. Bismillah so that there apparently is an agreement about the fact that Muslims overall in the world, both Muslim countries and Muslim communities they are going through turbulent times what are the basic problems which the Muslim world is facing today?
Before I even
answer the question of what I think as Muslims, we need to think about why as Muslims the first question is that we need to be asking,
what is the divine wisdom in these types of trials and tribulations because the Muslim believes in Allah azza wa jal, Cardinal Allah's power and last element Allah's knowledge and not a leaf falls except with his pura and not, not an atom breaks open except that Allah azza wa jal knows it and wills of it. So the Muslim begins by thinking about there must be there must be a reason why this is happening. And, of course, from a spiritual angle from a from a theological perspective, we firmly believe that Allah azza wa jal has the best plan for us. So what happens is for our best if we have a man in him, what happens is always for our best if we have a man in him, so there must be some
hikma this does not mean that we're satisfied with status quo, it means that we understand that the net result that the long term goals are in shallow data going to be for the benefit. Now what those wisdoms are people might differ, but perhaps one of them, which is the most obvious is that the Muslims need to wake up from, let's say, the collective slumber that they were in, especially, perhaps, you know, for the last generation or before that as well. And if we look at the global trends of Islamic revivalism, I think it is true to say that the revival that is taking place around the globe is unprecedented for the last century. And perhaps, perhaps that revival is the direct
result of some of these fittings and trials and tribulations that are happening this is not to justify this is to console ourselves because again, we do not we are not obliged not my theology is different from some others. Some people say we should accept everything that happens right? And you know what I'm talking about that whatever happens we had make no error at all upon upon you know, anything that's happening, look, yeah, I did all this one thing, but you don't have to be happy. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody should be angry at Allah who the biller, but you don't have to be satisfied at the status quo, and you should work to change status quo. This is my theology. I know some other things
movements think that we just make the scheme of everything and don't wish to change. No, this is not in my opinion, it's not the reading of the zero. So before we ask how we should ask why. And I think that the why, one of the main reasons and one of the main blessings that has come up with these fitted in trial is collective awareness is the the realisation that the OMA is a viable reality, in light of the nation states in light of these different divisions and whatnot, which, by the way, post World War One did become invoke nationalist movements across the globe. And if you don't mind my being a little bit more explicit, I think one of the classic examples that we see is the
Palestinian movements that wanted to desire
human freedoms dignities, right, look at the trends in the 50s and 60s and 70s. And look at the trends now. And you see that it is symptomatic of what is happening in the OMA. And, of course, our hearts are with our Palestinian brothers and sisters, historically, in the 60s and 70s. And even, especially in the 80s, the main movements were secular based, is that not the case, all of the names that we think of, especially in the 60s and 70s, were very nationalistic based, they fizzled out, they were not successful. And perhaps the realization dawned on them and on others, that this is not the way forward. And since the mid 80s, late 80s, and especially the 90s, the primary movements have
become what religious based, is that not the case? No, I'm not. I'm not exonerating every single religious base, I'm talking about, overall the psychological framework of those movements, and has been OMA based, it has been Islamic based. And these movements have gained global traction, the OMA is now involved, and people's awareness of the issue has increased manifold. And perhaps and Allah knows best, perhaps that shift has come about as a direct result of some of these issues and problems taking place around the OMA. Right. So we should look at the bright side as well. Now you're asking why this is the or sorry, the the mechanisms or whatnot. Obviously, this is a
multifaceted answer and one person is not qualified. You know, to answer single handedly, there's no question that the political and economic states that the OMA finds itself in the the factorization that occurred of the OMA post World War One, I think that that is definitely a major factor. I also believe from again, from a spiritual and again, my training, my background has been slightly different than others. And it has shaped my worldview, as all of our training shape our worldviews, I must say that I do firmly believe that one of the reasons and causes that this is happening is that for too long, too many Muslims did not make their Islamic identity, their primary one. For too
long, it was secondary, if not tertiary. And this is going to harm the the overall, you know, collective status over the OMA. So if we prioritize if each individual Muslim around the globe, yes, well, I'm an American, I, my ethnicity, my parents are Pakistani, I mean, you know, my grandparents are Indian, I have all of this at Hamdulillah. But I'm also a Muslim. In fact, that is the primary identity, if I can maintain all of these different identities, but always understand that the other identities are sub identities, and my primary identity is that of Islam. This changes the whole paradigm. And if collectively, my city and my country is nation state, the Muslims of that nation
state and the entire globe understood that there are bonds that we have, then things can change slowly but surely. And first and foremost, mashallah, you've done immense work, in certain fields, martial law you've got, you probably have an authority over those subjects like a Syrah and aqidah. And then, you know, the sciences of Quran. And then also I have seen that, you know, you've done a lot of work on the political system of Islam, like, you know, at least you speak about it. So, you made mention of nation state, I just want to, you know, extend this topic a little further. So, in the Muslim world, there is a dearth of intellectual knowledge as well as intellectual development as
well. And it is on certain fronts. One of them is when they talk about the political system of Islam. So, I actually believe these types of questions. The best ways to answer them must always transcend one individual. I mean by this that your question deals with knowledge of the classical, shady as view of politics, CS or tertiary. It deals with the modern world it deals with pragmatically trying to achieve something which has requires in in necessitating a knowledge of the economic system of the political system. These deep complex questions cannot simplistically be answered by any one individual no matter what their training is. I believe that
And this is happening on hamdulillah around the globe, that the best ways to to propose solutions is to have groups of specialists of different fields, specialists in the modern political system specialists within each of their countries, but who love the OMA specialists who have a knowledge of classical Shetty and modern applications of them. And modern thinkers, you don't have to have a speciality. And so your I'm going to give you my my humble thoughts as one individual fully recognizing that it is but one man's interpretation, absolutely fallible, based upon my limited knowledge of all of these different fields. So I am somebody who I've said this plenty of times, I'm
somewhat of a pragmatist. I don't mean in a philosophically pragmatic point of view, that's a whole different thing. I mean, in in a manner that I deal with reality as it is. So the the the notion of abolishing the nation state, this is an alternative universe, if it were to happen, let us see what the alternative would be. I'm not, I'm not propagating that we must continue and perpetuate the nation state. But I'm being pragmatic, as we are speaking, there does not seem to be a viable equivalent. In fact, the only alternatives that attempted to do so were alternatives that the OMA itself rejected, like ISIS and dice, for example, we rejected them. We don't want their version of
Islam. They were the ones who brought about that type of, you know, there's not gonna be any nation state anymore. And we saw what was the end, I don't find that to be a viable way forward. So for the foreseeable future, we are dealing with nation states, right. Now, if and when that changes, let's talk about and if some people want to work to change it Bismillah go, but that's not my mind. My mind is, let's deal with reality. You know, every one of us has a passport, every one of us is restricted to where we can travel what we can do based upon our passport. So let us then deal with reality as it is. Now, what can we do? I always divide the world simplistically into Muslim majority
and Muslim minority lines, what the Muslims of Pakistan should do is something very different than the Muslims of America should do. And again, I try to be practical and realistic, it's not my place, to, to pontificate and to tell the Pakistani Muslims what they should do. I have born and raised in I've been born and raised in western lands, I'm far more familiar with my you know, segment of the world. And I feel that I am much more qualified to speak to my own peoples living in minorities and I have said very clearly that our ultimate goal is the preservation of the deen. That is the number one goal amongst ourselves and our family and children. And then secondarily, the propagation of the
deen. Many movements said that propagation is number one. And I say no, this is not actually true. propagation can be suspended for times if the politics does not allow it. And the processes in Makkah was not allowed to propagate. So he did not publicly propagate and it was allowed for him, the Muslims of the Soviet Union and others in the 1900s, or whatnot, they were not allowed to propagate, but they were still obliged to preserve as much as possible. So the ultimate goal for us Muslim minorities is to preserve our faith, where we can we also preach, and we also invite others, and we leave it to them to do so. And this is Alhamdulillah, the realities of the majority of the
Western worlds and countries, we also have our full rights as citizens to impact our own countries to what we think is the best for them, and for the globe. And this means, for example, campaigning and bringing about public awareness for Palestine for the weekers for the Syrian refugees, and we are an humbler, doing much of this, obviously, much more can be done in our lands. So we have our goals laid out for us. Now the question that I don't feel, I don't feel qualified to, to endorse, but maybe speak as a global, you know, as a person who has traveled a lot and who has a Pakistani heritage or whatnot. What if the Muslims in the Muslim majority country tried their best to bring
about as many laws that reflect the morality of Islam, even if they don't achieve perfection? And again, this is where we always have to? There is no, there is no utopia. And we're always dealing with people that are wanting certain things that are not going to happen. What I mean by this is, if you're not going to get full implementation of the [???]tier, is it wise to get partial? Some people would argue, no, there's no such thing. And that's their worldview. And when I bring or when I come in, I'm more sympathetic to at least a partial implementation. They reject and say there's no point it's a joke, it's a game, it's never going to happen. Okay. Others believe this is the ultimate
goal, to have a partial replication of the city and the nation state, and many Islamic parties are aiming for that. And again, let's get a little bit more controversial. Tunisia is the classic example. Okay, classic example. And again, I'm not going to take sides here in the sense what I mean by this, obviously, I have my own personal views, but now is not the time to go into them.
To what level of compromise
Are you going to do an Islamic party until it loses the favorite flavor of Islam?
Until you become so pragmatic that in reality, you might as well just be more Islamic? Yeah. So this is a it's a it's a it's a case study, and it also raises very difficult philosophical questions. You know, the classic floodgate argument to what level do you open the door? If you open it all the way, then nothing is there is no door left, right. So the floodgate argument is always used as a means to prevent moderate if you'd like reform, like, Oh, if you open the door, everything's going to happen. And cases like Tunisia, do bring about deep questions like, perhaps Allah knows best, perhaps, those parties really did compromise to a level of pragmatic realities that really made them lose their
flavor. And even that wasn't good enough for the opposition in that country. Even that wasn't good enough, right. So critics now have the right to say, Aha, we told you so. And I see where they're coming from. And I'm not negating that they have an element of validity. But and here's the the pragmatic question, let's be again, no, no, no one country needs to mention, suppose in a Muslim majority country, alcohol was allowed. And we now have the chance to ban it without criminalizing without punishing those who drink it? Should we? Or should we not? If you want perfection, they're gonna say, Oh, this is a joke. You're not bringing about the hood, right? And if you're willing to
be pragmatic, and say, okay, you know what, let's, let's do something in the middle, right, you'll say, you know, what, this is better than than nothing. So, amongst these two camps, my heart is inclined towards something is better than nothing. But I understand that there are critics who think that what's the point? What's the point of trying to implement half of the [???]ty art in a nation state and as I have said, in other interviews, I do believe that the paradigm of the nation state fundamentally will will will force us to have to compromise on some aspects of the shady and not because the shady shady is imperfect, but because the nation states model is so different from the
shady as model, that if you want to implement certain aspects of the shady, you will have to forego others. And I don't say this out of a sense of pride or or it is what it is. So either you wish to bring about certain reformations within Muslim majority lens, right, that reflect values of the Sharia, but but not exactly enforcing 100%. And you're content with this for now until you work for others, or you simply give up on that entire project. And you call for a full fledged Khilafah, which some movements do, as you know, and Yanni, okay, show us what you can do in the meantime. But one thing that I am against and I and again, I have to be very explicit here is to take both of
these groups, the pragmatists and the idealist as enemies for one another. I think this is a huge problem, because the Muslim pragmatist, the Muslim, you know, the ones that are they're happy with 50% Right. At least their heart is with the OMA they're striving to do some good. They're trying in their own way. And what I don't like and I don't appreciate at all that I think it is detrimental overall to the OMA is when the idealists take the Muslim movements that are trying to be pragmatically you know, realistic as the ultimate enemy.
And much of the idealists worldview, sorry, their rhetoric is directed against their practicing Muslim brethren who love Allah and His Messenger love the Shetty. They have an attachment to the religion. And they ignore that, hey, the both of us have far bigger problems and threats coming from those who don't even believe in Allah and His Messenger, and they don't care about the [???]ty after. So let us come together once in a while. Share our worldviews if we manage to bring something middle hamdulillah if not, then each one does what they're doing. And may Allah bless these efforts. Overall, this has been my attitude you have talked about, you probably see light down the tunnel
regarding revivalism based on religion in the Muslim societies. But on the other hand, you also talked about examples like NAFTA, which were despite being too flexible, yet we're not acceptable to you know, the openness if I may say, or the world or the system we are living in, even within the country and outside on the global scale as well. So how come you still see light down the tunnel? Because my version of the light down the tunnel is not necessarily the the light in political realms. I am primarily focused personally on the spiritual revival revival of the OMA and the fact that Alhamdulillah large segments of the OMA are interested in a snap, and they're engaging with the
To me, that is the the ultimate light. And
I am again, my interviews are well known in this regard.
I don't emphasize the notion of a politically independent Muslim principality as being the fundamental goal of the [???]tier. The fundamental goal is belief in Allah, and worship of Allah subhana wa Tada and applying the Shetty and one's own life as much as possible, once we are done with that issue. So not necessarily done, but an ongoing process, but not the primary one is to think of the collective establishment of a political entity. That is an important part. I'm not negating it, but at the same time, what can one person do that is that is applicable? That is a practical reality. So let's let's be, let's be realistic, you are somebody living in Istanbul, okay,
I'm somebody living in America, what can you and I do at the global scale that will actually impact the politics of the OMA? Very little, but what can you do with your own friends and neighbors? What can you do with your own community that you're involved with your own family? Quite a lot. So again, going back to my pragmatic, real realities, why? Think about that, which might have zero impact at the expense of doing something that might actually have impact. So again, and again, I admit this might also be because of my own training and my own background and the movements I've been through could be I could be that's the case that I'm influenced. But I still state every individual's
priority should be to maximize one's own Eman and relationship with Allah subhana, WA, tada. And the immediate circle that you're involved with to maximize their relationship with Allah. And perhaps Allah knows best if we read in too much to this, Allah knows. But perhaps in this era,
we see a bit of this when the Muslim community increased in size, a man and Taqwa ALLAH SubhanA wa Tada, blessed Men hate to lie accessible from places they didn't expect. The people of the O 's are the hustlers first and then the oath, to embrace Islam, and to then invite the Prophet system. Now, it's not as if the process was doing nothing. He was knocking on doors, as we know, going to the mineral kingdom, going to the boathouse and going to the large tribes, he was trying to see a politically stable reality. But again, if you look at overall what was he primarily emphasizing, it was worship of Allah belief of Allah ethics and morality of Islam. And this is my reading of this
era. That yes, it is important to have a politically viable alternative to what is going on. But it is not the ultimate goal and to be very simplistic, and this is kindergarten stuff, but it is true. A politically established Muslim principality or civilization, in and of itself will not guarantee every person who lives in it goes to gender.
And you don't need that civilization. For me and you to go to agenda. Think about that. The ultimate spiritual goal that every Muslim has is the result of ALLAH SubhanA wa Tada as manifested in entering gender and being and seeing the divine presence may Allah make us amongst them, the ultimate spiritual fulfillment Z and nobody will okay that agenda to philosophize, this is the ultimate goal whoever is saved from the Jahannam and enters gender that is the winner okay. How do we do that?
Can we do that without this political establishment? We all agree even those that are asking for it agree that it is possible, okay. The establishment of such a politically viable entity, will it guarantee that every person who lives in it will go there No. So then it is a secondary goal, not a primary goal. So this is my understanding of the CRO, I understand that the average Muslim is required by ALLAH SubhanA wa Tada to live his or her life as ethically in conformity with the [???]ty as possible to do the rituals. And to be a people are the people of the good, right. And as a part of that the leaders and movers and shakers and thinkers should also try to bring about a viable
political alternative, but it should not be done at the expense of one's own personal kind of empathy Allah. Let's move from Muslim lands to Muslim Communities I would say. So, I mean, the groups of Muslim meet living in non Muslim countries or Muslim countries. So among the intellectual debates, which they come across, one of them is a tussle between the proponents of conservatism traditionalism and modernism. So, first of all, I would ask you, what do you understand of modernism in relation to Islam and do you actually think it's at crossroads with Islam? These are all loaded terms can
conservatism, liberalism, modernism, these are all loaded terms. And everybody who engages with these ideas in terms should first define what he or she specifically means by them. Right? So, who exactly is a modernist who exactly is a liberal who exactly is a conservative. And as you're aware, this is a continuous spectrum. It's a continuous spectrum. And wherever you place yourself to the left, or to the left of your source, you say, these are the real liberals, these are the too much and to the right here, because these are the two conservatives, right? It is a continuous spectrum. So the way that I view this whole arena, is that, for issues that
modern the modern world that we live in, does not require us to rethink through our tradition, we should try our best to stick to the tradition, simple examples of blue and salah. And these are not things we should be rethinking through. Okay, for issues that are completely unprecedented, no doubt we will have to do completely new each day
for issues that are a bit of a in the middle. And this, for example, is the application of the Shediac in the modern state. I think this is somewhat of a middle ground and that some aspects are new, some aspects are traditional, then we are allowed with groupthink. I'm a big advocate, as I said groups of aroma coming together wherever allowed to rethink through where the Shetty allows us to know here of course is the infinite loop who gets to define what the city allows us to rethink and this is why I'm an advocate of large groups of Roma coming together that you have to lie here either Gemma woman shed the shed the for now. And Allah's blessings comes amongst inshallah larger
groups of aroma. It's a very difficult question to answer, who gets to define where the shared UI allows us to reform? I don't have a clear cut answer. Perhaps we can use
that which is undisputable igma of the OMA. But again, this raises huge thorny issues for anybody who studied or Sudafed, because defining email, and finding examples of it are always contested as well. Nonetheless, I put myself in the camp of thinkers who immensely respect the tradition, and understand that without the tradition, we would not be here, but who also understand that the tradition itself was engaged with its own modernity, as it shaped itself. And so we are allowed with the params within the parameters of Sudafed within the parameters of our Shadia, to see what can be changed and what can't be changed. So I'm an advocate of moderate reform called whatever you will,
and this is actually what the large global councils are doing. Right? These are the internationally recognized councils that are from the Alberta from the realm of Islam. I'm also a member of a number of them, this is what these groups are doing anyway. Unfortunately, many of our you know, simple minded Daniel are not very educated whatnot, they feel that this is a rejection of the idea. And they don't understand that. No, this is in fact, the recut the RE application and the revival of the idea, the [???]ty I was meant to be applied in this matter. So I'm an advocate, as you as I explained to somebody who respects the tradition immensely, and who tries to stick with it as much as
possible, but at the same time understands that much of the tradition is itself
a development of their own maternities. So we now have our own modernity. And I'm also a critic of full liberalism. Because liberalism is based upon the premise that each individual should decide what is good for himself or herself, right? Liberalism emphasizes the neffs and Islam is not a narcissistic religion. So I view myself as the moderate and of course, I think most people would put themselves in that category, but as they say, the devil is in the details. Let me ask you a question related to what you just said. You've talked about liberalism, that liberalism, how it's related to knifes. So there's a question which I mean, how can we rationally answer the question that does
Islam limit freedoms? I mean, when we talk about it in context of liberalism and secularism, and obviously, where they should be, they should be a law defined by God, that should rule a society or that should rule individuals. How can we rationally justify that Islam or religion can limit freedoms? Actually, the very definition of Islam is submission to Allah.
That is the very definition, at least Islam. So when a Muslim says that in in the law, one of the corollaries to that statement is that Allah subhana wa Taala has the ultimate right to decide
What I should or should not do. When Allah azza wa jal us, Ibrahim alayhi salam through the dream to do what he did, he did it.
That's the reality of what it means to worship Allah subhana wa Tada. So, we believe our ultimate freedom comes in the worship of Allah, because we find our true purpose in life. Right? This is the ultimate purpose of life which is the achievement of the pleasure of Allah azza wa jal well Mahalo to genuine insight inlandia, Boone multidomain embarrassment Well, what would you do for anyone? So the Westerns definition of quote unquote, freedom, generally speaking, it is, it is a narcissistic hedonism. That's really what they define as freedom like to allow one's inner self to do whatever one wants to us, this is a corruption of the soul, this is not freedom to us, you are destroying you
are you are allowing your animalistic tendencies to take over and Allah says in the Quran, what I was about how could a homeless person that is so my watch will or the woman fee him right? If the truth had been contingent to their own desires, then all that is in the heavens and earth would descend into chaos and fitna and facade and this is what we see. Look at what is happening now where even forget family from the was destroyed a generation ago. Now even any basic realities of gender and morality is out the window completely. Right. And it's simply a domino effect. So I think this is what Islam came to to save to save us from our own ego and knifes and to make us understand that
we have a higher purpose and in fulfilling that purpose, we shall be ultimately free, free meaning of others of our souls in the hereafter inshallah does not have to give us time. Hum the busy schedule Professor pleasure was mine does not look different to each other next time. I'll try to visit your institute and we have a lot to play here for. We are so humbled to have you here.