Asabiyah into Riddah

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Ramadan 10, 1434 2013-07-19

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

This khutbah is an addition to the other khutbahs in which we are trying to take the raw material (and) the basics out of which some people want Muslims to be divided and Muslims to have negative feelings towards Muslims and then eventually Muslims standing off against each other in positions of animosity and blood shedding. So we’re going back to this raw material and trying to see, (as best as we can with Allah’s help), how we can live His words

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا

Oh you who are securely committed to Allah guard against Allah as is due to Him in the full measurement of this guard and do not die except in a state of submission to Him. And hold firm to Allah's binding matter all of you- no exceptions- and be not divided; and bare in mind Allah's provision, favour and privilege upon you when you (who are now Committed Muslims), were once enemies of each other and then He reconciled your hearts and familiarized and acquainted you with each other and then, due to this provision, favour and privilege you became brethren of each other; you were on the edge of a pit of fire and Allah saved you from it... (Surah Aal Imran verse 102-103)

On the day the Prophet was to be buried (and) when the Muslims agreed in the manner that they did- we went through some of these details and now we hope and we pray we have a sense (and) a feeling of how there was a type of agreement; not everyone agreed but at least there was a type of majoritarian agreement- that Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) should assume the responsibilities of a leader. It wasn’t easy for them to reach that type of agreement but they finally did. In what atmosphere was this happening? Was everyone calm (and) sitting in their own homes? (There’s) no threats around? There’s no trouble makers in the vicinity? There’s no Munafiqin in society? There’s no external enemies that are threatening the Islamic self-determination that took hold in Al Madinah? Was that the issue so that we wind up today with people arguing “there was a type of conspiracy going on” or “a person took over after Allah’s Prophet who was incompetent”? These are the types of arguments that you hear. Pay attention when you listen to these people who are making these arguments and they belong to both wings of Muslims. The people or these types of individuals who are making these arguments, (as far as we see and hear), never factor in the social reality of the time. (It’s) as if this is a competition between individuals! OK- what happened to the other people around? There’s a hundred and ten thousand Muslims out there- what do they think? How do they feel? The next time when you listen to these people speak- whoever they are- with a brotherly and a very nice approach ask them “could you please fill us in on the context (and) on the make up of the community that they are in (and on) the larger society that now has declared (or) has become a Muslim population? Could you familiarise us with them?” This is the absent element (which) once it is taken out of this discussion then you have people whipping up an argument for Abi Bakr against Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and other people whipping up an argument for Ali against Abi Bakr and the Sahaba (radi Allahu anhum) and then the Sahaba against Ahl Al Bayt (radi Allahu anhum) and then Ahl Al Bayt against the Sahaba and we go down this slippery slope with warfare waiting us at the end! That’s how it’s presented. Our solicitation to Allah is that we think more about this issue.

In the last days of the Prophet the Muslims began to live with breakaway tendencies. There are other Muslims now around in Al Hejaz (and) in the Arabian Peninsula who no longer wanted to report to Al Madinah. This is what is called Ar Ridda. We’ve probably said this, for we don’t know how many times now- Ar Ridda is not apostasy. Throw the word apostasy out of your vocabulary. It’s misleading, it is not factual; it’s more like individuals and tribes that wanted to breakaway from Al Madinah for their own peculiar rationalisation and it did not want to recognise a central Islamic authority. The Muslims began to experience this not when Abu Bakr became the Khalifah- no! They began to experience this in the last days, or weeks or months during the Prophet’s life. This was beginning to happen so those of you who have been indoctrinated by certain speakers all your lives to think “wait a minute here- is this someone who is taking something from someone else? Is this illegitimate rulers trumping legitimate rulers?” Rethink yourself and know that this condition was an existential threat to all the committed Muslims. The Munafiqin didn’t care much about this. Obviously the external foes of the Muslims didn’t care much about this but this was a number one priority for Islamic decision makers, especially those who lived the twenty three year struggle with Allah’s Prophet. Now Abu Bakr becomes the head of the Muslims (or) the person in charge of making the decisions for the Muslims- what did he have to deal with? We’re going to take a few examples to “cross the t’s and dot the i’s.”

There was a person by the name of Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Surah (and) this person in the lifetime of Allah’s Prophet went from Makkah to Al Madinah. He was a Muhajir. In addition to that he was one of the persons who was writing the wahy and then during the lifetime of Allah’s Prophet he became a turn coat, in other words he defected from Al Madinah and went back to Makkah and he joined Quraysh and the Makkan establishment that was at war against Islamic self-determination and the Prophet in Al Madinah. This person was a murtadd in every sense of the word. The Prophet on the day of the conquest or the liberation of Makkah said this man is wanted dead or alive even if he were to cling to the curtains of the Ka’bah. So what does this person do? He knew, like every survivalist, that right now Islam won the day so what does he do? He goes to Uthman ibn Affan (radi Allahu anhu). Uthman ibn Affan is his breast fed brother- not his biological brother but they were both breastfed by the same person when they were babies and they were close in their social life before the Prophet and before Islam. So this person, Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Surah, to try to find some way to get out of the predicament that he placed himself in goes to Uthman. Uthman leaves him out of the public eye for a while then he goes to the Prophet. Remember we spoke at length about asabiyah and when we’re speaking about this ridda you have to understand that part of the element of ridda is this asabiyah. These people could not accept in an honest, civic sense the leadership of Allah’s Prophet. Then after that Uthman asks the Prophet to secure the life of the same person that the Prophet said should have been done away with earlier. Whatever the dynamics at work here- the result was this person was no longer wanted dead or alive. He lived under a sort of amnesty but an amnesty that kept him at a distance not to be in the Muslim crowd instigating his potential trouble making. This was happening during the time of Allah’s Prophet.

There’s another person, (we don’t want to get into the technical words that will arouse sectarian sensitivities), by the name of Abdullah ibn Khattal. He also, during the time of Allah’s Prophet, was a Muslim at least on the surface of it but then during the lifetime of the Prophet abandoned Islam, the allegiance to Allah and His Prophet.

There is another person by the name of Abdullah ibn Jahsh, the husband of Umm Habibah (radi Allahu anha) who went on the hijra to Al Habasha. Remember the hijra to Al Habasha? This is all happening in the lifetime of the Prophet and all of this has an impact on who’s going to lead the Muslims after the Prophet. So this person who had gone to the hijra all the way to Al Habasha decided one beautiful day that he no longer wanted to be a Muslim so he also shed his allegiance to Allah and to His Prophet.

There is another person by the name of Alqama ibn Allaqa. During the Prophet’s lifetime after being a Muslim attending the salah, attending the jama’ah (and) doing whatever has to be done also decided that he no longer wants to honour his allegiance to Allah and His Prophet. He became a Mushrik and he fled from Al Jazeera Al Arabiya all the way northwards to Bilad Ash Shaam. So we have this instability inside. This all fed into the day in which the decision of as saqifah was being made when Al Ansar, Al Hashimiyun, Al Muhajirun (radi Allahu anhum) were discussing amongst themselves these issues.

The asabiyah that we’re speaking about did not (or) could not see that An Nubuwa (or) Prophethood commanded everyone’s allegiance so we had another peculiar type of irtidad, of regression and breakaway trend in society. These are the ones who came out loud and said we are Prophets also. If Quraysh has its Prophet then other major tribes in Arabia are also going to have their Prophets. Ask yourself- why did this happen? Musailama Al Kadh’dhab in Al Yamamah Al Aswad Al Ansi in Al Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula (and) others said Oh- Muhammad was a Prophet of Quraysh; OK- we’re a Prophet of this tribe and we’re a Prophet of that tribe. They didn’t contradict the Prophethood of the last Prophet. No! They didn’t come and say “Muhammad was wrong. The Qur’an was not a revelation from Allah.” They didn’t do any such thing. What their asabiyah made them do is we want to be on par with Quraysh. If Quraysh has a Prophet, we’re going to have a Prophet. That was also working in the psychology of the Arabians in the Peninsula. For those of you who read history in particular books (and) if you’re going to say “this is what is going to happen” (and) if you’re going to come and say “Imam Ali has a wilayah just like the Prophet has a Nubuwa” the asabiyah of the other tribes are going to say “we are also going to have a wilayah” but do the people that you’re listening to tell you (or) do they factor in these social realities? Do they want you to think of the larger picture? Our answer to that is no. Either because they themselves have not been introduced to the larger picture or because they have a position that they want to maintain. Traditions are very strong! Traditions themselves become an asabiyah and we live with that today!

So when Abu Bakr assumed the responsibility we have most of these Arabian tribes declare that they broke away from Al Madinah. We don’t want to report to this person in Al Madinah called Abu Bakr. This is in their internal thoughts. The only ones that remained as full tribes within the allegiance of Islam was Quraysh and Thaqif. These were the total tribes. No breakaway attitudes and tendencies and individuals here-in; all the rest had these breakaway phenomena in them. So when Abu Bakr assumed the responsibility of the Muslims- this being the case, everyone was beginning to go the other direction saying to themselves who are you to rule us. The Prophet had prepared a combat force to go to Ash Shaam. Usama ibn Zayd (radi Allahu anhu) was the commander and Abu Bakr finished that job even though, (when you think about it), the Muslims at this time with these tribes right now were standing either in a position of clashing with Al Madinah or standing on the side, (i.e.) we don’t want anything to do with any of this. You’d think the leader of the Muslims at this time needs forces to deal with the immediate breakaway elements throughout the Arabian Peninsula but no he continued with the Prophet’s orders to dispatch Usama ibn Zayd and the combat force with him to Bilad Ash Shaam and they won the clash with the Byzantines. That victory raised the morale of the committed Muslims who were in Al Madinah and just scattered around in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula. After Usama returned Abu Bakr himself became a commander and he went out to confront these breakaway elements in a place called Bil Qassa. There were tribes of Abas, Lubyaan and Tai who had entered into an alliance with Bani Asd and he finished them off. He was principled. He wasn’t idealistic. What had to be done had to be done. So some of you who read history in a slanted way overlook this chapter (and) say “Imam Ali is the only one who confronted the internal threats of the Muslims.” We remind you to go back into this chapter and see how Abu Bakr himself did the same thing. He confronted all these murtaddin. These reason for the success in these battles- whether they were against the Byzantines in the North or against these Murtaddin in the Arabian Peninsula- we can attribute this victory to the potential and the ground work that the Prophet of Allah had done throughout his years of struggle with the committed Muslims around him. This could not have been done with five or six committed Muslims. Some people in their history books say “after the Prophet passed away there was only five or six committed Muslims. You can’t defeat a hundred thousand surface Muslims who were in a state of irtidaad and a foreign enemy with five or six individuals! Impossible! Most of these murtaddin expressed their irtidaad by saying we’re not going to pay the zakah. They were not saying “we’re not going to fast or we’re not going to pray.” They are going to do all of that; the only thing they are expressing is their asabiyah. This is an expression of asabiyah, we’re not going to pay our zakah.

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ

The A’rab came and said that we are committed Muslims too; say to them: you haven’t committed yourselves to Allah but say that you are Muslims- al iman has not entered your hearts (or) al iman has not settled into your hearts (or) al iman has not penetrated your hearts… (Surah Al Hujurat verse 14)

The ayah in Surah Al Hujurat.

الْأَعْرَابُ أَشَدُّ كُفْرًا وَنِفَاقًا وَأَجْدَرُ أَلَّا يَعْلَمُوا حُدُودَ مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ

Al A’rab are more intense in their kufr and nifaq and it suits them not to be privy to the information pertaining to the legal parameters of what Allah has revealed… (Surah At Tawbah verse 97)

The ayah in Surah At Tawbah. Why is Allah saying that these nomadic Arabians are more intense in their kufr and their nifaq than the average person? Why is He saying about them that they say that they are committed Muslims and Allah is telling them don’t say you are committed Muslims say you are Muslims? The commitment that you are claiming is not there? Why is this? If we trace this into this historical context we wind up with this asabiyah and it’s not peculiar to the Arabians fourteen hundred years ago! Al asabiyah lives today. (Take a) look at these Masajid around- you have Masajid in this area masha’Allah they are breeding like rabbits! Forty (or) fifty Masjids right now in this area (and) you go inside and you sense the asabiyah. If you are a committed Muslim you will sense the asabiyah. It has different flavours, it tastes different from place to place; nevertheless it is this asabiyah. Have you realised that we here in the street with Allah’s help and assistance with His guidance are probably, (we say this with humility and as brothers of all other Muslims who live with their own asabiyahs), the only faction or the only group of Muslims who don’t have an asabiyah to us. Can someone put us in a frame of asabiyah? Here we are- look at yourselves- do you belong to any certain asabiyah? If you belong to any certain asabiyah you probably don’t belong here! You are on borrowed time! You will eventually join your own asabiyah in the coming days or years- that’s in Allah’s knowledge. So when these Arabians were looking at what was happening in Al Madinah (they were probably thinking) look they’re arguing. These tribes in Arabia were watching the day of saqifah- Al Muhajirin is arguing with the Ansar, Al Hashimiyun are being argued against by the Muhajirin- they are having an argument amongst themselves. This gave them the type of psychological rationalisation to say oh we have nothing to do with them. They can’t even make up their own minds about who’s going to be the leader of the Muslims. So why should we subject ourselves to this asabiyah in Quraysh because it was finally processed as the asabiyah of Quraysh. If it was finally processed in their internal minds that this was the asabiyah of Bani Hashim then the forces against Ali and against the Hashimiyin… Allah knows best- we can’t prove a negative; but it probably would have been like the forces that were assembled in Karbala’’ but it would have happened much earlier than Karbala’’. The Arabians, these people with this asabiyah, during the time of the Prophet said we are following an nubuwa. The Prophet was a Prophet. Muhammad was a Prophet but who are these other guys? They are not Prophets so what type of allegiance should we be paying them? They were saying we’re going to pay our zakah. They were not saying that we are not going to pay our zakah! They were saying we are going to pay our zakah but we’re not going to pay it to the central authority of Muslims in Al Madinah. We have needy people among us (and) we have people who deserve this money so we are going to give it to them. We are not going to give it to the Islamic treasury or the Islamic budget in Al Madinah. So the breakaway tendency here was expressed- first of all, because of the asabiyah the tribes of Arabia said OK- there’s a Prophet in Quraysh we’re going to have a Prophet too. We’re going to have a Prophet in Bani Dhubyaan (and) we’re going to have a Prophet in these other tribes. Then it was expressed by a behaviour of rebellion against the authority in Al Madinah and then it was expressed by we’re not going to pay the zakah to this authority in Al Madinah then it was expressed by some of the governors who were assigned by the Islamic authority in Al Madinah to these other areas. They were relieved of their responsibilities and then some of these tribes were even thinking about attacking Al Madinah- this was the expression of this ridda. The Prophet of Allah says a Muslim in the relationship to another Muslim is like a solid structure every increment of that structure reinforces the other.

Dear committed Muslims with the taqwa of Ramadhan and the taqwa of this day of Jum’ah…

We’d like to draw your attention to something that has been going on for the past few weeks and it concerns our brothers and sisters in Egypt. These Muslims in Egypt, (you can agree with some of what they are doing and you can disagree with some of what they are doing, nevertheless in the larger picture as you can see), have become the targets of the common enemies. The common enemies that we all have right now are targeting these types of people but the short-sightedness of these types of brothers and sisters we have across the ocean was that they believed in the democratic process, in electioneering, in nominations, in the ballot box, in the voting process American style- it wasn’t Islamic style. It was American style. They had observers come in from around the world to certify the fairness and the freedoms in those elections but what happened after one year? They are out in the streets just like we have been out in the streets for thirty years. If they had a sense of Islamic solidarity and brotherhood, (besides the word brotherhood is part of their title), they could have learnt from an obvious lesson here in Washington DC. If the United States government wanted to honour elections it would have honoured the elections here in its own capital where the Muslims held elections in this Islamic centre over thirty years ago but they know they wanted to split. They wanted to go on their own trial and error in this process and then look at the results?! Right now they talk about Ash shar’iyah (i.e.) the legitimacy of those who were elected. Well, are there two types of legitimacies? If you are talking about a legitimacy there, those of you who are in this area, (and they are in the thousands), why don’t you recognise the legitimacy here in the Islamic centre? But we have a double standard at work even among those who cling to Islamic standards and principles and values! We noticed that there’s two ways of looking at things. It’s hard, (it is not easy for us to say this), but this is the fact- what’s going to happen? Are they going to stay in the streets in Cairo and other places in Egypt for thirty years or more? Are they going to repeat what has happened here? Or are they one day- after three or four years or three or four months or whatever- just like some of us over here going to say “well I don’t know how long this is going to go on. I think it’s probably wise, (they claim wisdom), for us to pack our bag and leave. We don’t want to come back over here anymore.” And so there’s going to be a significant attrition rate. What’s going to happen to those who are principled Muslims who are going to be in the position that we are in here? Are they going to continue like this for decades to come or are they going to turn violent? We don’t know, only Allah knows but what we do know is there was a lesson here if they would only learn. Some of them came here to this Islamic centre. The head of the military there was in Washington for, (we don’t know how many months or years), and his counterparts who are politically against him are still here in Washington and they’re looking the other way as if we don’t exist! How would they like the world to look the other way as if they don’t exist?! We don’t care how the world looks, where it looks- we don’t care about all of this; what we care about is to remain with Allah and to have Allah remain with us.

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