ISNA 2009 Session 8a - Roundtable with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

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Event Name: ISNA 2009 Session 8a - Roundtable with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/21/2019
Transcript Version: 1

Transcript Text

It's very interesting that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence with Benjamin Franklin originally.  They took this life liberty and the pursuit of happiness from John Locke was a formula that lock had at Britain and lock in the original formula said life

liberty and the pursuit of property and

Jefferson was was a philosopher and he'd

changed that to the pursuit of happiness

what's interesting also is in the

original in in Virginia in their

document it said life liberty and the

pursuit and the obtaining of happiness

so he took out obtaining and the reason

for that is Jefferson was a student of

the classics and Aristotle argued in his

famous book the ethics that happiness

could not be determined at any one point

in a person's life that happiness could

actually only be discernible at the end

of a person's life after they lived

their full life whether or not they

lived a happy life or a wretched life

and and what's interesting from an

Islamic perspective is the the word

happiness in Old English comes from a

root word happy which is lock or fate

and that's why a hapless person is

somebody without any luck the idea of

happiness is that your fate is something

that you're actually pleased with its 30

La Belle cuddle it's being pleased with

what Allah or God has decreed for you

that is true happiness and and people

are wretched in the world because they

reject their circumstances it doesn't

mean they can't change their search

stances but they're sad about the past

you can't change the past so to lose

your happiness over what's happened in

the past is actually not using the

intellect correctly so the pursuit of

happiness is according to Muslim

ethicists as well is the pursuit of a

moral and virtuous life that is

something that is pleasing and the word

pleasure which people associate with

happiness comes from the same root of

please and plus or the original meeting

was to please another so real pleasure

is in the service of others and that's

why the happiest of all people in our

belief is the prophet muhammad

sallallahu said him and no one served

people more than the Prophet his life

from the beginning to the end was a life

of service even before Islam he was

serving and that's why it's a diva when

when when he said to her what had

happened on the mount of light Khadijah

said God will never forsake you you feed

the hungry you take care of the orphan

you'd help the widow you take care of

those in distress the proof that she had

was his serving other people so that is

the real secret of happiness and in

philosophy it's called the hedonistic

principle that real pleasure the real

hedonism is the pleasure derived from

serving others and that's why Matt off

is a good example of somebody who

pursued false happiness and now he's the

most wretched of the wretched he

destroyed his life he destroyed the life

of others and he's stuck with himself in

a lonely cell for a hundred and fifty

years the opposite of that are those

people who serve even the poorest of

poor because everybody can serve the

street sweeper can serve the poorest

support conserve and that's why real

happiness we believe Santa is in service

and and finally the prophets of light is

to them at the root of our religion is

the concept of happiness because sada is

what we are

looking for and sad happiness is the

only thing in the world that is an N and

not a means when you ask people what do

you want like I want to be successful

why because I want to make a lot of

money why because I want it's always

something else but if you ask them

finally get to the finals they say

because I want to be happy and then you

ask them why do you want to be happy

there's there's no reason to be happy

that's an end in itself and that is

indicative of the fact that what we

really want is eternal happiness that's

what the human soul is striving for it

to be happy eternally

he had a wonderful sense of hearing we

have jokes that he told that her still

mention on min bars today he had a court

jester know a man who he loved and night

man was was he was I mean if you existed

today and the Muslim communities they

chase him out of the mission I'm this is

a man who took own Maktoum the blind man

to somebody he had argued with and he

told him that it was that person and it

was actually earth man praying and

ulmerton why not was started hitting him

and when a man finish his prayer he said

what's going on and he said oh my god I

thought you were so and so and he said

who told you said no I man and her Minds

there snickering I'm in this if we had a

character like that and the Muslim

messages today but the Prophet not only

put up with him he laughed with him he

smiled with him one of his name's Imam

suply records one of his names of the

hack The Laughing prophet and he smiled

and they could see the molars of his

mouth when he I mean he really enjoyed

he never let me lata he never

boisterously laughed he didn't make loud

sounds but he would really heartily

enjoy a good sense of humor and so that

the joy joy is part of life and God you

know that the logician say that the

definition of the human is a logical or

rational animal but his description in

logic according to the Muslims is hi

alanna ubach a visible animal or an

animal that laughs that God put us in

look at this I mean this is such a

beautiful point in the Quran one knew

who Wow of haka were AB cup and he is

the one that made you laugh and made you

cry Athena raji says is in his

commentary about this God is pointing

out to us whoo whoo whoo whoo that he is

the one that made you that and for

dinner Roger says the reason that he

emphasizes that by saying what underhell

to Latakia

reason you emphasize it because people

laugh for different reasons what one

person finds funny another person

doesn't find funny it's often the cause

of wars so the fact that people laugh at

different things is a proof that it's

God that makes them laugh because if it

was some objective thing out in the

world that made all of us laugh at the

same thing we could identify it but we

can't identify people have twisted

senses of humor people laugh at the

misfortunes of other people

schadenfreude the Germans even have a

word for it so do the Arabs by the way

schemata to be to find pleasure in the

misfortunes of others which the Prophet

hated so that idea that God makes us

laugh and makes us cry and if you get

into theology you get into some very

interesting debates about you know

whether God has a sense of humor or not

and in the book is considered al sefa

according to the a30 school that it's

actually an attribute laughing but it's

obviously not anything anthropomorphic

so whereas the traditional

interpretation was it's his would have

blond so our our God loves joy because

he created us as joyful creatures and

the greatest joy that you can have is in

knowledge of God so are we I'm just

gonna open this question up to whoever

would like to answer it if this is the

case why do we have this difficulty of

many stern-faced Muslims why do we have

something that really disturbed me when

I saw we had Dahlia moga head head of

the muslim center for muslim studies at

at gallup up here and they released a

report in early 2009 that surveyed

american muslims and some of the the

dimensions that they measured were

psychological dimensions are emotional

and one of the things that struck me

immediately was the level the high

reported levels of anger among many of

our youth in fact muslim-american use

and I was really struck by that what was

interesting to me was that there was

more anger than sadness and I kind of

thought well maybe maybe we we've

somehow given the signal that anger is

acceptable in a way that sadness isn't

you know sadness maybe shows weakness

and anger shows a kind of strength so

among males in particular might be

acceptable but what's going on I mean

what is going on that we don't have

enough happy reported happiness in our

community well one thing I know people

always say I look at root words and

things like that some reason I was like

this Greek guy on my great big fat greek

wedding or something but the word anger

the root word of that is means pain it

comes from a root word which runs and we

also get anxiety from the same root of

which in Arabic

the poor the Quran reminds us that the

pursuit of the the pleasure of God is

actually what we should be happy about

Soledad cattleya far higher on me manage

my own let them be happy about that and

because it's better than the material

pursuit that the others are engaged in

and the Quran also says that hakimoto

cathode had taught from on ma qabo that

vying for material goods has you

preoccupied until you visit your graves

and and so the real happiness is in this

pursuit of the pleasure of God we

believe that but the beauty of pursuing

the pleasure of God is that he has made

so many venues in the world to pursue

his pleasure there are so many ways and

the secret is in the intention of the

human being why are you doing what

you're doing if it's a productive

positive thing and you have the right

intention you are pursuing happiness for

the sake of God and that's what we have

to inculcate into our young people

particularly that they have to follow

what they are inclined to follow in

productive and positive ways because

that is what God has given them and this

is when when societies are great and

strong is when they allow people to

flourish and and the actual word

eudaimonia in Aristotle's ethics which

means happiness also means flourishing

and flourishing SAT real sahaja real

flourishing is when the soul is allowed

to grow a diplomatic aha they have had

success and who is happier other than

successful people they have had success

those who caused the soul to flourish

and grow zakah and purify it through its

growth bucket hob Amanda seja and they

are failures and I

see sad and unhappy those who stunt the

growth of the soul the word for learning

in our tradition Tavia is the same from

Rob Robin an amine the nurturer of the

world God causes things to grow he

caused these flowers to grow and that is

the intention of the Creator for the

human soul to flourish like the flower

but if we stunt the growth by not

watering it by neglecting it with

spiritual pursuit by neglecting it with

worship then the soul dies and dries up

like these flowers will die and dry up

when they're not given their their water

and their sustenance