ISNA 2013: A Moral Vision For The Future

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Event Name: ISNA 2013: A Moral Vision For The Future
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/30/2019
Transcript Version: 1

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our next speaker is among a cohort of speakers who in the 1990s who literally, literally made plain the message of Islam for an entire generation of young Muslims not only in

America but around the world a father of five sons an author a scholar a visionary who founded Zaytuna Institute and then went on most recently to found America's first liberal arts college co-founded along with Imams Zaid Shaikr  and dr. Hatem Bazeyan, brothers and sisters give a warm warm ISNA welcome and a welcome back to our teacher and mentor Shaykh Hamza Yusuf


First of all I want to say that when I was a young man I met ISNA and I was actually a little older than ISNA is now I was in my early 30s no ISNA was around 30 and I I i basically ended up in an

arranged marriage, it's been 20 years and marriages are

interesting aren't they because it's

null seed but the person that arranged

that marriage was one of the founders of

busines dr. Markovic on Elohim level

and dr. my boob I was a Imam Habib in

California and a little bit of a

firebrand and what you would call a

loose cannon

so dr. Mahmoud converts there's a

convert syndrome because converts enter

into a very dangerous period after they

convert they get very enthusiastic and

so dr. Maha Khan he said to me I want

you to speak at its now and he said even

though I don't agree with everything you

say I think you're good for the American

Muslim community that was his view

because dr. Michael Kahn was a visionary

he was somebody that didn't allow

ideological differences or those types

of differences of methodology if they

weren't substantial because in the end

of the day if we share the Creed of

Islam and we believe in the rightly

guided scholars and Imams of Islam those

differences of methodology are all open

to debate and so in honor of him I

wanted to mention him and I remember dr.

say you say it also trying to calm me

down a few times so in the spirit of

being a loose cannon and also I really

want to say this in all honesty I hope

this is my last Saturday night address

because I've been doing this for twenty

years and I'm very honored that isne has

brought me back and

and I felt so much love from the

community but I really feel that other

people should be up here we have some

really really good young scholars that

are up and coming and I want to see them

begin to take over these positions I'm

working on establishing a college in

California so having said that I want to

say that I've always felt an immense

amount of love from people here from the

Muslim community they're all always the

haters it's just the way it is there's

the envy or the haters and then the

petty people those people always exist

in every time in every place and you and

you if you're going to be in a in a

public position you cannot take them

seriously you just have to do what you

believe and that the cards fall where

they fall and have a thick skin about

those things but what I want to talk

about I was asked to talk about a moral

vision for this country and and I want

to preface that by saying a moral vision

for the future to me is a moral vision

from the past I truly believe that the

moral issues of every time and place are

basically the same issues our prophets

Eliza Naumann as far as I can tell he is

the first human being in human history

to articulate the principle of human

equality that all people are created

equal long before the Declaration of

Independence said all men are created

equal our prophet sallallaahu idea what

Addie was send'em said there's no

difference between a black man or a

white man or a white man or a black man

the only difference is in their God

consciousness and I know of no previous

historical statement I have never seen

that in the Bible I've never seen that

in any philosopher before the prophet

Aristotle talked about natural slaves

with all his genius and brilliance but

our prophet Elijah

articulated this to remove racism as far

as I can tell the Prophet Muhammad SAW

I am is the first human being to

articulate the Equality of men and women

I've never found anybody in the history

of humanity before him to ever

articulate that men and women are

essentially the same before their Lord

they are both spiritual beings with the

same rights there's some variance in

their responsibilities based on fitrah

on the primordial nature but they're

equal the prophets Allah lighting Saddam

was also as far as I can tell the first

person to legislate from these religions

clearly economic justice in all of the

strata of society not for one group or

for one set of believers but for all of

the people the Prophet SAW Allah a were

adding the senem in his final speech and

I mentioned it here before you will see

all of those major issues that are

affecting human beings my deep concern

about this country is that America and

we as a people and I speak as we we are

all I'm an American I can speak as an

American and when I'm speaking as an

American my Islam here is incidental in

the same way that many many people in

this country have spoken up about things

they find troubling in their country

from the Jewish community from the

Christian community from the Atheist

secular community there are things in

this country that I find deeply

disturbing Arnold Toynbee said that

societies don't commit they don't

they're never murdered civilizations are

not murdered the great English historian

he said civilizations commit suicide and

as far as I can tell and I actually did

a rotation in a psychiatric unit and had

some suicidal patients as far as I can

tell I see very serious suicidal

tendencies in this society there are

things that are deeply troubling about

this society the mechanization of

warfare the idea that you can send

robots to eliminate people on other

parts of the planet you can have

civilians or people living normal lives

in suburbia in New York and they go to

work and their work is to drop bombs on

people on the other side of the planet

and when they talk about their

successful strikes they say three

suspected terrorists were killed in a

drone strike today three suspected

terrorists and we know for a fact that

innocent people have died in these

strikes many children by their own

estimates over 200 children in northern

Pakistan have died from these drone

strikes terrorizing people living in

these places this troubles me about this

country it troubles me because I live

here I pay my taxes but it troubles me

and it troubles me deeply and I really

feel that we we as as Muslims need to be

courageous it's it's difficult to be

courageous we're living in a society

that doesn't encourage people to speak

up even whistleblowers if you look at

some of the problems that these

whistleblowers who have spoken about

wrongdoings in corporations or in the

government what happens to them and how

they're actually they suffer from

speaking based on their moral

consciousness if we look at recently

what happened in this situation with all

of these leaks and how this person was

treated and all of these people that

have had the moral courage those people

that release the pictures from Abu

Ghraib do you remember how before a Iraq

now is suffering more than it's ever

suffered it's worse than then during

even the war period it's a country in

complete dissolution palace

these are real problems human problems

that our country should not participate

in creating more problems but with the

gifts that we've been given as a country

the power that we've been given at this

country we should be part of the

solution and not part of the problem

really and we as a community have to be

a moral conscience we have to speak the

truth as a community we also have to

look at the type of culture that we are

spreading around the globe we are the

number one producer of pornography in

the work this is deeply troubling to me

as somebody who's trying to raise young

boys adolescents are always mystified by

sexuality they're mystified by it but

what we're dealing with now on the

Internet is so deeply troubling we

recently had a courageous owner of

hotels in Sweden who began to work on

the problem of human trafficking and

when he realized the connection between

pornography and human trafficking he

removed pornography from his hotels this

is something that should be honored it

should be news the country of Iceland

that prohibits pornography the sale of

pornography and Iceland not because

they're religious people it's one of the

most secular countries in the world but

because there are middle class people

and they know that pornography is

harmful for the common weal but what's

worse is that pornography is no longer

x-rated we have in the video music

awards a young girl who had millions and

millions of followers as Hannah Montana

millions of young American girls that

saw her as something to be emulated to

be looked up at and in a display of

utter degradation human degradation to a

male or a female

and I don't blame Miley Cyrus I see her

as a victim of a demonic dehumanizing

entertainment culture in fact I would

call it an a culture not a culture

because of the occultic undertones in it

it's a dark culture and this is what our

mainstream entertainment is producing so

all of those children that saw her in

the Mickey Mouse Club as a young and

innocent girl are now twerking a word

that shouldn't even be in our vocabulary

this troubles me about this country and

I think Muslims as one of the last

bastions of really serious commitment to

modesty to honoring our women may Allah

reward all of you all of these women

incredible courage in the midst of a

naked society a society that removes

clothes that these women go out every

day in their jobs working amidst people

who see it as some kind of backward

retrograde approach to women and yet we

have social science that has shown that

when men see a naked woman or a woman in

a bathing suit the same area of the

brain that lights up when they see a

tool lights up it's not the frontal lobe

it's a complete objectification that

occurs this is what happens to our women

when they become objects of lust as

opposed to human beings with minds with

spirits with something to say not to be

used and abused and then thrown away and

look how many women we have out here

that are raising their children in

single homes because they had children

out of wedlock there was no commitment

by the male to a family and they suffer

and they struggle

some of them are on welfare and they're

fortunate to live in a country where

they can get some help this is a crisis

in our country we also have a culture

that will not talk about sexually

transmitted diseases in any honest way

every single thing that is harmful for

you in America they'll warn you about if

don't they'll warn you about doughnuts

they'll have commercials about fatty


everybody knows potato chips are not

good for them everybody knows that

french fries aren't good for them they

know the cheesecakes not good for them

but nobody will dare speak out against

the deviant sexual practices that occur

in this country and are not only not

talked about are promoted by mainstream

entertainment and society promoted

deviant sexual practices that are

harmful to the human being

pathogenic sexual practices that cause

serious diseases this isn't like a fatty

food that takes time many years before

it accumulates and causes a heart attack

this is a one time possible death

sentence and yet people won't speak

honestly about it the World Health

Organization tells us that rectal

intercourse is the most risky form of

sexual behavior that's what the World

Health Organization has to say and yet

people will not say this is not a

healthy choice I don't want my child to

be practicing this male or female this

has nothing to do with sexual preference

this has to do with a sexual practice

that is done amongst heterosexual people

and amongst homosexual people yet it's

harmful and nobody wants to speak about

it we need our physicians to speak up

about the types of cancers that occur

about what happens when you get genital

warts I worked for a gastroenterologist

and saw firsthand what happens to people

nobody wants to talk about this and yet

we have a society now where they

just get a vaccination for HPV as if

this is some normal event that's going

to happen in your life you're just gonna

get HPV no there are many strains of HPV

but sexually transmitted HPV is a very

specific type that is transmitted

through sexual practices when people are

having multiple partners or practicing

types of sexual behavior that are

unacceptable this is the reality of our

culture we need to we need to have

honesty amongst our physicians people

need to speak out they can't be afraid

of a culture that is promoting

pathogenic forms of behavior recently at

the Pride gay pride parade in New York

they requested that they all get

meningitis shots because there's a new

strain of meningitis in the homosexual

community that is extremely deadly and

it has only shown up in that community

it is not fair to people with same sex

urge 'as not to tell them about the

dangers of this lifestyle it's not fair

for young people all people can make

their decisions but a 15 year old kid in

high school he deserves to know the

nature of these practices we also have

to recognize that we have a society the

economic injustice --is in this society

are immense if people want to understand

what happened in the Muslim world

recently you have to understand the

collapse of the economic system in this

country when all of the real estate

collapse where did the money go

it went into commodities what happened

in the Muslim countries all of the food

stocks went up people suddenly people

who they were paying 25 percent of their

salary to food were now paying 45 to 50

percent and they didn't have money to

pay their rent they didn't have money

for other things it created an immense

amount of strain on these societies and

so people were becoming so frustrated if

we remember how it all started it

started over

economic crisis in Tunis do people

remember that it started over a man who

was trying to earn a livelihood by

selling things this is a crises we have

an economic crises nobody talks about

the Greek meltdown we have all these

people attacking Turkey but the reality

of Turkey the reality of Turkey is

Turkey has only recently paid off

completely their IMF debt Turkey is one

of the only debt-free countries on this

planet and why isn't that in the news

why is Aragon being demonized as a

tyrant when he has shown incredible

fiscal responsibility for his country

with the immense growth and now we're

going to see constraints put on Turkey

you will see from outside and Turkey is

going to get hit economically you'll see

this in the future why because there are

entities on this planet that do not want

to see a successful Muslim model and

Turkey is an extraordinary country with

a great people they have proven that

Muslims and seculars can live

side-by-side they have proven this we

had today

you see people say oh the Palestinians

the Jews they could never live together

they live together for over a thousand

years it's a lie I was walking with my

friends today and I saw rabbi buy soup

from who came from New York he had his

little Palestinian scarf

he had the enormous hat which I don't

know what they call them but when I saw

him I felt happy and I looked at them

and I said oh look here's this this

palace is a Jewish man from New York who

is against the oppression the Israeli

aggression against the Palestinian

people and he gave me a hug and I hugged

him and then we parted and then he came

back just to say please mention that

there are Jews against what's happening

in Palestine tell them that tell the

muscles that he has come here can

distantly to be in solidarity with

Muslims from the Jewish tradition men

who men won't be known Allah says

amongst a lot they're good people

amongst them and we know that and we

shouldn't demonize the Jews just like we

don't like to be demonized there are

good people amongst we have natural

allies amongst many of the Christians

unfortunately we need to disabuse them

of their attitudes about Islam because

they have been brainwashed over a long

period of time and then we have too many

people in the Muslim world creating so

much commotion there's a lot of

instability but Muslims have been driven

mad by social conditions people talk

about human nature I just want to say

this if you take animals and you put

them in in cages in inhumane conditions

they don't behave like they would in

their natural habitat they begin to tear

each other apart they begin to fight

each other this is what happens this is

my swan song so I might not pay

attention to those little things she's

holding up they might not they might

they don't behave like they would in a

natural environment they start to kill

each other

humanely I lived with human beings I

lived with Bedouins I spent seven years

with Bedouins living in different places

with them I lived with them and I saw

how they interact how they love each


I saw how a human being behaves when

he's allowed to be human when you look

in the ghettos and say look at these

animals they're not animals they're

human beings that have been put in

inhumane environments and if you change

their environments you will change their

behavior really you will change their

behavior they're human beings and and

really it would break if dr. King if

Malcolm X could come back and see what's

happened in many of these communities

the degradation the social

disintegration if they could see it they

would weep tears of blood I believe that

I really believe that they would we

years of blood to see and look at the

successful Muslims the successful

african-americans in Hollywood that are

degrading themselves women that were

stripped their ancestors were stripped

of their clothes and now they're paid to

strip their clothes no they should be

honor themselves they've been given the

privilege of honoring themselves in a

society that will allow that now these

are these are the things that trouble me

about this culture and Muslims should be

a spark of hope we should be a beacon of

light not just for people overseas but

for people in this country when they see

the dignity of our dress when they see

the dignity of our behavior when they

see the excellence of our schools when

they see the professionalism of our

doctors of our healers of our lawyers

when they see people that are ethical at

the root and the core and they won't

inform they won't absolve themselves of

those ethical responsibilities then

we'll be a beacon of light and people

will say I want to be like those people

like that man we had a man in a in a

7-eleven store and a man came in with a

pipe I'm trying to steal money from him

and he said to him he took out a gun he

had a gun he pulled out the gun and the

man stopped he dropped the gun and he

said I'm so sorry I'm just desperate I

don't have any food that Muslim man gave

him 20 $40 and made him promise that he

wouldn't steal again and then the man

said this is this is this is something

that you can see because it was filmed

this meal of that man who was robbing

that man said I want to be a Muslim and

he said that she had a right there and

then that's like something you read in

the books because he treated him like a

human being too many people are

denigrated in this culture

you have now a culture that's emerging

where people live in these bubbles and

then other people live in another world

where SWAT teams invade their homes on a

daily basis where their children are

taking away from them because of these

protective services and they don't have

the lawyers that can prevent that from


really there are two Americas that have

emerged the VIP America and the poor

America the middle class has eroded

immensely now you can if you have money

you can drive in the fast lane it didn't

used to be like that in America now if

you go to Disneyland or any of these

amusement parks you have fast tracks

because if you have money you don't have

to wait in line with the peons this is

different from the ideal that was

America so we have a lot of work to do

and finally in conclusion I want to say

to all of you I've heard a lot of

Muslims lately say I'm so depressed I

was in recently in Arabia and I have a

Muslim friend he was a very active

Muslim and I said what are you doing

these days he said no I'm I just I've

given up that's what he said to me he

said I've given up I've had enough you

know if there's no hope I grabbed him

and I shook him literally physically and

people who know me know that I'm very

capable of doing that I shook him and I

said to him what do you mean there's no

hope if you want a bit hopelessness is a

bit we're a religion of hope we live on

hope every time you're depressed or you

say there's no hope what you're saying

to every African that was brought over

in Chains and and survived the

transatlantic crossing and came here and

lived in slavery and marched to get

their civil rights you're saying to them

that was all a waste of time if you're

depressed you're dishonouring all those


who were chased out of what was called

paradise at the time they were chased

out of Andalusia but they made new lives

for themselves in Tunisia in Morocco and

today you have an to the sea and

families that hail from Andalusia just

like you have Palestinians here that

were chased out of their homes your

dishonouring all of those Indians that

migrated to Pakistan with the hope of a

better life

your dishonouring the Afghan ease that

have lived in over 30 years of war and

they're still trying to hold their heads

high we can't do that

there's no room for hope I'm in it till

the last breath I'm in it till the last

breath because in that last breath and I

pray to God that allah subhanho wa taala

gives me on my last breath a shadow and

la ilahe illallah WA ash hadu one

mohammed rasoolallah because I believe

in the promise of God I believe that his

prophet was true I believe that hell is

true and that the fire is true and that

the day of judgment is true and I

testify to the truth of the syrop that

we will be weighed in the balance and

there will be those who are found

wanting and there will be those who are

given grace and there will be the out

strippers these are all true things that

every prophet is taught and I believe in

them and I will hold to them till I die

and the struggle continues this world

was never meant to be paradise God has

created a world that is meant to drive

you to God and if you've been being

driven to the devil

you've been doomed my friends because

all of the hardships that you suffer in

your life if you believe in God you will

find those rewards on the day of

judgement I was in Abu Dhabi and a taxi

driver said to me and I'm done I was in

Abu Dhabi a taxi driver said to me I

said where are you from he said Dada and

I said to him I hope that your family's

safe he said the house caved in on them

my father was killed he said to me I've

worked 12 years every month I sent

everything I could back to my father to

build that house and it was destroyed I

feel like my whole life is a waste I

said to me a fee Vanara BIA testing

behind the law what law he Kentucky

bitterlin deewana dig you were in filial

piety to your parents believed in the

promise of allah subhanho wa taala

what you're doing is not to build in

this world when Ben le habia dunya

Sahaba Medina if you build for this

world what you build will go to not we

build for the next world not for this

world and if what we built if if my

college in California is destroyed by an

earthquake so be it so be it but we are

builders for the akhira and this is the

place we do it

Jews ah Kamala hey Thomas anomaly