Zaytuna College Convocation 2018

Transcript Details

Event Name: Zaytuna College Convocation 2018
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 6/14/2019
Transcript Version: 1

Transcript Text

Salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa

barakatu welcome everybody is menorah

non Rahim sorrow to a ceremony I say the

Mohammed Maya any wasabi was said him to

see me kathira what handle I have a

bride I mean first of all welcome new

students and our existing students to EW

no colleges our convocation which is

really to open up the school year

particularly for the master students but

we certainly are welcoming the incoming

class small but potent of our freshmen

and the returning students hundred we

this this year is for us an exciting

year for a number of reasons one we have

a really beautiful campus that's in

essence been gifted to us and it's very

important to study in a beautiful place

because what you're studying is really

about Beauty truth goodness and beauty

these are the great virtues of the

ancient world and they were virtues that

the Muslims certainly not only

cultivated but excelled at they always

made their mattresses beautiful and even

the most simple of schools we could

imagine the Prophet sallallaahu Simms

mosque where which was really his

University it was his madrasah but for

anybody who's ever been in very simple

places I lived in a place called ghetto

in West Africa and it was a very simple

mud adobe village but it was really one

of the most beautiful places I've ever

lived so even the utter simplicity of

the beauty of nature imagine having a

Masjid that's basically built from the

natural world around you the roof is

made out of date fibers and the pillars

were made out of the date palm tree and

and very simple but beautiful

straw mat carp carpets that grace the

place so it must have been a stunningly

beautiful place to study for that early

community but the Muslims excelled at

building beautiful institutions because

the perpetuity of a tradition is

strongest when it has institutions that

can transmit it to future generations so

just like we're all links in a chain

those of us who are teachers now and

still students all of us remain students

but those of us who have been up to Dena

the Tatton team with the tribulation of

teaching because it is a tribulation

with the tribulation of teaching we're

links in a chain of a tradition that

goes back 1,400 years and one of the

aspects of that tradition is advice you

know while SIA

giving advice the prophets all I said if

you look at the final Hajj the last

message to his oma was all advice take

care of your women folk stall so be nice

at Yahara you know take care of your

women folk avoid racism avoid

manipulating nature those were all his

final advice even on his deathbed the

last thing he gave was advice take care

of your servants take care of your women

the prayer the prayer guard your prayer

so this is one of the aspects of the

tradition which is advice allah subhana

wa ta'ala gave the best advice when he

said we give you the advice that we gave

the previous pupils before you that you

should be awfully aware of God you know

awful in the original sense of that word

filled with all you know that an a

temple law when I was saying Aladeen

America become well yeah come any type

of law that you should have you know we

gave advice to the previous people and

to you that you should have this awful

awareness of God so in the spirit of

advice I want to give you students a few

these pieces of advice and because we're

attempting to do something I think is

really unusual and that is to grapple

with two traditions it's hard enough to

grapple with one tradition and very few

people ever master one tradition very

few people ever master even one segment

of one tradition if you look at our

tradition for instance the period of the

Quran there's ten variants of the Quran

that are considered acceptable those

take now for most people that master

them they take a good life time to learn

calligraphy alone is a lifetime study

now so many aspects of the tradition

really do take a lifetime there's a

young 22 year old Arab boy who has

memorized all nine collections of the

hadith he was tested recently in the

Haram and it was really stunning to

watch the the testing by mahadji Thoon

they would only give him the first part

of the hadith and he would finish it and

then tell which book it was in and it

was it was really quite a masterful

performance but the point is he was

gifted with a photographic memory

obviously and our OMA has had many

people like that I've met a few myself

that that's a great gift memories a

great gift and it's it's really a almost

it is a prerequisite to to to studying

tradition to have a retentive memory at

least it's not a condition for HT HOD

that you have rote memorization but you

have to know where to find the things in

the books at least so in the spirit of

that I'll look from two traditions let

me give you some fatherly advice to our

younger students the one comes from

Amanda and Joe aney who said he wasa in

rewire lenten and Elma in Lobby citizen

you will not acquire knowledge except

with six things some Becca bit of Syria

and by and by Annie I will give you in

detail what those six things are and

then the first one he said that cotton

which is intelligence you have to have

some level of intelligence to grapple

with this

one of the things about our tradition is

that we actually believe in what's

called a fete and one of the names of

God is El Fattah the the opener the one

who opens and gives you openings

I saw a fella at one Shetty see that

really struck me as interesting it was a

photo about a student in Fez who was not

very smart and but he was really

struggling and and and they asked

whether or not he should be kicked out

and his stipend taken away from him and

then the the photo is give him ten years

and if the foot that doesn't come to him

by then get rid of it so that was quite

good there's a motor tanyon story just

about because it's important because

some of you all of us feel that our

intelligence is is not what we would

like it to be hence we've got a whole

industry of AI trying to work out how we

can just insert chips into our brain and

become super computers but all of us

feel that you know we're not really

worthy or intelligent enough to grapple

with some of these ideas so just two

quick stories one there was a more

tanyon who studied the motor sort of

Hadiya and and it takes a few years to

study this book it's a book of really

riddles and he had a very difficult time

with it and he just wasn't making sense

to him and he had studied it 10 times

and he still really couldn't understand

it and he decide he was going to give up

and he went and he was sitting by an

anthill and then one of the things that

more teens love to do is watch insects

and bugs they're incredibly they're like

oh it's like a culture of entomologists

because in the desert there's not a lot

to watch and so you get like I really

got used to watching like lizards and

dung beetles are fascinating to watch

carrying their dung around I've got a

whole culture of dung beetles now but we

he watched this ant trying to get a

piece of couscous up the anthill and and

it kept rolling down as like Sisyphus

and and the aunt did it 10 times and on

the 11th time it got in with this piece

of couscous and he said to himself I

can't let a aunt have greater aspiration

than me I'm gonna do it one more time

and he had his opening so that's a

famous story another story is is a

famous story of imam @f Dasani who was

noted to be not very bright and he had

an incredible spiritual experience and

after that he was noted for his

incredible ability to grapple with the

most difficult metaphysical concepts

with incredible dexterity so there is

hope for us we should always aspire ya

fattah ya Ali Mustafa tank arriba was a

traditional do I know I was taught that

by a habib lamin my children had that as

a dua for study you call on the Fatah

the opener and the newer so that car is

something that we know now with

neuroplasticity that it actually does

increase as you study so that and and

they used to think that it closed at

about adolescence but it actually

continues on throughout your life so the

more you study actually the bigger into

that gets and say now Omar said tydomin

Autopia Finnerty's IDO philopon learn

Arabic because it will increase your

intelligence and we know this now to be

true that if you learn a subject it will

actually increase the the

neuroplasticity of your brain will adopt

to the new things there will be more

dendritic connections and you'll be

smarter and brighter so you should see

that as you study and the harder you

study the brighter you get like the

golfer who made an incredible putt and

somebody said to him that was so lucky

he said the more I practice the luckier

I get the same is true for studying the

more you study the more intelligent

you'll get so and then he said the count

and Wahid o son you know being covetous

for knowledge like really being covetous

Hedison your wanting to know and this is

one of the things Aristotle begins his

great book on metaphysics which even

seen I read 50 times before he

understood it

he begins it by saying that all people

want to know that it's part of our

nature that's why little children ask

why why then they're the little children

are the they're the meta physicians of

the world because their great question

is always why it's not how they want to

know why they want to know causation and

so health is really important to have an

intense desire for knowledge and then

there's 2dy one says it's the bottom

which is patience and that's certainly

true is butyl wasabi it'll be patient

but also enjoin each other to patience

to also been happy with awhile soba soba

they advised each other to the truth but

also to be patient because study is

incremental you scaffold in your

studying it's an incremental you you

have plateaus and learning goes it goes

initially you might have a lot of

insights and then you plateau and those

plateaus are very difficult because you

get bored and so it's very important and

and boredom is the great enemy this is

the the great that the the one of the

seven deadly sins it's called acedia

which they called it the the noonday

devil because it was the one that

afflicted monks more than anything

because they they were supposed to

meditate in their cells and they would

get bored and so boredom

they caught now you know a type of

laziness but it's really it's a it's

really a nun way that sets in this type

of boredom and one of the things that

the great philosopher Kierkegaard said

is that the people who remove God from

their lives they become afflicted with a

deep boredom they they become very bored

with life and he said always

accompanying that boredom is a type of

cynicism and so they're always looking

to be stimulated because they're just

bored with everything whereas people

that have gone in their lives are in a

constant state of wonder because God is

just so extraordinary and so amazing and

so bewildering one of the meanings of

Allah in Arabic is the one that

bewilders and it creates high era in you

so that's very important is to learn how


alone with yourself right it's very

difficult for a lot of people so it's

debar own and in another rewire HT had

on to really struggle and give a lot of

effort and then and then he said well

below cartoon below ha in Arabic is what

will get you somewhere it's like the

provision you need to complete a task

Bella is from Bella ah you know to reach

something so Bulova is what enables you

to reach something so the beluga is I

mean people here you've been given a

great gift which is leisure time it's

time where you don't have to worry about

the cost of things Imam Shafi he said lo

could live to shira Abbas or attend

surah abasa Ratan madam to Masada if I

if I was forced to worry about how much

the price of onions were I would have

never learned in other words having to

think about worldly affairs all the time

really prevents you from that type of

stress-free environment as stress-free

as up as possible dunya is stressful by

nature and and then he said and then

there's another rewire horrible which is

being in a place where you're not from

because when you're in a place where

you're from you've got all your friends

and all your distractions but by going

moving away to another place

that's why Retta was so important in the

Islamic tradition for study was actually

to take a journey to learn to get away

from your environs that were distracting

all your friends and all your companions

and and then and then he said what tell

Pina was seven and then to learn from a

teacher tell Pina loose Taven it's very

important traditionally it was said that

the the knowledge was in the breasts of

men and and women obviously because

there are many great women scholars

especially in that early period the even

sad is filled with women and

historically about 15 percent of notable

scholars in any generation were women

this has clearly been proven by the

thought literature the biographical

literature of scholars that between ten

and fifteen percent in any generation of

notable scholars were women so we did


many many great female scholars they

tended not to write out of modesty and

humility because writing was considered

very dangerous that's why the there's so

few tough seers

despite the fact we had so many great

scholars they just didn't want to write

about the Book of Allah and that's why

we have so many toys we'd books and

grammar books because they weren't

worried about getting those wrong and

then he said the and the T and then he

said what lose our money and having time

that knowledge really takes a lot of

time so you have to you have to have the

time to learn and when you when you

graduate from the BA this is really the

beginning of the journey and then the

Masters traditionally the Masters was

our highest degree in the West the PhD

was a research degree that came later

but the original masters was the highest

degree because it was a license to teach

which still in our culture it's a

license to teach that what it's saying

is that you've studied enough to be able

to transmit what you studied to other

people so you have to work to become

masters as best to your ability because

when you get that degree you can go to a

college you can go to a high school and

you can get a job as a teacher and so

it's very important that it not be you

know in our tuition we have what's

called shahadat Azure which is false

testimony and she Mohammed Amina Shin

clearly was asked once what what the

best definition for false testimony was

and the word in Arabic for testimony and

for diploma are the same and he said

it's these diplomas that you get when

you graduate from from this institution

he was teaching in Medina so you don't

want your Shahada to be Shahada to Zoar

you want it to be really to be

meaningful so and then how do boubakr

also gave advice he said that that you

he said that you have to have

humility there's a verse in the Quran

that says surah and ayat Allah Dini

attica Beruna but I will remove my signs

from those who have arrogance in the

earth behavior hack without any warrant

for that because only Allah is

mutakabbir only Allah can declare his

greatness and so that's very important

humility that without humility you will

not be able to learn and arrogant people

can have information but they will never

have wisdom it's just they're mutually

exclusive and so that's a very important

then he said also to have humility

before the subject there's you know a

charitable reading of things you should

always read things first charitably

before you read them judgmentally to