Lecture: IIS Interview: Islamic Social Values of American Muslims


Event Date1/1/2006
Event LocationCalifornia
Event DescriptionShaykh Hamza Yusuf discusses social issues and concerns for Muslims living in the West. He speaks with Dr. Nazir Khaja, President of the Islamic Information Service. In this interview on December 14, 2006 the host, Dr. Nazir Khaja, asks various questions to Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on the topic of Islam and secularism. The discussion begins with issues that affect the health of people and the society we live in. Shaykh Hamza gives an example of this in that today there are a lot of problems due to increased levels of noise in the urbanized areas. Some of these problems are mental distress, domestic violence, violence in general and breakdown of families. It is important for humans to have some tranquility (sakeena) like in a home or mosque and there is none or very little tranquility in the city life environment. Another factor is that people migrate from rural areas to the urban areas to find jobs, and when there is unemployment this again causes distress. Shaykh Hamza talks about how there is violence in schools and this is in fact an educational crisis. So people should be taught how to deal with themselves and the circumstances that surround them. When discussing Muslim countries Shaykh Hamza said that post colonialism has affected in how people in these countries are. What the Shaykh meant by this was that the male (father figure) was like the higher class (colonialists) who could control the lower classes (woman and children). And this is one reason why woman don't play such a big role in the Muslim countries. The Shaykh said that Muslims don't understand the historical societies in Islam giving an example of Ibn Khuldun. Ibn Khuldun was born from an Adulusian family who grew up to become a minister. He travelled to Morocco which was a totally different society then to Tunisia and lived the rest of his life in Egypt. All the time he was travelling, he maintained his north African dress. This shows how the Muslim community was bonded and that Arabic was the main language. Then the Shaykh spoke about leadership and that humans are guided by people, like the Prophet (peace be upon him) guides the Muslims as a leader and founder of a new community (Ummah). He spoke of how in the west there are organizations in various fields and how in the Sub Indian continent there are the 'moulvis' who are totally disengaged with the society Finally, Shaykh Hamza said that we need people who are deeply rooted with the tradition of Islam. He said that Muslims need an environment in which to live in and be integrated. He said that having an agenda and vision is very important and that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not move in the dark and that he new exactly where he was going in this life and the hereafter. Relating this to Islamic movements, he said that the organization itself should not be primary but rather the service it provides. Shaykh Hamza also mentioned that organizations have their dirty politics and when people get involved in this they get burnouts. We should not let status quo and jobs come as a way of deteriorating from the vision. Dr. Nazir Khaja serves on the faculty of The University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical School, is a medical practitioner and an advisor on human development to heads of state in the Organization of Islamic Conferences countries and Presidents of the United States. He is Chairman of the Islamic Information Service (IIS) and a renown international journalist. Dr. Khaja is actively engaged in technology transfer in business in life sciences and high technology. (From youtube desciription)

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