29 years of Jum'ah in the street

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Rabi' al-Thani 09, 1433 2012-03-02

Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem. Alhumdulillah. Peace and blessings on Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam), his Noble Companions and Family. Dear Committed brothers, dear committed sisters,

We have been here, forced out of the Masjid, for twenty-nine years this week and it is not for any simple reason that this whole development occurred. There is a central theme in Islam, in the history of the Prophets and in the contents of scripture that has been lost. And as long as speakers and preachers, khuta’ba’ and wu’adh avoid that central theme they are free to go in and out of Masajid and any other Holy areas but once they begin to zero-in on that long lost central theme they become persons who are targeted, persons who are expelled from the Masajid and persons who are of interest and persons who are almost outlaws. You can see the mechanics of the system when it has been working when Muslims are beginning to discover their lost character and their lost responsibilities. We have been in an extended effort of trying to put together the details of this central but absent subject of Islam and we will continue that effort with Allah’s help and guidance.

When we look at the history that we belong to, we find that there are twenty-five or twenty-six Prophets that are mentioned in the Qur’an. Like we said previously there are much more than that, but for reasons peculiar to Allah’s wisdom these are the ones that have been brought to our attention even when our attention is absent. Of these Prophets and Messengers we have a history of struggle between them and their power structures. If we wanted to collect all of the information about all of these Prophets and see on a scale of “failure” and “success” (i.e.) how “successful” were they in actualizing the core of their message- some of us may be disappointed. The core of their message is social justice. In Allah’s words

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ

Indeed, We have sent our Emissaries or Messengers with clear evidence of the truth and along with them we sent scripture and a clear criterion so that people effectuate social justice… (Surah Al Hadid verse 25)

This is the overview of Prophetic and social history. That’s the whole purpose (and) that’s the whole history that we now are carrying in our minds and on our backs. Before the last Prophet of Allah, Quraysh itself was the major power center in Arabia. For two-hundred years before Allah’s final Messenger came to that society and to the world at large, Quraysh was running the show in Arabia and here comes the final Messenger from Allah- Exalted be He. Look- when we read about the Prophets that we belong to (and) the messages/scriptures of these Prophets that we carry with us and when we understand their struggle an average human being would say “why should I be part of this struggle when I don’t see any guaranteed results coming from this struggle?” So Allah in His infinite wisdom wanted to re-assure you with some ayaat from Surah As Saff’faat- ayaat number one-seventy-one through to one-seventy-four; Allah is saying to you, the human being with all of your human weakness (who) finds yourself now a Muslim (or) a Mu’min responsible for the duties that were the affairs of Prophets and Messengers.

وَلَقَدْ سَبَقَتْ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا الْمُرْسَلِينَ

Our word has gone forth or has preceded your emotions, has preceded the details of history. (Surah As Saff’faat verse 171)

What are Allah’s words? Allah says

إِنَّهُمْ لَهُمُ الْمَنصُورُونَ

وَإِنَّ جُندَنَا لَهُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ

فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ

Our Subjects are eventually victorious and Our men in arms are, in one sense or the other, triumphant. And so, if you are met by the use of overwhelming force and you find yourself on the defensive you can place yourself at a distance from them for a time period. (Surah As Saff’faat verse 172-174)

Now, here is where the problems begin to develop. Some Muslims have taken the attitude that “well- I shouldn’t be concerned with the issue of success; that is in the hand of Allah.” Obviously that is the case. Eventual and final success are in the hands of Allah but that doesn’t mean that I am no longer enthusiastic or no longer motivated to reach that end. These are two different subjects and one of them doesn’t cancel the other. Some Muslims suffer from a burn-out effect. They want to accomplish so much in a very short time and if they don’t accomplish what they set out to do, they feel burned out, they lose interest. If they were listening to Allah, this would not happen. They would not rev un themselves to such a degree that they encounter frustration just a few years later. This is not the course of Allah’s Prophets.

إِنَّا لَنَنصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْأَشْهَادُ

Certainly we will come to the support and to the victorious outcome of Our Messengers and those who are committed to Us in this world and on the day when those who have testimonies come forth and bear witness to their efforts in life. (Surah Al Ghafir verse 51)

So we look at the history of these Prophets- not many people look at history this way, and it’s about time we began looking at it this way- if the responsibility of these Prophets was social justice, how many of these Prophets that Allah brought to our attention managed to apply social justice to their societies? We know when we read the Qur’an, (and we are readers of the Qur’an), that many of these Prophets never did that. They set out to do it, they spent their life trying and struggling to do it but they never did it. How many? These may be familiar words- after years and years of a polarization this clash of wills between those who had worldly power and those who have Allah’s power resulted in the destruction of that society.

فَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَمَن مَّعَهُ

… We rescued him and those with him… (Surah Yunus verse 73)

There’s no social justice done. The Prophets set out to have social justice in their own people (and) in their own societies (and) in their own communities but many of them never accomplished that. The majority of these Prophets that we’re supposed to be learning from, (some of us just read without learning), did not bring to fruition what they were meant to do. There was no social justice. The whole society crumbled. So you, the committed Muslim who belongs to these Prophets, ask yourself- do you belong to a history of failures which would force you to think of “how do I define success and how do I define failure?” A worldly person with the worldly mind would look at the history of these Prophets and say “hey- look, we’re looking at a history of individuals who failed. If Allah is telling us the objective and the goal of these Prophets in their own societies is social justice, what happened? Most of these Prophets never accomplished social justice in their own societies.” These Prophets who were rescued from the results of the conflict and the clash of them and their societies without having anything to do with governance and ruling (were) Yahya, Zakaria, Elias, Ayub, Idris, Is’haq, Ya’qub, Al Yasa’, Dhul Kifl, (and for those who consider Uzair a Prophet), Uzair (alayhim as salaam); they didn’t accomplish anything as far as social justice was concerned. Was that their fault? No. They did whatever they could do but as the saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” This is a reciprocal effort. How are you going to have social justice in a society when that society doesn’t want Allah’s social justice? It can’t happen. These Prophets and the followers with them didn’t give up. They didn’t burn-out! Nuh (alayhi as salaam) continued for about a-thousand in his own society. That would be enough for an average human being to give up and say “I’m no longer interested. I can’t do anything about this.” But when it came to the culmination of a struggle and he saw that his own society and people are not going to be reconciled with Allah and the message of Nuh he said

وَقَالَ نُوحٌ رَّبِّ لَا تَذَرْ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ دَيَّارًا

O Allah- leave not one resident Kafir in this world. (Surah Nuh verse 26)

In another du’a he says

فَدَعَا رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَغْلُوبٌ فَانتَصِرْ

… O my Sustainer: I have been dealt injustice, I am overwhelmed by oppression, You, (My Sustainer), score the victory that is awaited. (Surah Al Qamar verse 10)

He didn’t say give me power, he didn’t say give me victory because he is living in the realm of the social laws that are at work (i.e.) the sunan that Allah has brought to our attention that many of us have been derelict in understanding. When al adhab came, these Prophets were rescued from the torment and the suffering that was due as a result of the opposition and the hostilities of their own peoples and societies. Take a look at the history of Isa, Ibrahim, Salih, Shu’ayb, Hud, Lut (alayhim as salaam)- what happened? When it came down to it, Allah’s penalty eliminated or crushed those societies and they were rescued. There was no social justice done here. (If) you’re looking for social justice, you can’t find it in these societies and in these power structures in the history that we have.

وَقِيلَ بُعْدًا لِّلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ

… and it was said “away with people of injustice.” (Surah Hud verse 44)

What do you do when you have a society that is not willing to listen to Allah and His Prophet when they come to them with the curative of justice? What do you do? There’s nothing we can do, but there’s something we’re not supposed to do and that is to give up.

Then there are Prophets who actually reached that position of administering social justice. There are some of them, not many of them- five or six. Dawud and Sulayman (alayhima as salaam) reached that position where they were in-charge of social affairs. In today’s language, they had a government and they were running the affairs of their societies in accordance with Allah’s directives and guidance. Musa and Harun (alayhima as salaam)- also the same thing. The final Prophet of Allah also managed to bring to his society and to the world social justice. The question is: why we, the Muslims of today, cannot zero-in on this character and this struggle and this history? Why are we afraid to look at our responsibility for social justice in this world? There are powers in this world that don’t want us to think about social justice or about universal justice; which brings us to a very important issue.

We mentioned it previously and we’ll mention it again because it’s important for a thinking Muslim. There are two words in the Qur’an that get confused in the average Muslim’s mind. These two words are al adl and al qist. The average Muslim thinks that these two words are synonymous; they basically mean the same thing. They are not. One of them has a meaning that has to do with the individual and the other one has to do with society. You and I as individuals are responsible for justice- adl.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ

Allah demands justice … (Surah An Nahl verse 90)

So no one can escape this responsibility. But in order for you and I to have al qist, we’re going to need a more collective effort; we’re going to need social justice and systemic justice. For this reason Allah has designated Makkah and the history of Makkah as a geo-historic point for justice. This is not the time when we can go into the historic details of Ibrahim and Isma’eel (alayhima as salaam); suffice it here to say that Makkah itself was meant to be the core area for the beginning of this social justice. If anywhere in the world people cannot find a reference point for social justice, the Qur’an and Allah and His Prophet point them to Makkah.

مَثَابَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًا

… it is a retreat or refuge for people… (Surah Al Baqarah verse 125)

It was to congeal a social order around that principle and the concept of justice and social justice. When oppression comes our way, (and we get oppression from many different directions), we should recall that the struggle of Allah’s final Prophet was concentrated on the liberation of Makkah and we can look at three circle of this liberation of Makkah. The first circle is when the Prophet and those who were with him triumphed over their human nature. In the first thirteen years of this struggle called Islam and iman, those Muslims who suffered, were tortured, were excommunicated, were isolated, were harassed didn’t have a state, they didn’t have a society, they didn’t have a civilization. The only thing they had was their will-power and their will-power in that context overcame all the difficulties and all the persecution that came their way. They triumphed over their own human nature. They didn’t stop their and say “well- we scored here and we can go about now in a fuzzy way generalizing this meaning of Islam to the world and to the public around.” No, they didn’t because they were on a course of action. After triumphing over their human weaknesses and their human nature in Makkah they went out and put together a human community in a human society and a human state in Al Madinah and in Arabia. That was the second circle of success that they were intent on. Now, were they to fail in this regard and we were inherit this message would have been in the nature of things to give us a message that is applicable and workable and doable? It was in the nature of things that they should succeed for us to continue that success- that is how we belong to them and they belong to us. then the third circle of success was the civilizational message of Islam as it proceeded from Makkah- the core- to the surrounding areas of Arabia and from there on to the rest of the world as a civilization. Today’s Muslims can’t put all of these pieces together so they are scattered all around the parking lot. You find that some of today’s Muslims say “we have to concentrate on education and we have to concentrate on information and we have to concentrate on character…” Of course, we have to concentrate on that but how do we concentrate on that? In laboratory settings? (Do) we extract ourselves from real life and we go somewhere in a classroom set-up? Where’s that? Where do you find that? This could have been done. Was the Prophet of Allah or the Prophets of Allah, (we are looking at all this history), incapable of having classrooms? The real classroom was life itself. This is the real classroom! Something happened. The central message got lost. When people begin to discover this central message, this is what happens to them- as you can see and as Allah is witness.

Dear committed Muslims…

You may understand it is not by chance that we are out here every Friday for the past twenty-nine years and now beginning, this week, the thirtieth year. This is not a natural occurrence. There is no gravity between us and the Masjid or a natural phenomenon between us and the Masjid that tells us we have no access to the Masjid. There is a deliberate, thought out, pre-determined and a reinforced decision to have Muslims excluded from the House of Allah. Allah says at the end of Surah Al Jinn.

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا

And it has been revealed to me that the Masajid belong to Allah therefore invoke no one besides Allah in this regard. (Surah Al Jinn verse 18)

You can’t say “a Saudi Masjid.” If you say that it means the Masjid belongs to the Saudis. You can’t say “an Egyptian Masjid” because by that you mean the Masjid is property of the Egyptians. Allah is making it very clear that these Masajid… There are two meanings for Masajid. Masajid is the plural of Masjid and Masjid is the designated area or structure or building in which there is a systematic performance of sujood- that’s a Masjid. Another meaning of Masjid is any area in the world or any piece of land in which as sujood is possible (or) in which as sujood is performed. So these areas of sujood, whether we take the structural meaning of it or the more general meaning of it, they are places that belong to Allah. There can be no propriety of a place where a person is in sujood to Allah. So how come now we have people who come to us and say “they own that Masjid?! Or they own Al Masjid Al Haram in Makkah?!” Brothers and sisters- how long are we the Muslims going to permit the Saudi government to get away with its Shirk? Why is it Shirk? Why do we say that they are Mushriks? Because they don’t report to Allah in these types of decisions. Are they answering Allah when they say “we will permit whoever we want to come to Makkah and we will forbid whoever we want from coming to Makkah?” Are they reporting to Allah? Who are they reporting to? They have masters. This is the area that some Muslim public speakers don’t want to express. Who do they report to? They report to worldly powers. They report to the Imperial masters in Washington. They may report to the Zionist masters in occupied Palestine. Recently, (and some of you may not know this), in the past couple of weeks there has been what some would say “a controversial issue concerning Al Quds, Jerusalem.” Some Palestinian Officials, the Head of the Palestinian Authority- Mr Abbas, said that “all of the Muslims and Arabs of the world should come to Jerusalem.” Maybe he thinks that by saying that if there is a massive numerical presence of Muslims in Jerusalem then that is going to dilute the Yahudi occupation of Al Quds. We don’t know if he is as brainless as to think that those Israelis who are going to issue those visas are going to issue them in the hundreds of thousands and in the millions for Muslims to go to Al Quds. Then, on the other side of this issue another prominent Islamic Scholar, Shaykh Al Qardawi, said “it is prohibited for the Muslims in the world, with the exception of the Palestinians, from going to Jerusalem.” He says “this will give credibility and recognition to the Israelis because you’re going to get permission from them to go to Al Quds. Besides, if they begin to give selective permission, (i.e.) if they give rich people visas and deny visas to poor Muslims then you’ll have not only the filthy rich Arabian sheikhs flocking not only to Jerusalem but they’ll go to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa and they’ll join the nightlife of Yahud in the occupied Holy Land.” We don’t want to get involved in this give-and-take; it is common sense to know who is right and who us wrong here but we want to take this one step further. If Muslims are not allowed to go to Al Quds because Al Quds is under occupation with illegitimate rulers there, then how about Makkah and Al Madinah? Do we have legitimate rulers there or are they on par with their co-politicians in occupied Palestine? What distinguishes the Saudis from the Israelis- you tell us? But this is the area that no one wants to bring forth. No one wants to discuss this. Is a Muslim better than a Jew because of the difference in rituals that they have or is there something else of more substance here that has to do with social justice that is lost on us? (If) you take away the issue of social justice it becomes religious bigotry and religious choseness and religious sectarianism. All of this starts seeping in. (Do) you see what happens to us? The heart of our iman is not in us so our body becomes a zombie and a puppet which they do with whatever they want to do; which tells us who we are today.

In these years- brothers and sisters, committed Muslims- we’re just beginning now, (as of March fifth, a few days away), thirty years of being out here in the street. Who’s responsible for this? We haven’t even come in contact with these Saudi administrators in the Masjid on the sidewalk outside the center during these twenty-nine years! What? Are they scared of us? Do we eat human beings? What’s wrong with them? And they say “we are brothers and we are all Muslims…” What is this? They’re lying to us?! Then they say they are supportive of democratic movements. They are fueling the agitation of people in other countries; well how about their own country? Do the Muslims have the right to stand up like they did in the generation of Allah’s Prophet when the leader of the Muslims mis-stated himself and an average person stood up and said you are wrong. They didn’t put her or him in handcuffs and throw them in prison and tell him “shut up! It is tantamount to kufr or it is equivalent to kufr to correct a leader .” When the Muslim with the character of Allah’s Prophet heard the statement coming from the audience he said I made a mistake and the woman was right. They claim that “they are followers of the sahaba?!” That was a sahabi who said that. That was Umar ibn Al Khattab (radi Allahu anhu) who said that and they claim to be supportive of the sahaba. They have nothing to do with the sahaba, they have nothing to do with Islam. They’re more at home in the brothels and the casinos of the Kuffaar and the Mushrikin. That’s where they belong and they can’t fool us. We thank Allah that our spirit and our minds have been free for these twenty-nine years. They can have the comfort of warmth in the winter and the air conditioning system in the summer but if they are slave in their minds and hearts, we’d rather suffer the adverse weather effects and remain free in our minds and in our hearts.

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