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,
The Muslims of today, even though they are coming of age, they’re maturing, still have a feature to them that is undesirable and that is they lack the confidence that should belong to them. Many times, (if we think through the events of life), we discover that the Muslims around us are simply too weak in their spirit and in their selves do what has to be done. This is not a peculiarity that is to be found only among Muslims; it’s also to be found among other types or other blocs of people. In this context we want to quote and try to explain some ayaat in the Qur’an in which the word Al Mustad’afeen is used. This word occurs thirteen times in the Qur’an- Al Mustad’afun or Al Mustad’afeen or Alladhina Istudifu or such derivatives of the same source words. Out of those thirteen times, four of them is in reference to Bani Isra’eel; one of them is in reference to Thamud- one of these civilisations that was destroyed because of its power rejection of Allah in the general area of the Arabian Peninsula; and the other eight times the word is used as a general rule (or) a social rule in the Qur’an. Obviously, we don’t have the luxury of time to cover these thirteen ayaat so we’ll have to do with a few of them. Please listen with us very attentively to these ayaat. This is a rough translation of the ayah
وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ مَوْقُوفُونَ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ
… and if you could only see Adh Dhalimin as they come to a halt in the presence of their Sustainer… (Surah Saba’ verse 31)
This is obviously in reference to the Day of Accountability.
يَرْجِعُ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ الْقَوْلَ
… some of them are exchanging words with the others or some of them are debating with the others… (Surah Saba’ verse 31)
This is a breakdown of who these Dhalimin are. You see, the ayah began with
وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ
And if you could see these Dhalimin… (Surah Saba’ verse 31)
You know the average word for Adh Dhalimin is oppressors; but you’re going to discover that it has a much broader meaning. So Allah is telling us
وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ مَوْقُوفُونَ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ
Look at these oppressors or these Dhalimin as they come to a full stop in front of their Sustainer… (Surah Saba’ verse 31)
The indication or the inference here is that these people were on a roll; they were moving; they were in the fast lanes of life but now finally they’ve been frozen. No more movement, no more having it their way, no more disregard for others. Now’s the time to take a measured look at them. So where are they now? So we discover here that among Adh Dhalimin are Mustad’afin and Mustakbirin. This is going to run contrary to what some people think- “do you mean that Adh Dhalimeen is inclusive of Mustad’afeen?” Yes it is. So what are all of these are Dhalimeen saying? Some of them are Mustad’afin- Allah didn’t say that most of them are Mustad’afin- and the others are Mustakbirin. So Allah is having us privy to what they are saying. What are they saying to each other?
… those who were powerless in this world or those who appeared to be powerless… (Surah Saba’ verse 31)
You see- the word here is not Ad Duafa’, which means people who don’t have power. Mustad’af or istud’if means those who appear to be powerless. Allah wants to tell you that you have power, but you only have it if you claim it. If you don’t claim it, you will not have it. So in this ayah, these mustad’afs were Dhalims to themselves.
يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا
… so those who were powerless in this world or those who appeared to be powerless are saying to the Mustakbireen… (Surah Saba’ verse 31)
Al Mustakbireen are also the ones who are projecting power; in and of themselves they are not powerful but they project this power.
يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لَوْلَا أَنتُمْ لَكُنَّا مُؤْمِنِينَ
… so Alladhina Istud’ifu are saying to Alladhina Istakbaru: if it wasn’t for you we would have been committed Muslims (or) we would have committed to Allah (or) we would have belonged to Allah, (but it was you, you were our problem in this world). (Surah Saba’ verse 31)
Now this discussion is happening in the future but it is describing what is happening in the present. This is what is happening in today’s world. Remember, at the beginning we said the problem with today’s Muslims is they don’t have confidence. We have a broken psychology. We have peoples and societies that are shattered. They can’t put themselves together and so on that day when everyone meets up together we in our life who never took possession of the power that is available to us via Allah look at those who hade power in this world or at least project power in this world and we say as if we are blaming; instead of looking at ourselves and saying why didn’t we ourselves take control of power as Allah guides us to; we’re not here power mongers. We are not here crazy about power. We don’t abuse power. There’s guidelines for taking power and relinquishing power and these guidelines come from Allah. So instead of us taking a critical look at ourselves in this world here, we find ourselves in the world to come in front of Allah throwing blame to those who project power in this world! Who are these people? Chief Executives, Commanders, Presidents, Kings, Autocrats, Despots, Tyrants, tyrannical rulers- these are all the people who have power or project this power in this world. What did these people who are now in front of Allah say to Alladhina Istud’ifu? These big shots tell these small fries, (we’re using borrowed words from today’s lingo),
قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا أَنَحْنُ صَدَدْنَاكُمْ عَنِ الْهُدَىٰ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَكُم
Do you mean to tell us it was we who caused you to depart from guidance after that guidance had come to you? (Surah Saba’ verse 32)
(Do) you want to blame us for that?
بَلْ كُنتُم مُّجْرِمِينَ
… rather you, yourselves, were criminals. (Surah Saba’ verse 32)
Now you have to look at these two scenarios at the same time. Don’t just look at people in al Aakhira in this one caption. These people are here. They’re around us. They’re everywhere. So they talk back. Now they can talk in al Aakhira. In front of Allah they are talking. In this world, why are you not able to talk here? This is where it counts!
قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا أَنَحْنُ صَدَدْنَاكُمْ عَنِ الْهُدَىٰ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَكُم ۖ بَلْ كُنتُم مُّجْرِمِينَ
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا بَلْ مَكْرُ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ
They say: your conspiracies went day and night… (Surah Saba’ verse 33)
What were these conspiracies about? What where these schemes about? What were these stratagems that become policies and become lifestyles and become fads and become gibbons in life about?
إِذْ تَأْمُرُونَنَا أَن نَّكْفُرَ بِاللَّهِ وَنَجْعَلَ لَهُ أَندَادًا
… that we deny Allah’s power and authority and that we equate with Him partners and equivalents and parallels and similarities in power and in authority… (Surah Saba’ verse 33)
Society is always made up of these two components. (If) you look at the course of history you see there are those few that have the power and they have the finances, they have the money and the banks, they have the militaries- they have all that stuff, (just a few). Today they’re called in today’s political realities around us “the one percent.” This didn’t exist! A year ago this didn’t exist. This terminology is new. Did anyone speak about the one percent and the ninety nine percent? Now, because the reality of life (and) the pressures of life is catching up people are beginning to open up their eyes. Just in today’s news, (we’re talking about this country where we live in), more than two-hundred-thousand unemployed are going to stop receiving their unemployment benefits. Eight states are reducing the unemployment benefits from ninety-nine weeks to around something like seventy weeks or so. This makes people wake up. It makes people look around. It brings them into the reality of life. They begin to feel the issues. They’re no longer isolated from poverty, from want, homelessness, welfare, medical care. Things that were taken for granted before now are hitting home. People are beginning to look at issues in a more serious way. Maybe they don’t lack this confidence that the rest of us lack?! They go out and they express themselves. You see- there’s occupy movements around. There are very serious rumblings that are taking place and many of these if not ninety-nine percent of these are not Muslims. So they don’t consider themselves Mustad’afs in this context of the ayah that was just quoted. We know some people are going to ask about the ayah (i.e.) “which ayah are you talking about?” The ayah is number thirty-three in Surah Saba’ when Allah includes Al Mustakbireen and Al Mustad’afeen under the title of Dhalimeen. Something has gone wrong! Common sense Muslims no longer have just common sense- Al Amr bi al ma’ruf and an nahy an al munkar. There are two key words here- ma’ruf and munkar; something that is self evident as far as it being right and something contrary to that that is self evident as far as it being wrong. The Muslims of today no longer have the common sense to identify al ma’ruf and to identify al munkar. (It is) something that goes beyond the context of Muslims. Al ma’ruf is known by every and any human being in the world. There are ma’rufs in this world. Saying the truth is a ma’ruf. Standing up for justice is a ma’ruf. A moral character is a ma’ruf. Killing is a munkar. Lying is a munkar. Stealing the resources of the world is a munkar. Monopolizing the financial system is a munkar. Everyone knows this. It doesn’t matter what religious background they have. They could be a Buddhist, they could be a Jew or they could be a Christian or they can be followers of any other religion; they can be Atheists- it doesn’t matter. They know what a ma’ruf is and they know what a munkar is. No one has ever made a religious or an ideological argument substantiating and justifying the munkar. Have you seen that in any religion or any ideology? So al ma’ruf and al munkar are known to any human being. What happened to we, the Muslims? We don’t have what it takes to stand up for the ma’ruf, to systematically defend al ma’ruf and then to delegitimize and deconstruct the munkar?! Take these ayaat (and) take these meanings to the Islamic communities that you know- the first person you would expect to express the facts of this matter about the Mustad’afeen and the Mustakbireen and Adh Dhalimeen and al ma’ruf and al munkar the and discourse on these issues would be the person who ascend the mimbars. Where is that person? What does he talk about? The mimbar is available every Friday and you have in this area scores of these khutaba’ and these mu’aadh and these preachers and these speeches- they ascend the mimbar. (Do) they speak about these issues? What are they afraid of? You see- at the beginning we said Muslims don’t even have the confidence to express the truth- that’s how psychologically damaged we have become.
There is another ayah which is a very long ayah. We don’t think we’re going to have the time to go through it but for those of you who have extra time, you might want to review it at home, at your own leisure. It’s in Surah Al Anfal and it’s the ayaat from 25 to 30. In this cluster of ayaat Allah says
You avoid a fitnah (or) you are on guard against a fitnah … (Surah Al Anfal verse 25)
You see- the word ittaqu; we say ittaqullah i.e. avoid Allah (or) guard against Allah. The same word with the same meaning
وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَّا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنكُمْ خَاصَّةً
You avoid a fitnah (or) you are on guard against al fitnah that is not limited to Alladhina Dhalamu (i.e.) this fitnah is not going to affect only aladheena dhalamu… (Surah Al Anfal verse 25)
Which means, if we have our decision makers and we don’t take issue with them (i.e.) we are psychologically defeated and we go along with everything they tell us to do (and) we go along with the way they think (and) they manager our ideas. The repercussion of that is that the destructive consequences are not going to go only to Alladheena Dhalamu (i.e.) these decision makers who are making the wrong decisions, they are also going to destroy us in the process. Yes! Just by you being passive or by you being silent or by acquiescing to this structure of dhulm when the fitnah comes (and) when the instability (and) the sedition the destruction hits, it’s going to hit all of us.
وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
… and be advised (or) take notice (or) be aware that Allah’s punishment is severe. (Surah Al Anfal verse 25)
How do you communicate this to people who are all around us (and) who are supposed to belong to our same congregation (but) who can’t carry in their lives the responsibilities that come from these meaningful ayaat and instructions? They can’t live with it! (In the) meanwhile you can go out in the real world and find people who resonate with these meanings. You don’t have to sabotage these meanings with religious overtones and with Islamic terminology- that’s not necessary. If there are people who can connect to these meanings why not connect with these people and why not get on with the universal task of al amr bi al ma’ruf and an nahi an al munkar. It pains a person to see that Muslims, who are given this responsibility, trash it or when they are reminded of it they don’t want to listen; yet on the other hand and at the same time there are other people in the world who have nothing to do with Islam as far its terminology (and) as far as its rituals but in their lives and in their hearts they want to see al ma’ruf the order of the day and they want to see the munkar drift away. This is a fact of life and how do we see today’s Muslims communicating? Oh- they feel relieved. They feel very, very comfortable when they go to their own ethnic bloc of people or their own sectarian congregation of Muslims and they offer a prayer or they partake in a celebration or an activity of sorts in these ethnic houses or these cultural centers. “Oh- they’ve done their Islamic duty.” You can’t argue with them- they’ve fulfilled their Islamic character?! All of these meanings that we have just been talking about (and) these ayaat doesn’t figure into their lives. So where do they belong in the course of this ayah that was quoted at the beginning from Surah Saba’? Are they not Alladheena Istud'ifu? They brought about their own lack of power as a consequence of their own behavior. They weren’t born lacking confidence. Allah didn’t create you without confidence in yourself. Something happened. You grew up (and) you were exposed to trends in society, to ideas, to values, to propaganda, to a system in this world that took away that confidence from you and this is where we are. This is the world that we are living in- a world that doesn’t have any of this confidence. In this country, (this is not history and we are not speaking of hundreds of years ago), in our life time just thirty years ago or so a judge was to be appointed to the Supreme Court here but because that judge early in his life had done drugs, marijuana he was disqualified from being on the Supreme Court of the United States. There was a notion of ma’ruf. These were not Muslims disqualifying a Muslim; these were average thinking human beings. They were going to give a responsibility to someone who they said “could not carry this responsibility because of his past” which is a mar’uf. In the Communist Party in China decades ago, one member of the central committee of the Communist Party wanted to obtain free airline tickets for his family (and) because he did that he was expelled- not because there’s an Islamic system there but because there’s a notion of ma’ruf. They know what is right and they know what is wrong. Someone does something that is wrong so no more responsibilities. In this country, (and this is also in our lifetime, we hope you have the memory to recall the way Edward Kennedy was treated- Chappaquiddick; the you lady that was with him that drowned. His affair with her resulting in her drowning. He wanted to but he couldn’t become the President of the United States because there’s still a public notion of al ma’ruf around. Compare the erosion of that ma’ruf just in our lifetime. President Clinton had some type of affair with an intern in the White House and he got away with it. The erosion of this ma’ruf is taking place in front of our own eyes. Right now- it was something un-thought of fifty years ago, even thirty years ago but now- their mainstreaming gay-sex marriage; this is an erosion of this ma’ruf. The years have worn out on them and they are losing touch with some of the qualities that they had. They are no exception to the rule. As they keep going down this avenue they will encounter the destructive consequences that await them. They are no exception to the rule- no one is an exception to Allah’s rules. There are social laws and there are physical laws and they all apply to all of us. We are not exempt from them. Just because I or you are a Muslim doesn’t mean that some of these laws- Allah’s laws in creation, in society, in the physical world, in the social world- aren’t going to apply. They are going to apply to me and to everyone else. Compare this to what we have. We’re supposed to be of a high moral and social character in this world. Look at some of what our officials do. Some issues that are called munkar have become ma’ruf. Munkar has become ma’ruf and ma’ruf has become munkar and when that happens just await the conclusion of what is to happen to these types of societies. Let us not go to al Aakhira and stand up in this crowd of people that we just described- Alladheena Istud'ifu speaking to Alladheena Istakbaru saying “if it wasn’t for you people…” (Do) you want to be included in that crowd when Allah expressing to you and explaining to you that you don’t belong in it? All societies have their elitist groups and then they have the rest of the population. In the history of our Prophet, (when we study thoroughly the history of the social change that took place fourteen-hundred years ago), we realize that it was people who captured with a sense of responsibility the levers of power. They did that not because they lacked confidence; they did that only after they proved this confidence. Allah says
لَا تَخُونُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُوا أَمَانَاتِكُمْ
… don’t betray Allah, don’t betray the Messenger of Allah and don’t betray your trust… (Surah Al Anfal verse 27)
When you entered in to this relationship with Allah and His prophet you did so in a sense and in a way that he trusted you. If you don’t even have the courage in your mind to think about these issues in this range- societies rulers, militaries, governments- if your Islam cannot flourish with its meanings in that context then you’re going to find yourself on the Day of Judgment arguing with these Mustakbireen and blaming them when in fact you should be blaming yourself.
In another ayah in another surah in this same type of debate and argument that goes on Allah says
… rather you should blame yourselves… (Surah Ibrahim verse 22)
Dear brothers and sisters with a sense of responsibility and with the spark of thought…
(With) the same psychology that was just placed in the context of Allah’s words and His Prophet’s explanations we look at our condition today- explosions that are going off, militaries that are grinding on, master plans that have taken their course and we find these rulers in Arabia, (we have no choice but to point our finger on what they are doing), are incensed (and) infuriated that a President of an Islamic State goes to an island in the Gulf that is to their East- the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Gulf whatever you what to call it. They want to make a big argument about this. They get incensed and angry that a President goes to an island there that they claim is theirs. Then they permit the stationing of fighter aircraft by the Imperialist powers in their countries because they say “there are three islands that belong to them.” Now, we are not here in a legal or an international forum to debate for who owns and who doesn’t own those islands but we are looking at the psychology of the same people who can’t speak truth to their masters here in Washington and in other places and they can’t even speak a brotherly language to their neighbors who are just across the waterway from them?! So they work up (or) they crank up their media to say “the Islamic Republic of Iran is an occupation force or an occupation country.” If you wanted to add the area of these islands, they would be no more than twenty or twenty-five square miles- the three of them put together; and now they’re making this a war issue. Brothers and sisters- you probably don’t have access (or) you don’t read what they say or you don’t hear what they say but right now they are making a grand stand and diverting all the attention to this fabricated issue. It’s not an issue! They can’t see that they have military bases in their countries. They have calling ports in their countries. They have drones flying over the Holy Lands. The Israelis occupy islands in the Gulf of Aqabah and Saudi Arabia says nothing about the occupation of its islands by the Israelis?! All of that, and then besides that, the Israelis occupies the Holy Land, Palestine and Al Quds. They can’t see any of that?! None of that figures in to their political statements, to their future plans and to their media?! None of that figures?! None of that is included there?! All of that is fine?! They are so upset and so worked up that there are three minuscule islands in that area- Gurmus and the Persian Gulf that right now they want to make it a war issue. They say “this is a make or break issue.” Where are they living? You see- this is what happens when the psychology that we are speaking about becomes the psychology of the elites themselves. It’s no longer the psychology of the average me and you Alladheena Istud’ifu, it’s become the psychology of Al Mustakbireen who report to their own Mustakbireen. They can’t say the truth. They can’t see the facts on the ground. They no longer can tell who their friend is from who their foe is! (Do) they mean to tell us “an Islamic State of self determination in Iran is to be equated or more dangerous than the Imperialists and Zionists direct and indirect occupation of the Holy lands, of their capitals, of their countries (and) of their economies?!” Well that’s what they want people to believe. They can see them very clearly on the Day of Judgment being part of this debate but here these Princes and these ruling classes in Arabia will be saying to the ruling class in the United States and Israel
إِنَّا كُنَّا لَكُمْ تَبَعًا فَهَلْ أَنتُم مُّغْنُونَ عَنَّا مِنْ عَذَابِ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ قَالُوا لَوْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ لَهَدَيْنَاكُمْ ۖ سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْنَا أَجَزِعْنَا أَمْ صَبَرْنَا مَا لَنَا مِن مَّحِيصٍ
… we were your followers; can you spare us some of Allah’s torment? Their reply, (meaning these Imperialists reply), is if Allah was to guide us we would have guided you; it’s the same now- whether we lose our nerves or whether we are patient there’s no way out of this. (Surah Ibrahim verse 21)
Don’t say that on a Friday at the hour of taqwa you were not advised, you were not told (and) it wasn’t explained to you. The words of truth have been expressed.