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The Legitimacy of Secularism

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Zaid Shakir

Channel: Zaid Shakir

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

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smilla rahmanir rahim al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala Sayidina mursaleen Sayidina Muhammad Mohammed while early he was so happy he was selling Sleeman kathira, Salaam Alaikum, wa Rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh

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Alhamdulillah

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and hamdulillah he led he hadn't only had one con Lena, Tatia Lola and had done a lot

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of races due to laws guided us to this path and we would not have been able to guide ourselves and not Allah guided us on the previous session, I was given the task of addressing the issue of community in the context of the verse in the Quran, Valentina. gehad rufina nan de anon sabudana,

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Lama and masini that those who strive for sake we guide in our paths, and surely a lot is with those who

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are most excellent

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in their religion.

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I mentioned that to leave this as a segue into a brief discussion to leave ample time for the audience and your questions and comments

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of Islam secularism, and modernity, which is the title of the session as I've understood it. So really, the essence of Islam is

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rendering ourselves a minimal to the guidance of God.

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So some define Islam and clear bien de magia de hanabusa, la la la wa sallam. So being led along oneself to be led by everything the Prophet brought, Salah Laila will sell them that have religious relevance

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was the

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spirit governing both modernity and secularism. And the two are intricately connected, is that human beings can and in fact, must guide themselves independent of the guidance of God.

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And so one expression that's been closely associated with

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cigar modernity and a sense of secularism itself is that men referring to humans, including women, women relax.

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Generic language men is the measure of all things, including the measure of God

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and the measure of religion. One of the principles of secularism is that religion will have no role

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in informing public

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policy,

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governmental decisions,

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or the direction or rulings between human beings so the judiciary,

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the legislative branch of government, the judiciary branch of government, will have no will allow no room, no role for religion,

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values that are rooted in religious principles in a particular science, society, society may be allowed to enter into those realms, but only after they've been measured and assessed by humans, to pose no threat to the

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integrity of this secular system.

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So this creates a chasm

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between both secularism modernity and Islam, as Islam has been traditionally understood.

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One of the great strengths of Islam and in fact, fact or traditional

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systems or approaches to life is that they gave meaning to human beings.

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Meaning

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is intricately associated with context.

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So if you want to know the meaning of the word,

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a word you don't know, what's one of the first things you asked? Can you let me know

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The context that that word is used in, if you know the context, many of if not all of you, all of your literate people.

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When you're reading a book, and you come across a new word, sometimes you can figure out the meaning of that word based on the context, right? You're reading, you understand the context. And in that context, you know, this word can only mean A, B, or C.

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So meaning is intricately associated with context, traditional societies provided the context that gave meaning to individual lives.

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goes with me.

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You with me?

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What did I just say?

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Is All right, you got it, I could tell you eyes lit up.

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So

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context provides the meaning. traditional societies rather provided the context that gave meanings to individual lives. One of the features of modernity and secularism, once you remove God,

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from the social equation,

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once you remove religion from the social context,

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then life loses its meaning.

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And this were many scholars of modernity have said.

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So, Max vabre be probably being and therefore from the great sociologist Max Weber. So they said that modernity and secular societies are confronted

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with a dilemma visa vie, the traditional societies that are by and large, informed by divine guidance, Islam being a traditional society in that regard. So they say that

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one of the great dilemmas

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of modernity is that

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it pits, rules rootless freedom.

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Because in a modern society, modernity and secular societies, where religion is removed, individuals are free. So they say this liberates the human being.

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And individuals are then free to do whatever they want.

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with the caveat being one.

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Well, some say you shouldn't get caught breaking the law. But at a higher level was the cabinet you can do anything you want.

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In a liberal, free society,

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once the cabinet as long as

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you don't violate the rights of others.

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So if you're in the middle of the woods, you could cry, scream fire to the top of your lungs, the Chipmunks who think you're insane, like men, human beings tripping over there, then no fire today's Mediterranean for two days.

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But can you do that in a crowded theater,

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because you might cause harm to others. So as long as you don't harm others, you can do whatever you want.

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And that freedom creates a state of ruthlessness.

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And it creates a state where people don't know are disconnected from the meaning of life.

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Many Muslims who grew up in modern secular societies don't know what they're doing. I don't know why pray.

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Everyone in a traditional society knew how, why they pray, they didn't have to read ghazali on the one hand in the Tamia, on the other hand, to figure it out

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the context of the society itself providing meaning

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by now, unless you're blessed, if you want to know why you're praying, you have to study it.

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So you get a book mm ghazali, the translation inner dimensions of Islamic worship, and You read it and you say, Oh, now I know why I'm praying.

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So this is just an example of the lack of meaning.

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And we'll come back to this in

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Concluding, I'll try to be brief

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tradition on the other side, on the other hand as viewed through the lens of modernity. So one of the aspects of modernity is that is hegemonic.

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It doesn't allow for any competition

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crushes any competition if it can. No, it's trying to crush us them.

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Some Muslims are pushing back, some in idiotic ways which only slump shows that they're slaves of modernity. We'll conclude with that point.

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So through the lens of modernity, traditional societies are oppressive. Because you can't do what you want when you want how you want.

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So Muslim wants the

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Big Mac

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bacon

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ham sandwich smothered in swine. That's some serious pork right there.

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A bacon laced ham sandwich smothered in swine with lard on the buns

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as the can so good, cuz they, they dressed it up, they photoshopped it.

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But here's his haraam.

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So the the secularists and the modernist will say you're oppressed, us know you want to eat it, you should be able to eat it, you should be free to eat it.

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The the Muslim,

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sees a beautiful woman right bow walked by. And he started saying he realizes

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I'm not married to her. I can't do that. I can't say that. The Secretary say you're pressed.

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So

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rootless Freedom, freedom, that void of any ability to give meaning this is modern society. This is secular society versus oppression, oppressive tradition.

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Now, Islam

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says there is a solution.

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Islam says

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tradition

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is the real path to freedom.

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And the freedom that secular and modern society advertise is a myth.

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secularism says we keep religion out Why? Because if we have religion, and religion is the basis of membership in the community, we can't have perfect equality.

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We can't have perfect equality. If Islam is the basis, the Kaffir won't be equal with the Muslim,

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the Christian or the Jew will be a dummy.

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They won't be equal with the Muslim.

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So we cannot have religion as the foundation of membership in the political community.

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Citizenship has to be the basis of membership in the political community. Because as citizens, we're all equal.

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citizens, we're all equal. And we have a foundation, a constitutional foundation that guarantees certain rights for citizens.

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Now, the problem with that whole arrangement is it's a lofty ideal.

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But after 200 300 years of experimentation, we find that inequality is greater than it ever has been in the history of humanity

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more exaggerated.

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Economically, that's the public sphere that secularism dominates. Globally today, the gap between the haves in countries like our own,

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or Scandinavia, or Japan,

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and the have nots, in places like Nigeria, or Mali, or Burkina Faso or Bangladesh.

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is greater than it has been in the history of humanity.

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Today in this country income disparity is greater than it has ever been in the history of this country.

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Today, there are people

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who have, for all practical purposes, monopolized political power, there are elections.

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But elections don't always translate into political power.

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In 2008, many people hoped

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that the election would translate into a read rich distribution of political power.

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Because hope, will lead to change.

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And we should have known something was up when the change was framed in religious terms change you can

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believe in.

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That change was oxymoronic and a secular system should have known some things. There's some disappointment on the horizon. Wait a minute change you can believe in.

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And so now

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as President Obama

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who advertised hope and change you can believe in

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militarism

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is greater than it ever has been. Wars indiscriminate killings, the black sites, Guantanamo is still in business.

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Despite a growing wave of public outrage,

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is still in business.

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Economically

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foreclosed foreclosures still high. It said there was a recovery, bonus recovery on Wall Street as some framing and not on mainstream

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politically.

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incarceration is still the problem for African American and Latino communities than it was before President Obama took office if anything is worse.

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The systematic draining of the last vestiges of any wealth from impoverished communities like Camden, New Jersey, or your average Indian reservation,

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or godforsaken places like Santa Rosa, New Mexico, I drove through, two thirds of the downtown is boarded up.

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So

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in light of that fact.

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And in light of the divorcing

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of policy, both political and economic from ethics.

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Some would argue it's time for a return

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of religious values.

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And as Muslims, we will say Islamic values, Muslim values, which are consistent

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with the values that were advocated by the other monotheistic faiths

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should have a greater role. Because why we believe it can resolve that dilemma that the ruthless freedom

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can be freedom

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within rational moral parameters

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that we that gives us meaning.

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And the oppression of tradition

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is oppression viewed through the lenses of modernity, or through the lenses of secularism, but through the lens of Islam,

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and I would argue most other traditional societies, we understand that that apparent oppression is the key to real liberation.

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Because one cannot journey to one's Lord, unless one restrains oneself.

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Well, and then half of my karma Robbie, he wanna help us and in Hawaii

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Fennell agenda he'll wear. As for one who fears the time they will stand before their Lord and denies their soul the things that inclines towards them paradise will be their reward. Why? Because by denying the soul, some, an outsider might say you're pressing it.

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But an insider will say, you're creating the conditions for its real liberation.

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And his liberation is found in knowing it's more.

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And other than that, there is no real liberation.

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Where is the freedom now suicides are at an all time high in this country,

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and is highest among those who put their lives on the line to preserve the freedom

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that is supposed to be the highest value of the society.

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military veterans average of 18 every day, over 6000 every year, are committing suicide.

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None so we have plenty of discussion. We don't even need the five minutes. So

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what I'm proposing so as one restrains oneself, one removes the shackles on one soul.

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And one soul grows and we say it grows from what the innocent and narrow the soup that is the knifes that's free, the soul and its unrefined state.

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That inclines towards those things that were urged to refrain for the betterment of our condition as human beings. And then it moves into the knifes Aloma and many of you are familiar with that and then the Nestle mudman knifes or rodya, knifes, and Monrovia, all of these are mentioned in the Quran. And then it's free, it's liberated, because the shackles that tie it to this material world are removed. And it's real human potential. that distinguishes it from this.

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Which by removing God from the equation by moving religion from the equation, both modernity and secondary ism say man is no more than this a compilation of of atoms and molecules that somehow gain these miraculous properties. And as we study neuro neuroscience, we'll get to the bottom of of how happened, the internal dynamics.

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Now we say humans are something higher.

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And by reaching for that, which is higher, the oppression usually associated with tradition,

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which revise the context for meaning is eradicated, and by eradicating it men or humans are both free.

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And they have meanings.

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And this is the job Islam proposes. And I think I do need five minutes. I said, I stopped on this point. I mentioned it earlier.

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Those people, Muslims, who are murdering people, and think that they're going to somehow do a service to Islam. They're sending a message to the west. This is what the shake em invoca heavy. So we're sending a message to the west. Yes, a message that you're insane. And we need to nuke you.

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Before you get your hands on a nuclear bomb and destroy this planet. That's the only message there is no message. Oh, the Muslims are coming.

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The message that you're a lunatic. The point is, these people, these individuals, they're children of modernity, not children of Islam, as it's been traditionally understood, they've lost meaning and To summarize, they seek meaning in murder.

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This is this epitomizes

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the conditions that modernity creates. And if you don't believe me,

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read Richard right

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there bigger Thomas who took Shahada, Salaam Alaikum