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The School System (Zaytuna Speech)

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Event Name: The School System (Zaytuna Speech)
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 6/9/2019
Transcript Version: 1


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to introduce Shia Hamza which I consider

to be a student of his as I was doing my

PhD so please welcome Sheikh Hamza miss

Miller Rehema salat wa salam o Allah

Sayyidina Muhammad banir animal Sam you

sent him to steamer what I heard over up

word I've never had a lien of a mandala

I want to welcome also share have been

muffled who was here at really the

inception also and worked tirelessly

during that time and he is the son of

our chef and teacher abdullah bin bata

who's really been an inspiration for me

and many others and is finally being

recognized for the extraordinary scholar

that he is i want to say a few words

about education and what it means to be

educated my father who had a major

influence on me in terms of my

understanding of education was a student

of a great educator whose name was mark

van Doorn he actually named me after him

and at Columbia University they give

every year the Van Doren excellence in

Teaching Award he was a teacher from the

1920s until the late 50s at Columbia and

he wrote an extraordinary text on

liberal education and what that means

Van Doren was in a tradition in America

which is known as the great books

tradition the idea of studying the

foundational texts of Western

civilization and that that really is the

the the grounding for understanding

where we are how we got here

knowing the roots will help you

understand the fruit whether it's bitter

or sweet healthy or unhealthy you will

know why the fruit you are producing is

as it is if you look at the educational

archaeology if you just look back and

see where you've come from but my father

said to me recently in fact last year he

said my education is finally over

and he's 85 years old now he's somebody

who spent his life reading over and over

and over again the same books that he

studied in the three years that he was

with Van Doren in his class and he

actually took permission to sit in those

classes after Van Dorn studied from the

Bible all the way up to Sigmund Freud

and some of the 20th century writers but

he literally went through the entire

corpus of Western intellectual tradition

and in some ways what Zaytuna is for me

anyway it is about the same thing in

terms of our own Islamic tradition and

we tend to forget in the West that

Islamic tradition is part of Western

tradition it's something that has been

denied for a long time there are some

people like George Makdissi that had the

courage the intellectual academic

courage to admit that but it's evident

in our mathematics although some tried

to say Indian numerals these are Arabic

numerals and they will remain Arabic

it's evident in our names that we give

the stars like Altair from a fire and a

double Ron from a de Baron and it but

Joseph which we call Betelgeuse because

they couldn't pronounce it but Joseph so

it's called Betelgeuse right so the even

when we look up in the in the heavens

we're looking at the influence of the

Islamic civilization on the west when we

look at our numbers when we crunch

numbers we are looking at the influence

of Islamic civilization on the West this

is undeniable and so what we're doing

really here is reestablishing part of

the Western tradition we are

reestablishing it where it belongs right

here because it is part of the story of

the West and to deny that part is to

deny a member of your family that you're

either ashamed of or you don't know

anything about you're ignorant of like

the long-lost uncle that shows up

I didn't know I had you by Jane Ayers

inheritance from her uncle that she

doesn't know that she has so it's

important for us to ask that question

what is education because in the West we

are in a crises and to deny that crises

is TuneIn and I what is so obvious in

front of us because all you have to do

is walk outside and go down the road and

look at these frat houses when the

college is the university is opening up

and you look at the type of behavior

that's going on in adults not children

these are 18 19 20 21 some of them close

to their 30s that are behaving not like

infants I don't know what what

adjectives to use but for me it's very

tragic to see a loss of dignity because

this is central to what education is

about education is about learning to

carry yourself what used to be called in

this culture comportment we don't even

use that word in English anymore but on

my great-grandmother's report card from

1882 in a high school in Wichita in

Wisconsin the very first thing that she

was graded on was comportment

which comes from a Latin word how you

carry yourself we call that in the

Islamic tradition a dub a dub the edebe

is the one who is disciplined in himself

and somebody who speaks with discipline

he knows how to put words in its proper

place a thing for every place and a

place for everything so what is

education in Arabic we say Tavia with a

lean car becomes from the same root word

that Lord comes from rub Allah is the

Mura be the one that nurtures the one

that causes to grow Pat Oklahomans Aqaba

to nurture a student to watch them grow

intellectually spiritually morally

Colleen is from a word which means to

make an impression ulema means to

impress on

something ulema is Mark the Shanaya form

writing was by pushing into the clay and

creating an impression and that is a

mark so he makes his mark on society we

used the same term in English that is

what Tottenham is about it is about

impressions that impact students that

have an effect that taken effect if we

look at what the root word in Latin of

Educare edge educate Educare a which

means to lead out of in other words to

draw out what is already in there the

idea that you cannot really teach

anybody anything you can only make them

remember what they already know and

that's why the quran is called a dhikr

because it is a reminder of what we

already know it has to be Arabic own

ballet Shahid nough am I not your Lord

we all know that we need to be reminded

of that truth education is about

remembering making whole when you look

at the boredom that exists in modern

American education you look at the

boredom of the students you look at the

the faces that they carry to school you

look at them and I've been in classes

I've taught I've lectured all over the

United States and universities all over

the United States you look at their

faces and you look at the board of one

because they're wondering why am i

studying this what is this for what's

the purpose of this the smart ones check

out early on like Bill Gates who never

got a degree from Harvard because he

dropped out that's what happens to the

Spartans meet Steve Jobs dropped out all

of these billionaires they dropped out

because they learned early on I want to

make money and this is not the way to

make money so if you go to college to

earn a livelihood

you're wasting your time you're even now

being encouraged to drop out by some of

the leading buy some of the leading CEOs

in America encouraging students to drop

out Oh open sourcing because most of

what these students are learning in

school

will not apply to anything it's not

going to give them some kind of

vocational training this is the reality

there is a strong argument that college

now is obsolete and this is being put

forward much of what students are

learning why are they studying geometry

geometry makes absolutely no sense

anymore Lord Alfred Whitehead one of the

greatest mathematicians of the 19th and

20th century said that the single most

important form of mathematics in the

modern world is statistics and they

don't even teach that in high school and

yet a junior high school student could

master it it's not a difficult subject

statistics is determining so much of

what is around us they're using

statistics constantly and yet students

are not taught statistics until they

take a course in college they might have

a little bit in college in in high

school but it's it's not much why are

they studying geometry why study algebra

they're what they're sitting there

wondering what does this mean why am I

doing this

why do I care what 2x plus 3x equals I

don't care because there is no

overarching meaning to all of these

things there is no real educational

philosophy behind these things if you

look historically the all of these

things had meaning and I'll just give

you a quick example we call these the

liberal arts all of us I think on this

panel have a BA does anybody have a BS

all right

yeah I won't hold it against you a BA is

a Bachelor of Arts if you ask anybody

that has a Bachelor of Arts what is the

arts that you're a Bachelor in they will

not be able to tell you they won't even

know that arts comes from a word which

means tool tool armor army is is from

the same route arithmetic is the same

route arithmetic is ours metric ax the

tool to measure by so the

liberal arts are liberating tools

they're tools that free your mind from

the the inherit prejudices of the mind

now the liberal arts was distinguished

from the servile arts vocational

training where you go to college to

learn how to do something as a vocation

and these were the servile arts because

they were simply things that you learned

and then you could go out and earn a

livelihood through those things this is

largely what the college and the

university has become in the West it is

no longer a place to pursue truth it's a

place to pursue money and because those

making the most money are those who are

most adept at cheating cheating has

become widespread in our schools and

universities this is a major problem

when I found out from my son that

cheating was widespread in one of the

best high schools in the state of

California I was very distraught by it

because I went to a school where our

teacher purposely walked out of the

classroom during the test in high school

and said you are on your honor boys

there was no monitoring at the high

school I went to as a Catholic high

school no monitor you are on Your Honor

boys when I was mentioning this to a

student at Stanford in medical school he

said oh that's no big deal I cheated my

whole way through high school and I said

to him are you cheating your way through

Medical School now because that's very

disturbing to me because I seriously

when I was in high school I didn't think

of cheating and the people that I was in

school with I'm sure one or two people

might have done that but I was not with

people that did that as a practice

because I was taught by my mother you

don't cheat not because you're going to

go to hell but because honesty is the

best policy it wasn't related to

religion it was simply related to being

a human being a mensch

so the liberal arts were there to train

people to use their intellect so they

could pursue the truth for the rest of

their lives

Mohammed Amin Hassan said our tradition

is a tradition of learning from the

cradle to the grave if you're not

prepared to commit yourself from the

cradle to the grave then don't bother

trying to learn our

tradition so when my father said at the

age of 84 that his education was done he

was talking about a tradition within the

west of the liberal arts murmur Adler

who was one of my teachers and one of

his teachers and a close friend of Van

Doren said that it takes at least 60

years to become educated you don't get

an education from high school you don't

get an education from University you're

not going to get an education from

Zaytuna but if Zaytuna does its job you

will get the tools to become educated

and those tools will last you because

this is what learning is about now just

to give you an example of what our

tradition is about when I was 23 years

old in the Sahara Desert I was with a

teacher of mine who's a Bedouin he grew

up moving they had about three or four

places that they moved to and he had

what's called a Madras a Mouton Aquila a

college a mobile college there were

times when there were over a thousand

students if you went there at 2:00 in

the morning from 2:00 till fudger

all you would hear is the tation the

students around fire that they had made

literally and I'm now I'm not making

this up when I was sitting I was

studying a text in a PDF but there was

somebody ahead of me who was studying a

text in advance al Qaeda and he was

studying the section on Al Joey Herald

font which are the particles that make

up existence because in our tradition he

mama de Baca Lonnie and others which

comes out of the Montes elight initially

but amanda Palani formulated an atomic

theory of the world in fact in in the

history of the atom a book written by a

Cambridge professor of physics in the

history of the atom he argues that the

Islamic atomic theory is a unique theory

in which they cannot find the historical

precedents for it the atomic theory that

came out of Islamic civilization the

Joanna and thought are not atoms that we

know today that can be split they are

the particle

make up existence they are the quanta of

existence when this young Bedouin was

asking him what does that mean what up

the Haj picked up sand and he threw it

up in the air and he said this if we

could see how the vales removed we would

see that everything that we can see

touch and feel is like these particles

of dust in the air this is what our

Islamic teaching was doing to Bedouins

so what was what was it doing to the

scholars of allocate oen the scholars of

al-azhar of the nizamiah if that's what

what it gave the Bedouins a concept of

the atomic world what was it doing in

other places we believe that education

is rooted in the sacred if you cut it

off from the sacred you destroy

education it has no meaning this is what

our students all over this country know

in their heart of hearts they cannot

articulate it but they know it I am

studying something that does not have

meaning because you have not told me why

I am studying this it can't simply to

make me to make money because there are

much more intelligent things to study if

you want to make money than algebra or

geometry so if those liberal arts of

grammar rhetoric and logic would which

were the foundation of the Islamic

tradition we are a language based

tradition signs and the two signs that

we speak humans speak we have two types

of signs we have language signs and

number signs and we call these the

language arts and the arts of

mathematics this was traditionally what

was education in the West and in the

Muslim world

these were the tools of Education in the

Christian West it was to understand

ultimately God's revelation through the

Bible in the Muslim East and

best it was to understand God's

revelation through the poor on that's

what we're committed to we ask Allah

subhana WA Ta'ala to give us no fee in

the end I would just ask you all to read

this book if you want to understand what

has happened in this country why our

students are increasingly incapable of

thinking why they can't reason why we

have some of the worst test scores all

over the world even though I'm totally

against the testing but even by the

metrics of their own system their system

is failing so weapons of mass

instruction a school teachers journey

through the dark world of compulsory

schooling I don't know how many of you

know about the Tuskegee syphilis study

which was where physicians in this

country injected syphilis into African

Americans to see the effects over time

so well-known study but only recently we

found out not only that were they doing

it in Mississippi they were also doing

it in Guatemala in 1947 they were

injecting people down in Central America

with syphilis gonorrhea and other

diseases to see the effects of these

diseases on these people these were

scientists that were produced by the

best colleges in the United States of

America the same colleges that produce

the people that robbed all of you who

own own homes in this country robbed you

of your equity the same people these are

the products of American universities

and until we deal with the fact that

without teaching people meaning without

teaching people purpose you create

monsters you create the disease known as

civilization this is what happens when

you divorce education from the sacred

people talk about sacrificing and they

don't even know the root meaning of that

sacrifice array to make

make sacred when you sacrifice in your

life you are doing it for the sacred we

can't get out of these meanings because

they're embedded in the very language

that we speak and that's what's lacking

and until we reach the true roots of

learning and knowledge and why we're

learning and what is the purpose of

knowledge we will see it get worse and

worse and worse

Muslims have an incredible opportunity

right now because we are a people that

still in spite of ourselves because of

our prophet sallallaahu sin M because

when he said one of the signs at the end

of time is that people will study for

other than the sake of God they will go

to school for other than the sake of God

because every civilization Hindu

Buddhist Confucian esteem

Jewish and Muslim all of them understood

that learning was to make a better human

being learning was not to make more

money it was to make a better human

being not for learnings sake for the

sake of Allah subhanAllah down to Santa

Monica

gazecki moolah head like to conclude the

program with adore from in OMSI and

we're going to be praying mother if so I

wanted to wait until we finish the door

and do the closing for the method of

Prayer we'll have two groups playing

once we finish you could go in the back

there would be a group that will go

downstairs to pray in the back and then

another group will be praying in the

back part of the stage so after the dry

and opposing inshallah we'll pray mother

the prayer in mom's it's been the number

him and hamdulillah

Orellana me all praises due to Almighty

God the Lord of all the worlds also that

was salam and blessings and peace ala

sayidina upon our exemplary leader

muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sent them

Shahla we will pray first of all we pray

Allah whom Elena food to Allah - Allah

Almighty God opened our hearts and the

way that you opened the hearts of those

who experienced your reality in their

life and we pray that the fruits of

education are belong to all of us and as

a result we become enlightened people

and our prophet sallallahu alayhi

wasallam

or before that one of our great Imams

who mentioned this earlier in a couplet

of poetry that's attributed to him a

machete or him who la invention shall

call to allah waliyan su a heavy for

Arshad anniela torque in Marathi for

Bahraini BNL Illman word nor

he led you her dad in ah see that I

complained to my teacher what here that

my memory is dulling a little bit and

all of these great Imams and leaders and

scholars had photographic memories he

instructed me to leave off all sin and

we discussed this earlier how character

morality and the pursuit of knowledge as

Sheikh Hamza just mentioned cannot be

separated from each other

waha Bahraini BNL in manure he told me

that knowledge is a light Noor rule LA

he led a little ah see the light of

Almighty God that he doesn't give to a

sinner

so the moral quest and the intellectual

quest are a are inseparable our prophet

sallallahu alayhi wasallam

- almost identical hadith there's only

one word differing between them in the

man with whom were only men I've been

sent only as a teacher in the lab earth

to you tell me mama Karim Allah Allah

okay there are a few more words

differing I've only been sent to perfect

good character and these are not

contradictory if we say in them as a

limiting particle they're not

contradictory because one is inseparable

from the other so that nor that light

that Imam Shafi mentioned we pray for

that light and the words of our prophet

muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam may

the blessings and peace of Almighty God

be upon him allah imagined he who Lubin

a new aura

Allah Almighty God placed light in our

hearts for fear of sorry nan wah and

placed light in our vision or CS Mayer

in an aura and placed light in our

hearing when a man in an aura and to our

right light

Mishima Alena Nora and to our left light

Robina

Adina Nora and plays light before us

women Halfin and wara and place light

behind us women Falconer

Nora and plays light above us women

patina Nora and plays light beneath us

allahumma Jelena jamia Nora o Allah make

for all of us a light with which we walk

through the enveloping darkness of this

world

well al kharid I wanna in the last of

our prayers and hamdulillah your table

and a mean is our praise is for Almighty

God the Lord of all the worlds was so

long love Allah Sayyidina Muhammad while

at any he was so happy he was sending

testament kathira al fatiha

thank you all for joining us jazakallah

khair we look forward to your continued

engagement with Zaytuna College

it's your college and with your dua

inshallah we will be successful

jazakallah khair assalamu alaikum wa

rahmatullah wa barakato

you