Mecca One Interview

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Event Name: Mecca One Interview
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 6/13/2019
Transcript Version: 1

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oh the Valenti min as shaytan al rajim

bismillah under him in the name of god

the most merciful the most gracious

welcome to mecca one right here on this

station 90.5 FM k SJ s hamdullah we have

two honored guests with us today we have

a share comes a user from the zaytuna

institute and we also have imam zaid

shakir also from the zaytuna institute

visiting scholar hamdullah hopefully

permanent inshallah and a Slama like

Americans for them as you know with that

title of the topic of discussion today

was Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him

mercy to humanity and if i could start

off with the first question i know

throughout the years of the state to an

institute there have been different

topics why this year on the prophet

muhammad saw us on this phenomena him

well i would say first of all that one

of the major problems that we're facing

here in this country as muslims is that

our religion is being portrayed in a

very dark light and and also our Prophet

peace be upon him has been disparaged

has been vilified in print and visual

media has been unjustly attacked and

slandered and libeled and and so in

essence what we are hoping to do is in

our own small contribution to offset

much of that negativity by actually

portraying our prophets peace be upon

him in the true light that we believe

that he is revealed in not simply by the

Muslims which is important to note but

also by enlightened Westerners who

recognized his exalted character and his

extraordinary rank amongst the great

luminaries of human civilization in fact

michael Hart the Jewish historian who

wrote a book called the 100 most

influential personalities in history

ranked him as number one in a very fair

assessment as the most single

influential human being another example

of that is George Bernard Shaw the

extraordinary Irish writer playwright

critic who recognized the Prophet

Muhammad peace be upon him as also an

extraordinary human being and said about

him that if the world's problems were

presented to him Muhammad would solve

them over a cup of tea and many many

other Western people so that's part of

what we're trying to do is really

present the Prophet in the true light

that we see him and understand him to be

as a mercy and and part of that is

Western people need to recognize the

immense influence and impact that his

his solitary life has had on the West in

a positive way much of what we believe

to be Western is in fact from Muslim

influence and Muslim origin and source

and so that's also part of what we'd

like to do is is to stress and and

highlight more the the positive

influences that islam and the teachings

of the Prophet Muhammad peace be on

earth have had on the West I think we

should be cognizant also of the fact

that the world in general is becoming a

place where we see less and less mercy

exemplified in our relations with each

other between various ethnic groups

national groups who members of various

religions a lot of people thought with

the end of the Cold War even before that

World War one was the war to end all

wars and the belief now that we've

gotten this out of our system will be

more merciful more compassionate we'll

build a great society and we had the

horrors of World War two culminating

with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and

Nagasaki that led to the cold war with

the end of the Cold War

those great expectation will have the

peace dividend will have resources to

devote to peace towards constructing

again a more humane and merciful world

and in the aftermath of the Cold War we

had the genocide in Rwanda we had the

genocide in Bosnia we've had terrible

genocidal situations so as we move into

the 21st century and the means weapons

of mass destruction are becoming

increasingly powerful and deadly and are

beginning to proliferate and fall into

exactly fall into more and more hands

and not all of those hands are the hands

of governments we see increasingly

non-state actors getting their hands on

these things we need to look at and

explore every avenue that we possibly

can to introduce more merciful ideals

for Humanity otherwise inevitably we're

going to destroy each other would you

say that the concept of mercy is

something that we don't see anymore

these days well Mercy viswanadham rahim

mercy is is the foundation of our

existence none of us would be here if

there weren't merciful people to have

been our caretakers for the first few

years of our lives because humans unlike

many other species are incapable of

actually living independently from birth

and in fact really we need at least

seven years of serious care and

extraordinarily so there have been

actual individuals that were raised by

animals feral children wolf children and

dog children that were raised by animals

and that was actually the mercy of the

animals that helped them and one of the

things that in creation Darwin put

forward the idea of the survival of the

fittest but Kropotkin who was another

serious thinker at that time actually

had a alternative to Darwin's survival

of fittest in which he actually talked

about mutual cooperation in creation and

one of the things that dim myopathy says

in his famous book one of the Arab


about animals is that he actually saw a

cat that used to feed a bird that had a

broken wing and he actually saw this cat

feed the bird so you'll even see the

most extraordinary thing I personally

and I'm not making this up I personally

had a dog as a child my family that

nursed a kitten who'd lost its mother

and I saw that with my own eyes and

people assume that dogs and cats hate

each other so there's mercy permeating

the universe it's everywhere if we

didn't have the ozone layer there we

would just be ZACT we'd be wiped off the

face of the earth and if we didn't have

Van Allen's belts that are protecting us

from cosmic rays and solar bombardment

we just had solar flares erupt recently

if we didn't have this massive

protective barrier around our planet we

would be destroyed so there's mercy

everywhere I mean there's all the

negative things are out there as well

but I would say there's much more

positive out there happening than there

is negative but what happens the

negative people tend to focus on because

it's it's glaring it's dramatic it makes

news and people tend to forget about all

the extraordinary right now how many

women are breastfeeding their children

those are all acts of mercy and I would

challenge anybody to tell me that there

are more acts of harm or violence

towards people happening right now than

there are acts of mercy because I know

it's the opposite every time somebody

drives according to the law that they're

acting mercifully towards other people

because we know when people start Lane

weaving they're endangering the lives of

others so just acting according to the

law is showing compassion towards your

fellow human beings as well as

intelligently guarding your own life do

you want to add anything you wanted I

think that if we consider the fact that

most people and most nations are at

peace with each other

most of the time we can begin to see the

manifestations of mercy and our lives

and our individual lives and in our

national lives so the idea this happy

Zia notion of a war of all against all

this it's just it's not true and it's

not founded on actual human experience

so I think we have to be optimistic we

have to believe that yes people are

merciful as shaykh hamza pointed out the

mother to the child the teacher to the

student this is mercy also because a

human being to be successful not only

needs to grow physically but also needs

to grow intellectually and spiritually

and the fact that intellectual growth is

happening spiritual growth is happening

even in diminished terms in recent

history but it's still happening and it

can be increased and it can be magnified

and we have as people ordinary people we

have to believe that and believe that we

can make a difference in creating a more

merciful world so that's one of the

ideas we want to get across in this

program mohamed mursi for Humanity that

the potential is there would you guys

like to comment on why the Prophet

Muhammad peace be upon 0 is known as

mercy to humanity some of the key points

if you could point some things out to us

as to why that is well I this one out of

him I mean I would say that anybody who

examines his life his entire life we'll

see right from the beginning he told us

that there has been no profit except

that he took care of sheep because sheep

are the weakest of the mammalian

creatures and in taking care of sheep

one learns to be compassionate for weak

and animals of low intelligence in

relation to other animals so just from

the right from the start he had an

extraordinary sense of compassion in his

life he was known to be incredibly kind

to people he was beloved by anyone who


and when he begins his mission the

extraordinary patience and forbearance

that he showed and and I'll give you an

example we had a the other day we had a

conference of sanctity of life and one

of the Buddhist teachers who came to

talk was speaking about compassion and

this this Buddhist man said that that in

his tradition in order to fully realize

one's humanity one even has to forgive

those who killed one's parents and I

thought that was really interesting that

he said that because it reminded me of

the fact that the Prophet Muhammad peace

be upon him actually forgave the woman

and the hired assassin who killed his

uncle Hamza and according to the Arabs

the uncle is the same as the father in

Arabian tradition the uncle has the same

status as the father and serves as a

surrogate father and the Prophet

Muhammad peace be upon him was an orphan

so he actually forgave a person who

killed his father and he did that as an

example for all of us so so the

extraordinary capacity for forgiveness

because is one thing to pardon somebody

there's a difference between pardon and

forgiveness pardoning is where you don't

take somebody to account you don't

redress that wrong through some justice

system but you can still hate that

person so you can pardon somebody but

still hate them and feel resentment or

anger whereas forgiveness does not

entail pardoning in other words you can

actually still have justice done if

somebody kills a family member of yours

they can serve their time or even be

executed but forgiveness is when you

actually forgive them in your heart and

that is that is from from recognizing

one that we're all human than any wrong

that you see in the world is ultimately

something that you as a human are

capable of doing yourself even though we

don't like to imagine that but given the

circumstances raja buddhist mahany said


the great theologians of the Muslim

world he was a Persian he said that

anytime you see some vileness in another

creature you should know that it's

either in you manifest or it is innate

in you like fire in Flint in other words

if you strike it if you give the same

circumstances as that individual had you

can actually do the same thing we've

we've got many examples of that

historically we're good people turn into

mad people Nazi Germany is an example of

that I mean the large numbers of that

population just went into a type of

social madness the same is true during

the Crusades I mean many examples and

even the Muslims unfortunately have

historical episodes where they too

perpetrated crimes that were totally

against their values and their their

self-interests and and their humanity so

the mercy of the prophet Elijah in his

ability his capacity and his example of

forgiveness is one of the things that

that that I'm always struck by and in

awe of in my own struggle to relieve

those who have wronged me or and and

hope that others who've i've wronged

forgive me as well I want to switch

gears a little bit with a little

personal question I have for both of you

well I noticed that your car was a stick

shift it had a I haven't seen one of

those in a long time so really yeah it's

all okay you can switch gears I use

automatic though oh so that's you you do

it more swiftly I'm just kidding okay I

wanted to ask what role do you feel the

Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him plays

in your own life in my own life right

well he plays the role of role model

that is that's the central I mean every

every day of my life I can honestly say

I don't think any day has gone by that

I haven't benefited and learned from his

wisdom since I became a Muslim and I

hope that's a true statement but I

believe that that is true and when I

have behaved in my best behavior it has

always been an emulation of him and

whenever I have fallen short it is from

being remiss about the example that he

gave me so i will give you one example

in just in terms of my parents you know

i think i was a reasonably good son

before I became Muslim but after I

became Muslim as my knowledge increased

my theory of what was used to be called

filial piety or my awareness of my my

obligations towards my parents increased

and I think my parents recognize that

and that came directly as a result of a

commitment to Islam and the the Prophet

peace be upon him his words every single

day I can honestly say I benefit from

his words or his sayings the day doesn't

go by that I don't read a hadith which

is one of his sayings or reflect on one

of his sayings so I can honestly say he

is central to my life he's not in any

way peripheral mama say I would ditto

everything that she comes i said i would

like to just add a similar example in

terms of my relationship with my own

father it was very strained we were

large family seven children and my

father basically wasn't in the picture

for most of our childhood so my mother

was struggling to raise us and as the

years went by I developed a deep

resentment towards my father even to the

point of I i can remember having a

physical altercation with him and many

of my brothers and sisters they just

assumed I hated my father they would say

you hate pops and in any case when I

became Muslim and studied the life of

the prophet salallahu with send them

peace and blessings of God be upon him

I sought out my father and reformed

relations with them and now we have a

wonderful relationship and I tribute

that to the guidance and teachings of

the prophets allah Lila will seldom so

that's just a small example and we could

spend this entire program and probably

the next three or four programs just on

answering this question so I'm going to

just leave it at that you know I just

like to add to that is one of the things

that this society suffers from I really

believe is and not just America I mean

this is a global problem is

relationships between children and their

parents I mean we if you go into any

self-help book store in America you'll

see shelves of books dealing with toxic

parents overcoming toxic parents you

know all these problems out there you

see that and one of the things in

Christianity there's a concept in

Catholicism known as Caritas which is

what we get our word for charity and

carry toss is a type of love that is

solely for the sake of God and the

reason that you love your parents even

if your parents were the worst parents

imaginable the reason you love your

parents is for the sake of God because

God made them the source of your

existence and and God knew we believe

that God knew what he was doing and so

when the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon

him teaches us to honor Revere and love

our parents he doesn't he's not assuming

that we had a good relationship with our

parents that is actually a commandment

from God and in doing that I guarantee

you anybody out there who's listening if

you're not a Muslim I guarantee you that

even in doing that you will find a

spiritual satisfaction from

reestablishing that relationship and

working to overcome those struggles and

unfortunately I mean there are some

insoluble problems out there i'm not

going to say that that i mean i really

do think that there are

or some where a parent has just become

so vile and wicked or a son or a

daughter has done the same that it

becomes a an intractable problem but but

i think that is rare that is not in any

way the norm i think most people out

there actually are yearning to

re-establish that connection and once

the parent dies the opportunity or the

child the opportunity goes and they'll

only be regret and remorse I often hear

about you know Jerry Springer or other

type shows how they come out sometimes

you know against the parent in a

horrific manner that I'm just stricken

with awe just watching that you really

feel that this is prevalent in our

culture that the parents have just been

degraded to that you love it Fighting's

me you know because honor thy parents is

that is a that is a universal yet that

your days may be long that is and that's

the same in Islamic tradition as well

one of the things that increases one's

lifespan is bitter at wadi dane or

filial piety towards penn but i really

feel that this is one of the greatest

problems on the planet today and it's a

two-way street and and i'm not saying

you know the the burden is solely on the

children is a two-way street i mean one

of the things interesting and

christianity is that Paul in Corinthians

mentioned he says children honor thy

parents and then immediately after that

he says parents do not give your

children excuse for dishonouring you and

so people forget that too and that's

also echoed in the Islamic tradition

when a man came to Amira meanie Nadia

that have you thought him and he said to

him who's the fourth caliph he said to

him my son is not showing me piety

dishonouring me and imam ali said how

did you treat him when he was young and

he said i didn't treat him well and then

he said then what are you expecting in

other words you know this is a perennial

problem but we should not allow

ourselves to fall into these patterns

with cycles can be broken and mercy you

know what what mercy really is

it's when that is interjected into any

situation to defuse that other energy

that is out there the the hatred the

contempt the animosity those things that

caused so much human suffering when

mercy is is introduced the power of

mercy is such that it often obliterates

these other emotions and the Quran

reminds us in fact bility heey accent

the levive an evolved an aha i dial tone

under who what do you know I mean that

we pay a wrong with a right and you will

see that the one between you and him is

filled with animosity suddenly he

becomes like a close friend a loving

friend well you and having a protecting

friend who's warm and impassioned toward

you and I have seen that many times that

Quranic verse can be tried and applied

in the real world I wanted to switch

gears again if you don't mind I wanted

to talk a little bit Bell higher or

lower new hondas I want to go in neutral

I wanted to switch gears and talk about

the border and just your thoughts on it

for those of us who are not familiar

with the clear in the club the Buddha

according to dr. Timothy winter of the

Hakim who's a professor at Cambridge

University he said that this is the

single most important poem in human

history and he's saying that as a

historian he teaches history and

theology at Cambridge he said if you if

you look you will find no other poem

that has had the impact in the world

that that poem has had and he's

including the iliad and odyssey in all

these poems millions of people in human

history have memorized it in its

entirety it is still sung to this day

all over the Muslim world read there are

literally hundreds of commentaries on it

and it had a central position in

devotional practices in the Muslim world

that was used as a devotional tool based

upon the the verse in the Quran yahan

no son lo la was sending me to cinema or

you believe invoke blessings and

salutations on the Prophet Muhammad

peace be upon him and so I cannot

underestimate in any way the importance

and the centrality that that poem has

had in Islamic history and part of why I

translated it and sand Allah published

it and we recorded the Fez singer

singing it that was really in order to

introduce it to the West because Muslims

in the West I think are not familiar

with a lot of the extraordinary

devotional traditions that have existed

in the Muslim world encouraged by our

greatest scholars and if you're

interested you can look on the sand

allah if you put SI and da la on the

website you'll come up with the the

website and those there was a very nice

Tom Chandler of Rasputin dot-org wrote a

very nice this was a non-muslim who

heard it and he actually called it an

antidepressant which I thought was

really interesting because traditionally

that's what it was known as was a

healing and it's also called at Borah

which means the Cure imam zaid any

comments on birthday I think what I

would like to add is just the importance

of devotional practice because people

are starving spiritually we overeat

physically and we say she ate our carnal

appetites but our spiritual appetites

are unmet and we're literally starving

in this country even in the Muslim

countries you can see a lot of the

traditional institutions a lot of the

traditional manifestations of a

religious Society of gone the cities

were designed in a way to soothe the

soul there were gardens at the center of

everything was the Great Mosque

everything was designed to

to soothe the soul the music we have

music that might sound like a heretical

concept for many Muslims in our day and

times but we had a very rich tradition

of spiritual and devotional music we had

gatherings where the spirit was allowed

to to freely exercise itself and a lot

of these practices are gone now so if

we're going to be victims of many of the

things that have afflicted many people

here in the West and speaking generally

not trying to indict anyone for anything

because as I'm saying in the Muslim

countries were suffering from the same

maladies but the alienation the enemy

and all of these modern psychological

conditions that are byproducts of an

environment that is not nurturing to the

spirit unless we're going to fall victim

to these things and we don't have the

sort of infrastructure to deal with the

the damage that results here you have a

network of psychiatric hospitals and

counselors and therapists but we don't

have that in the Muslim world so we're

going to really create a very dangerous

or we're in the process of creating a

very dangerous situation I think the

board is a good step towards effecting a

cure for a lot of those maladies and one

of the things I want to add a lot of

Muslims aren't aware in traditional

Greek philosophy there was something

nose etho Spirit came out of Pythagorean

thought the power of music that it had

and in fact play-doh in his Republic

bands music from the Republic and

artists and one of the reasons that is

given is that musicians do not

understand the power of music and the

effect that music has on the soul much

of what you're hearing over the radio

waves you're not really aware that its


and that you yourself or vibrations and

we know that when when in in in atomic

theory there are certain things that are

congruous and others that are in

congruence and and and chemical bonds

occur because of affinities that exists

between vibrations and resonances and

there are dark musical forces out there

and a lot of these musicians don't even

realize what they're doing I mean

they're actually really harming people

they're creating agitation in their

hearts they're creating agitations in

their souls and there's people that will

actually become violent or become

sexually aggressive because of what's

happening to their souls and they're not

even aware of it and that is not

everybody I'm not saying it's everybody

but there are people that have those

sensitivities to these types of

vibrations and that's that's what what

ends up happening and and one of the

interesting things about traditional

religious music it was entirely done

without what is known in in music as

harmony in other words there were no

thirds and fists that were used it was

done in octave so when you had any

differences you would actually move to

octopus what was traditionally in

Christianity known as Church plainsong

and moving into the octave had a

different effect on the soul so there's

actual science behind this what are

known as the mahkumat and the no bath

and the far back and this also relates

to humoral theory it's very profound and

so the music that was done traditionally

in the Muslim world known as some app

which actually means audition it's

hearing because ultimately what it is is

listening and so there are people that

can hear something I mean there's see

you can hear a song like Sinead O'Connor

nothing compares to you but that was a

popular song a lot of people heard that

now there's somebody that hears that and

all they can think about is leisa

committee shape nothing compares to you

to God I mean there's other people to

hear that may think of their lover or

they think of their you know

whoever they so there's people out there

that will hear something that is mundane

or profane and they will actually hear

the sacred and the celestial in it and

that is why traditionally the scholars

called it addition because it's actually

hearing it's what you are hearing and

and this is one of the powers of music

and this society unfortunately

manipulates people and I'll just give

you one example Steven Spielberg is a

master of musical manipulation and you

if you watch a Steven Spielberg film he

knows exactly how to get tears out of

you simply by the type of music that he

chooses at the most emotive points in

his film and that's why many people will

cry watching a Steven Spielberg film

which is actually a fiction and that's

what they call sentimentality and

sentimentality is a wretched human

quality I mean you're weeping for a

fictional character who's dying of

cancer and you're not visiting children

in a cancer ward in the hospital that's

right outside your door and and this is

what happens to our societies we end up

getting manipulated constantly our

emotions unmanipulated there's

commercials that use music to manipulate

you so you get jingles you know when

when I was growing up it was plop plop

fizz fizz oh what a relief it is and I

you know I'd like to find the character

that wrote that jingles I could punch

him in the face for actually implanting

and in my brain permanently you know one

thing that's interesting which I don't

recommend people to do and that is to

watch MTV with the mute on and if you

just watch the bat is my video they take

the sound off and look how crazy they

look like I'm lightning it is no it's

not like animals be fair to animals yeah

I don't like don't diss the animals do

not diss the animals I think that got a

lot of brothers out there calling each

other dog what's up dog right unless you

know the dogs out there Sam and these

cats are giving us dogs a bad name

because the dog has caused his loyalty

right right

his loyal man's best friend and these

human dogs aren't loyal to anyone they

treat women like a dog would never treat

so exactly so you know these cats are

giving the dogs the bad name so don't

don't respect the animals by comparing

this human this poor excuse for a human

being to an animal how do we get off on

that tangent i think i am going to come

out with a song we don't diss the dog

don't dis the dogs yeah after that we

only have like four minutes left for the

show I wanted to ask you what are your

long-term goals for zaytuna what do you

hope to see happening well I mean

ultimately zaytuna is an educational

institute we're committed to to trying

to help remove the ignorance out there I

mean we feel that that what is

confronting humanity everywhere is

ignorance and we want to remove

ignorance and embedded in the word

ignorance is the word ignore and when

you ignore things that are important

it's a display of your ignorance and

Islam is important one out of every five

people is Muslim just like i would

encourage muslims to learn about and to

have a greater respect for other

traditions that are out there I also

encourage non-muslims to actually find

out about Islam because even if you

don't become a Muslim in order to be an

educated person in the 21st century you

should know what one out of every five

people believe just like you should know

the basic principles and tenets of

Christianity and most people are not

afraid of Christianity and there are

certain types of Christianity that I'm

afraid of but the majority of Christians

I have no problem with whatsoever and I

have family members that are Christian

and they're good people and and that is

also true for Muslims the majority of

Muslims are good law-abiding people and

actually some of the best neighbors that

you could ever have and that and that

I'm not exaggerating that but

unfortunately there's also some

hot-headed there's some angry there

some resentful there's some impatient

and there's some deeply misguided

Muslims out there like any religion or

faith but they represent a very small

minority unfortunately very

statistically insignificant groups now

can have an immense impact and an

extravagant display of their rage that

ends up reflecting poorly on all of the

other adherence to that group but

intelligent people should never fall

into the fallacy of composition which is

a logical fallacy where you imply just

because one member has characteristics

you apply it to all members so if you

have a bad experience with a Jew

suddenly every Jew is bad or a bad

experience with a Hindu every Hindu is

bad or or a humanist or whoever's out

there or black person or a yellow person

or a red person or a white person so

we're about trying to eliminate remove

ignorance in our own selves because we

still have those those qualities and and

we don't just not some manichean

melodramatic worldview that we're

putting out there we recognize that we

we have work to do ourselves and that's

why we're committed to increasing our

knowledge practicing that knowledge and

also to spreading that knowledge to

those who are willing to give it an ear

and and eventually to also try to grow

and benefit from it okay that actually

concludes our show just like a la fair

for spending some time with us Jeff

comes a Yusuf an imam zaid checker well

you know thank you very much on there

and you know may you be blessed in all

your work here and and hopefully you

guys can be on soon inshallah alright

that's not like

Makka 10 archie that's www mgc CA Ong

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