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Can the West learn from Islam

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Event Name: Can the West learn from Islam
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 4/14/2019
Transcript Version: 1

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I wanted to start with some passages from the Quran.  The Quran is literally means "The Reading" or "Recital".  And so they're used to be recited so I'm going to recite a few verses and

then look at after Cleary's translation

of them

<QURANIC Recication>

These were rendered in English by Dr. Cleary:

<Translation removed due to Transcription Errors>

The Quran itself is called a

book of science and the in fact a word

that is used for verses in Arabic

literally means signs and what the Quran

essentially is telling us is that

creation is signing with the whole of


sign and that the Quran itself is fine

for people to in a sense decode the

signs outside of themselves and what the

importance of that is is that we tend to

forget about fines and we tend to most

people go through life really not

reflecting on the sign what I talked

about finding yourself and in the

horizon and another unfortunate matter

and a good example from this passage in

the crown is it says from your tongue in

your complexion

these even tell the sign of God and what

people tend to do is miss read the time

and say for instance because the person

is white they see that as a sign that

they're superior with somebody that is

black for instance and so the result is

is that times becoming when they're

misunderstood have tragic consequences

and the Quran itself reminds us in the

in the chapter called the merciful that

God created man or humankind and talked

them see and this teaching of speech

release Diane which is articulation or a

way of articulating the sign and this is

the gift of language is it is a way of

articulating reality and the I think the

importance of this book in my mind and

dr. Clara's translation in particular or

Western people is that we're living in a

time where people would like to see

confrontation there are a lot of people

that have vested interest in

confrontation I give a recent example in

a an article but outside the foreign

policy journal which is the Journal of

the Council on Foreign Relations

there was an article there that

describes the world as being divided

into three three sections the Confucian

the Islamic and the Christian or the

Western and this man saw the

confrontations of

the future would be between these

different blocks and unfortunately if

things continue as they're going that

scenario is not that unlikely but what I

think mr. Cleary is trying to do is give

us tools right to break down some of

those barriers and that's why I think

his work is so extremely important in

fact I really personally believe that it

is something most important work going

on here you because if if that scenario

is true then we need to learn about the

the peoples of the eat as opposed to

thing with enemies

seeing them as people that they are

trying and that and also the these lot

of people as opposed to seeing the enemy

is saying that they are mindless gods as

well and so that's what he's giving us

because I think the hon describes

something as a book of science but we

need to decode the sign and what he is

in there doing watching people to do is

by putting in a to the symbols that we

understand and he's giving us the tool

of looking at it and being able to

decode for ourselves what is beneficial

for us and there's certainly a great

deal in there and I'm looking forward to

kind of hearing what dr. Cruz has to say

about the benefits of Islam to the West

so with without going on in further

election welcome dr. Cleary and thank

you in school and dr. clear for giving

this opportunity thank you

is it but we all know K I think it's

interesting that my mom then I picked

out some of the same passages to read

tonight without prior discussion say my


now the question can the West last in

this month I think it's pertinent to

point out the West have learned from

this farm already let me read a brief

passage from an article which I think

summarizes this quite well interestingly

this article is from a magazine devoted

to economic issues in time it has a

magazine called future it's published in

the United Kingdom the subject of the

article was the importance of the

cultural aspect of international trade

and diplomatic relations this regards

the relation of Islam of the west and

quote Islamic revival as we can be

interpreted as the second intervention

of Islam in trying to bring Weston

I repeat Western civilization into

balance when Europe of the Middle Ages

preoccupied with a religious supremacy

which even ruled over reason and science

it was Islam which reintroduced Greek

rationalism and science into Europe as

pointed out by Norfolk Islam gave the

West through its Arabian University in

Spain much of the source material and

the Enlightenment which made the West

what it now is today Islam was trying to

reintroduce the idea of the holy into

the Western society which has enshrined

the market as a religious hang I picked

out a number of topics to focus on and

pursue this question the issue of from

what's referred to here at the second

intervention of his mom in trying to

balance Western society reintroducing

the idea of the holy into everyday

society I'd like to focus on mental

culture first and leadership business

society home

and individual conscience and conduct

not part mental culture is comparing the

Prophet said speaking knowledge is

incumbent on every Muslim he also said

the word of wisdom is astray of the one

who believes who has the better right to

it wherever it may be found and the

fourth successor of the Prophet Ali's

did lay hold of wisdom wherever it is

for wisdom stammers in the heart of the

hypocrite until it leaves and comes to

rest by its link in the heart of a

believer so I think that the idea of

seeking knowledge without preconceived

boundary doing the knowledge belongs for

whom it's appropriate it's something

that we certainly can use here in the

West I think particularly we need today

human understanding on a level to catch

up with the power of his the political

and economic and technological

developments that have already taken

place and at the same time I think that

this human knowledge knowledge of human

nature human understanding needs to be

generalized enough widespread enough so

that understanding of human

psychological weaknesses in particular

cannot be used to manipulate people

quite so much now in particular Quran

recommends knowledge of human history

for example in the chapter on Rome

travel the earth and see how those

before you ended up again I think that

in a democratic society where to some

extent individuals are responsible at

least in theory for the behavior of

their governments and societies it's

rather important to understand what the

prospects of given attitudes and the

policies really are and one way of doing

that is understanding what has already

happened to us already and tries what

taken place on the face of the earth

here I think this is an area that is

especially weak in our educational

system I understand the history of

courses the difficult subjects

because it is inherently impossible to

record all the relevant data and so I

think part of them the study of history

needs to be against study of the kinds

of objectives biases that enter into the

reporting and the understanding of

history I think that particular chord

for us today because our general

knowledge of history is heavily inter

larded with political expediency and

also with a great deal of fantasy i

think the popularity of fantasy in this

culture has gotten a bit out of hand to

point where it invades subjects like

history and unfortunately can influence

attitude in a detrimental way because it

really doesn't equip us to deal with

realities are to be able to have some

sense of foresight in predicting how

particular attitudes and policies will

get such a result they're likely to

produce now we've already heard the

passage from the beginning some roam

among the pines of God is the creation

of the heavens and the earth in the

diversity of your languages in their

complexion surely in that is a sign for

the knowing now saying what later on in

the chapter and the chambers the

apartments the Quran explains the

purpose the meaning of this sign in one

sense of humankind it says we created

you from a male and a female and we made

you a plurality of races and tribes for

you to know each other then goes on to

pain the most noble of you in fact in

God's perspective is the most


of you so I take this to mean that

people of different races and tribes are

not superior or inferior to each other

by virtue of their membership in a

particular grace of trying but by virtue

of their individual qualities in a

pluralistic society such as we live in

here I think it's imperative for us to

learn home to

appreciate people and deal with people

on the basis of their their individual

qualities as they really are obviously

stereotypes won't let me do the job now

let me give an example of why I think

this need is so very critical here in

America at this time not only for the

internal peace and harmony of this

society but for the peaceful coexistence

of the society with other societies on

the face of the earth no the Prophet

also is reported to have said seek

knowledge even as far as China now for

the moment I'll take that literally and

quote a recent statement by a scholar a

university professor on the subject of

Chinese thinking perception and

cognition now I'd like to point out that

this was written in 1993 which is

approximately two hundred and eighteen

years after the initiation of commercial

relationships between the United States

and China

I don't know how well-known that fact is

but the first shift from America fell

for China the year after the Revolution

that was one reason why the northeastern

merchants wanted to be free from England

anyway they heard what we've learned and

here's what I confess entertaining after

200 years of acquaintance and I quote

there seems to be little concern this is

about China and Chinese meaning there

seems to be little concern to recover an

intelligible pattern from what seriously

threatens to remain formless and

meaningless jorge luis borges captured

this Western perception in his

well-known citation of quote that

certain Chinese encyclopedia unquote use

the category animal is divided into one

belonging to the Emperor to embalm 318

for suckling pigs five sirens six

fabulous seven stray dogs eight included

in the present classification nine

frenzied ten innumerable eleven drawn

with a very fine camel hairbrush

12 etc 13 having just broken the water

pitcher and 14 that from a long way off

look like flies

now that the distinguished scholar

continues summing up this vast body of

evidence from the perspective of the

more rationalistic Western point of view

the penalty that Chinese must pay for

the absence of that underlying

metaphysical infrastructure necessary to

guarantee a single ordered universe is

what we take to be intelligibility and

predictability now then can you imagine

what international trade and diplomacy

could be like based on this type of idea

now this individual is not anomaly

professor he's director of the Center

for Chinese Studies certain university

was made over there's no no will draw

the curtain a charity described I might

add as one of the leading interpreters

of Chinese philosophy in America today

this book is described in each turn the

author's understanding of the

philosophical and cultural background

make this the most profoundly erudite in

intellectually stimulating translation

and analysis of the great Chinese

military classics

well first of all I what interests me is

that this individual doesn't even

understand the writing of this brazilian

jorge luis borges

so we'll just I repeat there's no

contemporary writer Westerner he looks

for realist and he likes to point out

that there are many different ways of

looking at reality and this is exactly

what he's talking about in this passage

from this mythological should there's no

such Chinese encyclopedia perhaps this

book this scholar and I noticed he

didn't put a footnote on there you know

where where you can find this

encyclopedia anyway so first of all he

doesn't understand his own the forefront

of his own civilization and you know the

idea that the Chinese have sacrificed

intelligibility and predicted

please how can you have a language

without intelligibility or

predictability that language is the

vehicle of intelligibility and

predictability means that people have

one of the most sophisticated written

languages in the world

well let me just conclude this

disgraceful chapter with no an actual

quote from a genuine Chinese proverb

that illustrates I think both the nature

of this type of scholarship and the

danger in society of rejecting this type

of material as though it were and

anything serious or real and that

proverb goes as follows when one dog

barks a thousand dogs howl of course no

conception of predictability in there

all right let me turn the leadership

obviously we can only hope and pray that

the leaders of our nation do not go

through standards of Chinese studies or

investment wind but the Chinese have on

their mind now at work leadership is

concerned this is something that I

really believe in a Democratic Society

is giving imperative for everyone who

studies issues with leadership whether

or not they're formally in position of

leadership and that's not just because

of the responsibilities of being a

member of a Democratic Society but it's

also responsibilities be managing

yourself now here in America

particularly where we don't have much in

the way of extended family for life with

us don't anyway and the the fabric of

society in some senses rather looser

then surely any more traditional

societies the responsibility of managing

oneself and taking care of one's own

business therefore becomes more and more

critical the more ones left to one's own

devices let me begin by quoting

again Ali the fourth success of the

province who said whoever sets himself

up as a leader of other people should

start educating himself before educating

other and let him teach by his conduct

before teaching by his tongue and the

education and refinement of oneself is

more worthy of respect than the

education and culture of other people

and the Quran we have actually many

examples of recommendations for behavior

that could be referred to requisites of

leadership and example ISM the chapter

in love might adopt the middle course in

your walk and lower your voice for the

worse this sounds is the brain of an ass

keep that in mind around election time

flash on the television you get up there

you just sign asking that out a number

of things with the Prophet which I think

are relevant to dealing with the

requirements of leadership in terms of

sincerity truthfulness modesty fairness

and justice the Prophet said anyone whom

God has placed in charge of the citizen

name but he does not take care of them

in theory will not even get a sense of

fairness the Prophet also said god

forbid paradise to any ruler of a Muslim

citizen Enoch who dies all he is

deceiving them in one of the most

interesting things we do not assign our

tea to one who asked for it or to one

who covered it imagine what elections

would be like under those conditions the

catsuit ones we're running away but I

think it is a very cogent point the idea

that in public service to the public

service not for the the privileges and

perk that the individuals who are in

those positions may maintain and I think

among the citizenry of this country

there is a really a great cry for this