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Signs of the end of time

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Event Name: Signs of the end of time
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/30/2019
Transcript Version: 1


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itute people 4050 years ago and when

I was in the United Arab Emirates I was

once in in the muds of Sheikh Sultan Al

Qasimi who's the ruler of Sharjah and

you know they're very kind of pomp type

pompous modulus you know there's a lot

of protocol things but there was this

guy that came in literally in almost

rags and he came in dirty and he

barefoot comes walking in quite

arrogantly goes up to the ruler shakes

his hand then sits down and I asked a

person next to me who's that he said

it's his cousin you know but he's still

like a Bedouin out in the he lives out

and it was just you know he's a bedroom

guy losing a tent but you know his his

cousin had become the ruler of the

country so I I thought that was really

interesting this idea of these you know

poor people and then building a very

interesting phenomenon in Arabia is

building buildings and then another

Sheikh getting upset because so-and-so

built a taller building than him he'll

actually tear down his building and

build up one taller than the second one

right and this is also in our own

culture the New York you know the the

Empire State Building was the tallest

and then the Chicago building one up

them and then the World Trade Center and

then you have now

Malaysia interestingly enough very proud

the Malaysians are very proud that they

now have the tallest building in the

world and you know somebody had it on

the cover of a Muslim magazine and they

asked me what I thought I said I think

it's really interesting that the Muslims

are proud of being part of fulfilling

the signs at the end of time right

because it's seen as a very negative

thing not a positive thing and then also

there's another way to look at this of

building tall buildings like these kind

of wretched people and that is the idea

of of building lofty ideas and building

ideological structures because the Quran

talks about the building of taqwa

boo-yah know taqwa right the building of

God consciousness and awareness so the

idea also of wretched people creating

lofty ideologies that many people will

follow and think that they're the truth

and things like that so these is just a

very quick overview about it and then

also finally I think the point of all of

that is that time does come to an end

that the human condition does come to an

end and that's how Islam contextualizes

history is that there is an end that is

imminent again I think for the

individual person the imminence of the

end of time is always related to their

own personal death but there is an idea

also and then there's another important

I think a very important idea within the

Islamic tradition and that is that each

generation will be less they will be

fulfilling the idea of this dimensional

Islam of amen is some SN they will not

do it as well as the previous generation

that there is an idea that each

generation is a watered-down version

there are periods of renewal

historically in the Prophet Muhammad did

say that that there would be renewer

every hundred years or so there would be

people that come and renew but the idea

that it's not the same I mean I think

the Muslims do have an idea

traditional Muslims anyway that it's not

so much progress but quite the opposite

one of the things rented genome pointed

out about the rapid speed of progress

you said one of the things that we

forget is increasing acceleration means

going down not up right that the idea of

the modern world and I think there's a

lot of questioning now of the wisdom of

the you know the idea bacon introduced

the idea of progress because prior to

that the Christians did not have that

idea within their worldview of that we

are progressing they had quite a

different idea and I think ultimately

from the Muslim world view and also from

other traditional worldviews that the

you know that the same ethical issues

that that the Plato is positing through

Socrates you know what is justice you

know how do we lead a good life what is

a good life these things we have not

come any closer

right to really you know progressing in

terms of our ethical nature in terms of

our spiritual nature that although we

have massive outward technology able to

do extraordinary things

bring the living back bring the dead

back to life you know move mountains

quite literally despite that we are

still dealing with basic human

tendencies such as greed lust and the

slothfulness it's hard to get away from

those and in some ways were less aware

of our own negative tendencies than

perhaps people's before us were and more

filled with our own sense of hubris and

our own sense of power although

certainly the 20th century is is a

century that has created a lot of

disillusionment you know we've killed a

hundred and eighty million people this

century alone in wars between human

beings and it's interesting that they

weren't religious

Wars there were ideological Wars you

know because one of the oftentimes

critics of religion will point out well

look how many people died in the name of

religion well look how many people died

in the name of communism right I mean we

forget that we're dealing with a human

species

that it's not the religion is not the

problem man is the problem right and if

there's a humanizing factor in the human

condition as far as I'm concerned it has

been religion that religion is what has

introduced into the human being concepts

like making beauty that concepts like

becoming conscientious charity right

carry tasks you know these these things

the Kairos all of these things are

coming out of religious traditions and

the Muslims always in and God knows best

I'm going to open it up for some

questions if people want to go there

believe me you're most welcome to go

this is my last talk that that you know

that I have with you and I just would

like to say my presentations you know

I'm I adhere to the teaching of Islam

and I do believe in Islam and I tend to

take a more devotional approach than say

some other academic approaches you know

that that is my I really try not to

preach to people because I never have

ever liked being preached to in my life

so I really try to do that but if it has

come off as that you know I would

apologize to anybody if I said anything

in any way that offended people or their

tradition or their own beliefs that I

also apologize for that that was not my

intention if that was the result then I

would just ask that I would be excused

for that graciously and then I would

also just like to say that this has

really been a very good and enriching

experience for me it always is and I've

been appreciative the fact Darla's song

has invited me back but I would like to

say this has benefit for me a very good

group and I'm not just you know I didn't

say that to the last groups I really

have enjoyed this group personally you

know I think you've all been

just really just a good group and you're

all teachers so you know a teacher likes

nothing better than having good students

and and so I've honored and grateful

that that's been the case so having said

all that I'll just say if anybody has

any questions that I could answer or

anything I had a question that just came

up in my mind like it's about time but

it's not directed to you election I

notice it and the MAS there was a list

of when the five prayer times were and

they changed every day right I guess

it's late to the lights of the day is

there a place where how would you find

out what the prayer times are where your

geographical living ground you read

through that again my guru second I

think in the beginning of the Islam

lecture I talked about how to find the

prayer times and they are based on the

Sun and the movement of the Sun they're

easy to determine unless you live in an

area in which the Sun is clouded over so

you don't see it and in that case

generally the scholars have permitted

the use of astronomical means of

determining so you haven't really hit a

time like you do right but we actually

personally I don't follow that that's

put there for like cloudy days and

things like that I will look outside at

the natural phenomena to determine my

prayer times that's what I do there are

many Muslims that depend on the prayer

schedule traditionally it's alien to

these because there's an importance in

being aware of cosmic phenomena I mean

the the Muslim tradition really does try

to connect you to the movement of the

planets the Stars the Sun uh-huh

tomorrow

yeah that's a good idea

why don't if we have a sunny day because

we really need a sunny day I mean I can

do it without it but if we have a sunny

day then if you meet me outside at about

1:30 I can do it if you don't have

anything going on then uh-huh I like

your response

today's paper Molly ever has a editor

from the Fort Worth star-telegram she

opens up by saying the Shiite Republican

plot against House Speaker Newt Gingrich

this comes a dolt

how do you react to the use of the term

she angry father well this is a that's a

good example of the introduction of

terms into our culture through the media

that that have negative stereotypes

attached to them for most people shiite

has a very negative and so he's talking

within a cultural discourse that's

understood by his readers negative

Shiite is negative and that's how it's

being introduced for an Iranian who

happens to be an American Iranian you

know he's going to be offended by that

it's part of the problem with language

is that we you know that there's an idea

I mean political correctness has a lot

of problems associated with it because

it we take it to such absurd lengths you

know but but there is an idea of just

being sensitive to people's cultures and

one of the things that the Quran says is

we create you in peoples and tribes that

you might come to know one another and

the most noblest of you are the most God

weary the Thomas Cleary one of the

things that he said about that verse is

he said that you know we talk about the

problem of racism the problem of all of

these attitudes but we've never really

examined how do we break these down and

and he thought that that Parana

conjunction there that to come to know

one another you know and this part of

what this is all about you know this is

literally trying to come to know a

tradition how do they view the world

how do you look at things as a way of

understanding of people and I think the

Muslims are as guilty as any other

people of being narrow and and and not

trying to understand other there are

some Muslims that come here bringing a

lot of their attitudes from other places

and when you come to America you have to

learn what is appropriate within this

culture you have to learn that that you

know that you're a guest in a host

country and the same would I think would

be for Americans going to a Muslim

country you know you are a guest in a

host country we in this culture we have

a saying when in Rome do as the Romans

do and there's a wisdom there in that

you you you have to recognize that there

are sensitivities now part of the

problem and this is a good example that

you've brought up is the globalization

of our world we are no longer isolated

communities the Turk is no longer the

barbarian at the gates of Vienna scaring

us right the Turk is your doctor right I

mean seriously

we're dealing in a in a world where

these barriers have been broken down

there is a great opportunity here there

is a great opportunity there's also just

as the Chinese know because they're

ideograms for opportunity is their

ideogram for crises we are in a crisis

State as well right we do have white

supremacists in this country we have a

very strong anti-semitic element in this

country we have an anti Arab sand

niggers right we have people that do

look at the world in these terms

we're trying to break this down you know

we're trying to create some civilization

here some some humanity it's a it's a

daunting task you know but hopefully we

can rise to the occasion I think this is

I mean you know we can stereotypically

say well what do you expect from Dallas

right I mean weak I can do that I say

well that's just a southern redneck

right he might be a bit sounds like he's

a liberal you

he might be excuse me she I'm sorry yeah

so they're stereotyped something like

that must come from a man so you know

the idea is that we can it's very easy

to stereotype pigeonhole people do these

things but unfortunately it creates a

lot of animosity a lot of a lot of

turbulence and trouble

the another example of that is the word

jihad which is a very very high word in

Islam it's not a low I mean seen as I'm

really in the same way we use a crusade

in in our culture a crusade is a good

thing he led a crusade against drugs in

the Muslim culture crusade it has a very

negative connotation right it does it

for english-speaking Muslims who know

the word crusade it really conjures up

people coming in and slaughtering and

attacking and pillaging the Muslim

heartland so it you know language is

very very problematic and and I

personally I you know I just this is

something we live with you know I think

being for me being an American who

became a Muslim was very interesting for

me because I grew up part of the

dominant culture I am you know I'm a

white American I went to very elite

schools in this country you know I had

very a lot of opportunities a lot of

other people didn't have but then

becoming a Muslim and seeing how you

know a lot of Americans relate to me as

a Muslim you know it suddenly changes

and I did change my name which you don't

have to I I was quite young when I

became Muslim and a name was given to me

and I took it in retrospect you know I

really don't think that you well I know

that you don't have to and I don't know

if it's really that why is it the thing

to do because I think it creates this

idea that well you have to be an Arab to

become Muslim or you have to you know

that doesn't many American Muslims that

do not change their name right but the

fact that I do have my legal name is my

Muslim name has really caused some very

interesting things to happen to me and

my wife was she's you know Native

American Mexican in

and she you know because she wears the

hijab she during the Gulf crisis she was

spat at told to go home go back where

you came from

right it was kind of ironic because you

know she I told you you need to tell him

that you don't need to get on a plane or

a boat to go back where you came from

yeah and she's from the air this her

roots are R from the Sonora Desert so

very interesting you know and she was in

a supermarket once with the Javan there

was a young Mexican girl there who said

you know the baby was in the the basket

and the woman wanted to put the

groceries into the basket and they were

both Mexican and one of them said to the

other you know in Spanish just knock him

out of the way and you know my wife was

so upset about that and she very gentle

soul she didn't say anything I told you

should have told them you know I speak

Spanish and that's not and I got upset I

went back to the store you know and I

just I saw the manager and I told him

what happened I also reminded him that a

good because it's a store right next to

a very large Muslim population they have

a lot of Muslims that buy there which is

always bottom line if you can bring that

in get some action right son I just told

him what happened he was really

horrified and and you know said he would

talk to two people but you know we

forget that that these things do happen

is very interesting occurrence is to

feel the brunt of that

you know black like me that type of

thing where you suddenly realize there

is another world of experience for other

people and for the Muslim it's just by

the fact that they're Muslim it's not

you know yeah it's very interesting so

it's it goes back to some real basic

prejudices and some basic things and

hopefully you know I tend to be an

optimist

I'm skeptical a lot of things but I tend

to be an optimist so and and the Quran

does say don't don't despair it's not a

good thing to do it's the only

unforgivable sin for the Catholics

so uh-huh don't despair again it's part

of you know if you go in the way I look

at it humanity had a beginning just like

I had a beginning as a child I've grown

into my adulthood I will grow old if I

have a full life I may even become

decrepit at the end of my life right

this is part of the natural process you

know humanity had its maturity it will

have its it's decay and it will have its

old age and it will have its decrepit

period and then it comes to an end for

something new to happen from my

perspective so you know the way the

Muslims view everything is majesty

beauty and God according to the Quran is

the possessor of majesty and beauty

they're both from God so we are in a

very majestic time we're in a time where

there's a lot of tribulation this

country alone we don't I don't think we

realize the extent of our troubles in

this country if we just look at the

natural disasters in this country you

know in the 1980s insurance companies

were paying out five billion dollars a

week a year in in terms of natural

disasters we're now paying five billion

a week you know we've had a lot of

devastation in this country just in the

last ten years just in terms of naturals

that our topsoil is disappearing right

we're grossly over using our resources

our children are really getting lost in

a lot of very confusing messes our media

is extraordinarily you know pervasive

and in its you know the violence that is

putting out there and a lot of very

negative messages in the midst of that

there are some very positive things

happening you know and I would tend to

rather be identified and be part of

what's positive than just you know what

one man said well Heidegger said as well

we're way beyond pessimism and optimism

depressions a luxury

the world's coming to an end I'm

depressed you know no this is the a

you know this is the age it's like the

way I look at it you know there's a

scene in Gone with the Wind where she's

running through Atlanta and everybody's

just stretched out you know wounded and

dead you can either run through it or

you can just sit and offer somebody

water and Pat them on the back and just

say you know we're human this is it this

is the human condition it's awesome it's

incredible it's glorious

it's majestic it's beautiful it's

intense it's tragic

it's kamek it's all these elements and

and that's part of the the power and the

wonder of the whole thing so I'm going

to choose to remain positive about it

and I hope all of you do to your

teachers you can't get depressed

you know I saw wonderful program once on

PBS which was about the black schools

and and there were very very powerful

experience but there was a white man who

had been teaching in inner cities for a

very long time in since the early 1960s

and he was just saying how bad it was

getting and that he was losing hope and

that this just the faces you know the

lack of light in these young black

children's faces in these inner cities

it was just it was driving and he was

literally saying I'm just losing hope

I'm giving up and the black man jumped

up and he said you know we've suffered

we went we went through slavery went

through coming over the you know the

great crossing he said you're not going

to tell us there's no hope we sang songs

to get us through it you know and that's

the joy of the human you know the human

being is we're people of hope like the

rats and if the rats you know can do it

you know we can do it yeah really

that's that's our greatness that we do

have hope and despite all the odds right

so let's hopefully we're not like the

people on the Titanic that think the

ship is unsinkable and get to

arrogant right the band plays on and we

all go down