YOU are OFF
the Prophetic path:
If you follow a teacher or a shaikh who does not teach you the
authentic Prophetic sayings on his lifestyle and his characteristics and
his explanation of
Koran. We give them to you in 95+ languages
totaling 860+694+1615 = 3169 Prophetic Sayings (Hadith)
You people even take
names of great Hadith teachers for your educational
institutions and void it from Hadith! I am not trying to be
negative! You are HADITH-NEGATIVE! BUSY TALKING ABOUT PLASTIC
... ETC! REREAD BELOW INTERVIEW. MY ALLAH, HAD YOU BEEN FULL
OF HADITH WE SURE HEAR IT FROM YOU, INSTEAD OF TRYING TO MILK
where you find the
celebrated Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah, Chairman of the Board &
PS. IF ANY OF YOU
ASKED THE SAME QUESTIONS TO MUHADDITH
HAFIZ TALIDI OF TANGIER MOROCCO WHO IS 82 YEARS
OLD AND REVIVED THE WHOLE SCEINCE OF HADITH ... YOU WILL GET
PROPHETIC GUIDANCE NOT JUST TALK. I AM ASHAMED THAT HAMZA
YUSUF NEVER BROUGHT HIS NORTHERN AFRICAN SHAYKH TO CONTINUE
TEACHING HIM AND THE AMERICA INSTEAD OF WHAT WE HAVE VOID OF
PROPHETIC GUIDANCE. NO WONDER
بن عمر رضي الله تعالى:
رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله تعالى
الرجل من أهل العلم حتى لا يخشى (أو لا يحسد) من فوقه ولا يحقر
من دونه ولا يبتغي بالعلم ثمناً $$$"
الشافعي بشهادة الربيع ابن سليمان والإمام أحمد بن حنبل:
ابن سليمان "رأيت على باب دار الإمام الشافعي سبعمائة راحلة تطلب
سماع كتبه" وكان الإمام الشافعي يكره الإجازة بدون سماع كامل
لكتبه فاعلم واحذر من الإجازات والدرجات العلمية والرواتب ودفع
المال لتحصيل العلم كلها خداج ولا بركة فيها فقد حذرنا الإمام
أحمد بن حنبل عن أخذ العلم عمن يطلب عليه عوضا $$$ وسبب التاريخ
الذهبي بالأندلس في العصور الوسطى أن الطلبة تعلمت وقفا مجانا
لله تعالى ولو تم ذلك في أوروبا وأمريكا اليوم لتغير الوضع بدلا
من النصب والإحتيال جمعا للإسترليني والدولار $$$ باسم الدين.
عبد الله بن المبارك من كبار أئمة الحديث والعلم:
المبارك "من شرط العالم أن لا تخطر محبة الدنيا على باله $$$ .
وقيل له من سفلة الناس، قال: الذين يتعيشون بدينهم $$$، وكان
يقول: كيف يدعي رجل أنه أكثر علماً وهو أقل خوفاً وزهداً، وكان
رضي الله عنه يقول: من علامة من عرف نفسه أن يكون أذل من الكلب،
وكان يقول: من ختم نهاره بذكر، كتب نهاره ذاكراً".
عبد الله بن الصديق الغماري:
فحواه عن معظم من على سطح الأرض اليوم
نقلة علم لا علماء إنما العلماء هم المجتهدون كالشافعي ومالك
وأحمد وابن حنبل رحمهم الله تعالى.
1. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf interview by Nuh Ha Mim Keller* Sheikh Hamza Yusuf interview by Nuh Ha Mim Keller
Jazak-Allah Khair for taking time out of your busy schedule to
spend some of it with us. You returned from the Hajj recently,
and you’ve been previously haven’t you.
What was different this time around as opposed to other times -
or is each time different in itself?
I think the Hajj tends to reflect the state of the Ummah. That’s
one of the things about the Hajj is that you get to see the
Ummah. It’s a microcosm of the Ummahs condition. And I think
what you see on Hajj is that the Ummah is not in good condition.
What you see is that there is good in the Ummah, but the state,
the overall state is not a got state and I think that’s very
reflective in the Hajj. One of the things that is very obvious
is that there is, in a sense, a loss of what’s called "Ithar",
which is deference to others. One of the essential
characteristics of the Muslims is this idea of deference and
adab and if you lose adab in the Haram, you certainly won’t have
adab in the place where you’re coming from. And so what happens
is that you have people who forget partly where they are. Some
of the outwardly manifestations of that are a lot of people
smoking, publicly, in the Haram, a lot of intermingling between
men and women in ways that are inappropriate.
Also a total lack of concern for the cleanliness of the place -
garbage is everywhere. I mean, already garbage as a phenomenon,
it’s a modern phenomenon. Humans have always produced waste
products, but consumer waste products are very different from
classical waste products that were by and large, biodegradable -
things that would go back to the earth. And here you’re dealing
with a lot of plastics and thing that are not...they’re ugly.
And there’s just a lot of garbage, and what I’ve think that is
indicative of, the fact that the Muslims throw things around, is
that there is an assumption that somebody else is going to pick
it up. And so really what that’s telling us is that nobody is
taking personal responsibility, and I think that is by and large
a real crisis in the Muslim Ummah as a whole, that people,
individual Muslims are not taking personal responsibility for
the condition of the Ummah, they’re expecting that somebody else
is going to take care of the problems, somebody else is going to
take care of our troubles, and this has led to a type of apathy,
and so I think that’s all reflective in the behaviour. At the
throwing at the stones, I mean that’s.... I mean, the people
that I went with, we all threw our stones without harming
anybody, without any pushing and shoving, and we went in and
out. But we did it because we were consciously doing that, where
as there’s a lot of people there that, there just don’t care
about other people, they’re pushing people to get their...to get
in and do what they have to do, and they harm other people doing
it. You can see this also around the Black Stone, you see it
around the Tawwaf, and the trouble is is that by honouring other
Muslims, Allah honours you, and by disparaging other Muslims,
you only in the end, Allah says "Ya Ayohan nas, Inna Baghiakum a
la Anfusikum" - O mankind, your harm of other people is only
against ourselves. And so by harming other people, what we’re
really doing is harming ourselves, and I think that’s what’s
happening in the Muslim Ummah, and that’s why we have this type
of oppression in the Muslim Ummah towards one another, which
manifests in the corruption within government organisations, the
corruption within the private sector.
So are you saying that during the time you’ve been
going back to the Hajj, things have gotten worse - you’ve
perceived deterioration or improvement?
No, I don’t think so - I don’t think that... I don’t want to
paint a completely bleak... but one has to be realistic as well.
For me personally, despite all of that, there are extraordinary
things that take place, and it is still.... I mean the real task
of every pilgrim is to, inspite of all these overwhelming
circumstances, to experience the Hajj as a spiritual journey. I
mean, that is a task. Something that probably earlier, in
earlier time, it was easier. Now there’s a struggle.
Why do you think Muslims have lost their tradition of mutual
love and courtesy amongst each other, why do you think there has
been that decline?
Because there is a breakdown in the whole concept of what an
‘Ummah’ is, I mean this is the idea of Divide and Conquer. It’s
taken some time to achieve, but there has been a breakdown in
nationalities, there’s now artificially created nationalities
and borders that divide us, and those nationalities and borders
have taken a life of their own, and so what happens is that
people begin to view themselves as Egyptians, as Algerians etc.
and not as Muslims, not as one Ummah and Allah says that "you
are one Ummah and I am your Lord". You have one Lord, one Ummah
and one Prophet. We have in our Ummah all of the ingredients
that no other communities have, not even the homogeneity of
countries, don’t have the ingredients of unity outside of there
countries. In other words, the Japanese, they do have a type of
solidarity based on their Japaneseness, but outside of that,
outside of a bloodlink, as a people and a language link, they
don’t have anything to unite them. Whereas with the Muslims, we
have within our tradition all of the ingredients to unite the
most diverse people and it’s extraordinary, there’s nothing else
similar to it at all in history or in the world right now.
What America would like to do is they would like to unite the
world based on shared, quote - unquote, values, because I don’t
like that word, based on these shared values of consumerism,
gratuitous consumption, of pleasure and the world is created
basically for play and entertainment and as a pastime, and music
and dancing and basically bestial lower self behaviour and this
is what they’re spreading all over the world. So everybody will
look the same, in their jeans and their Nikes shoes, and
everybody will listen to the same sugared pop music, and
everybody will eat the same hamburger, French fries and
milkshakes and everybody will have the same banal perspectives
on the world. So this type of unity which is based on reducing
the human being to an automaton, who has no volition of its own
and who simply sleepwalks through life without any sense of
identity, awareness or tradition. This is the unity they’re
hoping to achieve with this idea of some kind of one world.
Maybe with some new-age spirituality thrown in there because
people do tend to have some spiritual needs, so we can throw in
some new-age... it’s all one in any case, right? So take a
little dabble from this religion and that religion, and we can
all be Buddhists, and then you can just meditate, or something
like that, or they’ll, I’m sure, be providing soon enough,
Have you read the book by James Redfield, it’s
very appropriate to what you’re talking about, The Celestine
I actually have read that. I think that’s exactly what I’m
talking about. It’s this kind of new-age religion that’s being
promoted - which is Dajjalic in its nature because it’s looking
at certain spiritual truths and it’s distorting them. Iblis is
the mimicker, right, I mean Allah says that his throne is on
water, so Iblis made his throne on water. Iblis is the great
mimicker; he’s the mocker. And so the pseudo religion always
will mimic true religion, and unfortunately when you don’t have
people that have the ability to discern and distinguish between
truth and falsehood, then they spend their life being misled and
groping in darkness.
Do you think the intellectual decline in our Ummah can in any
way be related to the decline in the Arabic language and its
That’s a very strong element in the whole overall decline. Out
of the several hundred languages in the world, there are only a
handful of languages that are considered ‘civilisational’ and
Arabic is certainly one of them.
Right now, the language of power and dominance, and of discourse
at whatever level - whether commercial, philosophical or
scientific - is English. And the power elite in the west are
certainly capable of articulating in the English language.
Whereas in the Arab world, you would be hard pressed to find
people capable of articulating verbally - using the Arabic
language as a vehicle for discussion and serious though - unless
they had been well trained. More can actually write and part of
that is because the Arabic language is so deeply rooted in
classical Islamic Knowledge.
English has a worldview, and now you find in the Arab world,
people who have English as their second language - usually their
higher education will now be in English. Every language contains
within it the roots of the worldview of the people that produced
it - so by taking on the English language, one is taking on a
western worldview, and you can’t avoid it. By abandoning the
Arabic language what people are doing in fact is abandoning the
worldview that the Qur’an provides. Also, the Muslims had a deep
sense of the linguistic power and the actual underlying
expression of reality embedded in the language. The language of
the Qur’an is the language of truth, and therefore the one who
learns it and is deeply into it will ultimately be confronted
with reality through the expression of the Arabic language.
Why do you think so many pieces of good
Islamic literature are being written by non-Muslims - e.g.
George Makdisi’s ‘Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the
Partly because the west is the dominant power-elite, and the
dominant powers always have intellectual apparati to maintain
their power - part of the apparatus, what it will do is it will
enable and facilitate research and facilitate intellectuals to
explore/pursue ideas and thoughts ultimately for the benefit of
the power elite. But what will come out of that often is that
people who do have inherent brilliance are able to have the time
and the freedom to think deeply about matters. This is the whole
system of endowments in the west - if you look at most of these
people who do these things, they’ll often have a paragraph of
gratitude towards some fellowship that was given to them, which
gave them 2 or 3 years to do the research they needed to do.
What happened in the Muslim world is that because there is no
power (the Muslim world has in fact become of secondary
importance) most Muslim governments are in no way interested in
pursuing intellectuals - in fact, quite the opposite. They want
to prevent them from thinking, they don’t want them to think.
The fact that the west does allow these intellectuals to pursue
things is in no way indicative of some desire for truth.
That is a very important note.
Right. Sometimes, truth is a by-product of it, because in order
for the to fulfil what they want to fulfil, they allow an
‘expressive’ control of their intellectuals - but because of the
nature of the mechanism, it will in the end, only serve the
Someone remarked that "sitting before a teacher who passes you
knowledge is like taking a photograph - in that by the light,
the image of what is in front of you is implanted in your heart.
This is education."
Please comment - why can’t we receive ‘education’
from reading books?
Part of it is the idea of transmission. Anybody who has studied
with a teacher will know the answers to that question and
anybody who hasn’t won’t. It’s the difference between hearing
about something and experiencing it. Our tradition is a
tradition of transmission. Our Prophet (saw) was taught by an
Angel - that Angel was taught by Rabb -ul-Izza - the Lord of
Power. And the Qur’an says, "over everyone who possesses
knowledge is someone who has more knowledge". When Musa (as) was
asked if there was anyone more knowledgeable on the earth than
he was, he replied "No". But Allah then sent him to study with
Al-Khizr, who the majority of scholars say wasn’t even a
prophet, so here’s a prophet being sent to a non-prophet and it
was a reminder to Musa (as) that one can never assume that there
is not someone that they can learn from. Part of the modern
crisis in the Muslim Ummah is we have auto-didactic scholars -
the damage that they have caused is, I think, extraordinary, and
one of the signs of the end of time is a Hadith in which the
Prophet (saw) said knowledge would be taken from a "Saghir"
which means "a little one". Ibn Abd-ul Barr, the great
Andalusian commentator on Hadith, wrote that what this Hadith
means is that the chain would be broken towards the end of time
- people who had not taken their knowledge from the previous
generation will begin to transmit knowledge, and that knowledge
will be their own opinion and not transmitted knowledge and from
the Muslim perspective, truth is not something that needs to be
discovered - it’s something that needs to be learned. In the
western understanding, truth is something that needs to be
discovered, truth has not been given to man - it’s something
that man needs to discover for himself. In the 20th Century,
although that meta-narrative is disappearing, i.e. - the
post-modern phenomenon is in a sense a capitulation to the idea
that there is no truth - and if there is truth, it is not with a
"T" but with a "t" - meaning, "your truth may not be my truth".
What the post-modernist thesis is to say that, really what we
have not is some grand narrative of the search of truth, but
rather a meta-narratives or small narratives of the truth, that
each one is as equally true as the other which is ultimately
saying that nothing is true. Because one you say everything is
true, what you’re really saying is nothing is true. If I say
it’s wrong to kill and somebody says, well that statement has no
meaning because what is "wrong"? - what’s your definition of
wrong? And because wrong cannot be technically defined within
the dominant discourse of the 20th century, therefore it has no
meaning. Whereas, if I say it is wrong and wrong is that which
Allah has made prohibited, I am laughed out of the auditorium
because what I’m saying is that "truth has been revealed by God"
- that is no longer an accepted premise for the modern social
discourse. So we can’t talk of morality - all we can talk of is
legislation, and legislation is what the latest vogue is -
should we have the death penalty or shouldn’t we.... it becomes
a debate, and there’s nothing in stone so to speak. Like "Thou
shalt not kill". It becomes "should we kill or shouldn’t we?
Well, let’s take a vote". Truth becomes a democratic process,
and that is very alien to the Islamic tradition. So the idea
that truth is something which is transmitted from generation to
generation is no longer acceptable within the dominant social
discourse. And for the Muslims that has been the truth because
the Prophet (saw) said that this knowledge - i.e. the
truth/revelation will be carried in each generation by upright
people and transmitted to the following generation. So Muslims
have always seen that knowledge is a transmission, from the
breasts of those who know to the hearts of those who don’t know.
Many sisters wish to travel to Muslim countries to learn the
Deen from those who know, but they are concerned about the issue
of travelling without a Mahram.
First of all, living in the non-Muslim lands - it is accepted in
Shariah that if a women makes hijrah from the land of the
non-Muslim to the land of the Muslims, she doesn’t need a Mahram
- that’s a well known principle in Islamic jurisprudence. The
way I view it is I think that a woman is safer without a Mahram
in the land of the Muslims than she is with a Mahram in the land
of the non-Muslims.
To what extent can a female, married or unmarried,
affiliate herself with a sheikh whilst keeping within the
boundaries of the Shariah?
Women traditionally studied with teachers, it just has to be
done with adab. There’s obviously more limitations on the
female, the Qur’an says the male is not like the female. It’s
obviously better and more preferred if a women learns from a
female sheikh, and there used to be a considerable number of
them in the Muslim Ummah. There isn’t anymore and it is even
quite unusual now to find a male teacher who is of any high
calibre, but to find a female is an anomaly in the Muslin world
With regards to the Shariah, why do you think that
the rules regulating trade/industry/ business transactions have
almost been abandoned by the Muslims?
Because we’ve become subject completely to the dominant world
order, which is a capitalistic, western world order and so
international law is now western law, this is history, just read
what happened in the 19th century with the abdication of Islamic
Law and the usurpation of it place by western legal systems -
with some amalgamations like the Anglo-Mohammadan law, where
personal matters (e.g.; inheritance & marriage) were left to
the scope of the Islamic Tradition, but those matters that
related to business and commerce and penal codes became under
the jurisdiction of western secular law.
In the Mu’watta of Imam Malik (ra), he places a
lot of emphasis on the "Aml of Medina". What is the difference
between this and Hadith?
Within Imam Maliks (ra) framework, he sees that Medina has a
unique status that other cities do not have during the time of
the Tabi’een, because what he says is the Tabi’een were people
who lived with the Sahabah, there’s over 10,000 Sahabah buried
in Baqia who died in Medina. He’s saying that this city was a
city that had a special place in Islam that no other city had -
even Mecca - because Medina is the city in which the Islamic
legal system and the Islamic social order was fully implemented.
For that reason, he in a sense is a inheritor of a social
expression of the totality of the Islamic teaching and so his
recording that in the Mu’watta is in a sense a recording of what
he would consider a city in Submission, and for that reason he
would say that if I find an isolated Hadith, not Muttawatir (a
Hadith that has several transmissions), with one or two chains
from the Sahabah and I find 1000 of the people of knowledge from
the Tabi’een in Medina doing something, Imam Malik is saying
that their actions override the solitary transmission of that
Hadith - i.e., the fact that they’re not following that Hadith
and that they were people who lived in the presence of the
Sahabah, and that practice would’ve been done in the presence of
the Sahabah, among whom were men like Ibn Umar and Umar ibn
al-Khattab and women like Aisha, that these people knew better
what was the final Islamic decision on the matter. Imam Malik
for that reason would consider the action of the people of
Medina - when he says that, he rally doesn’t mean everybody, he
means the people of knowledge in the city, and the city was
filled with people of knowledge. Imam Malik felt that the action
was a Hadith, only it had achieved the status of Muttawatir
because of its agreement in the city of Medina - even if he did
not have an actual verbal transmission of that matter - e.g.,
there’s a sound Hadith that the Prophet (saw) told people not to
fast on Friday, but in the Mu’watta, Imam Malik new that Hadith
and said "I found the people of knowledge in this city fasting".
- they considered it to be a virtuous day to fast. His point was
that they were doing that action in the presence of the Sahabah,
and none of the Sahabah said you can’t fast on Friday.
Therefore, Imam Malik is saying that the fact that they
transmitted this as a virtuous day to fast, and it was not
rejected because of that Hadith, he considered isolated
transmissions of the Hadith to be weaker than the transmission
of Aml, of action.
It’s a difference of opinion, but it is an accepted principle in
Usul. Imam Shaffie and Imam Abu Hanifah don’t agree with it, nor
does Ahmad, but they do agree the Aml of Medina is higher with
regards to certain things e.g.. Measurements.
The Prophet (saw) said in a sound Hadith "I’m the Syed of the
children of Adam", so he is our Syed whether people like it or
not. Allah (swt) praises Yahya in the Qur’an by calling him
"Syedinna Wa Hasoora", that he was a Syed in the Qur’an and our
Prophet (saw) is certainly greater than Yahya. Syed means master
in the Arabic language, and he is our master.
You should not say Syedinna in the Fard prayer when you do the
Tahiyya - there is an opinion that you should, but it is a weak
opinion. But when we speak of the Prophet (saw), we should call
him the Messenger of Allah, the Prophet of Allah or we should
call him Syedinna. We should not say Muhammad without putting
some honorific title before his name. One of the things that
Qadi Iyad points out in the Shifah is that Allah (swt) always in
the Qur’an calls his prophets by honorific titles, e.g.. Ya
Ayohal Muzamill, Yasin and so on. It’s part of the adab of the
With regards to loving the Prophet (saw) too much, it really has
no meaning. He is the means through which we have come to know
Allah. The Hadith says whoever has not thanked people has not
thanked Allah, this is why massive respect is owned to the
parents, because they were the means through which you were
given life. Even though it’s Allah (swt) who gave you life,
Allah has command that you honour your parents in a way that no
one else has been given that high status in the Qur’an - after
Allah and his Messenger (saw), high status is given to parents
in terms of obedience, so after obeying Allah and his Messenger
(which is obeying Allah), the next highest thing the parents.
The Prophet (saw) said none of you truly believe until I am more
beloved to you than your own self, and so if you love the
Messenger of Allah (saw) less than you love yourself, then you
don’t have true iman. And if you love the Messenger of Allah
(saw) less than you love your parents or your children, then you
don’t have true iman.
Many people would like to know about the Zaytuna
Institute and why you decided to found it/what are your goals in
relation to it?
Zaytuna is just a vehicle for doing the work I’m doing. To me
institutions don’t really mean anything. Ultimately,
institutions are nothing other than the people that run them. I
think the important thing for us to remember is that ultimately
we are all mortal, and that our time is limited, and so the best
actions are those actions that continue on. My hope is that this
work will continue on after my lifetime. The work is nothing
other than trying to teach the message of Islam. To establish
institutions that guarantee or give whatever worldly guarantee
that we can have that that will continue on, is part of our
tradition. The creation of endowments to make sure that the
traditions of Islam would be maintained from generation to
generation. It’s my small contribution to the overall picture.
What the Muslim world needs is for Muslims to take it upon
themselves, at the personal level, maintenance of the tradition,
and it has to happen. It’s not the talk of any one individual,
but the talk of an Ummah. But an Ummah is nothing other than the
individuals that comprise it. Muslims have to recognise that our
tradition is disappearing, and that there has to be efforts to
re-ignite learning at a senior level.
The Rihla again is an attempt also at doing the above. What it
will hopefully move to is a full-time type of Madrassa, but
right now it’s a summer programme of one month.
The problem is that the Muslims have fallen into the western
approach - which is the ‘conference’ approach. We have
conferences, but the conferences last a few days, they are
comprised of talks that are in a sense not so much informative
as inspirational, and there’s not a real transmission of
knowledge, rather a type of narrative story telling which is not
conducive to the transmission of Islamic knowledge. Islamic
knowledge means sitting at the feet of people, who sat at the
feet of people, back to the Messenger of Allah (saw).
Even within the western corporate model that created the
conference phenomenon, it’s still buried in institutions -i.e..
Conference papers are actually the result, in the western model,
of research which will end up being abridged synopsis of
someone’s work, and if attending the conference are interested
in it, then they can actually have access to the work of that
person. What happens in our conferences though is that there
isn’t any work really being done other than this type of
inspirational model. I don’t think we should eliminate
conferences all together, but I think people have to recognise
the limitations of the format.