The Jewels of the Qur'an Session 1

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Event Name: The Jewels of the Qur'an Session 1
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Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 4/22/2022
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br /> and then the philosopher the rationalists and then the the botania the occultists
like people that seek knowledge through the occult through hidden arcane knowledge esoteric
knowledge and and then finally the mystics who at that time were called sophia
which should not be confused with what a lot of people associate with so called sufiya because there's imam
al-khazadi was one of the great critics of these so-called sufis and he was actually if you look at him
he's far more critical of sufism than than uh than not in the yeah he's
constantly condemning a lot of practices but he recognized intuition that the the knowledge that
that the uh the the people of tasaw are talking about is intuitive knowledge
it's kash knowledge and he realizes that this is essentially real knowledge because there's a
berkeley professor paul fierio band who wrote a book called against method in which he argued it's a very radical
book and i'm not i'm not recommending people read it but i did read it many many years ago
and one of the arguments he made which is very interesting in the book is that he said that scientific method
has never helped any major discoveries in science all major discoveries in science were
intuitive scientific method is what helps the dummies understand it
but but the actual breakthroughs came from great moments of insight and you will find this many of the nobel
prize winners i mean linus pauling who won the nobel prize in in chemistry he had he he saw
the whole thing in a fever like in his mind now one could argue all their study
helps produce those moments and that's very possible but the point is intuition is an underrated understanding
of knowledge heads because all of knowledge is founded on the concept and the concept is
mystical in its essence just the fact that we have consciousness the fact that we can see things
and perceive them and then take the one out of the many an abstract and
all these things are coming out of an intuitive source that we don't understand some
will call it the agent intellect there's there's a lot of debates about where that knowledge comes from but essentially
it is a mystical type of knowledge that is the foundation of all knowledge and so he realized that that was the
real true knowledge but it's not easily acquired and and so um he goes into seclusion
this is a very early i think this is the first picture of damascus if you see the minaret on the right apparently that is the
minaret where he actually resided for uh uh over a year
some say 18 months i mean there's debates about this even in his own book there are some debates i mean some
people have accused him of prevarication in the book which i don't think is fair because
first of all people when he was in the state that he
was in one wonders just what was going on in his mind because he was in a very
profound state of um aporia so
but he does spend time there and this is where he begins to write the ulamadin this is part of his project but
not all of his project and then he actually goes to damascus to jerusalem
and he writes
which is really a fundamental book in in qaddam which i'll get to and then he
goes uh some say he visits egypt there's a debate about this he was
planning on visit visiting yusuf tashifin yusuf teshafeen is the great muraba
leader who who actually conquers andrussia it was imam al-ghazali who wrote him a letter
arguing to him that he must go and save andrussia because if he doesn't it will fall to the christians
and so some say that it's actually imam al-qazadi that led to the murabitun going into in the famous battle in
zalaqa where they defeat the christians and then he restores uh the the uh the unity of
antarctica after it had fallen into what are called very similar to what's happened today in the muslim world
so and then he goes on he makes his pilgrimage to mecca and medina
and during this time i mean there's wonderful stories about him but during this time he was literally sweeping
uh the mosque in the umayyad mosque this was the man who had been a dean
at the the greatest university uh in in iraq and and he's just
wants to be left alone and he's just he wants to work on himself and then he
goes back to baghdad and spends a short time there and he
at this time he's about 49 years old so some say and there's debates about this
and and i'm gonna take the imam at his own word there are debates about this some say and the the persian letters
indicate that he actually was gone less than that he was probably gone about two years
but for whatever time he was in seclusion this was a time the great jurors
visits him and abu bakr who is really one of the masters of the islamic tradition he was
a he was a a brilliant exegete of the quran he was a great maliki fakhri
he actually went and visited and he's the last student in iraq that imam rahzadi took
and he read with them yeah he takes back imam al-razadi's teachings to morocco
and then it becomes it begins to spread initially the murabitun rejected his book because of some of the
kalam problems that they found in it they were much more selfie in their orientation and by salafi i mean not mujasima salafi but
the traditional salafi not anthropomorphous but the people that were dogmatic
following like imam tahawi type text very simple they didn't like any elaborate uh
dialectical theology so he then basically goes uh to
nis nisapo ne sapor and he teaches in the nilami at this time he's teaching
usual and other things but he's about 50 years of age then he goes back to tus he opens up a
zawiya what they would call a i think they called hanaka or
yeah so he opens up a type of place where he's really doing character
development and spiritual work and teaching he most of the time was spent in recitation of quran at this
stage in his life he was he was reciting the quran at least once a week
and so and and with great deliberation
in 40 years he wrote 72 books some will argue because the books are like has 40 books so you could look
at it as 40 as opposed to just one so some say it's actually 400 books if you look at them but i think
around it's around 70 72 books somebody worked out given the amount of paper
somebody worked out he would have had to write for korrasa every day in his entire adult life from the time
he was about 18 until the end of his life to actually write what he'd written which is about 40 pages a day
he would have had to write so an incredible output so now i want to talk and this is really
at the heart of what i wanted to talk about today i want to talk about what is his project because imam
razadi has a project it's it's the m
project what is that project first of all and i use the term liberal arts i mean
the the traditionally this is a western term i like it because it's understood in the
west but it really is the same concept as the term the
that was used in the uh in the in the muslim world as the ulum allah these are the instrumental arts
they're the arts that that are studied to train the mind so that the mind can actually begin to understand reality
and and so this is part of his project and from that he is really his whole focus
is on reviving the sciences of iman islam and essen
and then that involved kalam in iman legal theory in islam and then
the inner path in on as a side project he has the refutation fundamentally of
two groups that had huge impact one of them was the peripatetic philosophers and the other were the
occultists the peripatetic philosophers and it's important to remember when they say that he he destroyed
philosophy he was focusing on one school of philosophy which is the peripatetic school and
and he identifies 20 problems three of which he considered to be really kofar and then 17 of which
to lesser and greater degrees but the methodology of the philosophers he
recognized as the best methodology and this is why he was not opposed to philosophy but he
was opposed to the results of certain schools of philosophy this is really important to understand ibn khaldun who wrote considerably
against philosophy in the mukha says despite the
errors of the philosophers their methodology is the best best methodology so even even hadoon
admitted this is the one that introduces the methodology of
the philosophers into kalam into usual and
and arguably into essen so and for that reason uh even tamiya
and and in many ways i i think really motivated from a very pure
uh he had a very pure intention i think but i don't think he recognized what the
imam was trying to do and why he was doing it the imam saw
the the fragmentation of the ummah well he saw what was happening and he recognized that there were tools
out there that we would need to protect this religion from the onslaught from outside
and it's not to say that the the religion itself wasn't enough it it is enough but the prophet saw
islam said al hikmatul that wisdom is
the lost property of the believer like a lost writing beast of the believer wherever he finds it and
now wherever he finds it he is more worthy of it because he will use it for the right reasons
so he really saw that there was great benefit in these tools in the same way that ab hasn't ashari
recognized the same thing in his kalam project ibn ibn sina
who is much maligned in our community unfortunately was an absolute genius that we should be
incredibly proud that allah made him from this ummah because he is one of the greatest thinkers in human history and peter
adamson actually argues that he's probably the single most influential philosopher in european history not just
in and he's an expert obviously on on um on ibn cena
but avasena is his right now the quarantine this is this is even though the prophet saw i
said first articulated the quarantine imam ibn was the one that said it should
be for 40 days he said people should wash their hands with vinegar
because these diseases are spread by what he called said the like harmful bodies
viruses aren't even living things according to most scientists there is a debate but most of them say they're not living
things uh the viruses they behave as if they were but they're actually not they're just
genetic materials material that have codes in them that uh corrupt our cells so
so the project is an a form of a one so in in the liberal arts he has two
fundamental books that are really important the first one is called
and this is his theoretical book he wrote it it's a book of logic and he wrote it because he felt that
the human mind was so fallible that it needed to be trained so
this book is literally the grammar of thought now most people
when they learn a language correctly and and i know there's debates about this but i actually believe in prescriptive
language so i'm going to use the word correctly there is incorrect usage of language and correct usage
by grammatical terms a lot of people don't like these terms anymore but uh so be it the
the grammar of thought is to learn how the mind should work properly when
it reasons that's what the grammar of thought is so this is called mantip
even temmie wrote a book called even though he was a logician he wrote a book called reputation of the logicians
because he said and this is a very interesting statement he said logic does not benefit stupid people
and it's superfluous for highly intelligent people that is absolutely true the problem is
most of us fall in the bell curve in that middle
and this is why the sahaba didn't need mantech because the the ones that were fukaha
and were reasoning were reasoning with their brilliance and so people that are highly intelligent
generally don't need month they still will benefit from this training but they don't need it so mantak is to
teach people uh of lesser capacity how to avoid pitfalls like hasty generalization it's
a logical fallacy in what's called material logic because we do that naturally i i had three south asian taxi drivers
in new york they all cheated me so every south asians had cheat that's obviously a fallacy
so that that but that's how the mind works so that's his first book and it's a
brilliant book we're actually alhamdulillah it's been translated and it's being edited now and so we we're actually this
is going to be part of the zaytuna curriculum series so alhamdulillah that book should be out hopefully within the year
the second book he wrote which is i think one of the most extraordinary books in uh in ethics and that is
which is so the m is the standard of knowledge
is the scales of action so that you could weigh every action and determine whether the action was
worthwhile or whether it wasn't so it's a book of virtue ethics it's a brilliant book it's heavily
influenced by the great polymath and persian scholastic who wrote
one of my favorite books so now just in iman he wrote
his two most important books one is the abridged version the other is more extensive
so economy in in belief and the other one is the principles of
the axioms of creeds of creed uh now so that so he has his project of
introducing the approach uh using logic in in
scholastic uh theology now it's important to remember the last book that he wrote probably is
called il jamil awam an el milkaram not allowing common
people to study theology so he was not somebody that really
encouraged but he recognized that a certain group of scholars must learn this
because it will enable them to refute the obfuscations and the attacks
of the religion by people from outside so for instance right now we have all of these philosophers we have
deconstructionists we have structuralists we have post modernist we have post-colonialists we have all these
different we have critical race theorists we have all of these p and then we have
also the analytic school we have people that are working within that school not not
just philosophers theologians like alvin plantinga who i was
fortunate enough to be part of the award ceremony a brilliant scholar working within a
certain school of philosophy to defend faith so he understood that you're always
going to have these people out there who use their intellects and sophistry to confuse people and if you don't have people
trained to recognize it to see it and to be able to refute it you're going to get into trouble and what will happen is you will be left
to the argument of blood that that that's when you can't defend your religion with intelligence
uh the people that are zealots that don't have the intelligence or the training to defend it
will end up defending it through violence and that's not a defense of religion blood is no argument so that's a really
important thing to remember now in islam he took the abridgements of
imam juwani the imam jawaini wrote a famous book called nihitar
in in the chavez it's a very important book but he he takes it and he writes a long
abridgement of it a middle abridgement and a short abridgement at basil
in fact one of the uh house
early on only 10 years after the imam died he died he said shay that method
was so these are the four books in furua that imam al-khazadi
writes the people who are shafi know this imam rahzali is the most important after imam jueni
i mean obviously the imam himself imam shafi but all of the later books that come after
including imam nowy are all dependent on the books of imam
so these are foundational books in the method this is in furua not in ho so this is in the branches of
jurisprudence and not in in the legal philosophy now in isan he writes
as a beautiful short book called which is really to prepare a person for the spiritual
path to get you to be doing uh practices uh on a daily basis but then
he writes his magisterium which is reviving the sciences of the religion and i'm going to get into that
he then abridges it in persian in a book called kimiya the alchemy of of happiness and then
and this is the book inshallah i'm going to be talking about in a few days
he writes a book called jawaharlal quran he writes it quite late he's referencing all his other books in
it this book is his theory of the quran and what you realize from this book
is his entire tradition revolves around the quran everything the
imam was doing is really revolving around the quran
primarily and then the sunnah of the prophet secondarily so he is a jurist of the first order
and he brings his juristic world view
into into the quranic world and into the prophetic world but it also is working in his
theological perspective and in his spiritual perspective now the third book is very interesting
it's called kitab again it's relatively late so these
three are the abridgements actually is three parts and the third
part is the the kitab al-arbayin this is the third part so he said in when he wrote jawahar
quran he said if you want you can use this as a separate book because he
wrote that it it was later published as a separate book but it's actually part
of the of the quran so he shows you what the quran is calling us to and
and and and that is why his entire opus is basically a commentary on the quran
and the prophetic life as we know is a commentary on the quran so it all goes back to the
book of allah the prophet saws is an explanation of the quran
everything is from the quran it's all from the quran i'm not a qurani i'm i'm 100 believe in
the kitab but the sunnah is an explanation of the quran
and we should understand that you need the sunnah you can't understand the quran without the sunnah
and i'll talk about that you mentioned a dialectical relationship between imam al-khazadi and
andy bentimi could you expand on the nature of that relationship and their respective ideologies
even tamiya is is a undeniable he's a polymath
he he was a brilliant scholar he was a hambury he was a fakie uh he was also
a a um a comparative uh religionist so he he he
wrote books on the on the old testament the new testament he has a six volume book that's very
important it's i mean it's a extremely important book he also wrote a book on
a book on the uh the the problems of knuckle and and reason uh knuckle being what's
transmitted so revelation and reason i think at the root of the difference is
even tamiya really wanted to
just keep it at the book and the sunnah like he really want he did not
want the type of edifice that was emerging out of the um
of the tradition of islam and and in some ways you have to
appreciate that because there's something very profound about the simplicity
of teachings and and in many ways tradition becomes very cumbersome
and and and i think kierkegaard has a very similar uh attitude towards what
happens within christianity um so i i appreciate him tamiya i really
do i appreciate what he's trying to do but i really feel like you cannot deny
the the human uh creativity that comes out of that
initial inspiration and you can't deny the fact that the prophet saws was a syncretist
in that he said seek knowledge the quran says seek knowledge it says go out explore
the world um go look how creation began that's that's that's a recommendation to
go study geology the quran has history it says look at
the people that went before you the quran certainly has metaphysics
so all of those are there and so the elaborations that come out of that initial inspiration
what you want to do is mitigate the the influences that are dangerous like
and they're going to slip in but you want to to prevent them and i think that was his
project i i think and i have to say this and i'm not the first person that said this
but i think imam al-azadi's his his intellect is just so vast
and and and i think um imam subhki syria zaruk and others
said that even tamiya was more reliable in his nakan than in his actual
the way that he uh looked at the knuckle so i think that's
fundamentally at the heart of the differences so like i said i appreciate and i actually understand
what even temiya was trying to do but i i really think in the end he's
he he's his his project was a a critical pro like he is criticizing a
lot like a lot of his books are criticizing imam al-razadi's project is a project he's building like he's
really trying to to build a normative islam that will
withstand the onslaughts of materialism of philosophy
of uh of atheism of all that's what he's trying to do he wants to
he wants to build a fortress around the book and the sunnah imam ibn tamiya he wants
he feels like the book in the sunnah doesn't need a fortress says no it needs a fortress and i'm
going to build it and i think that's fundamentally the difference aloha but we respect both of them and
and traditionally uh there were far more
critics of the bentaymia in our ummah than there were of imam they both have critics far more are
critical of ibn taymiyyah's project than they are of of imam al-khazadis but people are going to differ on this and
there's people that are going to stay with ibentemia i don't think it's
like you have to choose one or the other but but i think you have to recognize that one of them
defines the tradition and that you do need to recognize and
arguably for for a thousand years the ummah considered it was hajjit islam and it's
interesting he's called the proof of islam what do you use a proof for you use a proof against
people that are questioning you whereas even tell me it's called sheikh islam
he's one of many but that is a lockup that he was given so why was imam initially vilified by
the scholars of andrews well i think i said that they were
i you know this is something that a mauritanian friend of mine says that
the murabiton were like the taliban which i don't think is totally fair but they they were very um
in in in kalam they were dogmatic they did not like speculative theology
and many scholars did not ibn abdulbar who's one of my favorite scholars he's one of the greatest scholars in the
history of islam he attacks the terribly i mean he really really just sees them as
something really really uh bad for islam like ibn tamiya although even tamiya
he's mixed because he sometimes he praises them and other times he he condemns him but he does recognize
that they did play a role in defending islam so he's not entirely antagonistic so these
these are debates amongst the ulama it's it's uh you know his books were burnt
at one point in morocco although the men that burned him had a dream where the prophet sam came and had him
flogged by imam al-qazali so he actually repented publicly for burning them he burnt them
in a in a you know in a masjid and and then he had that dream and so he
repented that's a well-known story are there english translations imagine's works or other resources
fortunately he's he's he's been fortunate to have some good translators
um there's there's there was a translation done it's an abridgement of the yeah that was done by maulana
he was a south asian scholar mawlana
fault i think yeah and that was reprinted by the malaysians
and they edited a lot of it because he originally did not want he was actually a very formidable scholar he
uh he did a commentary on the mishkat and translated the into bengali i think
so he he that is is is good uh fonz vidai um has done some i
actually wrote the um the introduction to a couple of those books uh including the book of knowledge and
then also um the islamic text society has done a good job
i mean dr winter abdul hakeem winter is i think a
really excellent beautiful stylist in the english language and imam razali deserves
a good translator because he is so eloquent in arabic and it's a crime
to translate him poorly i was recently reading a translation of one of his i won't say who did it because he's actually a good scholar
but it was so bad the english was so bad and and i i i just i felt sad for
anybody who read that book and thought that that in any way reflected the style of imam al-qasadi
so and i know he's a great persian stylist i i'm not able to read him in persian but i i know from people that do know persian
that he's a beautiful stylist in persian so he was a very gifted orator a gifted writer
so i would say that those are good dr winter did the breaking of the two desires was
excellent book and i and i i think he did one other yeah the remembrance of death how can we
pursue pursue the spiritual pathways i pursue today stay tuned because that's
essentially what i'm going to talk about really what his project is because that is his project and so inshallah if allah gives us life
and maybe we to meet again did he reject the relationship between cause and effect
i'll get into that a little bit he did not and that's one of the big problems
the asha'ira are accused of being occasionalists which are people that
don't really believe in cause and effect it's very important it's a very sophisticated
understanding we cause and effect is the way allah has created the world
it's the sunnah of god in the world to deny it is tonight to deny reality
and so we do not deny cause and effect but we have i think a very profound understanding of
the divine um the divine
nature of what's happening in the world and and and and and that's where the
imam al-qasadi is a mystic so i would look at it you have
newtonian physics and you have quantum physics sharia is newtonian haka is quantum
if you this is an analogy i'm not saying don't say oh he said that kalam is quantum physic
i'm saying that in the same way that the quantum laws do not work
in the newtonian world that's the same that's happening so it's two different
way we have something called you know we live in a multiplex universe uh that
in fact it's not a universe it's it's a multiverse and he's the lord of all the world so
there are many worlds universe is this world it's one world but there are many
universes and so what's what we know if you look at a
persian carpet the ant knows nothing of the pattern of the persian culprit that is our intellect before the glory
of allah's creation and the prophet indicated that in a hadith about
the the mulk in relation to the melakut was like a ring in the midst of a desert a small ring
so he's all so this whole idea oh people lost their faith because they realize the universe is vast
our prophet's lies him knew how vast things were he didn't it increased his
faith you know this is something material say oh why are there so many galaxies
well you can do the same thing if you go inward like if you magnify yourself inwardly
you'll see the same number of of miraculous whether you go out or in
in fact there's a nobel prize winner alexis carroll who showed basically that the largest
things in the universe if you take the largest things that we know of and you take the smallest things we know of and and you divide them by to add
them together and divide them by two you get the basic human proportion he won the nobel prize
so we are the microcosm like the the cosmos is out there but it's also
in here everything's in here and in fact it couldn't be out there if it wasn't in here that's how we can see it and
understand it so anyway we'll get into that inshallah
and then did imam khazadi only acknowledge virtue ethics in his works how about other normative
ethical theories such as consequentialism deontological ethics i mean these are terms that come later
islam does have a kind of deontological approach i mean we do believe in duty-bound ethics
and we also have consequentialist ethics because there are situations where like kant
said you couldn't lie in any situation right and that's his deontological approach but
uh we know that lying is permitted to save somebody from a tyrant for instance
so that's a kind of looking at the consequences so um
i think ver the point of virtue ethics is the foundation of all ethics and and
it has to be studied to understand cultivation of virtues and
why it's important so i think traditionally virtual ethics has been the most important approach to ethics
in our tradition can you please recommend an introductory book on the quran that one can share with non-muslims the quran
you know i found it's very interesting quran
i would not recommend a non-muslim reading the quran because it's such a difficult book in
translation first of all it's it's a non-linear book but second of all
there's a lot of lacunae in in the quran and and i actually had a young
singaporean a really wonderful muslim lady that that worked with us
with the rehla group when we were in singapore and she was very troubled she had taken a a
a course in university and the course made an argument that the quran needed you know that it needed
commentary and she was like why would god reveal a book that is not sufficient unto itself
and initially i didn't really have an answer for her i didn't give her an answer i just thought about it but i actually realized
it's a reminder for you and for your people imam malik said that is saying so and so on so and so on so and
so that allah has made his book
impossible to reach without the intercession
of scholars of the waratha envia so you cannot understand the quran
without the prophet saw isam and you cannot understand the prophet's license without the scholars
so you always need commentary and and that is because the meanings of
the quran are locked in the hearts of human beings and
it is men like and women sometimes but it's men like imam al-khazali
who unlocked many of the mysteries of that book and that's what we're going to look at with the quran but before we do that i have a
few more things i want to say about the imam so inshallah may allah bless all of you maya i hope you remember
all of us at iftar remembers etuna all the people at zaituna also support
zaytuna inshallah we we have some really really big plans
but we need your help to do what we're doing may allah bless all of you and thank you subhana kalam