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Deen Port Interview

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Event Name: Deen Port Interview
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/9/2019
Transcript Version: 1

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interview with chef Hamza Yusuf is being

conducted by Harun sellers and brought

to you by Dean port comm bismillah the

first question could you tell us about

your latest book project the

purification of the heart which was

recently released how did this project

come about and why do you think it's so

important the the book purification of

the heart actually came out of a series

of lectures that I gave it was a course

that I gave several years ago in Hayward

California and that resulted in a tape

series it was produced called the

purification of the heart so that that

was the basis for the book the book was

based on those lectures and it's

basically a commentary of a poem that

was written in Mauritania by a very

well-known chef there he wrote the book

according to him chef and the Applebee

he wrote the book based on the fact that

he saw people studying silk and pita and

becoming very well-versed in the outward

aspects of the religion to the neglect

of their spiritual states and he

actually became very troubled by the

fact that he would find people that were

very well versed in arcane matters of v

and things that they would probably

never use in their entire lifetime but

they were completely ignorant of their

the states of their heart they were

ignorant of the fact that they had pride

they had anger that they had Envy that

they had loved that they had greed that

they had covetousness that they had

extended hopes about the world that they

had miserly nose so what he did is that

he began to look in all of the classical

literature particularly from the early

people of a father Benecke

it was very well known early scholar and

wrote about the states of the heart imam

animo has to be who was a companion of

female muhammad ibrahim done and

remember Junaid who according to even

taymiyah was an imam of by consensus and

Imam al-ghazali who wrote for the books

and compiled them into one full volume

or five volume work which is called

Aonuma Deen reviving the sciences of the

religion and that FES composed of 40

books the first half is mostly dealing

with outward matters although he always

brings the secrets of fasting the

secrets of zakat things but they were

dealing with the the formal aspect of

the religion but the second half begins

with the character of the Prophet in

book 20 so allah anyone in the center

the second half is concerning what he

called in Monaca for the moon yet those

things that will destroy the soul and

those things that will save the soul and

much of it centers around the heart the

human heart based on the version of

Quran yo man I am Pharaoh Madeleine what

I've been on in them and Allah had been

sitting on the day of judgment not

neither wealth nor children will avail a

man the only thing that will help him or

save him is that he bring to God a sound

heart and so a sound heart if you take

that verse seriously which I think

Muslims should it means that a sound

heart is the whole purpose of our

existence that we're here actually to

purify our hearts to make our heart a

vehicle for divine knowledge for

revelation for manifestations of the

gifts of Allah Subhan Allah - Anna what

the Christians call epiphanies and so

it's very important that people be aware

of this because according to your

Mahmoud Abbas Ali at the father behind

it's actually an obligation on every

person is not like say learning

the rules of buying or selling that's an

obligation on people that are in

commerce but well I think that's an

important point that the spiritual

science of Islam often seems to have

been looked at nowadays as optional I

think part of the problem is Muslims

conflate these things with what's called

Baraka which is taking a shape spiritual

master and going on a path of what's

called su Luke lot of Muslims conflate

these two things I think they're the

same and they're not and this is this is

a science that was traditionally taught

in Madras as irrespective of somebody of

whether somebody was in a body a car or


they're simply the sciences of the

religion and this is one of them it's

spiritual psychology its ethics

traditionally it was called two souls

but unfortunately two souls today is so

confused with a lot of things that have

nothing to do with traditionally what

scholars understood to be two souls I

mean so soul as a science was never

condemned by scholars it's it's just a

fact of Islam and to not to say that it

has been is just to indicate total

ignorance I mean even ten years is all

often used as a plunge and against these

things has a chapter of an entire book

in his multi-volume cetera called fatale

if it's fo wolf such was about two souls

and even a mojo co-wrote an entire book

and the daughters of sati came which is

a comet on a very famous text on two

souls so even these Imams that are used

as hammers against castle wolf they they

themselves affirmed the science what

they recognized was it was in the

science like all sciences in ship you

have problems there's there's opinions

and ships that are completely

acceptable opinions they're totally

unacceptable but they're still in the

books and and the scholars still quote

them and you have in grammar

unacceptable opinions you have the Kubik

school the bustle in school they argue

which one's the right one how do based

on that you come up with according to

our own AMA if you follow certain

schools of grammar you will actually

interpret the part on incorrectly but

those schools exist do we throw out all

of grammar because some grammarians made

mistakes in their understanding and the

same is true in tawheed which is the

science of theology there's gross errors

in tow he'd jam even soft one who was

the head of the jamia was a theologian

who said that the fire that it comes to

an end and that opinion also was

reiterated by other scholars like even

Tamia and there's I have an entire book

defending his position so a lot of

Muslims don't know that even Tamia said

that the fire comes to an end but he

interpreted he didn't say there wasn't

who knew how DD naseeha Avada he didn't

say that it wasn't

Abed but he had his linguistic

interpretations of that well the

majority of anima condemned them and

said they're wrong

does that mean we throw out everything

even Tamiya said because he made a

mistake in something that was pointed

out by other ulema I mean this is the

type of simplistic and really ignorant

reasoning that a lot of people have now

out there and they're they're not

trained they're not qualified to to be

discussing these things and I'm not

saying in any way that that I'm this is

not my position these are the positions

of the Ummah this is just what I was

taught do you know I'm not that's not

something I invented or and and that's

why it's really saddening for me it's


to see the debates around these things

that really should not be debated if we

want to discuss the problems within the

science then I I agree that there are

problems and and and it's important that

they be pointed out but

it's also important that some of the

problems are debatable they're moot

points or points that are insoluble

because the scholars never came out with

a definitive position on them so that's

important also to recognize that she

laughs difference of opinion in the OMA

is very real it's very prevalent and

some she laughs are resolvable there's

preponderant positions in other words

there's positions that are sounder more

they're there they're the ones that we

should adhere to and then there are

others that it's simply it's it's just

out it's it's out you can't you can't

resolve them you can't come to some

conclusion even like in the most uh sort

of seedy Halil

he has positions in the men have well

where he won't give you a definitive

position he'll just say there's two

there's two opinions and he doesn't

decide it's called Toto Gia

he doesn't make any tell Gia he doesn't

tell you which one is the one you should

follow he just says these are the two

opinions well let me give you one

example in the purification of heart

there was a story that I heard in

Morocco it's I mean it could be looked

at as a silly story it's a story about a

man you know on a lion he's as ahead you

know the Sahib is and he comes down from

his mountain and he rides into this town

to meet this man who he can see here's

as a saint and the saint is living in a

palace and opulent and he tells the man

to put his lion in with his cow and he

says the cows you're gonna the cow will

get eaten and he said don't worry about

the cat I'll just put the line in with

the cow so he puts it in and the next

day he's very just wanted this man cuz

he he eats he goes to sleep he doesn't

see any qualities that observe it that

he has so he just writes him off as well

why do people think this is a good man

and when he goes to get his lion the cow

ate the lion that's a story it's just a

story it's a teaching story you know

it's not a hadith it's not you know

somebody can point that up and just say

what is that it's just a story it's all

it is and and you'll find that

the Imam al-ghazali mentioned stories

there's a story there teaching stories

the Quran says that Allah uses parables

uses similitudes uses likenesses why

because there ways in which people can

understand some of them are funny you

know very funny teaching stories out

there and things like that and

traditionally stories that were used to

teach I guess in some of the

purification to release a book in the

English language and our times on the

subject is also a way of kind of

reviving and bringing back a sense of

balance in terms of the complete or

holistic understanding of the Islamic

Sciences well it's a it's a science that

I feel we're in particular need of

because we have so many of these

problems afflicting our communities and

I really believe they're rooted in our

hearts do you see I'm not met many

people who what what what I've noted in

them is that their arguments have more

to do with their own personal pathology

than actually the points that they're

trying to make in other words they're

argumentative people and so they're

looking for opportunities to get into

arguments so I'll give you one example I

have I have some friends that totally

disagree with a lot of my views about

Islam but their friends I'm not making

that out I have a friend he's a

professor in Medina University in Saudi

Arabia and when I go to Medina I usually

visit him he teaches also and he doesn't

agree with some of the things that that

I was taught but it's never ever been a

reason for me not to like him and him

not to like me ever it's never been

he'll bring it up he kind of nudges and

when certain topics come up and he'll

he'll smile about it because because he

respects even though he knows

that that opinion he disagrees with he

still recognizes that it's a Scholastic

position it's a position within the

Ummah I don't think it's the right one

but I know that a lot of them adhere to

it and that's why I'm not going to make

it an issue for hating this person or

seeing this person as outside of the

scope of friendship and I think that

there are other people though that

that's not how I find them I find that

they're entrenched in positions that do

not enable them to actually just be

human I mean it just sit down have a cup

of tea hat you just let's just speak as

human beings didn't you know I'm a

convert to Islam I converted to Islam I

you know I was a Christian before and

you'll sit down and have a talk with me

as a Christian and you're a Muslim

because I'm not in some way threatening

to your whatever you believe about Islam

but because you disagree with me about

Islam you won't you won't even though we

both say let you know hating the law you

believe there's no god but the one true

God Allah and and we believe that

Muhammad SAW Allah descent is His


I mean that's how close we are because

according to the Hadees on the Okayama

that's the biggest thing you have and

that's how close we are and then we

believe in the same book there's not

difference of opinion you know it's not

King James Version as as opposed to this

version or that version we believe in

the same book we read the same book when

I recite my bucketed I could be reciting

the same sword as you're reciting and I

pray the same number of raka it's it's

it's amazing but if I wiggle my finger

in my tisha hood and you're gonna make

that an issue or if I don't wiggle my

finger I mean my god we have a very

serious problem we have a really

serious problem DC and that that's my

point is that you know unfortunately

much of what's going on is that people

are finding ways to manifest their own

pathologies within a framework of

justification in other words I'm going

to use this religion and this isn't

really a conscious thing which is why I

I do have some sympathy because I I've

been deluded myself and I might still be

deluded about certain things and that's

the thing about delusion you don't know

you're deluded

so I know that when I forgive you one

example when I was in my early 20s

studying in the Emirates I refused to

speak English and I refused to speak

English with Arabs because I actually I

read a book by even Tamiya because I had

a roommate who was a student of Nasser

Adina albani the Mahadev from Syria and

he's a reasoning Albanian but you know

he had a lot of these books and I read

this book by even tenia the dog fell off

and I was talking to Mijares at the

Hubble Jaheim the necessities of

following the straight path in going

against what the people of Hell do and

it was a lot of it was an attack on

christianity and judaism but what was

interesting is there was some hadees in

there and they actually were good Hadees

about men yes you know on your techid no

matter how a beauty that I had said I

attic and a lady has a in the hadith

when they saw that whoever's able to

speak Arabic shouldn't speak with others

in Arabic because it will cause hiphop's

trees are growing as hard

well I took that Hadees literally and I

refused speaking that I would tell you

they came in to visit me sometime they

would come they speak to me in England

in my Arabic wasn't that strong when I

was first learning but they would speak

to me in English and I would say Maya

Jews how about that I'm Larry Jews you

know this isn't permitted to speak

inning is that that was my state and I

and I really thought that was the right

thing to be doing so that that's just

the thing about life it's a learning


and people grow and and expand and Iman

Matakana Biman if you look in his 92

years his his positions changed

throughout his life Imam Shafi only

lived 54 years and he's got completely

different methods he has met have an

appeal Kadeem he's got mad mullah the

Egyptian method which is a completely

different method from hizmet had been

Iran because he was growing so not to

allow for growth is really a disservice

next one next question would be we live

in the world forever changed by the

events of 9/11 how did that day affect

you and did you learn anything from the

event like personally on a personal

level for me I think of anything I mean

there's no doubt even though there's

been an immense amount of terror in our

lifetime some of it perpetrated by our

own country and but if you look at other

for like a Rwanda

I mean Rwanda was just Rwanda is a much

more serious event than 9/11 I mean tha