Global Philosophy of Religion Project, The

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Event Name: Global Philosophy of Religion Project, The
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 8/21/2021
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sic] welcome to the global philosophy of religion project at the university of birmingham run by professor eugene nakasawa we at closer to truth are thrilled to collaborate hansa yusef hansen is president of zaytuna college in berkeley california the first accredited muslim liberal arts college in the united states a proponent of the liberal arts and great books education in both the western and muslim traditions he has numerous scholarly publications on religion and contemporary ethical concerns hamsa it's a real pleasure to meet thank you nice to meet you robert let's talk about god in islam obviously god is the center of islam but i want to ask that in islamic history and tradition are arguments for the existence of god uh prevalent do you find them in discussions as we do in some other religions the most compassionate prayers and peace be upon our prophet and all the prophets uh first of all arguments for the existence of god are certainly i think rife in the islamic tradition a lot of people don't know that in fact the the catholic tradition uh that also works with reason and revelation is heavily influenced by the muslim tradition and so you'll find in the five ways of aquinas a good deal of the material that aquinas was working with came out of some of the great muslim philosophers like al-farabi avacena who's ibn cena in our tradition certainly uh averroes uh even russia and uh imam al-razadi so we do have a very strong tradition uh it's called the kalam tradition and in fact william lane craig who's one of the greats arguably one of the great christian philosophers of this age has devoted his life almost uh to the promotion of a distinctly muslim argument for the extensive existence of god which is called the kalam cosmological argument and he wrote a book even though he is a christian he's using muslim theologians as the basis for his argument yes we've uh we've had bill on and we've talked about that so that is absolutely the case uh are there uh disputes about it is there any traditions within the islamic civilization where some people argued uh against against the existence of god through some various types of philosophical or or practical kinds of arguments well i think you've always had uh atheists and agnostics that goes back to the ancient peoples i mean you have uh before christ you have uh lucifers you have people like lucretius uh who are materialists uh deram natora is is a great work in in the western tradition that looks at that so within the islamic tradition you do have people that did not believe you had arguments for why people shouldn't believe some of the great disbelievers um debated uh openly like in in iraq abu hanifa is famous for debating materialists there's a great story of one of his debates where he showed up very late and the man complained about him being late and he said unfortunately he was he was stopped at the river and there was no boat to get him across the the tigris but fortunately a tree fell and formed into a boat so he was able to come across and be on top be there for the thing and the man said that's the most ridiculous thing i've ever heard and he said well your argument that all of this just uh appeared naturally without any maker is as absurd to me as the idea that a tree turned into a boat on its own yeah that's a great story yeah i think that that debate is healthy even if you are a believer irrespective of the religion to to engage in in in thoughtful debate is certainly one aspect of um of a religious conviction i think that's very that's a very healthy it's not the only thing that religious people do obviously but i think it contributes to a deeper understanding absolutely i think tradition is strongest when it's engaged with uh counter-arguments i mean that's how really how theology emerges out of these great world religions is due to people who were opposed to it and so they had to make arguments for why they actually believe what they believe so reason and revelation is very important in the islamic tradition as well as the jewish and the christian in the great scholastic iterations of the abrahamic face right um in your essay suffering and surrender you address the trials and tribulations that we all come across in the world you have a statement which i want to highlight says only god brings forth good from evil so i want to ask you how does islam address the problem of evil why the enormity of evil in a world that was created supposedly by a god that is all good and all-powerful yet i mean this is the great bugbear of uh of really the world i mean let alone uh religious traditions and i think the the argument uh for atheism obviously one of the strongest arguments is is the argument of of the existence of evil if if allah is all good how could there be this evil world from the perspective of of muslims we we see that god is the creator of the heavens and the earth that this is his dominion that anything he does in his dominion is his prerogative and we don't in any way god is is is god and and and we are who we are the quran says very clearly that god does not oppress people but they themselves were oppressing themselves and and also oppressing one another so uh the way the muslims scholars looked at it really was this idea that if you had if if i have a cloak and i burn the cloak you can say why are you burning that perfectly good cloak and and i say well it happens to be infected with a very dangerous infectious disease so us judging why god does things is is is something that the muslims have really shied away from the quran says god will not be asked about what he does but you will be asked about what you do and so obviously there are different theodicies there's a theodicy that and by theodicy i mean the you know explanations of of evil of why there is evil and certainly one of the most important ones is that the the existence is binary and the quran says in in the 36th chapter that god has created everything in pairs and so in order for good to be known there has to be evil uh the the arabs by opposites things are known and and and also moral agency because we have natural evil like a tsunami and then we have moral evil which is where a moral agent does something if a lion eats uh a human being we can we can't impose on that lion our moral sensibilities and say that it was evil although people do do that and and will kill the animal for doing something that by its nature it does but we we uh we can uh question our own actions and and and i think one of the greatest arguments for the existence of god is why we're offended by evil so in the muslim tradition or it does the problem problem of evil as a problem discussed or it's not a problem in the same way that you find in the western tradition i think the the muslims really did not because they saw that this is god's dominion and and he cannot you cannot be an oppressor in your own dominion if everything belongs to you what you do with it is your own business and so there was this idea that um god has the world is filled with good and it's filled with difficulty and it's filled with joy and sorrow and these are all ways in which human beings grow there's and they also they can only be understood in if it's only this world then absolutely it doesn't make any sense but if you have a day of judgment where rights are wrong there's a verse in the quran that says there is no oppression on this day everybody will have their due those who are merciful in the world mercy will be shown to them those who are judgmental in the world like christ said uh by the standard by which ye judge you two shall be judged so if you were somebody who always wanted justice in the world god will give you justice in the next world but for those of us i'm much more interested in mercy like i want to see a social mercy movement as opposed to a social justice movement because i think a lot of what's happening in the world is actually our just desserts for being who we are so i just wanted to add to that that one of the in arabic the word for evil has a lot of different meanings it's it's not so much evil per se but like poverty is called shutter that's the word so anything that's deficient uh is called evil and one of the things that i think people ask where is god with all this all these horrors in the world but from a muslim perspective god has more right to ask us as our creator where are you because the quran says had it not been for some people to constrain other people the entire world would be filled with evil and so i think it's really important to remember uh one of the things that helen keller said is that while the world is filled with evil it's also filled with the overcoming of evil and i think we we often focus solely on the evil and and and and use that as an excuse for not recognizing the extraordinary good that exists in the world but in the muslim understanding god at least created the capacity that there would be evil in the world i know many christians have difficulty with that concept yeah it's actually one of the six fundamental beliefs we have to believe in the measuring out of good and evil that evil is part of the world okay let's go on to uh the muslim understanding of how can we know god um your essay the prayer of the oppressed was a very um long and thoughtful approach to our uh our own personal situation and obviously god is in that does does that concept of the prayer of the oppressor does that lead to avenues that could lead to god one of the the quickest ways in which people begin to actually awaken to the possibility of god is when they're confronted with great pain and suffering uh it opens up the heart there's there's a tradition of our prophet peace be upon him that says that god is with the brokenhearted that very often it's the breaking of the heart that allows the light of god to come into the heart so i think it's very important uh to recognize that from our perspective suffering is redemptive suffering is something that can can actually be an incredible catalyst for spiritual growth and change um one of the things knowledge of god in the islamic tradition although we have a very profound scholastic tradition and we have great uh theologians uh who who used philosophy um to to make their arguments but there's also a very uh i think profound simple belief that in hears in just the common muslim that's quite stunning and i think you see this uh in in other faith traditions where the faith is is deeply rooted the way that they deal with suffering the way they deal with pain the way they deal with uh loss in life is is quite extraordinary i think that becomes a very profound proof of the power of faith to enhance our lives and and and to make our lives you know marx said that faith was an opinion of the masses but what what what a lot of people they quote that but what he actually said was that that that faith was it was the cry uh of of uh of of of a heart in an unjust world it was a cree decor of of an unjust world and so in essence what he was saying was religion numbs the pain of the world well one of the things that marxists and their minions and others have done is they've gotten rid of religion and so now i would argue opium has become the opium of of the masses like people need opium to numb the pain of the world whereas in the past it was by turning to god that one found solace and we have great examples of that so we have the philosophical tradition you now have the personal experiential uh condition of of uh needing god or seeing god through trials and tribulations let's go further um there is uh in islam as in as in many of the traditions a mystical tradition uh can religious and mystical experiences uh tell us about god uh for example islamic mystics do they know more about god than islamic non-mystics or or for that matter do they know more than analytical philosophies of religion yeah there's a great story of uh of a great philosopher ibn rushid who met with a great mystic who was also a a scholar and a philosopher but he's probably very known for for his mysticism uh and and uh his name was ibn arubi so avera we said to him is what we arrive at the same as what you arrive at in other words is our uh discursive knowledge of god the same as as your uh experiential knowledge of god and even is reported to have said yes and then uh even smiled and then ibn adobe said no and so that i think you know in in the islamic tradition experiential knowledge of god is far more profound and discursive knowledge of god one of the great scholars and mystics of islam ibrahim who was from egypt he said that that that the attempt to prove the existence of god is from the perspective of the absence of god and then he says but when was god absent that he needed to be proved and so and and so the idea is that there are people that genuinely experience god um one of in in in that same book which is called the aphorisms translated by victor danner a good translation in english one of the things that he says is whoever knows the truth sees the truth in everything and so the quran says we created the heavens and the earth with truth so there is goodness in everything and and that's why that knowledge of god which is a natural knowledge of god is much more powerful than the artificial knowledge that comes through this uh discursive thinking intuition and this is what imam alhazadi writes in his in his famous the the savior from error he writes that that he studied these different ways of knowing like epistemology and concluded that the most profound way was the way of direct experience what's called in in in arabic or gnosis of god it's it's a direct immediate experience of god and and it's far more profound especially for the person obviously that experiences it but to believe in it is is a type of um experience so those of us who might not have had the experience we believe in those who have uh and certainly the prophets are the foremost uh among them for those of us who have not had such experiences and seek to know god uh are we in an inferior position then i i think in in terms of of in terms of a degree of understanding absolutely the problem is obviously is there a lot of charlatans that abuse this type of of knowledge for those who believe in it that haven't experienced it and and and you find that uh too many of our religions and of our sex are filled with these type of people who claim to have this knowledge and usually one of the signs that they don't have the knowledge is that they make the claim that they have the knowledge i like that that that's our tradition it's it's a it's a big red flag because the true gnostics are people that uh that the uh you know imam al-ghazali says that a tree that has great fruit uh the branches hang low and and so there's a type of humility that comes with that um that uh they don't see themselves as as anything i've worried that if i if i had which i've not had that type of mystical experience i would i would not believe it i would think it's some neurochemical imbalance that i had or not enough sleep or some other explanation so how what is it that can differentiate we actually have we have a whole science of that so we have we have a science in our in our tradition that deals with mystical experiences so for instance there's there's experience that are outward terrestrial uh sensory experiences then there's outward terrestrial meaning experiences outward celestial meaning experiences then there's inward terrestrial sensory experiences like uh for instance uh some certain psychotropic drugs are very similar like i i actually believe that i had a profound mystical experience on fentanyl it wasn't illegal it was actually given to me in the hospital but i had an extraordinary experience and and william james writes about this and varieties of religious experience so i think people drugs unfortunately are one of the vehicles for opening a lot of people up to the possibility because there's an experience that there's more here than meets the eye quite literally and i think materialists try to reduce those things to uh neurological phenomena but the but the reality of it is is that consciousness itself is a spiritual experience people ask me you know i want to have a spiritual experience my response to that is you are having a spiritual experience it's just mediated through your your sensoria but this whole thing is mystical consciousness is mysticism the fact that we can communicate and speak in language the fact that i can say these words i don't know where they're coming from and you don't know where yours are coming from the fact that i'm speaking at this rapid rate and your mind is digesting all of these things putting them together you have all this past experience that enables you to even understand what i'm talking about these this this phenomena which is happening constantly it's it's miraculous and it's just amazing that people in this kind of perfunctory attitude towards existence i feel sorry for them from the standpoint of islam do all or most religions the ones we know worship the same god do they worship the same god i think we're all talk if particularly in the abrahamic religions we're certainly talking about the same god we we some of us know people that um for instance you might know somebody and i know somebody and we share that but then we've had very different experiences of those people so you begin to describe a person i say that doesn't sound like the person i know but it is the same person and so i think in many ways this is the way uh we look at god uh we we have different perspectives and those perspec perspectives color our understanding of god but the god that we're talking about is the creator of the heavens and the earth sustainer of all things animate and inanimate uh and this is this is the god of uh the the even the hindus despite all of their um their various manifestations and things if you get into the vedic scriptures you'll find that they're really talking about a very similar uh understanding of what what they they call it the uh the nierguna as opposed to the sergona the unattributable god the god the unknowable god and so the godhead the unknowable godhead i think is the same for all of us when we get into attributes i think then there's going to be some differences the argument is that when you look for that commonality the lowest common denominator to be a bit pejorative um you wind up with almost nothing just a kind of a ground of being and you lose all meaning is that it i i think that's that's excellent because there's a great um section in the dostoyevsky is the possessed uh where chateau he's got this character shatoff who's a who's a he was an atheist and then he kind of has this um he comes back to his faith in america of all places and uh and one one of the things that he says is that every every nation has their own understanding of god and if it wasn't for that they wouldn't be a nation they wouldn't they wouldn't have their distinct character and and and i think it's a very profound insight for nation i would say umma which is the community the ecclesia uh the the the song guy the um you know the minion all those things that that bring a people together that make them unique and distinct so i think there's a verse in the quran which is very interesting to me that it says every people we have given them a away a a a way and a minhajj uh in in hebrew they call it a minhog um that they have their own particular way and it says we did this as a test so vie with one another in good and so each community is going to see itself as as unique and it is in reality unique but but uh the real the real um challenge is to prove yourself through virtue and that's where uh the moral character of a of a community becomes so important because by their fruits you shall know them as christ said the um challenge to that of course is that that sounds good but each of the major faiths even if we stick within the abrahamic tradition there are overt contradictions uh between them to pick religions that i'm more familiar with between judaism and christianity obviously the incarnation and divinity of jesus uh the nature of the trinity these are fundamental differences and of course islam brings the profit into it so how then do you deal with what on their surface appear to be outright contradictions well i mean first of all we have to remember that um the jewish tradition recognizes both uh islam and christianity as noah hides so within within judaism we're actually uh we're we're noahitic people we follow the at least seven of the ten commandments um but uh from and so the the the jews have never had a problem with the theology of the muslims and and in fact uh have have used it i mean they were influenced by the kalam tradition some of the great uh uh jewish philosophers like mushaf and mamon mamoinidis and others both of us the jews and the christians do have a problem with the trinity um so so we we we would both see the trinity as a serious problem we actually think it's it's it's an error and it's very easy to see triads everywhere uh that we have a whole science called trigonometry which just deals with three so three is a very powerful number um in some ways because it's it's really the you know in arabic tradition numbers begin with two with two not one one is not considered a number in arabic and but two is the first number and it's from the two that comes the third so all of creation comes out of the binary and and uh the male the female coming together brings the third and so uh and then we're triune we have a rational we have irratible and concupiscent soul so it's easy to see how they fell into that mistake but we believe it's a mistake um and and uh it it doesn't mean that there's great not great truths in christianity there are they're profound truths but there are air there can be errors the christians have had since the beginning a unitarian tradition that has challenged the trinity let's talk about the attributes of god in the islamic tradition and in islamic philosophy i'm familiar with the 99 names of god right in the islamic tradition and i'm also familiar in the philosophy of religion particularly from the christian tradition some very uh sophisticated analytic philosophy dealing with perfect being theology what does it mean for god to be perfect uh omnipotence the omni god omnipotence all powerful omniscience all knowing i'm not president or uh everywhere uh uh uh omni benevolent all good uh timelessness unchanging how did the 99 names in islam articulate with the omni perfect being god of christianity well we have we have two traditions so we have a type of natural theology which which is kalam which works largely with reason and from that 13 attributes were identified by reason as necessary for god uh seven of which are are are central um and and then the others come out of um of the of the seven so what are the some of those give me an example well well the the first one is a siety that god has existence and and that existence he's sub he he exists in and of himself and nothing brought him into existence so so he has absolute existence absolute being um in arabic the word is which is a beautiful word because it means it means you know if i can coin a a term find ability it's in other words god can be found and because what the the the arabic root is to find and and and but also it means to be ecstatic because when you fought when you discover something like the eureka moment of archimedes uh coming out of the bathtub and apparently running down uh the the streets of his village shouting eureka because he he discovered displacement um so so uh the joy of finding god is the greatest joy and it's a joy that children already live in so i mean very very young children so uh but but we we forget you know we we we leave the garden of eden and and we enter into uh a world that does have demonic and dark forces working to divert us from that and so then it becomes an epic journey uh back to god so that that's the first and then that he is uh so he he is living in other words he god has a a a he's hype uh hayem in hebrew same same same root um that god has life that god is all hearing that he's all seeing that he has power that he has will and his will and his power and his knowledge are the three attributes that bring everything into existence he wills things into existence and i'm using he muslims do not have any gender uh association with god god is neither male nor female god has beautiful attributes and he has um and and he has majestic attributes it's in in he's called so in the revealed philosophy uh the revealed theology uh there are 121 names of god mentioned in the quran the 99 names were specific for if somebody memorizes them and understands them then the prophet said that he will enter paradise so those specific names have a special place but the names of god are infinite uh and and there we have a tradition which says you know by every name that you have taught us or that you have withheld to your own knowledge so god has infinite number of names but we we know uh the names uh and there are names that the prophet gave us that aren't in the 99 names like manan and hannan but they're beautiful names the jewish tradition i think has 72 uh names that they also honor but uh they're they're beautiful and i think saint francis assisi when he after he met the muslims he came back and incorporated some of those practices by calling on the divine names because muslims call on the divine names he also raised the cross up to a tao i i think you differentiated among the names between the 13 and then the seven and the subset of that that are the kind of well like the seven uh which which uh has existence has life has power has will has uh uh knowledge and hearing and seeing those are the seven okay and and and from those you get um the the uh that he is uh the he is the speaker so they differentiate between the attribute and the and and the if i could use it i mean it's not the right word but the embodiment of the attribute the attribute that adheres in the essence okay so so now then what are the other key if that's the say the core category then what are all the others uh you know 121 minus 13 or 99 oh well names like the beautiful the prophet muhammad sallallahu alaihi said i'm sad that god is beautiful and he loves beauty okay and and also that he's majestic so for instance the joy of of experiencing a sunset is from it's it's it's a apotheosis of god's beauty it's it's a tajelli it's a manifestation of that beauty whereas a tsunami is a manifestation of his jalal of his majesty and so the muslims distinguish between uh the these two it's and they're not mutually exclusive so god is just and he's merciful and so a lot of people don't know how to square justice and mercy but god will show mercy to those who show mercy and he will be just with those who did not show mercy is it proper given those names to describe god as a person and i ask because in christianity there's a fairly heated dispute in whether god is a person and a person has personhood features like awareness and intent and will um or is that an anthropomorphizing of what should be a very deep and impersonal ground of being that's the tension in christianity and philosophy religion in christianity i'm much more familiar with the catholic tradition than than the protestant uh and the orthodox and uh you know personhood in in in western catholic metaphysics is is according to jacques meretein um is is basically it's it's the immaterial nature even per the personhood like there's a distinction between the person and the individual so the individual is what relates to their material nature and to their their the accidents that have been acquired in the world from their background and their experiences whereas the person is something that transcends that it gets to the core essence of the human being and so the idea in in western christianity that god is a person in other words that that that that is how we're able to communicate with god in the islamic tradition we don't use that term person but there is a verse in the quran where jesus says god you know what is in my soul myself but i don't know what's in yourself and so there is an idea that we are created in this metaphysical uh image the imago dei enables us to know god so even though the muslims use the word surah the form because what is the only way we can know things metaphysically the only way we can know things is through their form so i know a dog because of the form that the dog presents itself with and i'm able to abstract the universal out of that god is formless and so in that way god is unknowable so there this is the via negativa this is the in arabic it's it's called parikha it's it's the the path that we know god through what god is not and this is why the most fundamental verse about god which is in the 42nd chapter of the quran is the 11th verse it says laysa committed his shape there is nothing like god and yet and then it says and yet god hears all and sees all so the only way we can know what all hearing and all seeing is is because god has made us creatures that see and hear he's given us will he's given us life he's given us speech so the quran says in your own souls don't you see in other words don't you see this manifestation of these divine attributes in yourself you are not god but it's through yourself you know god and this is why we have a it's an apocryphal tradition but it's quoted often that whoever knows his self knows knows his lord how does that articulate within western philosophy of religion the apathetic or can only know god in the negative and the cataphatic tradition where you can know affirmative characteristics of god well th this is in our tradition it's called tischbier and tenzia um which is loosely imminence and transcendence um i don't they don't have identical correspondences but what i would say is that even though i have hearing any number over infinity is zero so i in that way i i can know something of what that means that god hears and god sees and god's alive but at the same time because it's it's a thing over infinity it's canceled out and so in that way we can know but at the same time we can't know in islam what's the relationship between the creator god and the created the the world as we know it well the most the most important uh is that all of creation is in submission to god except for the human being and and and and the spirit world like what what are um uh daemon in in greek they would call them the demon uh you know these these creatures that can they're spirit creatures and they're either good or they're bad um but we the two of us have been given free will and and so the human being has has god has given us the ability to choose unlike everything else in creation everything according to the quran everything is praising god for instance in our tradition the two times that are very important to have special time set aside for praise are the the the the dawn period and the and the sunset period well you'll notice that a lot of creation is doing that so you'll see birds literally gather and start chirping and singing now you can have evolutionary biologists explain that but from our perspective they're actually praising god and so we do that consciously they do it uh they do it simply by their nature and so this is what we're called to do we're called to enter in to a covenant with god freely and wholeheartedly and to worship god and we worship god by by one by recognizing first and foremost that god is our creator and so that is saying that there is nothing worthy of worship except the one true living god which is there is no god except the one true god and and that god communicates to his creation uh through uh revelation and through inspiration and and so uh we we uh the the prophets have revelation and the saints have inspiration and and and ordinary people can have it the prophet muhammad peace be upon him said that a true dream is 146 of prophecy so even common people even people that aren't believers have access to true dreams like the pharaoh in uh in the story of joseph how does this god intervene in human affairs whether in individual lives or in the in the flow of history well i think you have to open yourself first of all the quran says every day god is on a new affair and so everything that we see the flower blooming uh the the fruit ripening all we see this everything as just god is doing all of this and so it's opening up to that relationship it's literally open your heart to the light of god which is everywhere and and fanaticism is being blinded by that light and true spirituality is being guided by that light and so finding that balance um one of the things about the world is the vanity fair you know this idea of pilgrim's progress you you come into the world and then there's this vanity fair that literally can sideline you and preoccupy you until death shows up and when death comes the quran says you can't put it off and so it's really a preparation uh for the prophet muhammad peace be upon him taught us to reflect on death every single day he said to wake up in the morning not expecting to reach the evening and to go to sleep at night not expecting to wake up in the morning muslims are actually told to live like that so that so that they really take advantage of the preciousness and the gift of life it's something to really be appreciated and and it also brings you into the moment we have a saying in our tradition that uh that um you know that that this that that the true uh mystic is in in the moment they're present and and so getting into this presence and being aware of the presence of god is is really at the at the fundamental core of islamic practice which is why we we pray five times a day we go back the baseline is five times a day many people pray a lot more than that but the baseline is five times a day the um there's an argument in um in particular christian philosophy of religion about god as the creator and god as the sustainer there's some views that god created the universe of all that exists all reality but is independent from it um another view is that god is so intimately associated with the the creation that if god in some way stopped willing the creation on a continuous basis the creation would disappear right does islam deal with that kind of of differentiation between god the creator as an event and god the sustainer on a continuing basis the quran is very clear that every moment god is sustaining it and if god turned away from creation for one iota if the entire thing would disappear so there's a verse in the quran that says that we will show them our signs in themselves and on the horizon the horizon is the meeting place of the heaven and the earth the self is the meeting place of the heaven and the earth we are soul and body that's come together and so god will show us on on the in ourselves and on the horizon in that meeting place of heaven and earth until it becomes clear that this is the truth and then it says does it not suffice that god is witnessing all things so that witnessing is what enables existence to take place it's the divine providential uh witnessing of creation that sustains it and if that was removed for an instant it would be gone the the most important verse in the quran it's called the it's in the second chapter it's called the uh the the master verse it says it begins god there is no god but that one true god the the living and the sustainer and so god is sustaining in every instant and becoming aware of that is is really becoming aware of the presence of god in your life um somebody once asked me you know he asked me about islam and i told him well it's a type of really it's just a gratitude for for the gifts that god gives us and he said to me i suppose god's given me some gifts in my life and i just looked at him i said who do you think sustaining your temperature right now at 98.6 you know it's like that's god you know and when he makes you sick he does it for a wisdom and when he gives you health he does it so in sickness we're patient and in health we're grateful and that's why these are the two great attributes in the quran of the believer patience and tribulation gratitude and blessings i assume in islam it does not make sense to ask the question that is often done in philosophy of religion in the judeo-christian tradition and in that when god intervenes as soon there's a god and assume that god does intervene you believe that um does god violate the laws of nature the laws of physics when god intervenes whether in our minds or intervenes with so-called miracles or intervenes in history is there a violation of physical law what you said that's a meaningless question yeah we wouldn't use the word violation we we would you we would say that that first of all quantum physics theoretically violates all these newtonian laws and so so the prophet muhammad said that the unseen world to the seen world the the ratio of this scene world which is called the mulk in in the quran uh in relation to the malachute he said is like an iron ring in the midst of a vast desert so what's unseen is so much greater than what's seen so we make these assumptions about laws but most of these are dialectical they're they're not demonstrative most laws are are dialectical they're not demonstrative laws in fact we have to we have to use leisure domain in our mathematics to even measure motion so so we take curves and we turn them into these infinitely small straight lines in order to measure it's all approximations um so so when you look at at the world your assumptions about what are laws i mean there are there are observable laws but are the are the are they the ultimate truth no they're they're they're saving the appearances generally in traditional logic they would be seen as dialectical and not apodictic or or uh demonstrative in islam what do we say about the salvation process or eschatological um speculations about uh the future of earth these are obviously prevalent in judeo-christian tradition how are they in islam i think the most important thing is that we all share i know there's a debate in the in the jewish tradition but generally we share this idea of a day of judgment that there is a day when the debts fall due there's no free lunches they say so your life is going to be taken into account and and we will have to answer for what we did here and and so we believe in a in a a day of judgment we the quran says that just as the universe uh was spread out god will the big crunch at the end it says god will roll it up like a scroll at the end so the universe will go back into that singularity point that it began from and all of the souls are going to be raised up and and we will meet on a plane and then we will go through a uh a reckoning and there will be intercession there will be prophets uh interceding for their peoples uh we believe that the prophet muhammed peace be upon him has this great intercession um christ will intercede all of the prophets will have their intercessions and then then the judgment uh comes so uh the quran says there's a group uh destined for the fire and there's a group destined for for paradise and and so you know this it's interesting because you find this in so many uh religious traditions um and and it's it's hard to believe that uh this simply came out of the imaginations of people um so this has been terrific i've learned about the god of islam i've always wanted to learn more that's one of the the themes and the elite motifs of closer to truth that we want to explore the different traditions and understand them and i really thank you for our conversation i look forward to do it more in depth at some future time where we can address these subjects even further but thank you for participating in the global philosophy of religion project in which we hope to bring mutual understandings from different traditions thank you very much robert for having me on i appreciated your stimulating uh questions and i love the name closer to truth we one of the names of of god in in in the 99 names is al haq the truth so we believe in the truth so hopefully we'll all get closer to truth with a capital t thank you [Music] you