Home > Event Details Page > reclaiming-our-faith

Reclaiming our Faith

Transcript Details

Event Name: Reclaiming our Faith
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/28/2019
Transcript Version: 1

Transcript Text



sha Allah Sheikh Hamza Yusuf will be

speaking about a number of topics that

were online on those a tuna website that

the the the people got to vote on on

what topic they wanted to hear and there

was an overwhelming response on all of

the topics and people were interested in

all the topics so in Java Sheikh Hamza

will give a brief overview of all those

topics sha Allah without further ado she

comes to us a Mithila cd-rom the the

topics that were put out on the internet

and people were asked to vote on them I

thought all of them were good and so I

thought I'd just talk a little bit about

each one because I think it relates to

the conference itself what we're going

to be talking about these theological

fault lines and a lot of the problems

that we're dealing with the first one

was about two Hadees in relationship to

the current global situation of Muslims

which the first one is be kind to

neighbors whoever believes then along

the last day let him not forget about

his neighbor honor his neighbor and then

the other one was whoever believes in

along the last day let him speak well or

be silent the Leopold higher on LDLs

mode and we know in a hadith the Prophet

Salah I said him said that gibreel would

come to him and keep telling him to be

mindful of the neighbor to the point

where the prophets Elijah him said I

thought he was going to have the

neighbor be included in the inheritance

laws so that they would actually inherit

from the wealth of the person

what's interesting about the Muslim

understanding about neighbors is that

this was never understood in the history

of Islam to exclude neighbors that were

not of your faith it always included

Jews Christians and any other peoples

that were your neighbors because the

neighbor has a right over you in fact in

the waha reMed hub which was practiced

in Andalusia for some time originally

from Iranian jurist in the vehement have

they considered it prohibited to go to

bed without checking if 40 neighbors

from each direction in your hai went to

bed satiated in other words they took

literally the hadith he does not believe

in Allah and the last day who goes to

bed satiated and his neighbor is hungry

as if it negated your faith that you

could go to bed neglecting your

neighbors so what do we make now of this

interdependent world where people the

Muslims are no longer at the gates of

Vienna they're inside treating the

patients of Vienna in their hospitals

what do we make of this new situation in

some ways it's not new and that's

important to remember that the this idea

somehow of a pluralistic world and a

multicultural world is new it is new in

the West because in the Western

tradition any type of difference was

very often crushed with impunity

difference of religion was not tolerated

until really after the Protestant

revolutions and Reformation that led to

these horrible religious wars led to the

Enlightenment and then finally to

accepting other Christian sects and to a

certain degree the Jewish people

but now we see in America that people of

various faiths

living side by side we for instance our

school right now

even though we've got a campus that is

going to go through a renovation but

right now we're teaching our students in

a Baptist Seminary

so we're Muslims renting from a Baptist

Seminary now granted these are Baptists

in Berkeley California so they're

probably a little more open-minded about

having Muslims teaching their theology

in their seminary but that that is the

fact of modern American society we have

mosques where parking lots are shared

with synagogues and with churches and it

works out perfect because we show up on

Friday they show up on Saturday and the

other show up on Sunday so they have

their problems on different days but

this is a reality of American society

the ancient Muslim world was very


it was very pluralistic there was

interaction with many different cultures

in fact it's arguable that the Muslims

were eventually conquered by the

European colonialists because they had

created a world in which the military

was becoming increasingly less important

there were so many good relations

between different countries that the

Muslims were trading with the Chinese

they were trading with the Hindus they

were trading with the Christians of

Central Asia this was the reality of the

Muslim world a highly multicultural

world and you can see it linguistically

and many of their statements but the

inculcation of love of the neighbor for

Belgium and this is one of the most

important commandments of Christianity

love your neighbor as yourself love God

with all of your heart and love your

neighbor as yourself this in reality

according to Martin Luther was a

reduction of the Ten Commandments to two


Commandments because if you look at the

Ten Commandments they can be summed up

in these two commandments love God with

all your heart so that would mean

honoring the Sabbath not taking his name

in vain do it and then love your

neighbor as yourself that would mean not

coveting his goods not coveting his wife

these things so that really sums up

Christianity Judaism can be summed up

according to Rabbi Gama one of the great

scholars again love your name love God

and then love your neighbor everything

else is just commentary Christian Islam

according to Fahad Dino Rossi can be

summed up in two statements are you bad

that a holic will hit metal Hulk

worshipping the creator and serving his

creation I'll help the first hadith that

is taught in the tradition of Maha

design is the muscle cell below alia in

which the prophets eliezer him said in

an unbroken chain that's taught to this

day as the first hadith given to a

haughty student Rahim Unni or Hama Hama

Rahman aha moments that are manfred arc

ER ham comb or your hammock own memphis

emma those who show mercy though on

those in the earth the merciful will

show mercy on those who show mercy on

those in the earth so the amount of

grace that you get from God is

commensurate with the amount of grace

that you show to allows creation that's

the first hadith based on the idea that

the Prophet was a rama a mercy to all

the worlds so that leads to the next

question which is how we deal with

extremists this was put on there and I

think a lot of people voted for this if

you look right now everything is being

brought up again the news is filled with

crazy Muslims the all the talking heads


Obama has just announced a major

outreach program to the Muslims the

Muslim community in the United States

hopefully not involving entrapment right

so a lot of Muslims when they hear these

things you know it's like the Native

Americans used to say white man speaks

with forked tongue now you can say I

don't know what we'd have to do now

because not just the whites are speaking

with forked tongues anymore fright

workout better just say that a lot of

people speak with forked tongues these

days so how do we deal with our

extremists first of all it's not on us

to deal with our extremists the vast

majority of Muslims are not obliged to

be dealing with extremists those who

deal with the extremists are to law

enforcement agencies if that extremism

involves violence whether it's in the

Muslim lands or and then or in the lands

of other than the Muslims although

according to one view anywhere where

Muslims are able to pray and fast and

practice their religion it's a land of

Islam and the Prophet said Jorun idiot

or do masti than what the hora the whole

world el árbol the whole world is a

place of worship for my community and he

said go where you want and wherever you

find good stay there so how do we deal

with the extremists the law enforcement

eel with those who are violent but not

through entrapment and other things we

we come from a system of law in the West

that does not believe in pre-emptive law

enforcement in the way that it has

become imagined today in fact Eisenhower

completely another mitai 's the idea of

pre-emptive war

and he actually said that this is a Nazi

idea it's it's not we don't have that in

our understanding of a just war the idea

of oh I'm a little worried about these

people and so let's go crush them before

they crush us and we have unfortunately

a best-selling author in the United

States New York Times bestseller that

argued for a pre-emptive nuclear strike

on Muslims and there was no uproar about

that if Muslims argued for a pre-emptive

nuclear strike on Europeans or Americans

what would people be saying about that

but we have somebody here who's arguing

for a preemptive strike that it might be

necessary that's at a certain point to

kill them before they kill us this is

the type of madness that we're doing

when I was asked to speak in in

Washington about extremism I said look

extremism as an as American as apple pie

this is one of the most extreme

societies on the planet I said no we're

in the Muslim world do you have water

drinking contests to see how much water

a person can drink they had a woman die

here in Southern California in a

water-drinking contest because you can

actually upset your your your

electrolyte balance and die but they

were let's see how many they had a

cockroach eating contest where a man

died after the cockroach eating contest

and the prize for the contest was a boa

constrictor and he ate the most and

somebody said he was the life of the


well he was the death of the after-party

because he literally died from eating so

many cockroaches we're in the Muslim

world are you gonna have a watermelon

eating contest where are you gonna have

a hot dog eating contest and yet you can

go on YouTube and I'm sure you'll find

hundreds of videos of people having hot

dog eating contest that is an extreme

form of behavior we have extreme sex in

this culture we have extreme music for

the first time you asked doctors

especially those who are in

nose and throat expertise about young

people losing their hearing because

they're listening to music at extreme

levels and then if you don't think we

have extreme violence just look at some

of the gun called culture the type of

gun power that people are obsessed with

they go out and shoot machine guns you

don't need a machine gun to kill a moose

people hunt fish they fish with with

dynamite just go drop the dynamite it

blows up and all the fishes come to the


that's one way of that's not the kind of

relaxed you know I mean I mentioned last

week I saw a Chinese man flying a

Chinese kite in San Francisco in the

park you know we have a lot of Chinese

in San Francisco they go out and they do

Tai Chi publicly and they do and he was

flying his kite and it was he was like

he was doing Tai Chi and I was just

watching him and then this man came from

the indigenous culture not the ancient

indigenous culture but the indigenous

call it took me a while to work out when

because I would hear my Muslim immigrant

friends say oh he was American it took

me a while to work out that meant white

that's like a code word for white I

didn't know that you know I said what do

you mean you're American yeah

citizenship I mean white that finally

came out so anyway this was this guy was

an American he's got his supersonic kite

that made a noise that literally he

almost had to plug your ears it was like

a drone striker of kites and he was

flying this kite around yeah

yeah and making it and there's a Chinese

man just flying his kite like a Tai Chi

master and I was thinking what a

juxtaposition of two cultures one that

inculcates quietude and stillness and

harmony and the other that is obsessed

with adrenaline rushes and I know ER

doctors that go skydiving on the weekend

because nothing beats splitting open the

sternum and doing a cardiac massage like

the only thing that'll even come close

to adrenaline rush like that is

skydiving on the weekend skydiving is an

extreme sport in fact I would argue that

anybody that sky dives if they're not in

the military is a stark raving lunatic

I would never jump out of a plane unless

I absolutely had to and you'd probably

have to push me out stay even if I had

to that is a crazy thing to do Muslims

respect life they don't risk their lives

unless they have to Mauritania think

you're you're a lunatic to swim in the


Mauritania live on the ocean they never

go swimming they think people that swim

in the ocean are mad because they know

what's in the ocean that you can't see

right and in this country after when I

was a kid they had a film called Jaws

nobody swam for months after that film

because they realized what was in the

ocean so extremism is a human problem

but when you have extreme conditions a

certain type of extremism emerges when

you have the type of imbalance that we

have in the world today you cannot be

surprised at violent responses to those

incredible conditions that people are

suffering under and I would argue that

the African American situation in this

country led to the type of violent

responses even though again if you

studied Cohen tell history you'll know

that a lot of this was entrapment also

but the militancy that emerged in the


was a result of extreme conditions and I

heard Brazil Brazil insky who was in

Carter's administration I heard him give

us talk about dealing with Muslim

extremism and he said if you do not deal

with the genuine grievances like the

grievances of the african-american

community in the 1960s if you don't deal

with those grievances then you cannot

expect the type of violent response to

stop you have to look at what is being


McChrystal one of these generals who was

in charge of the special forces in Iraq

said we have to understand why they're

fighting we want to pretend like this

false narrative that oh they just don't

like us they don't like our freedoms

okay well why aren't they

bombing Sweden Sweden's a more open

society than the United States I mean

the site this mythology that has been

created around these scenarios is just

unacceptable people deserve a better

understanding of the problem and if we

don't give them a better understanding

they won't be able to address the real

issues here the real problems the

Palestinian problem has to be addressed

you're looking at over 60 years of

madness in Palestine 60 years and even

going back further into the 1920s when

you had the the British Mandate and

bringing in a lot of the Jewish

immigration and there were if you go

back and read that early period it's a

very interesting history and I was

surprised to know that the one of the

first Zionist questions I read a book by

a Zionist who argued that one of the

first questions was that they would

succeed or fail on based on how they

treated the Arabs so the original

settlers in Israel were concerned about

that problem but it just became a

response that we see the results of it

today one of my Syrian friends said to

me why isn't anything

anybody doing anything about Syria and I

said to him well welcome to the club

that's what the Palestinians have been

saying for the last 70 years this is the

human condition people are overwhelmed

but if you don't address the real

problems I'm talking about the root

problems if you look at what we have is

an emergency when we have things like

Boston and these are emergency

situations in a medical system you have

the emergency room but you also have the

intensive care unit you have the other

units that take care of people of lesser

extremes and then you also should have

in place a preventive system of medicine

where you educate the people about

exercise about staying well health care

needs to be addressed from all of the

issues the only way this country has

dealt with the extremism is like an

emergency room situation there's no

other addressing going on and this is a

major crises now in the Muslim world I

would argue again and I tent over 10

years ago on a hard talk I talked about

the type of pressure that Muslims were

under and that it was a miracle that

they hadn't blown up yet it was obvious

to me in fact the last trip that I made

to Egypt was right before the Revolution

and I said to somebody that I was with

this place is like a powder keg it's

just gonna go off because you could feel

the pressure you could feel the stress

people are living and then unfortunately

they don't make the connections that

there was a direct relationship between

the wall street collapse and the what

happened in the in the Arab world

because as the real estate collapse

suddenly everything goes into

commodities all of the basic food

commodities shot up Muslims suddenly who

were paying 20 to 30% of their salaries

on food were now paying 50 to 60 percent

and there's a tradition on Abu Dhabi

there's another in it some of the but

it's mentioned in many of the books Abu

Dharr said I'm amazed at a man

whoo-hoo the government is not providing

a situation where he can get his daily

livelihood that he doesn't pull his

sword out and go out and and and find it

st. Thomas Aquinas in the Catholic

tradition says that a man who's starving

to death is not sinful if he breaks the

window of the bakery and takes what he

needs to eat of the door ah da da ha ha

ha whoo ha people are stressed out what

do you think about the slave labor in

Bangladesh where these people are

working in these factories look at that

and some of us are wearing the clothes

that they sewed that ethically we're

participating in this incredible global

imbalance all you have to do is look at

the news I have a picture I saved it was

on the on each times it had on one side

of the front page it had the Prince of

Wales and his wife dancing and waving

wands at each other while they were

playing a game about from they were

visiting a Harry Potter Museum and there

they were dancing and waving the wands

right next to it was a Syrian man

covered in the rubble of a bomb blast

and I'm looking at these two pictures

thinking what is wrong with this picture

this is the world that we're in this is

the global situation and I and I am

everybody know people who know me

despite what these right-wing people say

but people who know me I have never

advocated never publicly or privately

people that know me privately and

publicly I have never advocated violence

I believe that modern warfare is

completely unethical I'm opposed to it

on ethical principles if the Muslims of

the past in pre-modern times when swords

and spears were their means of fighting

if they said going against the

government was prohibited because of the

great harm that it leads to in a society

what would they say today with modern

warfare with bombs with weapons of mass

destruction what would they say about

war today Muslims were not blood crazy

they did not this whole idea somehow

that it was

violent civilization no it was an ironic

civilization that loved peace and worked

hard for peace but they were living in a

war in a world in which war was the norm

today we're living in a world in which

war is is also the norm in some places

but in the majority of places it's not

we can travel all over the world for the

first time in in human history and be

relatively safe and the areas that that

are dangerous

you'll get warnings from your embassy

about visiting those places this is

unique in human history so I would argue

that extremism is not going to go away

it's not going to go away humans are

extremists and it's not going to go away

what we have to do is work out

strategies to mitigate extremism to

pacify it in a sense to give outlets for

extreme ideas that are not destructive

we have to be able to criticize we had a

lady code pink lady who interrupted

Obama the other day she goes and she

interrupted Jesus stop the drone strikes

there eight times there are eight times

more drone strikes since Obama has been

in office than Bush eight times more all

those severe we don't even know how many

sue it they say it's less than a

thousand but we don't even know there's

no real counting going on but there have

been many civilian deaths and the drone

strikes where is the accountability but

we had this lady interview in interrupts

President Obama in his address and then

when she was taken out by the Secret

Service she was interviewed afterwards

she said they they tell me it's rude to

interrupt the president I think it's

rude to drop bombs on civilians

I mean I'm sorry that's pretty solid

logic if you asked me that's pretty

solid we can't be you know the Nazis

were gentlemen they a lot of them they

were erudite Rama was a erudite man he

was a well educated man Hitler was a


he loved dogs he loved children there's

all those nice pictures of him with

children patting their heads Goebbels

was a PhD in in philosophy these were

people that listened to Vagner and

Strauss they were educated people

erudite people but they were barbarians

and and it's not progress if the

cannibals eating with forks he's still a

cannibal so it's important for us to

look at our own extremism as a nation

because it's the pot calling the kettle

black you know this guy that hacks some

guy to death in in England recently that

is a barbarian act but it's a barbarian

act where the barbarity is why it's

clear it's it's open for everybody to

see but dropping a cluster bomb from

30,000 feet is a barbarian act it just

it all of these institutions that we

have in this country and what we need to

do is ally with the good people and try

our best to mitigate the extremists in

every group wherever they are finally

about extremism as a Muslim community I

believe there's a good deal of denial in

our community I know dr. Sherman Jackson

has has highlighted this he's one of the

few scholars in our community that has

highlighted that fact I think there's a

lot of denial I got a letter a few years

back from a Somalian American who had

gone to Somalia and he wrote me a letter

and he said I used to think that this

whole argument about extremism was a

Western fabrication but I have seen

firsthand what extremist ideas do in my

own country of origin he said it's

devastating and he said please talk more

about this problem we have extremists in

many Muslim countries now and there and

there are people that getting our get

more extreme because the circumstances

are getting more extreme we have to have

serious concern about Syria they're not

allowing Syrian refugees into a lot of

the Western countries because they're


so here's real people suffering and

traditional areas that would have given

them relief like Denmark and Sweden in

these places and the United States

they're worried and they've got pressure

from their right-wing groups to say

don't let them in because they're just

going to cause problems so we have to

realize the seriousness of this in our

community our Imams need to be much more

educated about these problems I'm

getting a message to conclude two more

points fit and the future of flip in

America v is not fiction tip is is

something that is a human attempt at

understanding what God meant one of the

great scholars of Islam even Ayman

josiya wrote a famous book a lemon moth

I mean the mortar is the one who signs

in the name of and what he said is a

Mufti is essentially acting in proxy for

the Lord of the world and so he has to

be scared he has to be careful at what

he does and what he says we have a

crisis in Fatah we have shift Google

giving fatwa Sheikh blink giving fatwa

all of these search engines now where

people get fed to us we have also too

simplistic statements being made and

public forums v is a very complicated

affair it's not something that can be

reduced to sound bytes the kalam of

Islam are subtle and they're also closer

to homeopathy than a lapa 'they that

there's not one answer for every person

homeopathy looks at the individual

Chinese medicine looks at the individual

you might have too much heat you might

have too much dampness so they'll give

you different herbs than they would give

another person like the man who asked

the mufti is it okay to smoke when I'm

praying he's he's you know making dua he

said no and then another man said is it

okay to make dua if I'm smoking he said


his student said you know what are you

doing he said well the one man he's in

dicker and he wants to go to Buffalo

so I said don't do it but the other man

he's in ruffler and he wants to go to

dicker so I said do it it's a different

understanding so it's important for us

to recognize that fit is a human project

it the Sharia is from God fit is the

human understanding of Sharia and the

Prophet we don't have a theocracy that

is an alien concept in Islam we do not

have a theocracy because humans will

always apply the rulings and the ruling

of God you never know what it is in a

certain defense in fik but it with the

ruling of God it's not the best thing to

do would be to forgive so you don't know

what the ruling of God is so you cannot

have a theocracy in Islam you can only

have a no mock recei which is a rule of

law and law is a human project we've

been given a constitution from God that

we call the Quran that the store and the

hadith these are the constitutional

principles of law and there are very few

things that are fixed in stone and say

no Omar he suspended had punishment we

know this in Amman Ramada and this is

called an Walker with toe up and this is

what sheikh abdullah bin baya says and

one of the most important things in 50

of Tankian men ought to - man ought to

freedom or not there's a process of

understanding when a ruling is

applicable and it's a no suley process

that needs trained people to do it but

one of the most important elements is

type and manat which is when a

understanding what a thing is what is

the Tozawa of a thing the situation and

then what is the appropriate ruling that

is for that situation that takes a lot

of time practice mentorship with skilled

people we've neglected our fit for too

long we have unfortunately in the Shetty

high schools throughout the Muslim world

the poorest students go to them this is

a fact and we have to deal with that

fact so we have people that do not have

the requisite skill sets to be studying

Shetty that are studying Shetty

they end up causing a lot of harm we

have a lot of problems in that so in the

United States of America we need a thick

I'm a traditionalist I'm committed to

the format tab and the fifth for the the

Jonathan school for this Nadia I'm

committed to tradition but I'm also very

aware of the necessity for two Freeland

Oh sold for actually implementing an Oh

luli understanding of the situation

understanding the Mikasa the collide the

the aims and imports of Sharia and how

we apply these principles in our given

circumstances and situations so this is

a very complicated thing and finally

last thing was how to raise children in

a digital age good luck I'm doing my


it's it's a real struggle it's a daily

struggle you know I dreamed of having

children that never saw a Disney film

hey hey hey how to you know but we're in

a new era and we don't fully understand

it there's a new book that just came out

called the new digital age I haven't

read it but he's addressing this issue

that we're in a new age and we don't

fully understand it I'm looking forward

to the discussions that are going to

take place today and I and I I'm really

grateful for the show I know that you

have very busy schedules and I know that

Los Angeles and the Greater Los Angeles

area has a lot of programs and so you've

honored us and coming out to listen to

us and hear what we have to say just

like I'm gonna fight on a poodle Cody

how to a stall fiddle bloody would have

come but he cited a missing