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Interpreting Language in Islamic Legal Theory

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Event Name: Interpreting Language in Islamic Legal Theory
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 4/6/2019
Transcript Version: 1

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bout that yesterday and then he goes

into the the nas the the mahkum right of

the Montauk which is the the nas de la

da de da de da de chartres ability

and then the demo foam which is the

Moapa and the mahadeva and then he goes

into the the problems of you have of the

MoBay in the mode what's what's

clarifying what's needs to be

interpreted the Haas the arm what's

specific what's general the Millea the

mukluks what's what's absolute and what

is constrained at Amida when a he the

commands and the prohibitions the Cooley

and the jewsí the universal and the

particular right the Mojave and the

machete kick the one that corresponds in

the one that puts doubt the most Derrick

and the motive things that have shared

meaning and then things that are

synonymous so these are all the D that

that have to be learned by the scholar

before they can really navigate the the

texts and this takes it takes work it's

hard work but it's certainly possible so

I think they're gonna show you the film

and then I'll just make a a plea so go

ahead if you want to show that we're

living at a time where people associate

Boko Haram with Islam we're living at a

time when people don't think of Imam

al-ghazali or fucka being or Ozzy

or all of these great giants of went

before us they think of ignorant people

and they and many too many people

believe that this is Islam and that's

why we're here that's what this is about

this is about restoring the centrality

of knowledge to our religion the

centrality of knowledge to our religion


education doesn't just educate the

intellect no education czar much more

dynamic and holistic integrity thing

it's an integrative process that helps

to integrate the various parts so if an

education does not have anything to do

with the spirit of the human being it

has nothing to do with the psyche of the

human being then it's not according to

Mark Van Doren really education this

course is to help them map the next four

years of their education and to think

really deeply about that I've never

really been able to tap into this course

and that this school has allowed

daddy come weapon well and why don't you

leave say Toretto phil heartman that can

have a body and ability in a shot

attack me too Marton an astronut early

civil eyetality hunting the essence

right the this hold the foundation the

basis of the divine decree is God's

secret within creation this is all my

secret you know how is it that I can

choose on my own accord but that's in

perfect harmony and alignment with a

pre-eternal decision God's preached own

decision it's a secret it's a la secret

and we cannot we're not privy to it we

do not have access to that but the mind

has limits and this is well beyond the

limits of the human intellect you have

to do such that with the putter does

that make sense the mind has to make a

such duck after taking theology 1 and

theology - it makes complete sense fly

compare religions it's the third thing

that you take because you get there you

get yours you want the others - to gain

a strong grounding your own beliefs and

then taking not taking that and running

with it and then setting but Hinduism

and Confucianism

you really realize how similar a lot of

them are but how unique your own

tradition is I can look at the other

traditions I can take whatever wisdom I

mean but at the same time be strong in

my own in my own faith and it's an

angelic being so let's say managing a

job would be when you would say no what

is it no is it no no it isn't yes it is

well obviously you're not gonna solve

that you're not gonna resolve that are

you there on the street but you will say

okay no human being is an angelic

creature so what are you doing you're

saying absolutely no member of the

species man is an angelic creature so

you're separating actually separating

the predicate angelic creature from the

concept man this whole idea of being a

better person or a better individual or

we're finding our souls it's not just in

Islam it's in so many other traditions

that came before and I think we cut like

we just don't you know we're not exposed

to it and so I think it's amazing cuz

that's where you get your philosophy

classes are in philosophy class comes in

that's where your body class comes in

all the Western tradition is so

important because it's there it's

similar to our tradition

I think that's saying a lot is that you

don't just reject things and don't know

because you don't know what could be in

that that it's good for you so many

questions I have about certain things

you know Western philosophy doesn't have

the answers to but if you understand I

Lena if you underst

Islamic scholarly tradition of theology

and you want to share those arguments

then all of a sudden some of those

questions that were so perplexing before

now you have a clear answer and it's not

like it's a dogmatic answer it actually

makes sense rationally the most

important and difficult thing is to

continue to preserve the authenticity of

Islamic rules

I would not mean only by that the daily

prayers that's very very important of

course I do not mean by that on the

Islamic ethics that's also very very

important but I mean awed by that also

to preserve a mental ambience which is

Islamic in which the reality that Islam

can be breathed if we don't have

committed knowledgeable and fearless

Muslim youth we don't have Islam we have

some perversion of Islam so this is the


here say tuna let there rise among you

right a group rejoining good and

forbidding wrong let them start here

they start here in say tuna and then

they spread so that's the to me the

ultimate benefit of say tuna is that it

it is the vehicle for sustaining the

life of the human spirit


so miss Meena we that have indeed uh we

started this college really with a lot

of trust and we did it in many ways in

the reverse way in which colleges are

started because colleges usually start

with a endowment and they build from

that endowment we did not start with an

endowment so we're trying to build an

endowment but one of the issues that we

face on a constant basis is budgetary

restrictions and crises so that's the

mode and inshallah were very close to

accreditation we had a glowing WASC

report that's going to be put up on the

online because we have the site visit

they have 39 criteria that you have to

fulfill to get accreditation what

accreditation means if we get it and

shala we're hoping to get it this year

or next year or on the verge of 2015 but

it means that we can take Canadian

students we that they can get the visas

that they need to study student visas we

can take foreign students even from the

Muslim world because we've had many

people from Turkey even from the Middle

East that have wanted to study there so

we we're expanding and we need a lot of

help to build this but this has to be

seen as you know it's it's it's it's a

it's a project that concerns the OMA

because we do not have an academic

address in the West Muslims do not have

an academic dress in the West

so it's accredited because one of the

things that we get when we're credit is

is an edu we get an actual academic

address for the Muslims which is to get

the edu org which is an educational

email that Harvard has so if you get a

letter from a Harvard professor it's

usually on

you dot org right at Harvard so that

that is a major step I think for our

community that we need to fulfill but we

need your help we have a program which

is 12,000 strong taken from the hadith

that prophet said 12,000 people with

working with one heart won't be defeated

for lack of numbers if the if they're if

they don't succeed it's for other

reasons but it won't be for lack of

numbers so we're asking for 12,000

people we've probably got about 1200

some of you already how many people in

here already doing that so hum do that

there's some people but a lot more is

needed and we're really hoping that

people will step up we're asking for a

dollar a day give us a couple years

commitment four or five years whatever

you can do if you're able to but it's

literally you know it's less than a

latte you know people go everyday spend

four dollars on a latte or something

like that it's you know we're asking for

a little bit of sacrifice or help from

our community it's not much that's

really all we're asking for is dollar a

day if you want to give more that's fine

but we're asking for a like a $30 a

month commitment to you know do every

month so that that's the hope that

people will do that there's a booth at

the bazaar if you want to sign up but I

really hope that you do that I I think

it's a it's an excellent project that we

hope to develop more I mean I literally

just had a major Foundation come to me

they asked for a meeting with me the

major foundation and these are people

they're not Muslims and they said we

want to help say tuna you know it's

amazing so they're reaching out to me

from a major foundation they said what

you're doing is really important there's

a lot of ignorance about Islam you know

we're in a multicultural civilization

and people have to have a better

understanding so we'd really like to

find ways that we could work we'd like

you to write grants you know if we can

help with certain things now this is a

foundation that that has it's a

multi-billion dollar foundation

philanthropist did and they had they

have to give out a certain amount of

money every year so they actually

sometimes they'll all have to give it

out and if they don't get enough grants

they go looking for people to give but

it's very ironic for me that people

outside of our faith come to ask if they

can help us and it's like we've got

billionaires in the Muslim community

like where are they

it's a very strange time and it's really

sad but I'm not counting on the

billionaires I'm counting on the

thousand Aires series I think there's a

lot more Baraka and just getting a lot

of small donations from people that work

hard for their money and the money is

halal you know I had which is a true

story I had somebody who was in

derivatives and a hedge fund that came

they wanted to help as a Muslim I didn't

want the money didn't take the money cuz

I I don't want money from you Zuri from

armaments from alcohol pornography I

don't want I don't want that money in

the lot by even whatever loved by you

but allows pure and he only accepts

what's pure so I'd much rather have

small donations from a lot of sincere

Muslims that want to see the succeed for

for the Ummah really I think you know

it's a it's a lighthouse for people give

them some hope and some pretty dark

times the Muslims you know they're

gutted all over the world Muslims are

really gutted you know they just okay

what's next so anyway whatever you can

do to help Jews are coming off pattern

somebody said I felt a wave of joy

mingled with sadness when you mentioned

that chef I'm Bella van Bayer got his

PhD in Tunisia

I'm Tunisian I find it heartbreaking

that we don't learn about our legacy

what were his advisers you know I don't

know they drives back in the early 60s I

would also like time in another crisis

changing accept of our kids I you know

if you smile at kids they don't smile

back you know if they're little they're

very often shy which is a good thing so

that they're just shy that's a normal

thing for children over friendly little

children to strangers is not

healthy time when you have so much

stranger danger and so but children by

their nature are sanguine you know if

you know about the humoral theory their

children are happy by nature it's the

world that will make you sad the world

that we've created not that allow

created but in terms of Tunisia Tunisia

has one of the greatest legacies of

scholarship in Islamic history I'm in

the same to know we named between after

this a tune of of Tunisia I mean it's

taken from the piranha that's where they

named they got from Ottoman Shahada to

maracas it's from a blessed tree neither

of the East or the west in other words

of both according to one tough seal so

and I had some of my teachers were

Tunisian she said that a knife was a

great man great malachy scholar a really

true truly great one of the last

great scholars of Tunisia she demanded

how a MIDI beautiful scholar that I knew

I actually met also the Imam of the

Halloween Shihab Rahman clave another

amazing man

so yeah

Tunisia may Allah restore Zaytuna and

bring it back to greatness in the lie

ahead out of the bottom ot huh Allah can

bring a dead earth back to life so you

know solid fill Israel and v not as

important as tip itself to inculcate the

octave personality we need for the next

generation of intelligent

odama is it time to change the model of

how we teach and actually train the next

generation of scholars to meet the

challenges of the likes of the

transhumanists shouldn't we teach a fool

you know food is very important and you

should always learn food what before

also so it's it would seem in some ways

it's putting the cart before the horse

because the O's tool is really the horse

but it's it's not in that food what is

is what we practice it's very important

to trust the scholars we don't need any

new med hubs what we need is is she had

from within the Med hubs there's there's

nothing new that is needed we don't need

this renewal of all swollen v to rewrite

all sorted fit we couldn't do it first

of all I mean these people had

intellects that God bestowed upon them

in that early period that are beyond

comprehension in some ways and they came

all at the same time so we don't need ro

food is very rich our traditions

extremely rich and everything's in there

but it has to be it has to be accessed

and that access means training and that

training takes a long time unfortunately

it's hard work and it does take a long

time in and learning Arabic mastering

Arabic is is one of the major keys and

that in it of itself takes a long time

dr. Nelson yesterday chided me for not

learning Persian and and God knows I

have actually tried to learn Persian on

several occasions trade image entities

here and he can tell me he can tell you

that that's true I actually had a great

Persian scholar who offered to give me

lessons and everything but I told dr.

and all sort of that my problem is I got

dove into the sea of Arabic because you

have the Arabian Sea and the Persian see

there's kind of a debate about what it's

called is that I don't in to the Arabian

Sea and I've been drowning ever since so

it's just I haven't been able to get out

because I always think when I'm trying

to learn something gals I could be

learning more Arabic because Arabic

doesn't end it's just it's just does not

end and the subtleties of air that go on

and on

but it's Arabic takes a long time to

learn sort of is very difficult now is

actually reasonably easy it's it's a

it's pretty logical and it's it's

actually the irregularities of naku are

not that many it's it's it's very

logical and and you can learn it there's

not that many concepts in now but sort

of is a whole issue pop and sort of this

that's a whole other and then also fit

Aloha learning the meanings of words and

the meanings of words in context I mean

if you just look at all that you're

audible has so many meanings it just has

so many meanings in Arabic and and they

mean very different ways on you know

face has many meanings it's used for

many different meanings

it can mean aspect it can mean you know

equality lots of things and then they

have a lot of idioms that take a long

time to learn like mad watch you know

the water of the face which is you know

it doesn't make any sense on the face of

it no pun intended

but you know mad you know of Habana I

would watch hehehe you know the Arabs

say he he dissipated the water of his

face which is something that happens to

people when they live bad lives they

lose a type of clarity in their faces

the the reflection that water enables to

happen something bad happens to their

faces and so that's an idiom of Arabic

that they use you know that America

shadow and up here you know and you'll

see these come up in in books so that

takes a long time but I would say you

know the Arabs the Arabs the more

Italians they say aha moment for a homo

ha Eden tomorrow one too so often were

added to be a shorter one the most

important in in knowledge is that peda

that's the most important and I Peter

has a lot of metaphysical foundations

like if you study in the Quran you will

find a lot of metaphysics

and when you get into sophisticated

theology there's a great deal of

metaphysics and all of our great

theologians were masters of metaphysics

all of them tough touzani though see I

mean truly great metaphysicians and when

you get into their books we have many

people at the level of Aquinas in in the

West we have several with the kidney

moon that are at the level of Aquinas

and my father who knows Aquinas very

well when when when I did a film on

Ghazali and he watched the film he got

intrigued and he wanted to read some

books he said is he translate I said yes

he said could you get me some of his

book so I got him several of Gasol's

books and he read through them and then

he said to me the West never produced a

Ghazali and and I know his knowledge of

the Western canon is very very strong so

that statement to me holds a lot of

weight but that's what he said he said

that the West never produced a ghazali

and and it's sad that now people

disparage imam al-ghazali's name it's

just tragic

it's the ignorance of the time and the

prophets said the end of time won't come

until the later part of this community

curses the first part of it so that's

one of the signs at the end of time is

that people will curse the earlier

people so so you have to learn a Kyi's

and then you have to learn for 1/5

before o Sole also it is not it's a 45

but for what is for dying and then you

have to learn tasawwuf means Allah I

mean there's two types of two souls

there's a metaphysical to solve which is

very complicated and and it's it's like

it's like quantum mechanics you're

entering into a realm that just it to be

able to read those books and understand

them takes a long long time but the the

tussle that we need is that the soul of

a holic and our ethics is generally in

the books of the self

I mean that's where the ethical

tradition ended up in us

so you learn to have even apps how to

rectify the fault of the self I think

she thought her mother always been

talking about these things from the icon

and and and these think this is really

that a lot of of Islam is in the books

of tussle wolf and and and nobody

disagreed about that even Tamiya even a

bit of a hob all the people that they

use to bash to solve all of them except

that that aspect of to solve what they

were against was metaphysical Sufism so

Inman Tamiya was against metaphysical

Sufism even Umberto Wahab was against

met if that's true but they were not

against ethical to solve that that's

absolute fact so that's the soul of

Allah and the soul of an earth walk

those are the two types of tussle

you know the experiential tasawwuf which

is about States and stations of the

heart and the other one is about

refining your character so nobody

disagrees about that and even a layman

josiya wrote a famous book on to sew

wolf which is his commentary of Abdullah

on Saudi khawaja abdullah onslaught his

famous book amenaza de set 18 right

madad is just a tea keen so the this is

well known even akadama did a motifs are

of imam al-ghazali's yeah yeah is mostly

he says you have no Kashyap and Mohammed

ah those are the two types of azov mocha

Java Inman mocha Java and aluminum arm

but he said I'm not this book is not

about element of mocha Java

it's about Edmond Muhammad ah so what he

was saying is the idea is not about

spiritual states it's about a clock and

refining the soul the he's got the the

key tab and I bet that right sheet a bit

more I'm a dad and then he's got the

monocot and the moons yet it's four

sections forty books right and at the

heart of it is what book twenty the lap

of the prophets a lot isn't that's the

heart of the area so the architecture is

very impressive

he begins it with the book of knowledge

not the book about Peter the book of

knowledge defining what knowledge is and

defining who the knowledgeable who the

true anima are differentiating them from

recall the motorists amoun the formalist

and then showing you what false ottoman

do one of the things that false Illuma

do is they they attack other Annamma and

belittle them in order to gain followers

that's a sign of false aroma because

true allama work at the level of ideas

and they don't attack people like that

they look at ideas and and they write

and and do that but they don't get up

and slander Muslims and things like that

so so that and then he says add a toombi

hot shoe or a tool that you need to

start with and that's the Arabic

language so that's this tool that you

need to start and that doesn't mean that

you cannot you can learn Islam and

become a very educated Muslim in English

you can learn Islam then come a very

educated Muslim in order do you can

learn Islam become a very educated

Muslim in Turkish or any of these

languages that's absolutely true and

there are many many very learned Muslims

that don't know Arabic but to to to

enter into really the the realm of

defending Islam and moving into that

realm it's to have access to those

primary texts important but the Hanafy

position is you don't need Arabic to

understand Islam and and as an ad you

mean you know Alba Hani who was a Janee

I think to me that's that's the truth

that but the vehicle of Arabic is

extremely important that's the position

of the other three Imams because the

meanings that are embedded in Arabic the

semantic fields that are created by

Arabic the deep dimensions of the

language are extremely important and

there's a reason why Allah chose Arabic

to be the language that he spoke to his

creation through and so that's very

important so but a solid fifth is really

important in order to understand this

religion and I think it's good to have

what we did was just a very basic

introduction to all soon and flip which

is useful to have some idea

of how sophisticated our scholarship is

in that I think there was one other and

with that you know I also want to say to

everybody somebody asked me what course

do I teach I teach ethics that's a tuna

I've taught logic

I've taught astronomy I've taught the

Freshman Seminar and I've taught

prophetic biography but right now I'm

teaching ethics so we have to break but

I want to say I was I'm really very

happy with a dev of this group and it's

really been impressive and I you know we

have to get to a point where we can just

benefit from our people and not you know

and so I was I was just really pleased

with how everybody because I know people

there's people that could you know with

dr. Nelson could have brought up things

that you know just for me would there

there's no point in bringing them up and

and I was really happy that nobody did

that you know because he's somebody that

I feel has just been such an

intellectual powerhouse for our

community and he comes from a different

tradition than I do but he's he's not

and he's not on Rothfeld Lee by any

stretch of the word you know he's not

somebody that speaks ill of Sahaba or

anything like that so it's you know it's

important that that we respect and I not

and in our early period imam niye tabu

Hadi has people from the Shia community

in his Senate there are Shia in soluble

Hadi and this was the early period it

was much more fluid than a lot of what's

happened now with the divisive miss the

Muslim world right now between the

Sunnis and the Shia's and undeniably

there have been atrocities on both sides

so in Iraq there have been Shia death

squads that have gone we've gone out and

and and killed but we're not those this

is not what we're about we're about

intelligence and honoring people and

honoring differences and respecting

different positions so he's somebody

that respects the own amount

irrespective of where they came from or

who they are and that's something that

we really need to inculcate in our youth

just a respect for intelligence and for

intellect and and for achievement in any

field or endeavor and for goodness

people that have a floppin character so

I just want to thank everybody for being

so respectful and and just really

wonderful group of people young people

that it's you know you give me

personally give me hope to see so many

good faces and in our youth and I'll a

bless all of you it's nothing enough