Are the Masjid really MasajidAllah Part 4

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Rabi' al-Awwal 25, 1433 2012-02-17

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,

This day, Friday, is a day in which we speak the truth and we speak truth to power. This is part of our understanding of taqwa. We are expected to avoid Allah’s punishment and Allah’s power presence not these other transient and feeble powers around. We take this attitude and we locate ourselves with Allah’s Prophet as we have been doing for many Jum’ahs now. We spoke about the liberation of Makkah and what was left after the liberation of Makkah- was what may be called a mopping up operation. At Ta’if, the twin city of Makkah, remained resistant to Allah and His Prophet and the ongoing numbers of committed Muslims; but it was only a matter of a few weeks after the liberation of Makkah and At Ta’if itself- Thaqif was to Makkah what Quraysh was to Makkah- succumbed to this new Islamic reality. Now brothers and sisters, committed Muslims- the problem we have with our own selves is our inability to recast our collective (and) social efforts to see to it that Makkah is the Makkah of Allah’s Prophet, (i.e.), the Makkah of freedom of conscience, the Makkah of freedom of thought, the Makkah of freedom of assembly, the Makkah of freedom of persuasion unlike what it has become since that time. It has almost reverted to its pre-Islamic times in our day; so the responsibility and the mission still beckons the committed Muslims to liberate this Makkah. What does Makkah mean? In order for us to muster enough motivation to do what has to be done we have to understand what this city stands for. We saw how the Prophet of Allah, in the previous khutbahs, embarked on what was to be the rest of his life’s mission (i.e.) to free this Makkah from the powers and the authorities that were in control of it. The Prophet spent twenty-three years in this dawah; what did we observe or should have observed in the course of these years that culminated in the last year or two in the liberation of Makkah? But before that what happened? Let us try to take an overview of what happened?

On a couple of occasions the Prophet of Allah, (you know this from history and his seerah but you probably have not paid attention to its more significant meaning), under duress when the committed Muslims were persecuted asked or he instructed some of them to leave Makkah. There were two hijrahs during this time period to Al Habasha in Africa. Now, why didn’t Allah’s Prophet himself- after knowing the reception that the Muslims had in Al Habasha- go to the Habasha? Why didn’t he leave Makkah, reposition himself over there and begin a movement from there back to Makkah? Why don’t Muslims think of this? He could have done this very easily. He could have set up shop over there, (so to speak). He could have said “this is a land of more freedom and more justice than is the case in Makkah. The opportunities for us working here and then making a come back to Makkah is more convenient then to stay in Makkah.” But the Prophet of Allah did not do that. He withstood, on principle, his ground in Makkah because Makkah is the cornerstone and the foundation for this mission that has been given to him and to us. We know that he had to spend many years after the hijrah to Al Habasha inside Makkah struggling against all odds. We spoke previously of the character of this struggle. It wasn’t a military or a militant struggle; it was a struggle to win over the conscience of the people. The Prophet of Allah wasn’t saying “I want to rule over Makkah” when he was in Makkah. He wasn’t saying that. All he wanted to do is have access to the minds and the hearts and the consciences of these people- that’s all he wanted and they would not give him that. Because of that all of the pressure came to bear upon him until under the threat of death he left Makkah and he repositioned himself in Al Madinah where his support base was to be. In this context when we read an ayah that says

فَاسْتَمْسِكْ بِالَّذِي أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

Hold on to what is revealed to you from your Sustainer; for sure you are on a Seerat Al Mustaqeem. (Surah Az Zukhruf verse 43)

Which tells us (that) had he opted for a more comfortable position by relocating to another territory or another land or another society it would not have been in the nature of sparking a popular movement that he is responsible for; which brings us to the nature of relationship of Prophet’s with their societies.

Allah commissions a Prophet to do his will (and) it is within the dynamics of this Prophet and his own society that this movement begins. Makkah was to be for them at the time of Allah’s Prophet (and) the committed Muslims of those times the refuge from a society which had become alien to them. The rebirth of an Islamic society from a jahili society was to be located in Makkah. Some people don’t understand this. Today, scholars and learned persons and activists etc. etc. don’t understand that. They don’t understand what the centrality of Makkah means. They don’t understand what a responsible Islamic individual is within his own society. They don’t understand the way the Prophet went about mobilising the power factions in Arabia to make a final move on Makkah, when the Prophet in Hajj Al Wada’ and the Muslims there, (there were about a-hundred-thousand Muslims who were there in the presence of Allah’s Prophet), finally succeeded in liberating and freeing Makkah from the Taghut and jahiliyah.

Remember, the first founder of Makkah was Ibrahim (alayhi as salaam). He was forced out of his culture and out of his society by his own people and he found his home in a place that we call Makkah. (There’s) probably only two Prophets who had this dynamic of not having their own society Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Yusuf (alayhima as salaam). These Prophets did not have that social relationship which the other Prophets had with their own peoples. Ibrahim was forced out of his own society and he couldn’t find anywhere on Earth where he could call home except Makkah. Prophet Yusuf, because of the asabiyah of his own family, was alienated from his roots and spent the good part of his life outside of his own family and his own society. Other Prophets were sent to their own people.

فَأَرْسِلْ مَعِيَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ

... Musa (looking for a home and a homeland) wanted to move Bani Isra’eel away from Egypt... (Surah Al A’raf verse 105)

وَرَسُولًا إِلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ

(Isa alayhi salaam) and an apostle to Bani Israeel... (Surah Aal Imran verse 49)

Unlike all of these Prophets tied to their own societies, the Prophet of Allah- the last Prophet of Allah

إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا

... I am Allah’s Apostle to all of you... (Surah Al A’raf verse 158)

Therefore Makkah belongs to all of you. It’s a home when people feel like they don’t belong; when they don’t have a home and they don’t have a homeland Makkah is theirs. This is what was intended by Makkah-for Makkah to be theirs. If we understood our Islam- if we just had a basic understanding of our Islam the people of today’s world who are called “refugees”, the people of today’s world who are called “stateless” the people of today’s world who are called “displaced”, the people of today’s world who are called “undocumented or illegals” would have found a retreat in Makkah. Between this understanding and us there is a load of traditions. We don’t hear in our Islamic homes- Makkah was controlled by Mushriks before it eventually was liberated by Muslims- you can go back to your historical references and can you find anywhere in those sources and those references an ayah or a hadith that says a non- Muslim cannot enter Makkah? Challenge your own self! Today there’s a law in that land that says “non- Muslims are not allowed to enter Makkah.” Even though this law is not observed- you have people masquerading as Muslims and they go there. You have people pretending to be Muslims and they go there. You have Islamic Centres run by the rulers of that land who formally obtain a piece of paper saying “they are Muslims” and they go there. (If there’s) anything we can find in the Sunnah and the Seerah of Allah’s Prophet (it) is that Mushriks should not perform the umrah and the tawaf around the Ka’bah. After the Prophet’s Hajj or the time in which the Prophet sent Aba Bakr and Ali (radi Allahu anhuma) to Makkah no naked person shall circumambulate the Ka’bah and no Mushrik shall perform the Hajj. He didn’t say “no Mushrik can be around Makkah itself.” Where did this come from? You ask yourself- who did this come from? These are the traditions that have stifled and paralysed what Makkah is supposed to stand for. Allah says- these are ayaat seventeen through nineteen in Surah At Tawba. What are these ayaat saying?

مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ

Mushriks are not expected to... (Surah At Tawbah verse 17)

The word ya’mur has a physical meaning and a social or a psychological meaning. The physical meaning of the word is construct.

مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُوا مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ

You can’t expect Mushirks to construct Houses of Allah, meaning Masaajid, places where Allah is honoured in His full authority and in His power... (Surah At Tawbah verse 17)

You can’t expect them to do that. Then the other meaning of ya’mur is to bring it to life, to have vitality in these structures. Now, one meaning does not have to contradict the other meaning; but the problem with today’s average person is that he thinks this ayah means that they don’t build Masaajid belonging to Allah. That’s not the overwhelming meaning of the word. Literally speaking- a Mushrik can build a Masjid. You contract Mushriks- they can put stones upon stones, construct walls, finish the structure out and the Mushriks built a Masjid. It means

مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُوا مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ

You can’t expect Mushriks to bring vitality, momentum, life- umr is a lifetime- into the Masaajid of Allah... (Surah At Tawbah verse 17)

Al Masjid Al Haram to begin with and then all other Masajid around. You can’t expect them to do that even though the Mushriks of Allah’s Prophet’s time still honoured the rituals of Ibrahim. Allah is telling His Prophet and telling us

مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُوا مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ شَاهِدِينَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِم بِالْكُفْرِ

You can’t expect these Mushriks to fulfil this role of vitalising the Masjid; they are witnesses against their own selves (or) they stand witnesses against their own selves guilty of kufr... (Surah At Tawbah verse 17)

So who are the ones who bring these Masaajid to life?

مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِر

… those who are committed to Allah and the final day. (Surah At Tawbah verse 18)

Allah in this ayah could have said those people committed to Allah- that would include the final day and the Prophet of Allah and the Angels and everything else but in this scenario or in this context Allah had to remind us of the facts of life. People who neglect the Masaajid and the social spirit in them, (the fact of the matter is), give lip service to a belief in Allah, but their actions and their character do not prove that they are out for a final day. How true that is today? People who run these dead Masaajid, these lifeless Masaajid are not in their moment conscious “hey wait a minute I’m approaching a final day here; there are some responsibilities that I am going to be asked about.” They run this sometimes as a business, sometimes they just run it out of employment. No one is running this because, look, there is a responsibility to be found here and that responsibility is eventually going to show up on a day that is coming soon. That’s not the attitude with these people who are in this Masjid and the people who are in Al Masjid Al Haram in Makkah. You see- aqama as salaah wa aata az zakah- the word aqama and ataa means that

وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ

... there is a social reality here in the Masjid that pertains to the congregation of people in their communication with Allah and in the way they distribute their wealth... (Surah At Tawbah verse 18)

There is a system in the Masjid! You go to these Masajid around- beginning with the Masjid in Makkah ending with the Masjid anywhere else or most places on Earth- where do you find the social spirit in the Masjid? An Imam in the Masjid has lost his course and his character. What’s an Imam in a Masjid? He steps out of a Masjid (and) who is he? Is he still an Imam? Or is he an employee of an Embassy? Or a khateeb who collects a salary at the end of the month? Where is the leadership role in this Masjid that no longer has a social fabric to it? It’s not Masajid. A Masjid that does not have a social fabric- aqama as salaah wa aata az zakah- indicating a social content to the Masjid.

وَلَمْ يَخْشَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ

... and only fears Allah and only stands in awe of Allah. (Surah At Tawbah verse 18)

Do you think they stand in awe of Allah? Do these people who are running the Masajid today, (we’re speaking about the majority of them), place themselves in the spirit of these ayaat? (Do) they transfer the meanings to these ayaat to their daily conduct and the procedures and the policies by which they control these Masaajid? This question goes to you directly. Even after all of this provided do we still have committed Muslims who meet this criteria in these ayaat Allah says

فَعَسَىٰ أُولَٰئِكَ أَن يَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِينَ

... after all of this, it might just be, that they will be guided. (Surah At Tawbah verse 18)

You can’t assure yourself that you are going to be guided but imagine those who don’t meet the qualifications and the qualities and the criteria mentioned in these ayaat?! Where are they? Allah says, it is like saying,

أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ لَا يَسْتَوُونَ عِندَ اللَّهِ

Do you equate those who offer water to pilgrims and those who take care of the physical structure of the sanctuary meaning Al Bayt Al Haram to those who have committed their live’s efforts to Allah and to the final day and who struggle? These two sets of people, as far as Allah’s concerned are not the same (or) are not equal… (Surah At Tawbah verse 19)

There’s a qira’ah that says the two words siqaya is changed to suqaa and imaara is changed to amarah with a taa-marbutah at the end. Do you equate not the act and not the policy of offering water and maintaining the physical structure but here in this other rendition of the ayah

أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ لَا يَسْتَوُونَ عِندَ اللَّهِ

Do you equate the individuals who provide water and the individuals who maintain the Masjid Al Haram to those who are committed and their commitment is translated into jihad, a struggle? You can’t do that. (Surah At Tawbah verse 19)

Now, we ask you, if you read this ayah we have in Makkah today people who offer water, who are in charge of providing drinking water and water to be used for other purposes in and around Al Masjid Al Haram and we have their superiors- Allah is saying

أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ لَا يَسْتَوُونَ عِندَ اللَّهِ

Do you equate them with those whose commitment to Allah translates into a jihad? (Surah At Tawbah verse 19)

Where do we have these committed Muslims whose commitment to Allah translates into a jihad? These are two sets of people. You can’t say that they are alike. So this ayah comes down very clearly on the rulers of Arabia who present themselves as the maintainers and the custodians and the guardians of Al Bayt Al Haram and it says to all of us don’t think that they are even close to those whose iman causes them to struggle for the cause of Allah (and) on a course to Allah. There were about seven or eight responsibilities in pre- Qur’anic, pre-Islamic (and), pre- Muhammadi times that were attached to Al Masjid Al Haram; the Prophet of Allah reduced them to two. Today, we have these rulers there who have gone back to the jahili days and they continue to have the Muslim public believe that Makkah is their affair and we have no responsibility towards it- as if Makkah doesn’t need any liberation. The question that still needs to be answered by you and me and by every committed Muslim in this world is where are we? What are we doing? How are we thinking? Are we even thinking of bringing Makkah back to where it belongs in the book of Allah and in the pattern of the Prophet? Or are we just free floaters in life shirking our responsibilities and making believe that everything is fine and nothing really has to be done. Our souls and minds have to be liberated in the process of liberating the House of Allah- Al Masjid Al Haram in Makkah Al Mukarramah.

Dear committed Muslims...

The land that we are talking about- that is dear in one way or the other to every Muslim- is a land right now that is surrounded with instruments of death, with militaries of war. No one wants to tell us this and no one wants to bring this to our attention but we should not be lazy minded. We should not be as incapable to understand what is happening. In that general area there are scores of military bases. There are nuclear weapons in and around the Holy Lands. How did all of this happen? It happened in the absence of our engagement with Allah and His book and His Prophet- that’s how it happened. What do you tell your children? What do you tell the coming generation of Muslims if they wake up one day and they ask why are there all these military bases in and around our Holy geography in the world? What do you say? We have brought this upon our selves. It’s not too late. It’s never too late to correct a mistake or to correct a deviation. We, the Muslims, on this day of taqwa confess to the fact that we have been neglecting our duties; that we will redouble our efforts to make up for these many years and many generations of going AWOL from Allah. We will look these Islamic frauds in the eye and if need be we will take issue with them in the manner and with the morals that belong to us as committed Muslims. Aal Saud- the clan of Saud- should never be allowed to get away. They shed blood, they kill, they send troops, they finance armies- to do what? To anchor in the occupations that exists and then to instigate a type of sectarianism that now they are stirring in certain areas in that geography that we are speaking about. This is the birth land of our character, of our historical presence- that’s where we emanated. We are responsible for it in our time and in our generation. Other people are not responsible for us. No one’s going to do this if we don’t do it. The least we can do is point to the frauds among us, (to) the thieves in the temple- that’s the least we can do. Stand for truth and stand for justice- the two sentences that distil the history of Prophets and their struggle. Don’t be inferior, don’t be apologetic, don’t be defensive about who you are and what you stand for.

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