Interview with Sh Hamza After Hajj

Transcript Details

Event Name: Interview with Sh Hamza After Hajj
Description: Possibly, the original interview was conducted by Qalam International (which is gone now) by a sister named "Fauzia Malik". Sunnipath is hosting the interview now, so I think it is legitimate.
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 3/29/2019 8:41:02 PM
Transcript Version: 1
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Transcript Text

we’ve become subject completely to the dominant world order, which is a capitalistic, Western world order and so international law is now Western law, this is history, just read what happened in the 19th century with the abdication of Islamic Law and the usurpation of its place by Western legal systems - with some amalgamations like the Anglo-Mohammadan law, where personal matters (e.g., inheritance & marriage) were left to the scope of the Islamic Tradition, but those matters that related to business and commerce and penal codes became under the jurisdiction of Western secular law.

In the "Muwatta of Imam Malik (ra)," he places a lot of emphasis on the "Aml of Medina." What is the difference between this and Hadith?

Within Imam Malik’s (ra) framework, he sees that Medina has a unique status that other cities do not have during the time of the Tabi`een, because what he says is the Tabi`een were people who lived with the Sahabah, there’s over 10,000 Sahabah buried in Baqia who died in Medina. He’s saying that this city was a city that had a special place in Islam that no other city had - even Mecca - because Medina is the city in which the Islamic legal system and the Islamic social order was fully implemented. For that reason, he in a sense is an inheritor of a social expression of the totality of the Islamic teaching and so his recording that in the "Muwatta" is in a sense a recording of what he would consider a city in Submission, and for that reason he would say that if I find an isolated Hadith, not Muttawatir (a Hadith that has several transmissions), with one or two chains from the Sahabah and I find 1000 of the people of knowledge from the Tabi`een in Medina doing something, Imam Malik is saying that their actions override the solitary transmission of that Hadith - i.e., the fact that they’re not following that Hadith and that they were people who lived in the presence of the Sahabah, and that practice would’ve been done in the presence of the Sahabah, among whom were men like Ibn ‘Umar and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab and women like ‘Aisha, that these people knew better what was the final Islamic decision on the matter. Imam Malik for that reason would consider the action of the people of Medina - when he says that, he really doesn’t mean everybody, he means the people of knowledge in the city, and the city was filled with people of knowledge. Imam Malik felt that the action was a Hadith, only it had achieved the status of Muttawatir because of its agreement in the city of Medina - even if he did not have an actual verbal transmission of that matter - e.g., there’s a sound Hadith that the Prophet (saw) told people not to fast on Friday, but in the "Muwatta," Imam Malik knew that Hadith and said, "I found the people of knowledge in this city fasting." - they considered it to be a virtuous day to fast. His point was that they were doing that action in the presence of the Sahabah, and none of the Sahabah said you can’t fast on Friday. Therefore, Imam Malik is saying that the fact that they transmitted this as a virtuous day to fast, and it was not rejected because of that Hadith, he considered isolated transmissions of the Hadith to be weaker than the transmission of Aml, of action.

It’s a difference of opinion, but it is an accepted principle in Usul. Imam Shafi’i and Imam Abu Hanifah don’t agree with it, nor does Ahmad, but they do agree the Aml of Medina is higher with regards to certain things e.g.. Measurements.

Have you written/published any works?

I’m in the process of doing so - I’m working on a few things. I’ve published a few articles and things.

There are Muslims who say that we should not attach the word "Sayyidina" to the Prophet (saw). Is there such a thing as loving our Prophet (saw) too much?

The Prophet (saw) said in a sound Hadith "I’m the Sayyid of the children of Adam," so he is our Sayyid whether people like it or not. Allah (swt) praises Yahya (as) in the Qur’an by calling him "Sayyidan wa Hasoora," that he was a Sayyid in the Qur’an AND OUR PROPHET (SAW) IS CERTAINLY GREATER THAN YAHYA (AS). "SAYYID" MEANS MASTER IN THE ARABIC LANGUAGE, AND HE IS OUR MASTER.

You should not say Sayyidina in the Fard prayer when you do the Tahiyya - there is an opinion that you should, but it is a weak opinion. But when we speak of the Prophet (saw), we should call him the Messenger of Allah, the Prophet of Allah or we should call him Sayyidina. WE SHOULD NOT SAY MUHAMMAD (SAW)WITHOUT PUTTING SOME HONORIFIC TITLE BEFORE HIS NAME. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT QADI ‘IYAD POINTS OUT IN THE SHIFAH IS THAT ALLAH (SWT) ALWAYS IN THE QUR'AN CALLS HIS PROPHETS BY HONORIFIC TITLES, E.G. "YA AYOHAL MUZAMILL," "YA SIN" AND SO ON. IT'S PART OF THE ADAB OF THE MUSLIMS.

WITH REGARDS TO LOVING THE PROPHET (SAW) TOO MUCH, IT REALLY HAS NO MEANING {NOTE: Sheik Hamza Yusuf here is stating that no one can love the Prophet overmuch ... i.e., it can never be shirk, no matter how much you love him ...}. HE IS THE MEANS THROUGH WHICH WE HAVE COME TO KNOW ALLAH. THE HADITH SAYS, "WHOEVER HAS NOT THANKED PEOPLE HAS NOT THANKED ALLAH," this is why massive respect is owed to the parents, because they were the means through which you were given life. Even though it’s Allah (swt) who gave you life, Allah has commanded that you honor your parents in a way that no one else has been given that high status in the Qur’an - after Allah and His Messenger (saw), high status is given to parents in terms of obedience, so after obeying Allah and His Messenger (which is obeying Allah), the next highest thing is the parents.

The Prophet (saw) said, "None of you truly believe until I am more beloved to you than your own self." And so, if you love the Messenger of Allah (saw) less than you love yourself, then you don’t have true iman. And if you love the Messenger of Allah (saw) less than you love your parents or your children, then you don’t have true iman.

Many people would like to know about the Zaytuna Institute and why you decided to found it/what are your goals in relation to it?

Zaytuna is just a vehicle for doing the work I’m doing. To me, institutions don’t really mean anything. Ultimately, institutions are nothing other than the people that run them. I think the important thing for us to remember is that ultimately we are all mortal, and that our time is limited, and so the best actions are those actions that continue on. My hope is that this work will continue on after my lifetime. The work is nothing other than trying to teach the message of Islam. To establish institutions that guarantee or give whatever worldly guarantee that we can have that that will continue on, is part of our tradition. The creation of endowments is to make sure that the traditions of Islam would be maintained from generation to generation. It’s my small contribution to the overall picture. What the Muslim world needs is for Muslims to take it upon themselves, at the personal level, maintenance of the tradition, and it has to happen. It’s not the task of any one individual, but the task of an Ummah. But an Ummah is nothing other than the individuals that comprise it. Muslims have to recognize that our tradition is disappearing, and that there has to be efforts to re-ignite learning at a senior level.

What about the Rihla Course?

The Rihla again is an attempt also at doing the above. What it will hopefully move to is a full-time type of Madrassa, but right now it’s a summer program of one month.

The problem is that the Muslims have fallen into the Western approach - which is the conference approach. We have conferences, but the conferences last a few days, they are comprised of talks that are in a sense not so much informative as inspirational, and there’s not a real transmission of knowledge, rather a type of narrative storytelling which is not conducive to the transmission of Islamic knowledge. Islamic knowledge means sitting at the feet of people, who sat at the feet of people, back to the Messenger of Allah (saw).

Even within the Western corporate model that created the conference phenomenon, it’s still buried in institutions. Conference papers are actually the result, in the Western model, of research which will end up being an abridged synopsis of someone’s work, and if anyone attending the conference is interested in it, then they can actually have access to the work of that person. What happens in our conferences though is that there isn’t any work really being done other than this type of inspirational model. I don’t think we should eliminate conferences altogether, but I think people have to recognize the limitations of the format.

What books are you currently reading?

"The Saffwat -at- Tafsir" of Muhammad Ali Sabooni, and also "The Venture of Islam" by Marshall Hodgkin.

Interview by Fauzia Malik

?Copyright 1998 Qalam International.