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, And you find that people, might many people enter into the first, second third, fourth, fifth grade. It begins to diminish as the grades go up, I mean, this is all over, in all cultures. Many people in ah, in Muslim countries will never get past 3rd or 4th grade, which is probably a good thing for them. They don’t really realize it, but I think, actually, its probably a blessing in disguise. Because the higher up you go, the more indoctrinated you get. You see, And then you get into the arcane secrets of the temple. When you get to the top.
Things like there is no God, and uh…this is what you’ll learn in in the university, higher education, that that uhhm religion are basically methodological traditions, allegories, to be studied and looked at, as interesting milestones in the history of human civilization.
And, now up at the top, I think it’s a whole separate little pyramid unto themselves. Which is the ruling priesthood, who are called PhD’s, and Masters Degrees people. And I’m not talking about people with master’s degree from The University of California of like San Jose state or or you know, Irvine or whatever. I’m talking about Harvard, uhmm, Stanford, where where the ruling elite and their think tanks are supplied by disembodied brains from these institutions. That will do things like, create the best way to kill Arabs, and leave the oilfields intact. You see, these types of people that have studied sometimes 20 years, 25 years, in order to develop Bombs, that will kill human beings, but leave the buildings and structures intact so that their their the the Satanic forces of which they are minions to, can move in and do their further exploitation.
So, we have this really interesting situation and really it should be remembered that people like Henry Kissinger, who is a mass murderer, and quite literally, a massed murderer, is given the Nobel Peace Prize, you see, and has honorary PhD’s from several universities. So the more evil you are the more honored you are in this tradition.
And really, the more innocent you are, the more impossible it is for you to continue on.
And I would use Bilal
Hide, my friend who is at
So, this is really what this society produces at its highest levels. People that are, are literally in a tragic uhm. Now, what I would like to is quickly, because I realize that I’ve been going on a long time. And, This should actually be a two part lecture , I might end up doing that, Because there is a lot of areas that I didn’t cover, that I wanted to cover. But I’ve been going on for quite some time.
So, what I would like to do is just mention a few things of which I think are absolutely disastrous, in terms of the children, and what’s happening to our children.
The first thing, Is the whole grading system, that, you’re in first, second, third, fourth, fifth grade. The idea that you put children into a class with their peers. Of which they do not experience the richness and the diversity of age. And this is something I can only attest to. Because I was in a traditional Islamic School, where the oldest student was well into his 60’s, and the youngest student was 5 years old.
And that was in one school, and the 60, the one who was in his 60’s, was memorizing the Quran at the time, and had memorized half the Quran after the age of 60, with my teacher, who not only taught him, but also taught the 5 year olds, the 6 year olds that were memorizing the Quran. And he lived in in the student dormitory, which was basically a, a, hut made out of burlap sacks, sacks, uhmm… he lived with a few students who were In their teens.
Now this, historically in America, the schools that produced the richest and most intelligent people that this society has produced, came out of schools, often time, that had, several different ages, they were one room classrooms where they had, anywhere from 6 to 15 years of age. And they were learning individually, and this really is an organic ah, way of teaching children, and allows for not only the richness of experience. But it also breaks down part of the bullying effect that takes place. Where one grade bullies the grade lower then them.
It’s like the, in the Patani system, where each tribe complains about the tribe upstream that dumps all their gar…rubbish into the stream, right, so as the stream flows down, the tribe gets the the the waste of the tribe upstream. And this is what happens in this system.
That that I think is really sad. And this is a completely arbitrary, it is not from any traditional system of education. Neither in the Islamic world, nor the European world. This is something that is part of the modern system.
The Next thing that I think is absolutely disgusting, is the neurotic way in which people are qualified through numbers. You are an A student, which means that you are anywhere from 90 to a 100. And you are a B student which is 80-100, and this is again arbitrary, because some schools its 84 to 94 is a B student.
So – in one school you may be a B student, in another school you are a C student. So much for objective quantification of where you’re at.
Now what this does, first of all it attaches valence, products, you see the child is reduced to a commodity, of which they are literally given a numerical value. In the same way that we give numerical value to products in stores. And so a child who might be working to its full capacity and potential and yet is determined a C, or an average student, one of the things this does not allow for, what the Muslims believe is part of education, which is literally a divine opening, that happens during education. Because ultimately, Muslims believe, that the true teacher, is God himself, that that is where we learn from, that that is our source of knowledge. <QURAN> that God taught man. And so this is really does not allow them. So you find that children are pigeon holed, and they’ll really see themselves as average students.
Now its really interesting, as Neil Postman points out, if you go to a Doctor, he will also give you grade. Like, He’ll say for instance, ‘well, you’re doing ok’. Which that basically, he gave you a C…right?
And then he, said, ‘You’re actually doing pretty well’. Now he’s given you a B. Or he’ll say, ‘You are really doing fantastic, in fact, you’re 40 years old, but you’ve got the heart of a 20 year old.’ So he’s given you an A plus.
Now, if he gives you a B or a C, you’re not going to give him his money. You’re going to say, ‘how do I get better’, …right? ‘How do I improve?’
Well they never tell you that, when they
give you these letter grades…right.
Work, try harder, right. Not
working up to his potential. Things like
that. So the child is literally reduced,
I mean, its really horrific what happens to the
children in grading. And grades are
literally a 17th century product of
Prior to that, the greatest intellects of both the western and Islamic tradition, and Chinese tradition were not graded. Shakespeare did not get grades in school…right.
And like, Einstein, right…someone wrote an article that said, had Shakespeare gone into English departments in this country, he probably would have flunked out, Right.
In the same way that Einstein flunked out some basic math courses. So because genius is not desired in this culture, believe you me, they don’t want intelligent people. They want functionally literate people. they don’t want, if you think to much, you’re literally, the educational system is designed to put that out. And This is the saddest thing of all, because a child, literally from its early ages is this bursting, with this…divine impulse, to know one thing, …’why?’
That’s what the child wants to know, that’s what they want to know…“WHY”. And That’s why, if you have children, you know this is true, they will continuasly ask why, not “How”. Which is what they teach you in this culture, “HOW”.
But they want to know ‘why’.
“Why is it like that”. That’s what my son, “Why, But Why?” . Now where does that come from? Who gave him that question. Why doesn’t he ask, “How doesn’t that work”...Right?
He wants to know ‘Why?’
“Why aren’t you coming home tonight.”
“Why can’t I have that toy.” …Right.
But the point is that, why, is literally, that is the great question, that ultimately, if it is nourished and nurtured, the great resounding answer that comes back is, ‘Allah’… You see.
That is the great resounding answer that comes back. ‘Why’. That is the ‘Why’ to every question.
Which does not mean we simplistically tell the child, you know, ‘Why is the sky blue’, ‘Because God made it so’. Which is a perfectly valid answer.
And the child actually will accept that answer, interestingly enough. And Children are, designed to believe. They believe.
They’re incredibly gullible. They’re believers. By their nature. You tell them anything, they’ll believe you. Just try it on a 4 year old, they’ll believe you. And and, what what’s what’s done to them in our school system, is they lose the desire for knowledge. They go in bursting with this desire to know, and after 12 years of that nonsense, they don’t want to see another book. And if they do, they want to see another book for only one reason, ECONOMIC GAIN.
They go to school to earn a livelihood. To be…to become servants, in a culture of slaves and serfs. So – the the idea of grading, which should really be completely thrown out, and uh, and people say, ‘how do you stimulate the children.’
Well, I lived in a, in a place, in west
A child knows where they’re at. They do. They know if they’re pathetic, they know if they’re lazy. They know if their working hard, they know if they don’t understand something, they know if they do understand something.
Now – the next thing, which is the Bill Gates nightmare, and that is this whole , the the, uh, the technolization of our school systems, in other words, a computer in every classroom. Which really, probably that is going to be the last straw. I mean that’s the the straw that will break the uneducationable Childs back. And what’s interesting to note, is that what computers are, they’re really, they’re, machines that are brilliantly designed to inculcate the idea of totalitarism.
You see, because if you work on any word processing program, you learn quite quickly the limitations of the program.
In other words, you have to submit to the constraints of the program itself, and the logic of the program.
There’s no creative room for you, its very limited. And the other thing, computer games, coupled with these Nintendo type games, that they are literally designed to, and people think its good for their reactions. Actually children, the worst thing they need to do, is become these kind of neurotic, uhm, hyperactive, reactive children. In fact what they need to be taught is deliberation. That’s actually one of the lessons that children need to learn, how to sit down, and reason something out quietly. They don’t need this quick you know, and most of its all about killing.
If you look at these toys, its all killing people, that’s what their doing, and the one that kills the most, wins the game.
I mean who designed these things?
You know, really
sick sick people with PhD’s and stuff like this. From the same people that gave you the
If you look at this, the Brain is seen as, its its called a triune brain. And this is really interesting, because the ancients worked this out as well.
Augustine saw that human being was divided into thought, feelings and will. And Aristotle saw it as knowledge, feeling, and will, also. And this this, our brains are literally ah, they have 3 aspects, the action or reptilian system, that is the system that is developed by Nintendo Games.
The reptilian brain, and interestingly enough, its shared by lizards and rats, and snakes and rodents. So when children start becoming, quote unquote ‘pests’, in society, we should really wonder, if we’ve over developed their reptilian brains, to the neglect of their higher brains. Right?
Now, the feeling brain, which is the mid brain, is the brain that deals with emotion. And this is the brain, that is literally nurtured by the alma-mater, the mother. Right, this is a gift that a mother gives her child in the first seven years. And if you look here, the R-System is developing between the ages of 1 to 7, the limbic system , through the ages 1-7, and that point, literally it stops.
So basically, our children, during the first seven years, these are the years that literally, these two brains, are really, all the neurological connections are being created, and the brain is a remarkable thing, in that…Massive damage can occur at this point, through accidents and trauma, and probably through the use of Computers and television, because these are new technologies, and very little is known about them, but we can see a very serious decline in society through statistics and other means.
Since the introduction of Television into the culture, and certainly since the introduction of computers now, and these games. And its only getting worse.
And so, now this is the tradition, from the Islamic tradition, that says <QURAN> which is, play with your children for seven years. Now all cognitive theory has basically confirmed the wisdom of that approach.
Children are literally emerged in the subconscious realm during the first 7 years. They are not in the they’re not in the same world we’re in. They’re in a beautiful world. It’s a beautiful world, and that world needs to be nurtured through play. Play is the work, like Pieage the Swiss psychology said, That play is the work of the infant. That is their work. They are meant to be doing all that wonderful work.
Now, putting a child in front of a TV, destroys that activity. It puts them into a passive receptive mode. Which is exactly what this culture wants to be in.
Because they want to fill you head with all those name brands. And if you’re in passive – receptive mode, they can be anchored very well. This is why the Ford Foundation in 1957 wrote a policy paper, which was a demand that television be introduced into education in a very big way. And they attacked any criticism of this idea, despite the fact that television was incredibly novel technology at that time.
So, what I want to do is quickly, read a few things from this book, which I really recommend everybody read, it’s called ‘Evolutions end’ by Joseph Chilton Pierce, it has something’s that you can take or leave. But his argument is really extraordinary in it. He says, “All the infant child, and the adult as well, want to do is what nature intended.” Now they call God – Nature, which is just semantics here. “Learn, build those structures of knowledge. And all that is needed for this is an appropriate environment. Being surrounded by a mature, intelligent, intellect, open to minds, possibilities and tempered by hearts wisdom, recognizing that to the human all may be possible, but always asking, is it appropriate. “
And this, there’s an Islamic tradition in Bayhaqi, that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that, (PBUH), that Adam asked God, to give him ‘Isma’, which is infallibility. And God told, him , that he only gave that to his angels. In other words, his offspring would have it.
So then, God, promised him that he would give his offspring the ability to do all things, with the exception of putting off death.
And the so the human, potential, is really unlimited. But the question, is it appropriate. But, “Is it appropriate”, can only be answered by a human being that has been nurtured and educated in a way in which the moral, ethical, and spiritual being of that person has been enhanced, and not stunted.
“He has had success, the one who has purified his soul, and he is destroyed, the one who has polluted his soul.”
Now,.. I think, people probably need a break at this time. I really, … I just didn’t get to where I wanted to get , uhmm, But I know most of you, so we can talk about it. Other times.
Uhmm, yeah, I think, we need to take a break. We’re going to take a break, Why don’t we make it, we’ll start at , so please be back in the auditorium quarter after 8, for, Muhammad Sharif’s talk.
The final thing I will say, is simply, to sum all of this up. I think that it is absolutely imperative for us as individuals to recognize that the state has failed, in providing a narrative, for our children to be taught within the context of.
And because they don’t have a narrative, of
which we do, and our narrative, I’m talking about the Muslim narrative, not the
only vibrant, it is unchallenged, it is unchallenged, despite the fact that
most other narratives have fallen by the wayside, Islam is as vibrant now, in
terms of its its universal message, as it was when it
was first articulated by our blessed Prophet.
And what I will say, is that interestingly
enough arrived yesterday in the mail, which was a letter from the
And I was wondering if he was sending me a message, that, not to talk bad about him or something. What I will say, he says here that the “world our students will grow up in will be entirely different from the world we knew. Change occurs at such a rapid rate, that we can no longer avoid the impacts it is having on our schools.The amount of info available doubles every 2 years . How are we going to teach our children to cope with all this information, and acquire the skills required to process it.”
What a ridiculous statement. I mean, ‘teach to process?’ That’s what they are, data processors..Isn’t that what computers were invented to do, to process data?
Is that really what we want human beings to be doing, processing data? To become consumers of knowledge, as if it was a commodity, and then to go out and market yourself, which is what one of the things they teach you in school , how to market yourself.
And so, the one thing I wanted to end with was, I really believe that in a sense, we are like a the western civilization built an extraordinary jet plane, and literally got everyone on it. And Unfortunately, they got a lot of people from the Muslim countries as well. And it took off and it’s flying at 35000 feet, and suddenly its lost power, and its literally, its its just descending at an incredibly rapid rate. And the frightening thing about it is the stewardesses are still asking, “Coffee, Tea, or a beverage”. You know.
I mean, people are just going on as if we’re not in a disastrous condition. And we are, we are in a frightening condition, and I really think that the Muslims, we have an extraordinary competition to play in the revival, of really what education is meant to be, which is to illuminate and to liberate.
And the gift of Islam to education what has been termed the democratization of knowledge. That it offered knowledge not to the ruling elite, but knowledge is the property of everyone, in particular the poor. And the vast majority of scholars of Islam were from, the working class. And often times, freed-slaves. <Quran> Thank you very much.
Alhamdullilah, we’re going to have a small break, but I would like to say from the onset. I made a mistake, we will hold back all questions until after both lectures have completed. But we will ask Sidi Hamza to come back after the break, and finish up, what he thinks he has to finish up. Because I think he needs to finish this. Thank you very much Asalamualaikum.
Shaykh Hamza (0:)>
<Dua in Arabic>
Inshallah, I’ve been…asked just to finish up a few things, I’m going to speak first short time and try to come to some conclusions about, a lot of what I was talking about. And I would like to do that, by doing one thing, quickly looking, in a sense, at what the Islamic ideals, of an educated individual, and how that comes about.
And then, Muhammad Shareef
is going to talk really, about the practicum, of an Islamic education that was
used for several centuries, in the
Just, in conclusion, about Western, about Western Civilization, I would like to quote, …from a man,… Paul Appleyard, who wrote a book …about Science. And, although, I think it’s important for us…not to simply demonize science, because science is …honored in Islam. But what I would say about that, is that every culture will create a science, that in a sense is unique to that culture. Based on its own…religious beliefs, and its presumptions brings to science itself. So, science is not disembodied logic, and that really is an idea, that has been thrown out by …uhm, by most 20th century thinkers.
Basically, what Appleyard, who
is a science writer, for the …I think the Time’s in
In other words, Science itself, in the Islamic tradition, is considered a Dhani knowledge, it is not a knowledge that is based on revelation. And therefore is susceptible to mistakes and problems. And what happens in Western Civilization, is although the dominant model is dominant, it is rarely pointed out by those teaching it, that it is the dominant model.
And as Is the nature of scientific revolutions, it will be supplanted by a model that comes along, that is a more convincing way of describing things. So he says, that basically that it is incompatible. And this is not just true when its being exported from one nation to another. But also when it competes with other systems within a single nation. The science based liberal democracy is therefore tend towards a unity of unbelief.
Really interesting, because this is a Non-Muslim writing this. And if you put that into Arabic, you would say, “<Arabic>”, the unity of unbelief, and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was noted as saying, <Arabic> - that Kufr is one system, in other words, unbelief is one system. So it is quite natural that its historical imperative would be to unify, in its unbelief.
You see, really quite extraordinary.
Now – he says here, that, “science is perfectly capable of marginalizing beleivers, without actually stripping them, of their un…of their belief.” So it can marginalize what Carter called, “God as a hobby syndrome”. It marginalizes religion, which is a really good way of putting it, because as Kierkegaard (sp) – one of the first philosophers to deal with Nihilism, and the problem of modern society, pointed out, that the most, the most insidious aspect of modern nihilism is a leveling in which qualitative distinctions are weakened by a knowing reflection, and in other words, that it leaves, the modern nihilism, leaves everything standing, but cunningly empties it of significance.
So the church is remaining, its standing as an institution, but it has no meaning in modern society. And this is something that , unfortunately, post colonial Muslim governments have used the same strategies, for attempting to leave the mosques standing, but cunningly, deprived of its meaning within the culture.
And Islam is not amenable to this type of, really its not. By the very nature of the mosque, unlike the church, by the very nature of the mosque and the recitation of Quran and the act of worship, there is a renewal that will occur, by that very nature. And it has to reach a critical mass, then it becomes actually extremely dangerous for whatever the dominant Pharaoh of the time, happens to be.
Now in terms of just Islam. Basically, what Islam is attempting to do, is to create a felicitous state in the human being, and this Is called in Arabic, “Saada”, in other words, Islam is a means, whereby a human being enters into a “Saada” in this world, which prepares him for a “Saada” in the next world. So the idea, of of this happiness, or to be “Saeed”, is literally to submit to the moral constraints of Islam, outwardly, and be enriched, bythe spiritual nourishment that comes through, not only ritualized practice. But practice that literally is designed, and according to our belief, by the creator himself, is designed to awaken, ones own internal experience. So that the world, is not simply reduced to, external experiences, but actually there is an internal world, as well. So the human being has a “Dhahir” and a “Battin” . Is not simply reduced to a dhaahiry person. But also has a Bhattiny.
Now – there is inherent dangers of both, the dharry danger is to be immersed in this outward formalization of knowledge and ritual. And not to be nourished inwardly. There is also an Bhattiny danger. Which is to begin to reject the outward formalities and ritualizations. And to thrive on some inward experiences. And these are often seen in the dichotomies of the dry and ritualistic fuqahah, and the ecstatic and extreme suffiyah, or Ghoolat as-Suffiyah. Not the, the moderates of both, Is what Imam Shafi, the great Muslim jurisprudent as well as a extremely interior man said, uhm…, “You should be a faqih”, in his diwan, he said that you “should be a faqih and a Sufi, but don’t be just one of them”. In other words, you should have an outward life, which is based on knowledge, but you should also have an inward life, which is based on the experience, or the tasting, the fruits of your actions. So that the actions aren’t barren, because of impure intentions and what not.
And, so, this, there’s two types of Saada: Dunyawia, or Okhrawiya. Which is worldly and otherworldly. And from the Islamic tradition, basically, there’s what’s called Nifaq, which is a covenant that is taken, and its man’s recognition and acknowledgement of God as his absolute Lord. And what education should do really, is engender in the human being, the realization of that nifaq, and its importance. So that by the time the child emerges into puberty, it is ready to take on what is known as Takleef, or the amana of responsibility, the trust of responsibility, and that it can fulfill that trust.
And…the, in terms of just the relationship of happiness to itself, there’s…Islam teaches us, that really, the Heart, or the seat of knowledge itself, is a spiritual substance, in the human being, which is referred to in the Quran as Qalb, Nafs, Akhal, & Rhuua, Its all these terms, Qalb, literally means heart. Fuad, is another aspect. Nafs is the self. Aaklh which is the intellect, and Rhuua, which is the spirit. Now – it has different names because of different accidental modes. In other words , because of the different modes. So, when the the mode of the self is engaged in bodily actions, like eating, the desire to eat; Then we move into the realm of Nafs. Which is part of our nature. When it’s involved in intellection and apprehension, understanding, things like this. Then it moves into the realm of the Akhal itself. Then when it is engaged in receiving intuitive illumination, which is called Ilham, and spiritual insight, this is called the Qalb, or the Ruhua also.
So, …these these are the different, …now the development of these in the human beings, is, as I mentioned in the beginning of this talk, is based on three different stages. The first is Nafs ul-Luwama, the next is Nafs ul-Amara, which is the commanding self, The next is the Nafs ul-Luwama, which is the reproaching self, and the last is Nafs ul-Mootmaina.
Nafs ul Amara is literally when the human being is reduced to his animal nature. And this human being is unfit to be a calipha, or a vice-regent on the Earth. It is impossible for this individual to fulfill their divine function, which is literally to be a steward of the Earth. And so they are reduced to their lowest nature <Arabic> the lowest of the low, and they literally, this is the path of what’s known as “Shahawat”.
The human being is not only encouraged to eat and drink, but eating and drinking of the good things of the Earth, but not to excess, and this Is the key that the Quran puts, this limit.
So the horizontal freedoms are curtailed, as Abdul Haq Godless, likes to refer to them, the horizontal freedoms of Islam are curtailed in order that the vertical freedom can be limitless. In other words, the person limits, where they spread out on the Earth, in order for their energy’s to be directed upwards to a spiraling upward motion. And so, the Shahawat , are honored in Islam, and they are actually sacrilized or turned into, commands in the Quran, <Arabic> , ‘Eat and Drink’ is a command in the Quran from God. And so, we say, “Bismillah” when we eat, and this is literally the ah, turning these mundane simple acts actually into acts of worship. And the same, The Prophet Muhammad <saws> said that a Man who goes to his wife, there is a reward in that. And the companions were amazed, and said, “You mean, going to our wives, and taking our Shahwat that we get a reward? And he said, don’t you see that if you go to the Haraam, you get a punishment, and likewise if you go to the halal, because out of this Taqwa of God, or this conscious awareness of God, then it is turned in again into a sacred act. So, this is the sacrilization of the World, from the Islamic... And so the Nafs-ul Amara must be curtailed, and the first mechanism for that is the Luwama, the Loum, which is the self, which literally attacks …and reproaches this negative, and it does it through Taubah and and spiritual exercises, and prayer is certainly and night prayers, and these things…
And finally, Nafs-ul Mootmaina, when the self has, …is no longer is bound by the Amara, it is literally been freed of the commanding self. And now is in a state of <Arabic>, and the way to achieve that is, according to the Quran, through the dhikr of Allah Subhanawatallah. It is through the conscious remembrance of God, so that when one literally is remembering God, in the highest way, then one conquers the lower self. And Then the lower self becomes a beast that the human being can ride and is not ridden by it. And this human being is worthy of being the Calipha, or the vice regent of God. Because that human being has conquered the self. Which is now a vehicle, and no longer controlling them.
Now, the way in which, and I think this is really, this book, which is called “A is for Ox”, a brilliant, some brilliant insights, which I think are applicable to Islam. And that, … Because he sees, he views the crisis as a… separation from oral tradition, and literate tradition.
And Because there is no more an oral tradition in this culture, due to television and electronic media, children are no longer really capable of being truly literate, which he believes is creating a conscious, in other worlds that literacy is one way in which conscious emerges from the human self.
Now, Islam is, one of the most fascinating things about Islam, is that it introduces a book into an oral culture. So, that the Quran is literally a bridge between orality and literacy, in fact, it took an oral people to becoming the most literate human beings that have ever existed on the face of the Earth; by the testimony of not just the Muslims, but by the testimony of the Non-Muslims. And you can read the “Age of Faith” by Will Durant, in which he talks about the the really peerless civilization of books and knowledge, that was created during what is usually termed by orientalists, as the Golden Age of Islam.
So, the Quran and the Hadith tradition, have uniquely bound us to the oral tradition. In other words the Quran is learned orally, before it is learned literally. And it is a reading before it is a book. It is a Quran before it is Kitab. You see, which is a book.
So the oral tradition, of Islam, is honored and nurtured. Now, one of the things that is important in every culture, is the act of storytelling, “Riwaya” in Arabic. A Riwaya in Arabic, literally means to quench the thirst . It comes from, If you look at the root word, it comes from a word to “Quench the thirst”. And a story, we are in need of stories. We are in need of narratives, as human being we are in need of narratives. And the Quran, is a narrative, <Arabic>, it’s literally telling us a story, there are Qasas in the Quran. So human beings need stories in which meanings literally emerge, and so really, this is one of the main functions of education, is to present the divine narratives, in which all other narratives are literally, put to the test by.
In other words, the Quran is the touchstone of reality for all narratives. If the narratives do not harmonize with the Quran, then they’re invalid. And this is why the Quran is “Mohamin”, it is an overseer of all the previous narratives.
So, the Narratives of the Greeks, the narratives of the Jews, the narratives of the Christians, of the Magians, of the Buddhists, of the Hindu’s, all of the narratives must be placed before the authority of the Quran itself. And this is the Islamic worldview, and from that, wisdom can be derived, and this is what the Prophet Muhammad (sallalahualayhiwasalam) said, “Wisdom is the lost beast of the Mumin, wherever he finds it, he is more worthy of it.”
And so, we’re inculcating the Quranic world view into children. And this is why from the age of about 6, late 6, which is…and really educating children prior to that is…criminal. In a sense, because they are, really not intellectually ready for that. And they can learn to read and write, you can teach children, 3, 4, some children learn even earlier then that. But, it is depriving them of that right of “Luab”, of “play”. And this is what needs to be nourished, during that time.
And children that are taught before that age, you can see a qualitative difference in their being and behavior. They don’t look as healthy, as other children. They’re often times, not as bright as other children. Just In terms of bright, I don’t mean intellectually. I mean bright in a spiritual sense. You know that children radiate this brightness and when they don’t radiate it, it means something’s putting it out.
And So, the, traditionally in the Muslim world, children literally memorized the Quran. And this is, I personally believe, the effect that this will have on the developing brain, is something phenomenal.
And my own experience with people who memorize the Quran in their youth, is that, although often I’ve met many, that are like tape recorders in the sense, that they don’t know what the book means, and they might not have reflected on it a lot. But they just, they’ve got it there.
But the people that have, who went on to develop their intellects, are just the most phenomenal intellects that I’ve personally ever met. And I,… And I think that’s a testimony to the power that the Quran literally presents, to the one who has internalized it, and become a “Hamil”, a barri…a bearer of the Book of Allah, “Subhanawatallah.”
And so, the, …from that, from the basis of this Quran, this divine narrative, then a child emerges into the world of abstraction. Which is where the narrative begins to emerge as a understandable, element in their lives. And the interioralization of the ethics of the Quran, of the spirituality of the Quran, and what the Quran is actually calling to. And the Quran says, <Arabic from Quran >,
“This Quran guides to what is upright, and it gives good news to those who believe in it, who do right actions, that they will have a great reward.“
And their reward, is not simply in the next world, but also in this world, in terms of realizing of Quranic civilization. Which is a high ideal, and has been realized more then once in human history. And if people are severed from the Quran, then they enter the crookedness of other narrations.
And the Quran reminds us, that it is a book without crookedness. There is no crookedness in it, and thus, what emerges from it, is the “istiqama”, or the uprightness, or the straightness of any society that takes it on, has the grand narrative of the society, and what has been lost in the West, is what they call the “Grand Narrative”. What they call, quote unquote, idols, have fallen by the way side, and they’re left in this freefall, of nihilistic tendencies, and banished to cyberspace. Where they, will roam down the information superhighway, going, really to what, Stephen J Gould called, an eloquent dance to nowhere, and it’s not even eloquent really, it’s just a kind of pathetic, aping, of the worst human characteristics and tendencies.
So, with that, I’m going to ask Muhammad Sharif, and I would just like to say, that Muhammad Sharif and I, have a reasonably long history, in terms of
our Islamic experience, we become Muslims at the same times. He went to what’s called the “Bilad us-Sudan”, which means, the “Land of the Blacks”, in
Arabic, and I went to “Bilad un-Naydaan”,
which means the “Land of the Whites” in Arabic which I was in
And we studied, in similar types of institutes, with very similar texts and things like that. And we, what we did, was both of us, we had a taste, and it was a short but extremely intense and sweet taste, of really what the Islamic madrassa is like, and the type of people it produces.
Now, having said all that, I have to admit, there are very great short comings in it, and and, there are reasons for the historical stagnation of the Islamic intellectual tradition, but the fact is that in many ways, there are very vibrant and dynamic elements of it that still exist in the Sahara, and the sub-Sahara, and I think that’s what he’s going to talk about, so, I would just like to ask him, and thank you very much.
Muhammad Shareef (0:)>
Takbir! Takbir! Takbir!
I’ll briefly try to make a gloss over what Sidi Hamza Yusuf …
Inshallah, this is now, time for questions, we’re going to entertain questions from the audience, we’re now asking Br Yusuf to collect questions, and then we will filter them out and...
Shaykh Hamza ()>
<Question>I can feel conflict, in what you’re saying here, are we, not to seek the best education? How about <Arabic>
What of…<> seek knowledge, even onto
knowledge, even in