Learning To Be Human (w Umar Farooq)

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Event Name: Learning To Be Human (w Umar Farooq)
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 4/27/2019 10:22:01 AM
Transcript Version: 2

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Part 1


Ttonight for me is a big treat.  Dr. Omar Abdullah Faruk was always old for me.  I first met him when I was about 18 years old.  I was wet-behind-the-ears and we met in a garden in Granada in Spain and he was like the old man of the mountain and I realized that he was actually less than 30 years old at the time.  So he was not old, but he seemed old, because he is an old soul, he's a very wise man and arguably I think we could make a very strong case that he's probably the single most learned Muslim scholar that we have in the UnitedStates at least in my estimation.  I've been a student of his from the first time that I met him I've been honored to know him in 1970.  He was doing a PhD in English literature, Shakespeare and he read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and that led him to an interest in Islam he ended up actually going to the University of Chicago and doing a PhD in Islamic studies I've actually read his dissertation.  It's amazing that somebody could know that much at that time and he's recently done an extraordinary book on Iman Maddox meth have in Medina he's a very serious theologian he's a serious historian; he's also a polyglot knows many languages and so we're very honored to have him here at Zaytuna and behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.  No behind every great man, is truly a great woman and doctor Omar's wife is here tonight Hodja Samira.  Who I've also had the good fortune of knowing for many years so we're deeply honored to have them and without further ado dr. Omar is going to lecture us and then we'll break for a makarov and then have a conversation


salamualikum' very happy to be here in

such a blessed gathering in such a

blessed place and what I'd like to talk

about tonight but I do

bismillahirrahmanirrahim or subtle law

and I say you know I met early he was is

considering what it means to be human

and to be humane in the light of the

fitrah which is the natural condition of

the human being the primordial soul this

is of course a very big very central

Islamic teaching I actually wrote a book

about that which came out in Arabic I

wrote it from 1997 to the year 2000

called Emanuel Fatah that faith is a

matter of Fatah and it's been published

it's available through doubt alpha P

what I say tonight is very much taken

from that but the book goes into a lot

of details it studies many verses in the

Quran that pertain to the primordial

nature of human beings we'll look at

actually maybe two of those tonight and

then it looks at the mini hadith which

are very very many that deal with it at

all also it would be very difficult to

find any religious dispensation or any

community that has such a positive view

of human nature as Islam does and of

course we believe as Muslims that that

is the teaching of all prophets and all

messengers it may be clear in some

faiths and it may not be so clear and

others but it's certainly not something

that we originated or that is unique to

us but it's very clear in our tradition

and so we I'd like to talk about

and in that we'll talk about what we

should be what we should not be one of

the main verses about the futur in the

Quran is in surah number 30 which is

called a room the byzantines verse

number 30 and this verse says set your

face which means your entire being to

the religion as a seeker of truth

Hanif very difficult word to translate

and the Hanif is a person who inclines

towards truth and declines away from


I put seeker of truth I couldn't think

of anything better some people don't

even translate it so set your face to

the religion as a seeker of truth in the

primordial nature from God which is a

translation of patata law which

literally means the fitrah of God but if

we say that English we don't understand

what it means the translation here says

the primordial nature from God upon

which he originated humankind there is

no substituting anything else for what

God has created that is the upright

religion but most of humankind do not

know do this

turning unto him and reverence him and

perform the prayer and do not be among

the idolaters among those who have

divided their religion and become

factions each party rejoicing in what it

has so this is a very important verse we

can talk about it in great detail but we

won't do that tonight one of the things

we see here is that primordial nature is

there in every single human being there

are no exceptions and when we look at

some of the hadith that we'll talk about

tonight that's made explicitly clear

there are no exceptions to this rule all

human beings have this same good basic

primordial nature and then also the

verse says that

this primordial nature is fit rotolo now

the word fitrah in arabic means the way

something is created the way it's

creation is originated and everything

that exists has a fitrah cats have one

fish have one trees have one and they're

all perfectly made by God but none of

them are called fit Rotolo none of them

are called the fitrah

that is associated directly with God and

this is a genitive construction but if

we said the fitter of God as I said most

people would under miss understand it

but what it means is that this is a very

praiseworthy fit law and in fact it is

the best of all that human beings are

given the very best of natures and that

nature of theirs takes in everything

about them it takes in the way they

stand erect Li the way we walk on two

feet the way we eat the use of our thumb

it takes in also the perceptions that we

have the knowledge that we have and in

the Islamic conception of the head of

the Fatah every human being is endowed

with an infinite gift of the knowledge

of God the need and the desire to

worship God we're a race of worshipers

as Milton says that we either you've got

to serve somebody it might be the devil

and it might be the lure but you've got

to serve somebody so either we have

religions or we have secular

alternatives to them but so this

indicates that the filter of the human

being is distinctive and it and it's

very very rich in the Islamic conception

of it in my book I go into that looking

at a number of different sources of it

and also it says you know this is the

fitrah of God or from God the one that

is so great he associates it directly

with himself just like we talk about the


of God or the religion of God and also

that human beings are created on this

fitrah literally in arabic ila and again

the use of the prepositions in the Koran

is very subtle but what that means is

that this fitrah is 100% of us it's not

like 30 percent in some 40 and others

every human being has this fit to

permeate themselves no matter if they

turn out to be the worst of human beings

or the best there are no differences and

again it cannot be I put here

substituted for tibi deal it has no tip

deal some translators say it can't be

altered that's a problematic translation

because it can be altered it can be lost

just like this human hand that we have

is one of those organs in your body that

has more nerves and more sensations than

almost anything else your lips are that

way to other parts at the bottom of your

feet are like that but if I'm a laborer

working with my hands every day maybe I

don't feel anything anymore so the hands

still the hand it's not been substituted

for another hand but it doesn't have

that same sensation and although we do

alter our natures that always comes from

the outside so this is the Islamic

perspective it never comes from the

inside our scholars will even say that

if human beings were left alone just

with themselves with no negative out

influences they wouldn't need law or

anything they would be upright and they

would be correct and they would be sound

so we all have that and this indicates

of course that human beings are

perfectly created this is what we

believe God created human beings with

souls with bodies with souls with hearts

with intellects with spirit

that are free of anything contrary to

the truth that are free of any injustice

or any wrong there's nothing ugly about

us in ourselves and again as we said

then all deviation and everything that's

contrary to that it comes from the

outside let's look at another text this

is a hadith mm-hmm which is a statement

from the Prophet as the vast majority of

you know and this is one of the most

authentic of all hadith

Kalume eluding you led to an alpha trole

so this says every child is born on the

fitrah of course that's a general

statement but if we look at other

transmissions of the same hadith all of

these by the way are the most authentic

of traditions that we have Bukhari

Muslim so when I just read it in Bukhari

and Muslim and also in the what of Malik

and others but the agreed narration

between Bukhari and Muslim is there is

no child born mam in ma ludian ill

you'll eternal fatwa so there is no

child born but that it is born on the

Fatah so that's a beautiful hadith

because here if there were any doubts

about the universality of the statement

it's removed every single human being is

born with this Vitara another

transmission from Muslim which is one of

our most authentic compilations of

hadith says whoever is born is born on

this fitrah another one says every human

being is given birth by his mother on

the fatwa

concerning tele2 who you are el faro so

these are among the many proofs that

show that this is as we believe

absolutely universal in any time in any

place in any race in any civilization or

people that don't have civilization

another hadith which is again very

authentic is when the Prophet said that

God says I created my servants as her

niece as seekers of truth people who

incline towards the truth and they

disinclined away from falsehood so all

of them are created that way and then

another one in another transmission of

the same hadith the Prophet said peace

be upon him shall I not speak to you

about what God has God glorified in

majestic be he has spoken to me about in

the book or in the revelation that God

glorified in majestic be he created Adam

and his children as hanifa and as

Muslims Muslim here means people in

complete submission to God so it's not

the name of a dispensation it's the name

of a condition and then also because we

have these hadith we have others one of

our great commentators El Corte will be

from the city of Cordoba talking about

this hadith I just mentioned that God

says I created my servants as Hanif's

people inclining towards truth he says

thus if they die before attaining

maturity they will be in the garden that

is the standard opinion of Muslim

scholarship there are difference of

opinion about that but that is the

strong opinion thus if they die before

attaining maturity they will be in the

garden whether they are the children of

Muslims or of disbelievers and we have

the hadith that the Prophet in his night

journey was shown many amazing things

and in one of these the Prophet accounts

the different visions that he saw in the

night vision in the night journey and so

he said then we set forth again and we

came to a beautiful green garden

tima in which there was every beautiful

color of spring and there in the middle

of the garden was a tall man whose head

could hardly be seen because it was so

high in the sky and around the man there

were the most children that I've ever

seen and other transmissions it says the

most beautiful children that I've ever

seen I asked them the angelic visitors

who took him what is this man

what are those children they said to me

let us go let us go and so we went and

then at the end of this hadith which is

authentic this is in Bukhari at the end

of the hadith the Prophet is addressed

by the two angels and he speaks to them

and he said truly tonight I have seen

amazing things so what is it that I have

seen then they explained to him two

different things he saw and when they

come to this account of the tall man

they say that as for the tall man in the

garden it is Abraham peace be upon him

and as for the children around him they

are every child born that died on the

Fattah meaning they died before that's

been altered then some of the Muslim

said Messenger of God even the children

of idolaters and the Messenger of God

replied even the children of idolaters

let's look again at a few more texts and

then we'll conclude be easily to Allah

one of the most important texts that

pertain to the fedora is that of the

primordial covenant this is in the sewer

of the heights which is number 7 verses

172 to 173 and when your Lord took from

the children of Adam from their loins

their progeny and made them bear witness

concerning themselves

am I not mmm am I not your Lord they

said yes indeed we bear witness this was

done lest you should say on the day of

resurrection truly of this we were

heedless or lest you should say it is

only that our fathers ascribe partners

unto God beforehand and we were their

progeny after them will you destroy us

for that which the falsifiers have done

so this verse refers to what we call the

great primordial day it comes at the end

of the world that was before we believe

in five different stages of life a world

before this one this one then the

intermediate stage after death and the

resurrection then the garden and the

fire so this is a reference to the great

primordial day and this verse is the

cornerstone of Islamic sacred history

and anthropology it establishes that the

fundamental relationship between God and

all human beings is premised upon a

single unmediated recognition of his

lordship at the moment or the last

moment we could say of their pre

existence in the first world so this

great primordial day is the foundation

of God's purpose in creation this is a

day beyond days today not reckoned in

time even though it has a time and this

is the me theft as we call it the

Covenant and also it's called the Ayad

the pact this took place in our belief

according to hadith which are sound this

took place in man and not man is a dry

Valley that those of you who've made

pilgrimage have all been over that

separates the sanctuary of Mecca which

is huge from out of that where we go for

pilgrimage this is called where the


so this is actually called Nam and

that's where it took place and we have

many hadith about it which I talked

about my book so this pre earthly

agreement stamps the Fatah

on us because we believe that God

manifested himself to all of us and that

we all heard his uncreated eternal

speech and that has huge implications

because it means that we have his

knowledge stamped upon us again it makes

this covenant incredible but this

earthly agreement of this primordial

covenant between God and all human

beings then was unmediated all other

covenants were mediated by prophets and

universal every single human being it

was contracted directly between God and

every one of us from the first to the

last and again this may be regarded as

the basis of all later and specific

covenants all of which were mediated by

prophets the pauran speaks of covenants

at least 18 times you have the covenant

between God and the human beings then we

have covenants between the believers in

general we have the covenants with

Abraham with Ishmael with Abraham's

progeny covenants with the children of

Israel and covenants with the Christians

and the people people of the book as a

whole this is a very important topic and

a good thing to study the covenants so

this meeting then this stamps the Fatah

on us

and we see from this that all human


no matter how degraded they might be

because of the oppression that they live

in or the deprivation every single human

being has the most illustrious beginning

of all and this is very important this

is an extremely important belief because

this has to affect the way that we look

upon each other and the way that we look

on human beings also God declares in the