Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Clarity Amidst Confusion
Date: May 13, 2019
I want to say, gratitude to Allah Subhana Watallah, for affording me the opportunity to come and be with this community and I know several of the people that asked me to come and their efforts and seriousness about trying to help the community here and in other places.
I didn't name the lecture and I feel the name of the lecture for me is a little bit difficult because of the idea of clarity in the midst of confusion; it's very difficult to be clear in the midst of confusion. Because when there's a lot of confusion human beings tend to get clouded and one of the signs of the latter days according to the prophets of Allah, is to them was that there would be a great deal of confusion he also said that the people of clarity would even become confused you had a movie on that even the people of clarity would become confused.
So confusion is definitely one of the signs of the times and what I'd like to talk about really is some of what I think is important in relation to our situation here in the United States and United Nations but particularly here in the United States because that's where we are and a person should be where he is.
Oftentimes people are somewhere else sometimes you talk to somebody and you see that they wander off they're actually not with you they're somewhere else and so a lot of people here who are Muslim are actually somewhere else and that's a problem. So before I do that I want to talk a little bit about some of the topics that seem to be in the headlines and also some of the things that people are seeing on Fox News and other stations and certainly the 700 Club and some of the talk radio shows around the country in which Islam has become a very important topic.
One of the things that seems to be coming up considerably and this is not new but it's new in the aggressiveness by which it's being presented to the people here and it's also new in the widespread nature of this idea now, the idea that Islam is a violent religion.
This is certainly something that we're hearing a lot and seeing a lot in the media and then images are shown of contorted faces in different parts of the Muslim world as a way of purchasing that viewpoint the Islam is a violent religion so I wanted to address the idea first of all of violence and how the West itself has viewed violence in the past and just look at some historical perspectives on this idea. First of all there are probably some people that are more inherently violent than other people. In other words violence will often actually relate to the types of geographies that people live in. People in southern warm climates tend to be less violent than people in northern and climates where it's cold and you can see this historically. There's a chapter in Gavin's in Hippocrates book and it's the first chapter of his book on medicine it's called Water, Airs and Places and he talks about the effect that geography has on people and generally Muslims have lived in warmer climates generally not always but the areas if you look where Muslims have lived in colder climates that you will notice that they have been more belligerent in their history I mean this is simply just a fact of history and it's not a racist or an ethnic attack on these people.
If you know in this country with the Native American people's the more violent clans tended to be in the north the horarms were a particularly brutal clan and they got a widow who was a whore on and a peacemaker had such a difficult time with his people that he actually migrated south to spread his message of peace amongst southern Native American peoples here.
So that does not mean that other people have not had their share of violence because violence is a human problem and wherever you go you will find violence. Now the if we look just historically at this idea of terrorism a lot of people think that somehow terrorism is a new phenomenon. Now if we take a definition of terrorism which is used by the, for instance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation their definition of terrorism is an unlawful use of course of force against a civilian population as a way of intimidating that population into submitting to some political agenda or for to submit to social objectives. Now I find a lot of problems with that definition because I think if you look at that definition always the problem arises what is unlawful and who determines what is unlawful. Because we can do things as a state that are unlawful for instance by international law if you look at the Geneva Convention which is basically agreed upon by the nations of the world as the proper way to engage in warfare there are rules and engagement at the idea of killing civilians that is unacceptable and yet the United States of America in World War two after being convinced by the British is the best way to basically, to force the Japanese population into submission was to firebomb them because they made their houses out of wood and so they used incendiary bombs in Tokyo and fire spread over and tens of thousands of civilians were killed and it was understood that they would be civilians and that they would die.
There was also a choice to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki and that was done by the Truman
administration. Truman didn't actually want to bomb he was opposed to bombing a civilian population he preferred to have a military target but they felt that bombing Hiroshima which only had 10,000 Japanese soldiers in the whole city and there were over a hundred thousand civilians that died in that bomb and it was understood that they would die.
This was not collateral damage because collateral damage according to the dominant parlay of this war machine that we have is people who died as an unintended result of fire, in other words, there's not an intent to kill the civilians but they have to be and an unfortunate side effect in the same way when you use medicine to heal sometimes the medicine has side effects that cause illnesses. So the fact that they bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki was basically a terrorist act because it was an unlawful use of force against the civilian population in order to intimidate them to a political objective and this is something that American analysts and theoreticians and war strategists will admit you they will not deny that fact. One of the reasons it's been noted that there was so little horror and so little objection raised in America about the use of the atomic bomb was because it was on Japanese people and they were non-European the idea even though the Americans did consider dropping bombs nuclear bombs on Germany some people felt that had it been done on Europe there would been a much better outcry and there was also a desire for vengeance in this country because of Pearl Harbor. December 7th 1941 when the Japanese attacked a military installation it was a surprise attack and then declared war the same day it was a proper surprise attack and it was considered very treacherous thing to do and so there was a lot of anger and resentment in this country towards Japanese people for doing that and you can even watch the cartoons of the 1940s when Japanese were made fun of and they were called derogatory names and it was very common and even in the 1950s and 60s there was still a lot of anti-Japanese sentiment and people it took quite a long time before Americans would even behind things from Japan.
Buying a Japanese car at one point was considered un-American if you bought a Japanese car so
the resentment that this country felt toward the Japanese was very intense.
Now it's terrorism basically if we look in the past terrorism has existed there are examples of terrorism we have if you read the Pelekenesian war facilities has a wonderful dialogue that occurs between the Athenians and the Malians and I reread it recently I'd read it a long time ago but I reread it recently I've seen it noted in some books I want to go back and look at it and it's a wonderful dialogue because in the Pelekenesian War which was a war between the Athenian state and Sparta which was a more warlike state the Athenians sent some delegation to this small island which was kind of like a Greek Switzerland and they basically told them you had to join our side. And the Melian said we don't want to join your side we want to stay out of this war remain neutral we have good relations with you we have good relations with the Spartans.
Well, the Athenians said, they basically said that we do what we will but you do what you must. In other words, might makes right that power enables us to do what we want and because you are powerless you will have to be in accord with our will. Now the Malians response to that is very interesting they warned them about injustice because they say what comes around goes around. If you are in just one day you will find yourself at the brunt of that same injustice now this occurred by the end of the Peloponnesian War the Spartans actually come into Athens and literally Massacre all the males in the city and this is all recorded by this Greek historian who knows that this was a tragic flaw of the Athenian state. He portrays it like a Greek drama where the Greek hero is brought down by his arrogance, by his hubris because he thinks he becomes so powerful that he can tell anybody to do what he wants and there's a deep warning in the past if we study history of taking this approach that that power the nature of power is that if you use your power unjustly that you bring down your own downfall it is inherent in that it's assumed antagonize and you see it again and again in history.
So you find the use of violence against civilians throughout history this is not new. In fact, it's very interesting that there are two basic ideas that come into the world that begin to change this idea and the first one was Christianity because when Christianity entered in on to the scene you had a brilliant theologian and scholar St. Agatha who was from North Africa who wrote about a just war and he introduced the idea of being fair and having this idea of proportionality that you should not use excessive force. Now this didn't really take hold in the Christian world but it's interesting that the idea was presented because as Christianity became more and more powerful it became part of a state apparatus and it became as violent as the Roman Empire and in some ways more so because the Roman tends to be very tolerant of other people's beliefs they did not oppress people for their belief they oppress people for basically not agreeing with them or not being part of the Roman Empire. That's what troubled and is it that you weren't politically in line with them but if you wanted to believe something else not only would the rest of the Romans accommodate you they would basically adopt your God and put them into the pantheon of gods. so if you were a North African and you worshipped Bal the Romans had no problem bringing Bal into the pantheon of Roman gods and it was a way of accommodating these people but the Romans had a very interesting attitude and that was that anyone that started an insurrection against the Romans would be literally destroyed the Romans would send armies on them and they would raid them to the ground and that was part of Roman policy and they felt that that was the best policy. So you have an example of this in the example of Hannibal who is the first non-Roman to attack inside Rome and he definitely takes his troops, the famous trip through Spain and across the Alps and into Rome and then for several years he undergoes up a guerrilla warfare and he had one time actually lay siege to Rome. Well, he was eventually defeated but what the Romans do is they go to Carthage and they raid the city of the Carthaginians and they literally sell salt in the earth so that nothing will grow again and this was the type of hatred that they had. Now another interesting thing about the Romans is that during their period of rule and they had a vast empire which extends into the Middle East during their period of rule the most dangerous rebellions and interactions against the Romans were led by people that had been trained by the Romans themselves and this is what they call in modern the CIA causes blowback. It's the unforeseen consequences of covert activities of state policy blowback, it comes from fire. It's a fire that you open the door just literally will take you out.
So it's an unfortunate consequence and this occurs several times in Roman history where they would train because the Romans at a certain point got lazy they didn't like to fight so they would train Germans or they would train Greeks or Cecelia. They would train them to fight what would happen is these officers would lead insurrections against them and this occurred in Germany some of the most important insurrection against our own apartment that by Germans who were trained by Roman officers. So the use of terrorism as a means to intimidate a people is not new it is not a 20th century phenomena it's very old and what has changed perhaps in the 20th century is the means by which this is done because in the past the weaponry and the technology was somewhat primitive so you needed basically manpower whereas in the present conditions you don't need manpower you need brainpower. In other words, if you have people that are clever enough that can build sophisticated bombs and sophisticated means or do something as sophisticated as hijacking four airplanes at the same time in a very coordinated military operation and three out of the four are successful in their intended mission as far as we can tell I mean that they might not have been that they might not have intended to do what they did they might have intended to do something else but as far as it looks they were successful. That is not manpower more than it is brainpower it's people that are capable of working at a very high level of precision.
Now the interesting thing about these people is like the Romans who had insurrections against themselves these people were trained by the Americans. You see they were trained that's why Muslims said Muslims could have done this because it was too sophisticated well if you were trained by extremely sophisticated people that it's obviously quite possible because there are many Muslims in this country working at very high levels, they've learned to work in a different way than they would work back home because the rules don't apply here that apply back home so perhaps in your job you can't cut the corners that you would be forced to do in another place, something like that. So the point is that this type of violence that has come back to haunt this country is a result of what their own hands have brought now that is a painful thing to deal with and that is why I feel even though researchers talk about this and honest analysts talk about this and you can read this it looks like the New Jackal where they have quotations from people within the CIA who admit this is a monster we spawned ourselves - one of the
heads of the CIA and that's a direct quote from the book of the new jackals. Admit it this is a monster that we spawned ourselves. So this is a problem because Muslims end up being blamed for being violent and yet that violence was taught to them by non-Muslims and the reason it was taught to them is because there was a cold war going on between Russia and between America and the Muslims in 1950s there was already talk within the US administration that the best way to fight the Russians, the godless Russians was to use the Muslims. And this actually becomes policy and you will see again and again is this policy is acted out and it culminates in what was known as operation Mosquito. The Afghanis were seen as a mosquito that could give the Great Bear Russia malaria and bring it down. That's literally what they called it and I'm not making this up this is things that you can read it's on official records. 1.5 million Afghans died in that war, 15,000 Russians died. 1.5 million now that does not include the number of Afghanis walking around without legs or with one leg, with one eye, with an arm with no arms, with their faces filled with shrapnel. That doesn't include all of the devastation that doesn't include the breakdown of the infrastructure. I mean I read there was a book recently they put out behind a veil or something written by a pseudonym.
This woman who lived under the Taliban Afghani woman. I mean I personally have a hard time believing that an Afghani woman wrote that book because I read some of the excerpts and one of the things she said is the Taliban ruined all her hopes were going to a university. Well I'm sorry nobody in Afghanistan prior to the Taliban had any hopes for going to a university because it was a state of an anarchy and that's accepted by anybody that knows Afghan history but unfortunately people read these books without any historical context and so they assumed it must be true these evil Taliban came and prevented this poor woman from going to the university. All of the universities were closed down, there weren't women studying there was anarchy, there was a state of anarchy and these people came in and they were supported by the CIA, by the Pakistani intelligence security and also by the Saudi intelligence by their own admittance. And this is this is things that they themselves have admitted so the situation that we find ourselves in is a very complicated situation. It's a spider's web and the more you look at it the more you end up like the fly in that web and that's the part of purpose of the web and all the intrigues and all the complexities is to draw you into it, is to draw you into it and you will forget what this whole thing is about because you can see I can go on and on I can talk for another several hours about the web. I've just talked a little bit about a few strands in the web. I could go on and on because I read a lot about it, I thought a lot about it and it's very troubling but I don't want to talk about the web. I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about the Muslims and their relationship to the web.
Now the first thing I want to talk about is anger. Anger is a very interesting emotion it resides according to traditional Muslim scholars who were physicians as well, it resides in the liver. They believe that anger was actually in the Kabit in the liver and who cabbie do means to struggle with something it's from the same room as Kabit and they believe that the emotion of love resided in the heart. Now obviously the liver derives its nourishment from the heart and anger is something that can enter int