Welcome to "Perspectives" where we discuss "individual opinions that are considered wrong even if they are correct"
Considering all of the bloodshed, destruction, conflicts and successive calamities that have afflicted us Arabs recently
Would you not agree that we need a new cultural paradigm that will recast, reinvent and reformulate our values, principles and moral ethics?
And not only those, but also our religious understanding?
He says that we "seek nearness to God by disobeying Him" and that we have become people who "don't take God's words seriously"
The scholar in religion who refuses, and has refused, that I call him "Shaykh" Hassan al-Maliki, is my guest on this evening's episode. I welcome you "Ustadh" Hassan
Why did you refuse that I introduce you as "Shaykh" Hassan?
I don't really like these titles, I prefer just my name said simply, or "Ustadh" (teacher/professor) is fine
"Shaykh", "Imam" , etc ... we are tired of all that, and most of the time, I'm sorry to say, they produce nothing but backwardness
"The Shaykh", "The Shaykh", "The Shaykh" ... I'm just fed up with it, and I don't like to be called that
Is that a new type of religious insurrection? Or a new religious cultural mindset?
Not really. "Shaykh" just isn't an appropriate title. We should be humble and just speak to "common" people normally, as we are just like them
In fact they may be better than us, closer to God, and have done more good
So why should be boast over a few collections of knowledge, and the "knowledge you are given is but little" [17:85]
But there'd be more weight & value in presenting yourself as "Shaykh"
We don't want to be among those who are pleased with the lower world and its glitter & vanities
I'm very normal and act naturally among my children and friends
I even try to remove this halo of "shaykh" that some have for me by tweeting old Yemeni songs, or comments on current football matches
These are personal things, but I tweet them just to remove from myself this halo of "shaykh" that some want to put me in
Or is it, perhaps, also so that you aren't included among the Shaykhs that strongly disagree with you? And in this episode we will try to discuss and highlight the key differences between you and them
And I'd like to start that now by talking about your "cultural project"
In our conversations in preparation for this episode, a lot of your emphasis was focused on the subject of cultural values (قيم) and moral ethics (أخلاق)
What do you find problematic in our prevailing values and in our present day morals?
Well, we all know that we are trapped in a cultural blockage and behind an impasse
And everyone is asking "How do we get out?"
What's the way out of our troubles? This backwardness, in-fighting, hatred, animosity, etc
And of course every one of the competing factions claims to have the right solutions in their religious sect, cultural movement, political party or policies
This kind of division isn't part of "refuge & holding on to God's rope". Instead it is everyone holding onto their own ropes; political ropes, sectarian ropes, etc
But they would say you are over-simplifying the problem by reducing it to religious conflicts, when in reality the problems are essentially political and religion is just being blamed
Both the political and religious spheres, all parties and conflicts included, have to become reasonable, and must themselves be governed by, and answerable to, justice and moral ethics
In your introduction you mentioned one of the things I’ve said
Which is that we currently try to gain nearness to God by doing the ugliest acts of disobedience towards Him
Yes, I'd like you elaborate on that please
Well, just look at the fighting that is done in the name of God
The blood that is shed. The people who are displaced. The drowned in the seas
Those fighting and causing this, do so in God's name
All of this hatred, animosity, enmity and division
Every religious sect being unwilling to join with any other sect, nor any political party with another; each following their own plans
This division is rebuked by God, while they see it as a distinction. Shaytan deludes each group into believing they are special and distinct in their views & dogmas
So you are blaming Shaytan?
Not exactly. But firstly, we are believers and God says "Shaytan is an enemy, so take him as an enemy"
So we should believe that he is real, and be aware of his aims which God has mentioned, and which I call his five-fold project
Which he has managed to instil in the Muslims in a way not found in others
His five-fold project is to instill; enmity (عداوة), hatred (بغضاء), evils & ugliness (سوء), indecencies (فحشاء), and to say about God what we don't know
This is from two verses, 5:91 and 2:169
We will come back to discuss Shaytan, who and what he is in detail, but first I'd like you to clarify something for me
You said that Shaytan is deluding and instilling within each sect that it is right while others are wrong
But just a few years ago we never had such sharp, severe and jagged religious fragmentation across the wider Arab and Islamic world
I do not consider Shaytan to be the only factor at work
Desires & ambitions, self-justifications, pride, arrogance, delusions of grandeur, love of the lower world, and more
They all play their part. Shaytan will use all of them, and he "adjusts the rhythm" between all of them
He knows when to bring out each one, whether in the name of religion or not
The ones he can misguide with religion, he misguides with religion ... or by using worldly desires, then with them
Aren't we all like that?
Yes of course, but it's relative
I personally know that Shaytan is in some of my dealings, whether with my children or my over-reactions. He enters. I'm not innocent of that
But it's relative
We are trying to unveil Shaytan and his project
When you focus on your Enemy and his plans, you "reveal him" and come to know him better
But if you neglect Shaytan, and think that he just wants to whisper distractions to you in your prayer and -
You are talking about him as if he's a country with political policies!
He has allies. Firstly, in the Qur'an it isn't just the first Shaytan. So I don't just mean him. There are also Shayātīn of men and jinn
"Thus have We made for every Prophet an enemy; human and jinn Shayātīn, inspiring to one another embellished words (زخرف القول) in order to deceive" [6:112]
This is the "زخرف" that we see on the pulpits, channels and in books
Then let's stick with human Shayātīn
Then read "They took the Shayātīn for patrons rather than God, yet they think that they are guided" [7:30]
But so that we don't get lost in our discussion, let's go back. You said that we never used to suffer from such sectarianism before, correct? Not true. It was always there, lurking and waiting
Some place its origins in the changes of the past 30 years. But I say it's far older
Right from the time of the Prophet where the "Influence of Nifaq" was active and effective, with the hypocrites even splitting his community in two [see 4:88]
His community split in two over them, even with the Prophet present and the Qur'an descending! You think they wouldn't fragment them in later times?
We ignore the origins
Even the "moderates" reduce the problem to being caused primarily by the Muslim Brotherhood, or Khomeini and his revolution, or Wahhabism, etc
But the real origins are older. True these factions are involved and -
You mean between Sunnis and Shia?
No, before the Sunnies and Shia. In the Prophet's life they didn't exist
No, I mean you're talking about current problems between them?
No, even the conflicts between the Ikhwan and Salafies, the Ash'aries and Salafies, Sufis and Salafies, etc
The point, my dear viewers, is that the recent surge in animosity has even older influences
The Shia are also wrong when they say everything was fine until Wahhabism came about. Not true
We've been in-fighting for centuries. The bloodshed, hatred, etc, this "project of Shaytan" has been active since the Prophet's time, with the Prophet and Qur'an confronting it
But all religions have been through similar crises. Why is it only ours that has lasted all of our history?
The Christian world went through similar crises and dark ages, but they got out of it. Why are we still in ours?
I have an answer, but let me first say that focusing on an easy or quick fix, without understanding the real problem, will not work as a reformation
We will never understand our current situation of the past 30, 50 or 100 years, until we deeply analyze our history
Then we will see that the origins of our current problems are numerous factors
Some are internal from the human self, such as self-delusion and arrogance, while others are external, like the Shayātīn and the Cultural Influences of Nifaq
The Prophet himself was not safe from them
And God said that He has made enemies for every Prophet
God's aim is Testing (إبتلاء) ... He doesn't want to remove the Shayātīn and evils from this world
Rather they must continue, so that He can see where you will stand in relation to them. It's from His Sunnah that truth & falsehood, good & evil, will continue until Judgment Day
Our responsibility is to reduce it as much as possible. Instead of being at 80% as now, to reduce it to 5% or 10%
The Western world also has evils but they are relatively few and confined as much as possible