Dear Readers, Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you)
Today is a happy day. Alhamdulillah (=praise and thanks to God) I am officially moved into a new place to stay. I pray it will be an abode of peace, joy, learning and teaching. A step closer to that long lasting and eternal home, at least in the way it may manifest in this life-form where we are bound by the time-space continuum (Muslims believe in an after-life where the human soul will enter another reality not bound by the four dimensions this life is bound in, and that that reality will be eternal. Not limited in that reality as we are here, we will have a greater or more real experience/understanding of the Creator there than we can here).
Therefore finally I am settled enough to be able to say something about the very disturbing global events that have been unfolding, specifically in the Muslim world. I do not want to make this blog a venue for political discussion, hence why I’ve refrained from commenting on many events over the past few months…though I have not been silent in other venues. This talk though, has to be shared. The popular media will not broadcast the views of the Muslim scholarly leaders enough, so let me do my part.
The talk is by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, an American Muslim leader and authentically trained scholar. He is perhaps one the most influential Muslims in the English speaking world today. Consistently ranking among the foremost in the annual top global Muslim 500 lists. He converted to Islam as a teenager, then travelled to the Muslim world and studied at the feet of authentic scholars for 10 years, obtaining ‘ijaza’ (=license) to teach several classical works from top scholars, many who can trace their ‘sanad’ (=chain of transmission) via famous scholars all the way up to beloved prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) or to the authors of the classical scholarly works. He then returned to America and obtained a nursing degree and worked as a nurse. Thus fulfilling another scholarly etiquette in that he obtained secular training and also had his livelihood from a secular job and not from religious discourse (mark of a good scholar).
He is now founder-faculty at Zaytuna college in Berkeley University. The USA’s first Muslim liberal arts college. And he is my teacher. This talk is delivered in Malaysia, perhaps a few weeks ago. It is relevant for he addresses current global events. The Q&A period in the second half will especially hit home. And more so will it if you are a Muslim young person struggling to navigate your faith through current events.
He is addressing a Muslim audience, so there are a number of Arabic terms he uses. I will try to update this post with a translation later on. I don’t want to wait to do that so posting now. It is long, but well worth the listen.
Finally to join my voice on this public forum to that of all the scholars and millions of Muslims condemning the actions of ISIS and their ilk. They are monsters. What they have done to Muslims is heinous and condemnable, and what they do to non-Muslims is more heinous and condemnable. They are a scourge upon the good name of our beloved Muhammed (peace be upon him) and a scourge upon his way. They have nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with them. I repeat that, they have nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with them.
To end ‘tawbah’ in the title means ‘return’. This is a call to Muslims to return to God, to return to our teachings and return to the way of our beloved Muhammed (peace be upon him). We have left it too long and our nation is being humiliated. We have much to do and no time to waste. Allah give us the strength to work and live noble lives.