HTBE series: What is the monoculture? part 1

BismiLlah Al Rahman Al Rahim,

This lecture was given by Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah called “Contemporary Monoculture: an Islamic perspective” at Zaytuna College. If you wish to watch it, kindly consider being a Zaytuna Companion.

These are notes I took while I watched it. By no means do they fully explicit Dr. Umar’s view in it totality. If you have questions, you could try contacting him through his Nawawi foundation website.

“In us, we have the 99 Names. They are manifested in us. A special gift. For example, plants are dominated by the Name al-Razzaq (Giver of nourishment: oxygen, fruits, etc.), water by al-Mohyi (Giver of life).
Humans are abd al-Jame’ (servant of God, the Lord of all the Names). That makes us the knower, the speaker. But also the weaver of culture, to negotiate reality, to speak, to walk, etc. We are the makers of culture.

We must learn to articulate our culture, teach people to be human beings.
There’s a dua’ that says: God give me إنسانية (humanity)
So our culture includes: learning arabic, memorizing the Qur’an, tafsir, fiqh. And we have to apply those rules wisely, properly. Not as a straight jacket but as a tailor made suit.
–> Don’t give fatwas if you only know the book. if you do that, you are misguided and you misguide.
you have to know the context and how do you apply it to the given situation.
You want to take Islam to the people? Teach how to be human beings. How to be married, how to raise and educate children, etc.

Now, the monoculture is destroying all of that whether by intent or just by reality.
You go from Chicago to Beijing, people are wearing the same jeans, the same logos on their T-shirts, etc.
There is no East or West anymore. And this is a problem, because Chinese have their own culture.
The monoculture removes all of it. It’s good for marketing. But it makes us zombies. The same and yet different.
You got that style, wearing that logo, certain holes in your jeans, I got this style, this logo, other holes in my jeans.
This is  a great danger, it harms people deeply.
It’s like the totalitarian regime, we are being manipulated without knowing it.
It creates the one-dimensional man. One source of knowledge.

In Islam, there are 3 sources of knowledge:
– Experience
– Empirical reasoning (on experiments) –> reason a priori: math, the basis of philosophy
– Revelation

(part 2 coming soon inch’Allah)
My deepest apologies for not updating the blog more frequently. Du’as please!


~ by youngmuslimworld on September 11, 2011.

2 Responses to “HTBE series: What is the monoculture? part 1”

  1. interesting stuff about monoculture–was just thinking of that as I am in Abu Dhabi at the moment and trying to process how I feel, seeing all of the American Fast Food places–

    was also just reading about types of knowledge as well in Ghazali’s marvels of the Heart (kitab sharh aja ib al-qulb) as well–a must read!

    • Imam al-Ghazali… God bless his soul, that man was a saint! I read about types of knowledge in his Book of Knowledge (aka Book I) from the Ihya’ series… But I’ll definitely read Marvels of the Heart inch’Allah, thanks for the recommendation Askia!

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