Channel: Zaid Shakir
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have better luck and how can a young buddy feature that which are the aren't the sort of high school canacona
and Annika and together they died
last month, but he was certainly more bad. So he did.
he was sent him to steam, cinematic martial law, good evening, to everyone, peace and blessings. May this be beneficial evening, for us and time well spent, together. Night to start, first of all, by summarizing what I said, for the benefit of those not familiar with those expressions, basically, praising God, and invoking prayers for peace of blessings upon
we believe as Muslims to be the final messenger of God sent to humanity after a long line of prophets and messengers that include names that most of you are probably familiar with, know, Moses, Abraham, David,
Jesus, we believe culminate with the Prophet, Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, he said, blessings of Almighty God be upon him. And now I'd like to first of all, thank the university here. And thank Dr. Dunn
for his leadership of this fine institution, for
opening its doors to be a welcoming environment, a welcoming campus where Muslims feel very, very comfortable. And the proof of that, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. They have almost triple their quota of Saudi Arabian students, because they feel so comfortable, they only have to come to Western Michigan, even though they've exceeded the four. So it's a very
occasion, if you will, that we are gathered here at such a welcoming University, also like to thank all of the Muslim students who work so hard to organize this event.
And sacrifice their time, their study time, the leisure time to expend energy, time, even money
out of pocket, because being a former MSA
organizer, there are a lot of things that the money one might get from the university just doesn't cover, especially the last minute on budgeted expenses, the run to Kinko's for more flyers or the run here for this, that or the other. So there's been time this energy, and they've even spent money, I'm sure. But most importantly, I think is very fitting that we thank and welcome all of the people from members are the members of other faith communities who have come here at such a critical, intense time in the history of this nation. Because your presence here, and especially your presence in such large numbers, indicates that there is a fundamental goodness within your
heart that is pushing you towards trying to understand what's going on, to learn a little bit about Islam from a Muslim and not from someone who might have a very antithetical attitude or position. visa vie Muslims. So this is a testimony to your open mindedness, your fundamental goodness, and this is the spirit that's going I believe, that's going to move this country forward, so that I can truly be
in the world, a beacon and a source of hope for all people, not just some people so not denying that the country is a source of hope. For some people it certainly is, but I believe there's potential for it to be a source of hope.
For all people, and working together, I think we can make that happen. As you gather, most of you are the students or teachers, all of you are intelligent people. Looking at the title tonight, you can see that's a very tall order. And I don't think I can fill that order in 45 minutes has not been reduced to 35 due to the length of the introduction. So
I can only
give you some insight into these matters and to focus on one and that one particular. One is the fundamental
unity of humanity
and the ties that bind us together. And then touch on the issue of class and gender.
I'd like to start with one of the verses that I have is Norman so eloquently recited, and that's from surah chapter in the Quran called
the inner apartments the 49th chapter in the coronet. So we read there, yeah, you had nurse in
which I'm sure Ruben will pop back
in a karamo commandment, the wire
in a water ID Maccabi. So a rough translation of that would be Oh, humankind.
We've created you from a single pair on male and female. And we've made you into nations and tribes that you may recognize each other. And parenthetically, as usually mentioned, not that you may despise each other. Surely, the best or most noble of you, with God is the one most conscious, conscious of his commandments and prohibitions. Verily, God is all knowing, well informed. So if we consider this verse, it reminds us of a fact that's been scientifically proven. And that is, we all emanate from a single parent. Many of us refer to that single parent, their original parents, Adam and Eve. An Arabic was Adam, when when some might say total typical couple
97.1. Or some might call it
human, human 1.0. Now we're in version 900, who knows what, but whatever you refer to that genetic mapping, and tracing back our common lineages, through genetic markers. And some of you saw National Geographic special around this issue.
Scientists have traced us back to a common pair, which means two things. Number one, there is something from that original set of parents and all of us. There is genetic material that has been handed down, generation after generation. That is in all of us. And secondly, we're all brothers and sisters at the end of the day,
cousins, at the very least, we're all related. We're all related. And that being the case, there is no such thing as an Aryan Superman.
And there is no such thing as a supreme Asiatic black man,
which various forms of various stripes of racial thinking racialized thinking, allege that there's some racial superiority. As Muslims, we believe that racism is a Satanic phenomenon is something whose origins is rooted in Satan at the same time, and it's unacceptable. Why do we say satanic there's a verse in the Quran has a story that's repeated more than once. So Satan is asked by his Lord by Almighty God. Why didn't you prostrate yourself to add? Why didn't you acknowledge his Vice Chairman CEO with his creation when I appointed him as my vice chairman, and Satan's
And I'm better than him. says, yeah, man Menaka and then test you that is a horrible honor and a higher woman corrupted even more with a woman pain. He said, I'm better than him. Why should I prostate to him? When I'm better? You created me from fire while you created him from claim. So why should I prostrate myself to mud man is made out of mud.
And I made out of fire. And the nature of fire is that it rises, therefore, I have a potential for elevation. And mud flows downhill. That's why you have mudslides, he's welded to the ground. So in essence, he's arguing my physical composition makes me better. He didn't make a moral argument. I shouldn't prospect him because I never told her why. And he's about the cherry tree. chronologies mixed up here. I know.
But I never told a lie. I'm better. I my Spanish.
And he doesn't.
He's not making a moral argument. He's making an argument that strictly confined to the physical difference between him and Adam, you may be from fire, and you made him from clay. So we believe every racist who says I'm better because of this physical characteristic, my skin is white, my skin is black, my skin is brown. I'm Tom, those people are short. We have
narrow lips, those people have juicy lips.
Any difference that rooted in differences and physical composition, we believe is satanic. And it's unacceptable. Now in this soul, the verse It starts on humanity, human time, we made you from a single pair of male and female is telling us you're all in this together, you're all united, even physically united, you're united. And we've made you into nations and tribes. So our subsequent divisions into nations and tribes, there's nothing wrong with that. There is a purpose and a detox. And all of that you recognize that each other and our exigence. They explain what are we to recognize when we see each other, to recognize the creative power of God. So we shouldn't be an
encouragement to each other to glorify our Creator, who from that single pair can bring about all of this diversity, all of this diversity from a single pair, all of the various skin tones, and they're all beautiful, all of the various features. And they're all beautiful, all the various hair textures, and they're all beautiful, and they serve their purposes, and the various climbs that people find themselves in various eye structures and whatever, it's all beautiful. And when we see that in each other, we can recognize the creative power of our Lord, who can bring about all of this diversity out from a single prayer from a single pair, and none that we may despise one another not
that we may use these differences, for claims of superiority, not that we may use these differences for food to aggregate ourselves over each other, or Deville, that some of us have an advantage over the others. Some of us are privileged, in certain ways know, in a Chromebook, the volume of cotton, so who is more virtuous in reality, and Kurama Khan, the most noble of you, the best of you,
is the one who is most conscious in his or her relationship with their Creator. So this is equality that has no physical appearance. Many of our scholars, Muslim scholars, when they come in on this verse, they bring a prophetic tradition, that tradition states and Allah, they're young, who are less worried calmer and more when were the CO Malaccan Young who you know, who become Americans, that God doesn't look at your physical features swari nor does your physical forms, nor does he look at your wealth. So these are two of the greatest
basis for discrimination and inequality amongst our so racial and ethnic differences and
economic differences. But we're told God doesn't look at your physical forms, nor does He consider your wealth. Rather, he looks at your hearts and your deeds. He looks at your hearts and your deeds. The best of you are those who have the strongest moral fiber. The best of you are those who are best in deeds, and their service to their fellow humans, and their stewardship of the earth, and their compassion for the poor and the downtrodden, thus, who the best of you is, and not the ones who are the physical or that color, or this shape, or that shape, or in this economic class or that economic class. The best of you are those or best, the best of you are those or best, and then the purity and
the moral substance and fiber of their hearts. So this verse is telling us, or presenting us with these messages, that we should not look at each other as
categories of people, we should see ourselves as one indivisible collectivity. And it is telling us there are natural differences. There are tribal differences and racial differences and ethnic differences. But these should not negate the common bonds that unite us. These are beautiful things. And the diversity is what as they say, diversity is the spice of life. And when we travel to other lands, and this, there was a time I don't know about now, when we look forward to go into South Asia, to have some nice spicy samosas and some biryani and we're disappointed if we travel all the way to India, or Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. And the only fare available is Burger King and
Kentucky Fried Chicken now couldn't stand in America for this.
Variety is the spice of life. And we should cherish the variety that existed between and amongst us, we should cherish the various ways of dressing, we shouldn't try to cherish the various cuisines that people have developed over the course of centuries. In some cases, we should cherish the various
geographies, the various arrangements of our cities, and the nature the way our parks are structured, the way public spaces organized, and all of the differences that the way our houses of worship
are manifesting. And Muslims have always respected that until very recent history, that diversity and that's why you see Muslims in South Asia dressing one way, post them then the Far East and Malaysia or the southern Philippines, dressing another way and building their messages, their mass with a distinctly Far Eastern flavour. They
give you an example of this. The St. Basil is Basilica and the Kremlin in the heart of Moscow is very Russian. The big onion domes. How many of you familiar with that? The very colorful domes.
You've seen pictures of it.
building is a Polish tar tar mask.
When Ivan the Terrible,
went into Poland, he destroyed all of the tar, tar Polish new Indigenous Polish Muslims. He destroyed all of their masks. Except one. It was so beautiful that he ordered it to be dismantled brick by brick. He brought it to Moscow and had it reconstructed. That's what that building is. The point is, is very, very polish. Very Russian is very Eastern European because the Muslims respected those cultural differences and didn't try to annihilate them. They sought to learn them and merge them with this dynamic themes and motifs and principles. And that brought about tremendous diversity. You see African most of their mass. The largest Adobe structure on Earth is Degrace great
monster that Jenny and mommy do from mine. I was there earlier this spring mod naturally air conditioned, perfect for the climate. That's the type of diversity
If that is exemplified the tower of
the tower of who that you know one another and recognize your differences, and don't despise one another, now saying that
to move on to class equality, Islam is not a leveling idea. So it's not an idea that advocates the kind of things that Marxist ideology advocates creating a classless society with no class differential differentiation between us. Because that is an unnatural idea, you find,
you'll find perfect equality in nature. If there is no positive charge and a negative charge, you can't generate electricity. If there's no male and female, and the union between the two, you can't perpetuate humanity, if everyone's just one androgynous mass of totally equal human beings in every aspect, certainly there are areas where there are rights, and that are that are, should be distributed equally in society, by the idea of total equality. And often affairs in all matters.
Isn't an it's not a good idea, and certainly not economically, for what is.
So one of the great planning doesn't work. Every communistic society has collapsed, generally, because people didn't have an incentive to exert themselves. Why should I exert myself, if there's any social class my family doesn't benefit from it is going to be taken from me, and given to those people over there who don't want to work because they know they're going to get theirs anyway.
And not that that's a gross simplification, but that's one of the reasons, communism generally has not worked. And there are there are good features of communist societies, which shouldn't be the night but there are also some very bad features. And that's one of them. So one of the main causes of Islam one of the great objectives is the preservation of private property, to give people an incentive to work. But there is also there are also teaching that guarantees those who are structurally denied access to work, they want to work. And so in this country, and in this state, specifically, in Michigan, which was a harbinger of things to come economically, in this country,
there are a lot of people who want to work, there are a lot of highly skilled people, but their factories are being closed. And structurally, they're being denied the right to work structurally meaning their jobs have been sent to another country, the structure of our globalized economy has marginalize them and deprive them of avenues where they can. They can engage in their professions, they've been highly trained, and they're highly skilled and qualified to perform. This is what I'm talking about. People in those situations, there should be a safety net in society. People want to work but are unable to work, people who might because of some physical
misfortune that's afflicting them, are unable to work. There shouldn't be a safety net. So just as private property, it was reserved. So one of the great overarching objectives of it's not only laws, the preservation of religion itself has to do the preservation of life or for higher the preservation of the intellect. And that's why toxicants are forbidden, have the power, the preservation of the family has done nothing and the preservation of private property. Hear from that? So
and the substantiation of these principles from Koran and tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and all of God's messengers, but there are also teachings with the am well he him, how come I don't necessarily want to have room and then their wealth, there is a well defined right for those who are forced into circumstances where they have to ask for assistance and for those who are deprived the right to work or for some other reason, when the hell so there is a balance, there is not perfect equality. There is not a
class, the society that's being advocated brought compassion and empathy is being urged. And if a person who has access means doesn't pay the equivalent of the times that Christians pay, then the state has the right to take that percentage of their wealth because once it's, it's due to be paid, it is no longer there, wealth is the property of the poor people. And the state has the right to take it and give it to the poor people to distribute it amongst the poor people. So Islam advocate a system that burns features of capitalism, and features of socialism. And a unique system that recognizes class differentiations, recognizes a right to private property recognizes the right to
the fruits of one's labor and toil, but also recognizes the right of the poor, oppressed and downtrodden people in the society. And this is also mentioned in the saqqaq, the obligatory poor tax that every Muslim means, and wild has to pay in the math and the Masada caught, the flu, caught up with NASA came with an idea when I left the coloboma, etc, that the produce is for the poor, and the Dallas price. So the football and the mess psyche, which indicates that there are some people who are poor, were the recipients of this money. And there are some people who are wealthy who have to pay it. Now how much is it is two and a half percent.
Two and a half percent,
which isn't opressing, anyone, if you're wealthy to pay two and a half percent of your wealth for the poor people, is not particularly taxing for anyone. But if everyone paid it,
just think of the tremendous amounts of wealth that will be available for those who are poor, and deprived. And if you just start doing the math, you can see that there will be a tremendous pool of wealth and resources for those people. So again, there's a balance that's being advocated. And we believe everything in this creation has been established on the basis of a balance. So we'll walk on visa, that God created the heavens and earth, and then he established the balance and that cup, whole food visa, and don't then order needs to establish this balance. And he's warned you that you don't disrupt this balance. So there is a balance in society, there's a balance in gender relations,
there's a balance in class relations, there is a balance in the various ecosystems that have been established. And our challenge as human beings is not to disrupt, disrupt the balance that has been established by God, oftentimes, we disrupted think we're doing good and great harm results. And many of you could readily think of many examples of that. The same per se of pertains in gender relations, and gender relations. There are different roles and responsibilities for men and women. And collectively they establish a balance between the man and the woman, which allows healthy social life to exist when we and this is my interpretation, as I've been taught of Islamic teachings in
this regard, so I'm not saying all Muslims feel this way. I think a fair number two, but I'm not going to over over generalize
that the man and woman exists in the context of a relationship. And that relationship is predicated on a differentiation of roles and responsibilities. Now this is separate from a discussion of rights. They're equal before God, their deeds are rewarded equally. Their religious responsibilities instead, in terms of prayer and fasting, are rewarded equally. And there is there any divine punishments to be ascribed equally
proscribed for men and women. So there's no punishment for a woman who's engaged in some sexual indiscretions and the man just walks away. So periodically is some controversy in the paper along those lines that has no basis in Islamic teaching, but socially
There are roles. And there are there's a differentiation between those roles. And that differentiation allows for our society to function if everyone's doing the same thing. And everyone assumes the same roles, and everyone assumes the same rights and responsibilities equally across the board and that differentiation is lost, then we believe that balance will be upset. And when that balance is upset, there'll be social turmoil and social chaos. So
equality before the law, yes.
Equality before God, yes, but exact equality in terms of social roles and responsibilities. No, historically, like most traditional societies, including this country until recent times, the last few decades, generally, a woman's role were function or constructed around her domestic responsibilities and duties, not meaning women want to be educated. It's not like history until very recent history.
present times rather, you see an unbroken chain of highly educated women there are even women who wrote their husband's books and edited their husband books and their husbands became famous and only started to look deeply into these matters. Know the reality of the situation. One of these was the great Hanafy scaly mammal Cosette was the author of one of the great books and Islamic law a great companion. The dad is so non Sanaya very grateful, is understood his wife edited the book and assisted him. There was the great teachers at one time in Islamic Spain. And those there were 5000 women alive at one time who had memorized the entire Sahih Bukhari entire compendium of prophetic
tradition of Sahiba high conservative in the most authentic book and prophetic traditions 5000 women had memorized that book. So education was encouraged, even though the woman's role was consistent with the traditional role of most women in most societies. It's more domestic role, but it was understood, the women are going to be the first teachers of the children. Therefore, if you keep your women ignorant, you're going to have ignorant children. And if you have ignorant children, eventually you're going to have an ignorant and weak society. So the domestic role was not an excuse to keep women ignorant. And even to this day, and a min one of the Gulf states is very common
practice for women to learn the Quran, and then they're the first teachers of their male and female children of the war ends. So the idea that the men a primarily domestic role negates education is a false dichotomy. There's never the world historically hasn't existed. And until very recent times, exceptional women have always
had an impact on society. So you see great teachers, great thinkers, great educators, even great political figures throughout the history of the SNAM. And they're, they're even encyclopedias of great influential Muslim women. As I said, until very recent times when colonization disrupted the natural harmony and balance of Muslim societies. And one way that it did that. In addition to internal the case, we're not saying Oh, colonization is responsible for every moment, the Muslim world, but it did accelerate certain developments. The colonizing armies generally who came were men.
And they were coming from Europe at a time when there was no such thing as women's liberation in Europe. So they were coming to Muslim societies and elsewhere, such as Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, and various non Muslim parts of Africa and the Muslim world. And they were bringing extremely patriarchal attitudes on the one hand, and they were bringing male domination because generally conquering armies don't travel with large numbers of women. So then we're in charge and one of the phenomenon that in the heart
Boom, who's considered one of the first sociologists and the modern sense of the word noted is that conquered people generally imitate their conquerors. And so Muslims tended to imitate the ways and take on and adopt the attitudes of the conquering armies. And those attitudes, which extremely patriarchal, during that period of time during the 1617 1819 century, as Europeans went out, and then conquered large swaths of the world, and those attitudes, you can see as they're adopted, and become institutionalized in Muslim society, you see it in of traditions of great Muslim women's scholars, you see an end of Muslim women being involved in some areas where they were involved in
political affairs, you see this coming to an end. So this is one thing, the bottom line, there is a balance. And we believe that balance has to be respected, that it doesn't necessarily in everything, mean a
replication of roles, but a differentiation of roles, and that that is conducive to a song and healthy society. In conclusion, I must say that as Muslims were challenged,
we're challenged in this country, and we challenged globally, we're challenged to
make a greater effort, a far greater effort to bring the teachings of our religion to bear in our everyday life, in our institutions, and in our societies, so that they can be an example for people so that they might be served as an alternative for people that are seeking a credible alternative. But we talked about the common bond that Islam encourages us to recognize in each other, if we talk about how these nations and tribes are to recognize each other, but in our mosques, and our councils, in our homes. We have racist attitudes, how, who is there to translate those teachings into a viable example to help provide people with an alternative? I'll give you one small example.
In most of our Muslim cultures,
when girls who are on lighter complexion get married far faster than girls have darker complexion, even if the girl who's complexion is darker, looks like Miss Universe, and the girl has a lighter complexion. Looks like Mike Tyson's punching bag.
When people were naming their pitbulls, Tyson,
Tyson was Tyson and not this confused person is now
people were named a pitbull and walk with the dog, What's your dog's name? Tyson.
So, if that kind of nonsense, is present in our homes,
if those kinds of attitudes our President, our present, and our mass, and our societies, then how can we serve as an embodiment of combo higher on the to the depth, you're the best people raised up for the benefit of humanity. So we have to take these teachings. And we're challenged to take these teachings and to translate them into positive action, that impact on our individual, on our families, on our community life, our family life, our individual life and on our societal life. And when we do that, when we do that, we will have the credibility
necessary to begin to make the lofty claims for religion that we make. And unless and until we do that, for a lot of people, much of what we say will ring hollow. So brothers and sisters were challenged. People were challenged in this country, we're challenged we have an opportunity and these times of economic uncertainty, and these times where it's very easy for demagogues to exploit the insecurities that people are feeling and to encourage
racial segregation to be current and
How is your turn returned to pass decades that this country has transcended. We are challenged to keep moving forward. We're challenged to keep working together to try to create the kind of society for where everyone will feel welcome, when everyone feels that they have a part to play, and to make the necessary sacrifices to provide that safety net, for so many people who through no fault of their own, find themselves facing very, very, very difficult economic circumstances. So collectively, if we can come together as we've come together this evening, if we can put our hearts and minds together, if we can tap them to the best of our respective traditions, the best of our
respective respective religious teachings and moral and ethical teachings, we will move forward and we will create a better tomorrow and we won't be a source of hope for each other and not a source of dread and apprehension. Some I think