Now there are two ways this is done. There is preventative or if the action is committed, then it will renew its state of purity through an act which is termed ‘Taubah’ in the Islamic tradition. Which is similar to the Christian idea of repentance. That one literally turns away from this this blemish, and renews ones ah, spiritual wholeness. And it’s done in most religious traditions through ritualized forms. In Islam its its quite simple, asking, saying “Astigfirullah” <ARABIC> and asking for the covering or the veiling of God over ones wrong action. It also entails, if there was harm done, that the harm be, be dealt with.
Now, … ah From from, the ah…, Plato’s tradition, comes a student of his , who’s name is Aristotle. And Aristotle basically moves away from the metaphysical speculations of Plato, into a more ah, empiricist traditional or pragmatic tradition, his his concern was more with experiential knowledge rather then ah…intuitive knowledge. And this begins a split in western tradition that will have profound implications and is directly related to modern society, and modern education. And this is the split between the rational and the empiricist tradition.
What happens is the advent of Christianity, in Western civilization, brings a new tradition. And that is that western civilization is infused with the Semitic ideas of the the Hebrews. The Jewish tradition. But it also is synthesized with the Hellenistic ideas. So you have on the one hand, the ah, …the the Hellenistic tradition, the pagan tradition. Which is formidable, and it can’t simply be thrust aside. And you have on the other hand a a movement that actually began as a reformist messianic movement of the Jewish people, and it suddenly universalized through a brilliant polemicist, and orator named Paul, or Saul of Tarsis.
And Saul of Tarsis was from uh, an interesting town, Tarsis, which is in Asia Minor and this was the center of a Roman tradition which was known as Mithraism, and it was a basically a Babylonian mistri cult, that had been Romanized, and they believed, they believed in a God that was born on Dec 25th, he was the sole invictis or the unconquerable Sun God, who was also seen to be the Son of God. And actually died for the sins of human beings through self-immolation. In the form of a Bull. And his Blood and his Flesh were, were taken in, imbibed and eaten, as a way of redemption.
And this is all historically documented,
the whole tradition of Mithraism. In
In other words, when they were confronted with the similarities between Christianity and Mithraism, this is how they dealt with it, as ‘This is from the Devil trying to shake our faith’, which is a really interesting psychological mechanism that believers uh, tend to resort to uh, when they are confronted with something quite frightening.
And uhmm…in the Quran, there’s many examples of this resorting to a kind of irrational argument when Ibrahim the great iconoclast, Abraham, ah challenges his people ‘what are these idols, what are these images that you are assiduously worshipping?’ and and and uh, you know, ultimately when he says, ‘they can’t talk, they can’t do anything’, they they, it says literally, they returned to themselves <Quranic Verse> they returned to themselves and they realized he’s got a point. And at that point its very frightening, because belief has suddenly been undermined. And what their response of these people was, is really the final refuge of the rogue in the Quran, which is, ‘this is what we found our fathers doing.‘
Now, human beings are really fascinating in that aspect. It’s been said that rats, uhmm, will if if you have four doors and you put cheese on the fourth door, and then you open these doors, and let the rats go down . They will go down one, they’ll smell the cheese, go down one, if its say the third door, they’ll keep going, they’ll go down it a few times, and they’ll go down maybe, number 2 door. When they finally get to the fourth door, then they eat the cheese, again cheese is put in the fourth door, and this is reinforced several times.
And so finally, when they, this funny scientist takes the cheese out and doesn’t put it down the fourth door, puts it down the second door. The rat will go down the 4th door several times, but at a certain point he will stop. He’ll realize that this is futile and he’ll go down that second or first door and find the cheese. Now, the interesting thing about human beings, unlike the rats, is that they will tend to keep going down the fourth door. And never really go to the other door. And the reason for that is this extraordinary capacity that we uniquely hold and that is to believe.
The rat does not believe that there is cheese at the end of the... He’s just interested in the cheese, because he is a creature that has a very limited uhh…brain, which is not like the human brain, a triune brain, but a singular brain that doesn’t have a little uh..reptilian brain, or core brain.
Now the Christians, interestingly enough, begin to Hellenize their tradition and the Gospels originally articulated according to most of the Scholars, in the Aramaic tradition, are written in a Cornier Greek, which was the vernacular of the people at that time. And transmitted through the Greek language. In fact, the the Gospel is a Greek word, “Yaamadell” which is the good news and which uh, the gospel, which is the good news. Which is termed Ingeel in the Arabic language.
And what happens within the Christian tradition the the there is an interesting focus on Platonic thought , unlike the Aristotelian thought, and particularly neo-Platonic thought and that of a famous philosopher known as Polotinus.
And, you have a brilliant ahh…, articulator in the church known as Augustine. Who is actually from North-Africa. And Augustine, also begins to formulate ideas about education, and his basic idea is that education is to create conversion and constant repentance in the individual. Now, Augustine like many of the priestic fathers of the Christian church, uh, he really disdained the body. And the man was really in a very difficult position. He visited, by his own confession, the prostitutes of his city, as a young man. And he used to say, “Oh God, give me faith, but not yet”.
In other words, he wasn’t ready to give up,
uhm, the the quote unquote,
‘the temporal pleasures of this world’. But when he finally did in his conversion in the garden. Uh,
he renounced completely the body. And he
began to write things about the body. Uhmm…as has been
written by Jerome and other church fathers. Really interesting aesthetics go off into the
In other words, they did this thing, and then they didn’t really fulfill what they were attempting to because of its very unnatural aspects…which is to deny the body itself. Because we are dual natured. We have this high angelic self, but we also have the body that cannot be ignored. And the Islamic tradition is a tradition that literally synthesizes the two, and recognizes that each has its qualities and characteristics and has its aspects that are to be enjoyed. And what the Islamic tradition does, is it simply puts uh … boundaries on each of the two.
In fact the idea of monasticism is something the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, actually rejected. And said that there is no monasticism in my tradition.
He said, My tradition is the way of family and marriage, and whoever turns away from my tradition is not from me. And he said beware of excess in your religion. So he neither liked excess in the spiritual pursuits, nor did he like excess In the worldly pursuits, but saw that the human being should be this balanced, uh, man and woman, walking between these two aspects, taking from both, but within the generous boundaries of the Quran itself.
And so, Augustine then basically sets out an ideal, an educational ideal that becomes in many ways, the ideal of the Chris…of the European tradition, and that is the ideal of the liberal arts.
And the liberal arts were not really new they were kind of a reformulation of also the platonic, uh,… tradition and the Aristotelian tradition, and the liberal arts were that that oo, that at the elementary level there should be certain tools mastered in order to free one, from the bad habits of thought. And these were called the liberal arts. And liberal comes from the idea of freeing or freedom.
And Aristotle actually points out that the liberal arts are in contradistinction to the illiberal arts. And the idea is that the liberal arts are for the free man, and the illiberal arts are for the slave.
In other words, the slave is to learn things, in order to provide a purpose and a function to his, or her master. And not as an end onto itself, Like the free man who learns, simply, for the sake of learning, and to free his mind. So, the interesting thing about this is that, servile classes in any culture will ultimately be subjected to illiberal arts, and in many ways, in modern society, the educational system is a system which is teaching the servile classes, functional works, that they can perform, for an elite group of people. You see, this is really what modern education is about. Its not about freeing peoples minds.
And if you think it’s about freeing peoples mind. You’ve really been enslaved. You’re that character that I put up there, the first <laughing> the first picture…really…if ..if you think, that the goal of education, is to free your mind, then they’ve really done a number on you. And to break that is is really difficult.
Now, The liberal arts themselves are basically that you learn grammar, rhetoric, and logic, Or dialectic, and and the platonic view. These in a sense were to enable you to speak to read, and to articulate, and to understand clearly. So they were the language skills that one needed to understand what he read and to ah, write, what he understood or, his own production. And to be able to speak clearly.
Now, Augustine says about his his own self. Which in a sense is a tribute to the education that he had.
He said, and he was a teacher of rhetoric, he said he never saw anything that I couldn’t read and understand. Nor that I couldn’t ..uh, write. Nor that I heard and couldn’t understand. Nor that I understood and couldn’t articulate it.
In other words he was able to speak and to read and to write. Ahh, at a very high level. And the proof is obviously in his own, in his own works.
Now, that’s called the Trivium, and then you have this Quadriviam which is learning the quantifiable sciences of of mathematics, uhmm, which uh, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. And the interesting thing ‘Musticate’, in the, in the Greek tradition was actually the ancient word for education. Ah, which meant music, and really this has to do not with what we know today as music, but more rhythmic ah, oral chanting. And much of the oral tradition was was transmitted like that. And I want to talk on that in a few minutes.
Now, What happens basically in Western civilization is that the the Catholic church, literally put all their eggs in the Aristotelian basket. But what happens is that Aristotle’s world view becomes uh, it begins to be assaulted and attacked. And the idea of transinstantiation which is the idea of the change of the bread and the wine into the blood and the body of Christ, which was a ah medieval concept which was connected to the metaphysics of Aristotle.
Ah, its challenged, and and
then you have the ascendancy of uhmm, the the learning that takes place in the scholastic tradition,
after many years of what are termed the dark ages, where really all you learned
were as a priest or a monk, you did not learn as a common person. Common people did not read or write it was
strictly oral tradition in
But the scholastic tradition opens them up to Philosophy and philosophy is a dangerous door to open, as the Muslims themselves discover. And, before long you have, heretics. And these heretics begin to proliferate all over. And the Catholic church begins to attempt to control this. And before long, you have this move into what’s called the Renaissance.
And this is very simplistic history but, just, the renaissance is a move from the super lunary world, which is the world above the heavens, to the sub-lunary world, which is the world below the heavens and the idea in the medieval persons mind uh, the world was a very terrible place. The body was bad, sex was bad, enjoyment was bad, all of these things were bad. Really the goal of life was to prepare for this angelic realm, which is never really described in the Christian tradition, interestingly enough. Christians really do not understand much about paradise, if you actually ask them for a description of paradise. In the Islamic tradition it is rich in its descriptions. And we certainly share the idea of a beatific vision or vision of God. But other then that, its its very, you’ll get anywhere from …you know people will think it’s a Golf Course up in the sky, to it’s a place where we all meet and have turkey dinners or something like that.
I mean, it’s a broad range of this is what
the Quran calls “Imani”, or
wishful thinking. Uhmm,
so so the renaissance is a move. Now there is a monk from
Now, Luther introduces A
very interesting concept, which is state schooling. That people should be schooled by the state,
and educated, and his intention for that was an indoctrination
into the Protestant teaching. And this
is important that it
And then you have the council of
And interestingly enough, one of the key elements of the whole thing is Calvin’s uhmm, fatwa, the Muslims would call it a fatwa, but a religious judgment that allows for usury. And prior to that the Catholic church condemned usury as a crime against nature.
And its interesting, that uhh…Dante and the Divine comedy, places the usurers with the Homosexuals in the same area in the, in the ring of hell, because he saw both of them as crimes against nature. One if God provided women, why should you go to men, and the other, is that God has made money so bounteous, why should you exploit people with it. And and this is similar to the Islamic understanding about why usury is prohibited because time, and the Catholics understood this, time is not a commodity that can be bought or sold. But the enlightenment brings in the idea that time is money. And this is a wretched equation, that Muslims should never be heard uttering. Time is not money. In fact the tradition that we have is ‘time is God’.
So, time is reduced to a commodity, and this begins the the commodification of the world. And you have a common’s movement, in in in , which was the, literally the encapsulating of commons, where peasants were no longer allowed to enjoy the common land.
So, landed gentry began to spread, uh
begins to dissolve in
Now, with the enlightenment period, you have these really important philosophers that begin to bring in these ideas on education. Certainly, I think probably, One of the most important is Locke, who begins uh, radical empiricism, in which nothing can be known other then through sensory perception that metaphysics is hogwash. That the idea of another world is all pure speculation, that we shouldn’t even bother ourselves with it.
He’s very clever, uh, very clever.
And interestingly enough a lot of his observations are in agreement with the traditional theologians of Islam, about the whole idea of cause and effect…that that’s a whole other thing.
So uh, from from this you have educationlized ideas being expounded, that really, religion is a thing for the common people. Its really not a thing for the elite. And uhmm, this this idea begins to gain increasing momentum in in western societies, and really by the 19th century you have a radical departure from the idea of religious education in you begin really intensely the secularization of education, uhmm, John Stewart mills, whose utilitarianism uh, has a serious educational, philosophical implication whereby people are educated for the good of society. There’s no idea of the other world, there’s no idea , so this is what’s happening in the west. There’s a deep, uh, rending of their tradition, from their uh, their uh, emerging world view or perception.
Now what happens basically, and this is what in the abolutionof man, CS Lewis says, ‘once you reject tradition, a part of tradition. You have itsofacto rejected the entire tradition. Because upon which authority do you pick and choose.’ You see once you reject Christianity’s one part, and this is in the Quran, <Quranic recitation>, “Do you believe in a portion of the book, and don’t believe in in other parts of the book?“ How can you do that? Because the logical uh, this is a just a basic logical reasoning. Once a portion of a thing Is undermined, the whole thing is undermined.
And this is what happens in Christianity and in modern society. Is that the education is is the religious idea of education, is completely undermined.
Now the people that were unwilling to give up, were the Catholics.
And that’s why, just a little bit of how education came to be what it is
In the 1830’s the Catholics, uh,….because there were a lot of Catholics coming over to the US, they began to build, quite brilliant schools and they’ve always been great educators, mainly focusing on these liberal arts and teaching people how to think and reason and producing several, very brilliant individuals.
The Protestants and the Unitarians, in the Eastern Seaboard, began to be really worried about the effects these Catholic schools were having. And they were not run by the state, there was no subsidization. They were literally communities that wanted their children trained in the Catechism and these reading, writing, arithmetic, what were called the three R’s. And these types of schools produced people like ah, Henry David Thoreau, who is famous for his “Walden’s Pond” and Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and uh, very brilliant writers and thinkers as well.
So, what happens is, the Massatessets enacts an act, for public, mandatory public
school. Now the interesting thing about
this, this is happening in 1850, is that 80% of the population rebelled against
this idea. And the final, I think Barnes
Noble or there’s a place on
So really, the Americans, because they were
individualistic, did not want the state interfering in how they were to raise
their children. Because they thought…as in roads into elimination of some basic
freedoms, like how you raise your children.
And and that should be a given, that a human
being can raise their children how they see fit. And what happens is, during the 1840’s, also
Communism, and the spread of specter of communism, Karl Marx, there is a
specter haunting Europe, which is communism, and there capitalist interests in
this country were also worried about that, and they saw public school as a way
to raise good Republicans. And so they also wanted state indoctrination. Now the interesting thing, they go to
Ahh…you know, Adolf Hitler and all these people, imagine how they were raised. We know that Saddam Hussein uh, who’s uncle Hassan al-Qattab, Hassan the liar, apparently used to beat him every day with a metal pipe.
Now, that in no way, absolves him of his crimes against humanity, but it certainly is an interesting thing to note, in terms of, the type of child rearing produces, the type of individual he is, if we can call him an individual, because individuality implies consciousness.
Now, the uh, … the
the idea of public education then, spreads thought
The interesting thing, Elite, the word itself, comes out of a word, that we get, also, literacy derives from it.
And so the idea is, really, in the end of the day. Literate people are still the Elite. So schooling, public schooling was not designed to create truly literate people. It is an illiberal education designed to create functionally literate people, because service to society. This is particularly important with the onset of Industrialization. Because once industrialization begins, you need people that are slaborers, that can learn, not as an apprentice who learns over several years a trade. But learn how to work machines, and learn how to function in the factory.
And, so, this begins the dissent really, serious descent really, a serious descent of modern education, into the arena of creating these functionally literate people in the State of NY, Garbage Collectors need 12 years of education, in order to get the job, which enables them to pick up and take garbage from homes.
Now this is in no way belittling garbage collectors, if there are any garbage collectors here, because Islam actually honors labor.
And The Prophet Muhammad said (PBUH), the best food that a man can eat, is from the labor of his own hands. And the Prophet David used to eat from the labor of his own hands. So labor is honored in Islam, what is called “Halal Work”, or work that is in the realms of permissibility, Now, to look at this this thing here. You basically have in the Islamic tradition, a child is born in the fitra state. This is what these arrows indicate there is a natural growth which is healthy, which will grow into a child, aware of its origin, which is back to the divine creator, and its purpose in life, which is an ethical, both ethical , ethical moral dimensions as well as spiritual dimensions. The moral ethical dimensions are known as Islam, and the spiritual dimensions are known as iman and ihsan.
Now, what happens here basically, is in the ideal situation, you have the family that is nurturing the child in its own fitra state. And the society as well. And this is the ideal situation, and this will create a healthy individual who is according to the Prophet Muhammad, PBUH, is somebody who is safe to the society, in terms of his hand, and his tongue. In other words, a Muslim is one who is neither a threat with his hand or his tongue. That is the Muslim.
Now the Mumin, the believer, is the one who people are safe from him, you see. So basically the idea is to create a ethical, moral spiritual being, that is multi dimensional and really has a direction that is positive and healthy.
Now the next state is, which is what I think people in this room might find themselves in, to a certain extent. Is when, their child is in a fitra state, their trying to nurture that fitra state, but the society is against that state.
So, the Society is literally counterproductive to the work you’re trying to do. And this creates confusion, in a child’s mind, because on one hand in the house…and this is one of the greatest tragedy’s of modern education, not just for Muslims, but for Christian parents, for uhm, Jewish parents, for anybody of any tradition, in which they would like to see their child, basically in a you know, a believing individual, that this is, is very difficult situation, because, uhh, the child is in a type of schizophrenic environment, in which the house has one way of doing something, and outside the house, has another.
Then the next stage, is where the parents, might be in a society that is in this healthy state, but the parents are against this this state. And this is another form of confusion, which is more severe then the first the second form there.
Now the final one, is really now, where we
are today, in the
And, its interesting that the ancient Greeks considered ethics really good habits morals and ethics were good habits.
So this is basically where many people find themselves in. Now…, the results of this …I think, …is is, I think, is great deal this. And that is, which is that the fastest growing segment of the criminal population, is are children, juveniles. Growing at an incredible rate. We’re taking about very serious crimes. Not like the 1940’s where we were talking about stealing some gum from the store. Now, we’re talking about armed robbery, murder, many children at early ages are exposed to, especially in the inner cities, where its very..uh,, horrific.
And the worst part about it is, is, again,
this display of the society, we have a society where by the ruling elite is
involved, quite literally involved, in the importation of drugs, into our
communities. And this is not conspirital theory, this is 60 minutes. This is stuff you can watch on
television. That we have people at the
highest levels in in Governmental institutions, have
been involved in bringing in during the
During the 1980’s when the wars were basically in central America, and south America, Cocaine becomes the drug of choice because that’s were a lot of the covert operations were taking place. And these covert operations were funded by serious drug money that is derived out of the local communities.
Now what I find it very interesting that what our culture has done is, culture is done, is basically, Karl Marx declared religion to be the opiate of the masses, so the culture got rid of this opiate, and replaced it with real opium.
You see. Which is…which is, really, very interesting.
Because religion has limited commercial…ha-ha…only the church can make money from religion, right? But anybody can make money out of drugs. If they’re foul and vile enough.
Now, just to get into… just to get into a little bit of the Pharonic educational system, which is the idea, of what’s called higher education. Right,