The Middle Path: United against Poverty

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Event Name: The Middle Path: United against Poverty
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Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 4/16/2019 7:29:53 PM
Transcript Version: 2

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First of all, it's it's a very bizarre experience that I think a lot of us are having here in the United States of late.  I think the social disintegration that's happening so rapidly and as things begin to unravel.  Even a lot of people that I know: Immigrants are talking about, maybe going back to places they came from.  Which don't look that appetizing either.  Now in a lot of areas but one of the things about Muslim countries even when things break down, people really do recognize the word brother and sister.  Like that word actually means something in many many places around the world.

I've experienced the beauty of that word, not so much as its articulated, but the real lived experience of somebody treating you like a brother or like a sister.  You know, I was thinking a lot about United against poverty I actually think it would be better if we were united against wealth.  Because I've actually lived in the poorest countries in the world, I mean literally the porest. 

I was in Nigeria, Mali, I was in Mauritania.   I lived in a place in Mauritania where the rich people had all of their possessions in one box and the poor people didn't have a box.  I mean really and my own teacher Mrabit al Hajj, may Allah preserve him, he was actually considered relatively wealthy because he had a few cows that were milked every day and that's where they drank their milk.  The milk in ??? is organic milk, it's not pasteurized homogenized it's not 1% or zero fat.  It's right out of the utter. 

What I noted about living in the poorest places and I lived in a shantytown, I mean a complete open sewage;  The houses were made out of Chinese tea boxes literally that were dissembled from tea boxes and that's how they made their houses. 

I lived with a man at al-Maquri from the Masuman Clan.  His little Hut was made out of tea cartons and these were some of the richest people I have ever known.  They were rich in community, they were rich in culture.  There were people that could quote the greatest Arabic poetry ever written.. Most of them memorized the Quran by heart and for entertainment they would discuss grammatical points.  These were really rich people they were not impoverished unless you want to identify poverty as material poverty and I'm not really against material poverty but I'm very much against cultural and spiritual poverty because I think what's happening in this country is we are the most

culturally and spiritually impoverished nation in the world.  The fact that the number one best-selling novel right now is a pornographic novel of no literary merit (Editor: 50 Shades og Gret) according to the critics that have read it but this is what's happening in America.  Every airport I've been to has a whole row of these novels just lined up for people just to devour them off the shelves.  That is poverty

it's poverty not to of if you're from

this culture it's poverty not to have

ever read Melville so that when some of

my Chris Hedges can tell you about the

Pequod or a Habs quest you don't have

any cultural references to know what

that means despite the fact that even

the poorest Americans a hundred years

ago had very often read that book

because literature is not the property

of the wealthy historically literature

as has actually been the property of the

most impoverished people some of the

greatest writers were impoverished

people read the life of Edgar Allan Poe

somebody constantly in debt a drug


dealing with the despair of living in

the United States at that time and a lot

of his literature is about that those

aspects Dostoevsky read about their

lives and yet they produce this great

body of literature because they were not

culturally impoverished they may have

been materially impoverished but they

were not culturally impoverished one of

the most celebrated authors one of the

most celebrated artists in Western true

mission is Van Gogh and he was a

completely impoverished person supported

by his brother never sold a painting

during his own life time another very

tortured person but somebody who had a

richness of vision that people are still

entranced by his paintings so I think

that a lot of what's happening in this

country is actually from Liguria it's

actually from luxurious to be one of the

seven deadly sins

that's the Latin term for for lust

Luxuria you know gluttony and lust that

we're a surfeited culture we're we're

too full there's too much when people

talk about the 99 and the 1% we're 5

percent of the world's population and

we're devouring most of the world's

natural resources the average American

is in the 5 percent the other part of

the world is the other 95 percent so

when we're talking about the 1 percent

and the 99 percent some of the people in

that 1% are drug dealers in inner cities

really so the whole dichotomy zation is

this desire to kind of split the world

into good people and evil people to me

as a false dialectic that I think as

Muslims we should reject we should

reject it there are wretched demonic

people amongst the poor and there are

decent angelic people amongst the

wealthy and the Prophet Allah Saddam had

poor people with him and he had wealthy

people and without the wealthy people he

could not have done what he did for the

poor people but he transformed the

motives of the wealthy he transformed

their motives he didn't create a class

warfare he didn't make the poor people

hate the wealthy people are the wealthy

people feel contempt for the poor people

no he gave us a different criterion to

judge people we were talking earlier

today about

intellectual arrogance because you see

so many people in academia that are

filled with intellectual arrogance a

sense of their inherent superiority

because if you learn even a little bit

you quickly see how far ahead you are

from a lot of people out there and that

can lead to a type of contempt because

you have some kind of intellectual

training that other people do because

you can work things out quicker than

other people can work out because you

know these references and other people

don't know these references but the

reality of it is is that Islam put a

different criterion for excellence than

intellectual excellence it's spiritual

excellence it's being a human being and

that is open to the poorest of the poor

and the richest of the rich and that's

what separates people so that street

sweeper that janitor might have more

humanity ounce per ounce than that PhD

professor at Yale University

he might have better character more

moral integrity he might be a better

father a better Civic member of society

because the real judge of people in

Islam is a judge of character it's not

anything else the prophets iliza time

standard was a standard of character and

he said in fact the standard of that

standard was how you treat your women

because he said that a man is judged by

how he treats his women cradle come

herecome Leah honey he wanna Hadouken

really the best of you are the best to

their women folk or their families and

I'm the best of you to my women folk so

he was letting us know right there what

the standard of judgment how you judge a

person because you've got all these

people out there giving all of their

declarations and proclamations and

telling you what's right and what's

wrong and they go home and they treat

their wife like dirt they treat their

children as if their subjects of Pharaoh

so the whole stratification if you're

talking about good and evil give me a


because it's all the way down this whole

crises this globe this global crises

that started here in this country was

about greed it was greed on Main Street

and greed on Wall Street all those

people that went in and lied on their

applications about how much they were

making because they wanted to get that

house for what they didn't even

understand what what type of mortgage

they were getting they didn't know that

it was going to balloon in a few years

they didn't care they just saw an

opportunity to get some property and

maybe it'll it'll rise in price and in a

few years I'll flip it pay off my debt

and make some money it was greed greed

on Main Street and greed on Wall Street

and that's why Islam doesn't talk about

the wealthy and the poor it talks about

character it talks about the moral

character of people and how you

transform people you know I was asked to

talk just about the Islamic economic

system in relation to the Western

economic system or this modern system of

capitalism you can't even compare the

two there's no comparison our system is

based on real well a bi-metal economy in

which money actually has intrinsic value

people say gold doesn't have intrinsic

value then why do people kill for it and

the only reason they kill for paper

dollars that don't have intrinsic value

is because they think that it has

intrinsic value but all you have to do

is put a fire to it you'll see how

valuable it is you put fire to gold and

you'll see how valuable it is because

gold is indestructible gold doesn't

corrode silver doesn't corrode they

don't oxidize the gold coins that were

minted by Caesar you can go down to a

store you're probably here in Stanford

and buy one of them if you have enough

money because it's still around this

whole Dajjal exsist 'm fooling people

into thinking that worthless paper has

any intrinsic value fractional reserve

banking Abraham Lincoln when he needed

to fund the war

he wanted to borrow money so he asked

the bankers and they told him well it's

going to be on this interest rate so he

said to hell with it

in the Constitution we can print money

so he printed up greenbacks

that's how he paid for the war they were

non interest greenbacks that were

printed by the US government

then why today are we borrowing money

from a private bank and paying them

interest and the interest now represents

25% of the national debt because the

bankers run the situation they wrote the

laws they wrote the laws and people

don't know this because they're no

longer educated and if you want to know

why it's getting so bad out there it's a

very plain and simple because we have

ignorant people we have an ignorant

population and when you have ignorant

populations then you need more and more

draconian measures for social control

and this is the history of the world you

just read about it in your history books

and you'll see the same tactics are used

to control ignorant people educated

people are the dangerous ones it's not

ignorant people you can control ignorant

people seriously they're not hard to

control bread and circus is one way

that's it that's the old-fashioned way

now it's at MTV and McDonald's that's

just a modern version of Penn at Circus

that's what the Romans used but it's the

same game you look at what they're

devouring on there look at look at the

cultural impoverishment of this society

you know people aren't hungry in this

society they're starving to death

they're starving to death and they're

starving to death even though they're

overeating the reason that they have to

eat more and more is because there's no

nutrients in the food so you're

wondering why they're all getting bigger

and bigger out there because the more

they eat the hungrier they feel they're

not satiated all you have to do come to

California and we'll give them a real

meal like brown rice and tofu and you'll

see how quick they're hungry they're

really they won't be hung

if you eat a real meal you go and eat

the Indians eat dal you don't see fat

Indians down in those villages because

they eat doll they eat real food

they're eating real bread that they

cooked with their own hands chapatis

they're eating chapatis and they're

eating dal and and they're there they

have better nutrition than all these

people out here they have better

nutrition but when you go up into that

1% you know what they're eating they're

eating dal and handmade chapatis really

they're eating the same stuff the

poorest people are eating in in a lot of

these countries go to Malaysia and you

see how poor people eat they're eating

real vegetables that they grew

Pakistanis in this country I know a lot

of you know this your grandmother's when

they got here the first thing they did

was went in the backyard and started a

garden they grow their own tomatoes to

put in their curries because that's just

the way they did it in this country used

to have what we called Victory Gardens

in World War two they told people to

grow your own gardens now people don't

even know what a vegetable is the

closest thing they get to it is a french

fries really or pizza it's because it's

got some red under there I think that's

from a vegetable serious they don't know

what vegetables are most kids now in the

schools can't identify a lot of the

vegetables they can't they've actually

done these tests then they don't know

what a turnip is or a Brussels sprout

let alone a collard green see some

people are old enough to know collard

greens right because people went out and

picked them because they couldn't afford

to go down to the store people were

resourceful this country was a country

of resourceful people there's all these

people looking for jobs people used to

make jobs they didn't look for jobs they

made jobs now people have been so dumbed

down and so convinced that they can't do

anything that only if they get this job

and then they go in is all humiliation

even Halden said the two most

humiliating ways of gaining a livelihood

are employment and treasure hunting

that's what he said

in Mankato employment and treasure

hunting in this country employment was

only just to learn how to do something

you became like a journeyman carpenter

and then when you finished the seven

years you were free to open your own

business that's the way it worked

you started a store to you you worked in

a store to see how it ran and then you

went and opened your own shop that's

what people did my great-grandfather

started at the bottom in a newspaper but

by his 50s he owned three newspapers

because that's the way America was it

was about entrepreneurial tradition of

people elevating people not everybody

was in that that's acknowledged but even

if you look in the black communities in

the south you look what they did

creating their own schools lawyers came

out of those schools some of the best

schools now today are still out of those

schools you look at people like Dubois

look at the level of education that they

had you know read what his books are

considered classics today so there were

people even from the most oppressed

communities that still rose above those

circumstances and empowered other people

to do the same the Islamic economic

system is based on justice now justice

even if you read Aristotle 2,500 years

ago almost if you read his book he has a

book number five in his ethics book on

justice and he talks about recta fitori

justice and distributive justice the

idea that you have to have some justice

in distribution you know what these

people say in this cut redistribution of

wealth that's socialism that's communism

that's socialism and communism when it

goes to the poor people but when it goes

to the rich people it's called a bailout

that's just

distribution of wealth it's just going

the other way and this is the type of

Orwellian culture that we are in but

people haven't read Orwell so how do

they know if you if you don't know

Orwell you're not going to know how to

use the adjective Orwellian and if

somebody uses it you don't know what

they're talking about

Orwellian is that like Orson Welles you

know if they know Orson Welles because

even good films they don't know about

any more like Citizen Kane right Siri

then people don't know that now they

know about like dumb and dumber you know

seriously I mean I saw a really you