Given below is the Khutba delivered today followed by an explanation of the the theory of objectivism which in my view has become obsolete.
Friday Khutba 3 - June 13, 2008
I will present to you some thoughts today which could change your life. Please listen carefully.
We are witnessing a failure of the systems which are pre eminent in the world today. Systems like Democracy, Human Rights, Women’s Emancipation, the Geneva Conventions. In very few cases it is because there is a fault with the system as originally conceived. There is a lot wrong however with the way these systems are practiced.
When Civilizations decay like the present one is decaying, chaos prevails before a new order can establish itself. This is usually the time for a redefinition and a return to basics. Currently people are in denial about whether the present way of managing things has become obsolete. They are more intent on maintaining the status quo than preparing for the coming floods.
This is not unlike the story of Noah where the status quo had outlived it’s usefulness and life had to start anew. We know more about the flood then what happened after the flood but let us be clear that the coming floods will not be of water but of blood.
No one’s blood will be spilt more than that of Muslims and no one’s blood is today being spilled more than that of Muslims. To make things worse it is not the non Muslims but Muslims who are spilling Muslim blood. Iraqis and Iranis spilled each others blood, Iraqis spilled the blood of other Iraqis, Afghanis are spilling the blood of other Afghanis. Pakistanis are being asked to spill the blood of other Pakistanis and Afghanis.
No Religion has a greater incentive to take care of itself and no religion is less prepared to do this than Islam as it is practiced today. There is a burning desire but the leadership is missing, the path is not specific and the enemies of Islam are stronger than the friends of Islam.
In this environment, I wish to introduce to you, the Islamic way of thinking. I have chosen 5 words from what I call the vocabulary of Islam and I hope we will have time to go through all five but let us make a beginning. We all know what the problem is and I have already said that the problem is global. Part of the problem is also the Vocabulary that has been introduced in the Secular Idiom. Words like Collateral Damage, Al Qaida, Terrorism are the words of a propaganda machinery designed to justify war. The question is can we find a solution in Islam which will help Muslims and help the rest of the world too.
Niyat is the first word. Today Democracy, Human Rights etc are failing because the Niyat of people who implement these philosophies is to bend these ideas for their personal or hidden agenda. Niyat therefore trumps systems. The Quran warns against the Munafiq who is a person who professes to be a believer but is only part of the system as long as his or her aims are being served. In Islamic countries today similar examples can be found of people using Islam to attain power or recognition. In this case Niyat has trumped religion. Why do we talk about the Importance of Democracy or the importance of Islam when we should be talking about the importance of Niyat.
Niyat has no equivalent word in the English Language. Niyat is intention preceding experience. Yet how do you talk about Niyat without being judgmental? How do you know what is in the heart of another? Only Allah Knows that. Frequently not even the individual is aware of his or her own Niyat.
This brings me to the second word, Tahqiq. Tahqiq is the process of spiritual intelligence. Actively seeking what is real.
Which brings me to the third word which is al Haqq. Al Haqq is not Justice alone it is reality. It is the reality that we are seeking through Tahqiq. Acceptance of Haq without Tahqiq can become a problem.
Let us explore Tahqiq further. There is already a recognition that logic which is important has serious limitations and that there is such a thing as emotional intelligence. Perhaps a combination of mental and emotional intelligence may lead to spiritual intelligence but spiritual intelligence cannot be gained without seeking Allah’s franchise. Spiritual Intelligence only comes through submission to Allah. The Zikr of Allah is essential to this Franchise. I mention the word Franchise to illustrate that man is supposed to be Allah’s agent in this world. How does man expect to be His agent without knowing what Allah wants. How can man know what Allah wants without seeking it, actively, through Tahqiq, through Ilm ( which is the fourth word).
Tahqiq is the wider process of Spiritual realization and verification. The Tahqiq, that I am talking about does not rely on purely intellectual enquiry. The Tahqiq that I am talking about is beyond the grasp of enquiry with the intellect. This is not a rejection of the intellect, but highlights the limited thinking of a world dominated by naked logic which excludes Allah from it’s sphere because His existence cannot be proven through empirical means.
The most important Tahqiq is the Tahqiq of your own Niyat to see whether we have an interest in Haq. We can dwell upon the Tahqiq of others. We can say where was the Haq, when Iraq attacked Iran and when Shias attacked Sunnis and Vica Versa and when Iran and Saudi Arabia take opposite sides in this same massacre. What is the reality when the US attacks Iraq in the name of Democracy. This is not what I am talking about. I am talking about ones own commitment to truth and reality and what we are willing to do to test our commitment.
Let us talk about Ilm. Ilm is different from education. Ilm is Knowledge. Education without Knowledge is just like acquiring a skill. Knowledge can bring about a revolution in the educational systems that we practice. Ilm is ultimately knowledge of Allah. Ilm is the knowledge of things that are around us and that are a testimony of the existence of Allah. Ilm includes knowledge of the world and knowledge of the self. Prophet Muhammed ( SAW) had no education but he had knowledge. Knowledge precedes education and knowledge brings about a thirst for education. The interconnectedness of things is not taught in schools. The interconnectedness of things is essential to Ilm. In Islam nothing will make sense unless we can see and feel that the glue to this interconnectedness is Allah.
Let us talk about himma. This is concentrated spiritual intention. “ Faeza faraghta funsab.” Therefore when though art free ( from thine immediate task) , still labour hard. 94:6. And to thy Lord turn (all) thy attention. 94:7. This is the himma that you acquire from Niyat, from Ilm. The pursuit of Huq and the pursuit of Ilm is Tahqiq. This is what life is about. This is what is missing from our lives.
When we came to this country , we found a better life here then where ever we came from. The life that we found was the sort that we would have wanted in our former countries but did not. The life that we found was not only a better standard of living but more importantly a life made safe by the rule of law. Recently though things have started to come apart. It begins to feel that the structure here is built on a pack of cards. If you all feel as I do that this was a Society whose initial goals were worthy, then for its own sake and for our sake and for the sake of our children, we need to come up with a solution. What I have presented to you today is a part of that solution.
This is but a sample of the Islamic vocabulary. This is just to give you a flavour of what Islam has to offer. In these difficult times we need to be aware that what we offer can be the solution that the world is looking for.
The following is a short description of Objectivism given by Ayn Rand in 1962. To learn more about her philosophic system, please read Dr. Leonard Peikoff's short essay: The Philosophy of Objectivism: A Brief Summary.
by Ayn Rand At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did as follows:
Metaphysics Objective Reality
If you want this translated into simple language, it would read: 1. "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed" or "Wishing won't make it so." 2. "You can't eat your cake and have it, too." 3. "Man is an end in himself." 4. "Give me liberty or give me death."
If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of thought. Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on one foot—nor while standing on two feet on both sides of every fence. This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly in the field of politics.
My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:
Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.
Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses) is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.
Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.
The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.