Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Lives of Man

Part 1 (Part 2 click here )

      Another excellent talk by Sh. Hamza Yusuf titled The Lives of Man. I love his talks. I especially like that he relates particular words, their meanings and also the meanings of their respective root words. Semantics! It makes understanding concepts effortless, natural. It reminds me how my dad likes to go on and on about reverting the teaching of Maths and Science in English back to Bahasa Malaysia in schools. He said, in Science and Maths some words carry the concepts with them and sometimes when translated, the words are so different that the concept they carry are lost. 

Back to the topic at hand, Sh. Hamza begins by relating to his students that the word 'Man' is derived from the German word 'Mench which is inclusive of both men and women. That women are regarded simply as men with wombs. Much of what he's saying is based on the book of the same title by a yemeni scholar, Sh. Abdullah Al-Haddad (short summary of the book here / entire book in pdf format here). Sh. Hamza mentions it is said that every 100 years, God sends someone to revise this din and Al-Haddad is considered one of them.

In a nutshell, the talk revolves around the developmental stages of human beings (
Erickson's model, Kubler-Ross's stages etc.)with the extension of pre-wordly and post-death events as narrated in the Qur'an.  In part 2 of the talk, he focuses on the progression of age. In part 1, he focuses on the stages entailed in Al-Haddad's book, which is divided into 5:
1. Mithaaq (World of Spirits = Pre-worldly)
2. Dunya (Worldly life of choice & effort = Birth til Death)
3. Barzakh (State of life after Death)
4. Hashr / Nashr (Resurrection)
5. Final Abode (Ultimate divine intimacy = The Garden / Ultimate divine alienation = The Fire)

Each part of the talk lasts about 1 hour 30 mins. It's all very fascinating. I mean really. Sh. Hamza mentions a  lot of things. I'm just going to list some of it at random:
- Heidegger's death philosophy (our death acts being the only real thing we do that is purely out of our own volition)
- Ajbu Dhanab (The wondrous tail), it is proposed that the tip of the coccyx is the seed of the human being. As you know seeds are very hardy, they can survive HCl in our stomachs, fires, drought etc. So humans perhaps are brought back to life from this seed during resurrection.
- Spiritual Death being the goal of most religions. When one dies to the sensory world and enters into meaning, once occured, freed from the sensory world and will never view it the same again, quoting a poet:
"He freed himself from sensory (sensoria), that was his obstacle, and he embraced meaning, an embrace that he is not permitted to ever leave."  To embrace mortality.
- How God's Mercy preceeds Wrath. That the over-riding mode of God is Mercy when we are taken into reckoning. How God has 100 parts of Mercy, 99 He retains and 1 part is descended  to our world. How the hoof of a mare is prevented from stepping on its foal, why a mother nurses her baby, all these being that 1 part of Mercy. (Then he goes on describing the womb (rahim) at length which I find exceedingly interesting).
- The two reasons why in Islam when babies are born, the azan is recited into the right ear, the iqamah in the left ear  & someting sweet is placed unto the tongue: 1- Wa'd (The promise - that he/she will return to divine presence from whence we came) 2- Wa'id (The warning - if he/she do not maintain the promise made during divine unity = la ilaha illa 'llah they will be in trouble).
- How 40 years of life = an entire lifetime. >40 = Bounty. He relates this to the Prophet saying to the Quraisy people that he "had lived a lifetime" among them, before the first revelation. 

There's so much more of course. I made proper notes as I listened this time around *happy* So yes, a very interesting topic.

p.s. In case anybody watch the vids and is curious what was the Greek play Sh. Hamza mentions in part 1, it was Lysistrata. The student that answered Sh. Hamza's question wasn't very audible so yeah.

1 comment:

  1. Salam.

    Come across your blog while looking for the book title by Imam Al-Haddad. Thanks very much ya. Barokallahu fiik :)