Followers of Allah's Prophet- Are we! Part 4

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Dhu al-Qa'dah 23, 1432 2011-10-21

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,

Allah says to His Prophet

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

إِنَّا كَفَيْنَاكَ الْمُسْتَهْزِئِينَ

الَّذِينَ يَجْعَلُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ

You go public, you announce for everyone to hear what you have been commanded to do and you stay clear of the Mushriks. I will take care of them; those who consider besides Allah that there are other deities and there are other authorities … (Surah Al Hijr verse 94-96)

We all know after the first two or three years after the Prophet received the first words from Allah he and those who were with him were discreet about what they had received from Allah. They kept it to themselves more-or-less and around the third year after Al Wahy or the first tanzeel of ayaat- after about three years- the Prophet and those who were with him began to vocalize and publicize the ayaat that they were receiving from Allah. From about the third year to about the seventh year- this period could be called the period of going public with the Qur’an. If we took a look at this time period we would realize that the even though when committed Muslims who were with Allah’s Prophet- who were about thirty-to-forty- went public with this message and they were persecuted and they were put under tremendous pressure, they were on, (what we call in today’s language), the defensive they didn’t go back to the period in which they were underground. (During) the first two or three years, (in today’s language), they were underground. When they went public and when society’s pressure came to bear on them, they didn’t say “wait a minute here- let’s go back to the underground position we were in previous years.” We don’t hear that that was ever a thought in any of their minds even though comparing that with today’s Islamic planners you would realize that in today’s world there are Islamic decision-makers who would think about going back underground. They didn’t do that. Another feature that we sense in them is that they didn’t lose any of their adherents; meaning none of them said “I am going to give up on this Islam, it’s costing me too much. I don’t see any benefits here so let me just step out of this Islam. The same way I stepped in it, now because the pressure is too much, let me step out of it.” We didn’t hear or see anyone do that. The third thing is they didn’t change their strategy. They didn’t say “wait a minute, this is costing us too much, let us dilute this message or let us speak with soft voices. Let us bring the volume down.” They didn’t do any of that. Add to all of this- with all the pressure that came down on them- they didn’t say “we are going to not express our objectives.”

Remember if you can- just in the past few Khutbahs we were speaking about the gist and the thrust of this da’wah. What was the Prophet and they saying that they were coming under this pressure? Because they were saying that the system, the status quo, the power structure around is illegitimate. It has to go. They didn’t come and say “wait a minute, we have to modify our speech here! We can’t express what our objective is.” None of that happened. We had two social forces- the few/out-numbered committed Muslims with Allah’s Prophet who had truth and justice on their side but they didn’t have force, they didn’t have a power structure and militaries and all this other stuff. They didn’t have any of it. Their opposite side- the jahilis, the Kafirs, the Mushriks- had all of that. They had the power, they had the resources, they had the wealth but they didn’t have truth and justice on their side. This defined the two social representations in Arabia, in Makkah. This defined them. Now, when you look at it, Allah told His Prophet

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ

Go public with what you are commanded to say … (Surah Al Hijr verse 94)

Now is the time to express it to the public. We have here two, (we’re saying this just to make a point), legitimacies. There’s only one legitimacy but as far as society is concerned, there’s two legitimacies here- there’s the legitimacy here of those who have the power and the status quo- it’s a legitimacy that still exists in today’s world. Fervent Muslims who think that they are enlightened grant the status quo and power structure of our time and day it’s legitimacy. Unlike the Prophet and those who were with him, they can’t stand up for their own legitimacy that by its own definition delegitimizes the other. They can’t do it! But at that time, there were these two, (let’s call them), legitimacies. One of them was authentic and real and the other one is bogus. It’s a hoax. Along with that there are two programs or strategies and both of them are on a conflicting course. So when these two social realities came into play, there was wealth and power on one side but no truth and justice and on the other side there was truth and justice but there was no wealth and power. This is how it should begin. This is how it began. This was the biographical facts of the Prophet’s life. In the short run- if we’re looking at today and tomorrow and this year and next year- it would appear that those who have the legitimacy of power and wealth, (let’s call it that), are the winners. That’s the way it appears; but then those who just have truth and justice on their side, this year and next year they’re not going to win; they stand no chance. But if we look at it in the long range of things- those who have wealth and power are going to lose, (if we can look at the horizon), and those who have truth and justice, (and we look at the horizon), those are the ones who are going to win. Now, as the Seerah or this early history of the Prophet and Islam unfolds there are dynamics that take place. One of the dynamics that took place when we look at these two balances of power is that as the years went by, important individuals from the power structure of Shirk joined the Muslims. In our Islamic history there are two individuals that stand out; that psychologically served to tip the public mind in favor of the Muslims. When Hamzah ibn Abdul Mutt’talib (radi Allahu anhu), a prominent figure belonging, (hither-to/up until now), the non-Islamic camp joined the Muslims, this caused the public mind to be imbalanced. How does a prominent person in our society join these rag-tag followers of this person who claims that he is receiving words from heaven? The other person who was prominent in that camp of Mushriks who joined the Muslims (and) who also caused them to rethink themselves was Umar ibn Al Khattab (radi Allahu anhu). The loss of these two public figures in the Mushrik camp eroded some of their moral standing, (if we can call it that), or some of their social status. They began to lose ground because of these developments. Now, when Allah says to His Prophet and those who are shouldering the responsibility with him

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ

Go public with what you are bidden to do … (Surah Al Hijr verse 94)

What does that mean? How do you go public? How did the Prophet (go public)? How does this translate into behavior? Allah says to His Prophet

فَاصْدَعْ

Go public … (Surah Al Hijr verse 94)

How did he go public? Now, this is an area that everyone wants to skip over, but in the details of it, it causes us to rethink our selves. How did he go public? What did he do? The Prophet and those who were with him were meeting in Dar Al Arqam. We know they were away from the public (and) no one was listening to what they were saying and all of this. What are they planning? What’s on their mind? Do they have a strategy? Do they have an ideology? Where are they taking this thing? Are they delegitimizing us? What’s all of this about? As far as the general public is concerned, no one knew what all of this is about. When Allah said to His Prophet

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَر

Vocalize or publicize what you are saying or told to say, i.e. these ayaat … (Surah Al Hijr verse 94)

How did he do this? What did he say? He went to the Ka’bah. Some people would know this but it doesn’t register! So what does this mean? He went to the Ka’bah- is that like going to a Masjid? The Ka’bah was, (in a sense), the Grand Masjid of Makkah and of the religious tradition of Arabia, (that’s) true, but was it only that? It was more than that. The Haram and the Ka’bah was also the cultural, the political and the social centre of all of these people. It would be like, (let’s take the atmospherics of those times and bring it to today’s world), the Ka’bah was the symbol and the centre of all of these power factions in Arabia.

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ

Go public with what you have i.e. this Qur’an … (Surah Al Hijr verse 94)

In today’s world, (let’s say the land that we are in- this country), it’s like taking it to Capital Hill, the White house and the National Cathedral all in one. Take it there! That’s what the Prophet did. But in today’s world, first of all, do we have Muslims who can understand the similarities between those times and between our times? Are they around? Do they know this qualitative step that Allah’s Prophet took? He was speaking to the power figures, the decision-makers, the ruling class- that’s what he did. He went there and he began to express the meanings of Allah to the people around. Now, he didn’t have to break down these meanings because when these people heard these words, they understood what these words meant. They didn’t need someone to explain to them and to outline and to comment on what these words mean. It was enough to quote an ayah

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ

Say: Oh you who deny Allah… (Surah Al Kafirun verse 1)

They knew what that meant.

اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَٰهٍ غَيْرُهُ

… you should conform to Allah because you have no Ilah besides Him... (Surah Hud verse 50)

They knew what that meant. But in today’s world, language itself has been loaded. The language that we’re using- we’re using the English language to try and express the Qur’anic Arabic language- is loaded with connotations and inferences and denotations that take it away from its original meaning; so in today’s world we are going to have to need explanations for these ayaat. In that time, that wasn’t needed. The Prophet and those who were with him spoke to their people these words, these ayaat that we quote and that we vocalize and they understood directly (and) immediately what they meant; but in today’s world you sat these same ayaat and people don’t get it because the words themselves have gained parallel and divergent and opposite meanings even in some cases so we’re going to have to explain this. Do the Muslims of today in conforming to Allah’s ayah

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ

Go public with what you have i.e. this Qur’an … (Surah Al Hijr verse 94)

They probably have the knowledge, but do they have the courage that goes along with it to explain the meanings of these ayaat that delegitimize the status quo, the power structure, the form of Government in their countries and lands to take this message to Parliaments, to Ministers in Government, to Officials who have social responsibilities? Do they do something like that? Here we may begin to notice a deficit of courage. The Muslims of today don’t have the courage of the Prophet! (They’d say) “What do you say? What do you mean?” It’s that what we’re supposed to (do)?” Yes- it’s that simple, just open your mind and think. That’s what you’re supposed to do. It wasn’t an individual thing. When the Prophet went to the Ka’bah- of course he went on occasions by himself- but on other occasions he went with others; so there was a congregation or an assembly of Muslims in the Ka’bah. Can we have an assembly of Muslims today inside where they make social and political and economic and cultural decisions? Can we do that? If we can’t, why can’t we do it? Is it because in Makkah at the time there was more freedom than in our societies today? Will they give us that freedom- that’s the question. At the time of Allah’s Prophet, the freedom was there but along with that freedom came harassment. Many times, when he went to the Ka’bah, he wasn’t left alone. They would come and argue against him, make fun of him, slander him, ridicule him, physically abuse him within what is called that general freedom; today, can anyone do that? Can anyone step into the premise of these buildings and structures of Officialdom and explain- because today it needs explanation… You can’t go in there and repeat an ayah because they’re not going to understand what you say. If you wanted to explain to them what these ayaat mean- the bottom line of which is this is a whole illegitimate power structure and economic structure and political structure- all of it is not right. All of it is corrupted. All of it should go and be replaced with the order and governance from Allah. That’s what has to be said. Can they do that? Some persecution has its unintended benefits. Hamzah, the uncle of Allah’s Prophet, became a Muslim because he felt for his nephew under those circumstances of persecution and pressure. Some people in today’s world will come and tell you “oh- when Muslims express themselves in public this is a bid’ah. This doesn’t have any substantiation in the Sunnah of Allah’s Prophet.” Let us look at this…

In the Sunnah of Allah’s Prophet, Allah’s Prophet called for a public meeting or a public assembly of people- his own people- and the other people’s of Makkah when he stood on As Safa’. He called for people to aggregate in public. What is that? Is that a bid’ah? We’re sure if this mentality of today was taken from now and it went back fourteen-hundred years ago to the time of Allah’s Prophet, they would tell him “your calling people into a public assembly like this is a bid’ah because what you are going to say to them is try to take them away from the social character that they have and bring them into another social character that you want and that’s a bid’ah!” The Prophet used to go to the Ka’bah with the committed Muslims around him. They used to have their own congregation, their own group of people. Muslims did not mix with the Mushriks around the Ka’bah. So with Muslims having their own congregation around the Ka’bah, what do you call that? Do you call that a bid’ah?! In today’s world there are words for going public and in the process explaining how the riling class and the ruling structure and the ruling system are all illegitimate that deliver this meaning. There’s something called demonstrations and then there are protests and then there are picket lines and then there are sit-ins and then there is, (in their sweeping general sense what is called), civil disobedience, (in today’s language). These exact words were not in usage fourteen-hundred years ago but there was though a social character. There was a social movement that included all of these meanings- protests, demonstrations, sit-ins, picket lines, public speeches, therefore civil disobedience. Civil disobedience was a component of the ayah

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

At this time you go public with what Allah has revealed to you, i.e. these ayaat, and you leave the Mushrikin alone. (Surah Al Hijr verse 94)

At this time they have all the power. Don’t stir their hornets nest. This was not to be the case forever. Later on there were other ayaat that deal with the Mushrikin and the new realities that developed. When Muslims gained their power base, when Muslims had their power structure then there were ayaat

وَقَاتِلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَافَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَافَّةً

… and fight the Mushriks in an all out manner the way they fight you in an all out manner… (Surah At Tawbah verse 36)

(You) see, the ayaat are time specific. You can’t put one ayah in one frame of time when it belongs in another frame of time. This ayah at the beginning

وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

… and you leave the Mushrikin alone. (Surah Al Hijr verse 94)

is unlike the other ayah that says

وَقَاتِلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَافَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَافَّةً

… and wage war against the combined forces of Shirk the same way the combined forces of Shirk wage war against you… (Surah At Tawbah verse 36)

Between these two ayaat there are many other ayaat and in today’s world the ignorance of Muslims concerning their own history- this opening chapter of Islam, the Prophet’s history- because we are relatively ignorance of it with a high dosage of ignorance you have the intellectual trouble-makers all around. They say “take a look at the Muslims all around” and then they quote this ayah

وَقَاتِلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَافَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَافَّةً

And fight the Mushriks in an all out manner the way they fight you in an all out manner… (Surah At Tawbah verse 36)

Without going off on this tangent, sometimes we run into people who just can’t think with a flexible mind, their minds are so rigid and so fossilized that they say “if you Muslims call for a demonstration, where do you have any precedent for this in the Sunnah of Allah’s Prophet.” Well, literally in the Sunnah of Allah’s Prophet, the Prophet put together, (what we call today), exactly the word demonstration. Tell them to go back and see for themselves- this demonstration had two flanks to it. One flank was led by Hamzah ibn Abdul Mutt’talib and the other flank was led by Umar ibn Al Khattab. It’s your own history books! It’s in your own Seerah books. This was in every meaning of the word a demonstration to such a degree that the way this demonstration was described when they walked towards the Ka’bah- scores of committed Muslims were walking towards the Ka’bah- the dust was in the air because of the pounding of their feet as they were moving towards the Ka’bah. But what do you do with the types of people we have today who cannot even re-think what the Prophet did? On one occasion, Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) goes to the Prophet of Allah and he says to him let me express this Qur’an in public in the Ka’bah and elsewhere. The Prophet of course did not want to discourage people from their Islamic ambition. This is like a step forward in the right direction which seems to be within the capacity of an average person and after being cleared by Allah’s Prophet for doing that he needed some type of protection. Another person, a Mushrik, by the name of Abu Ad Dighnah said I will give you the protection of my clan. In today’s world, it’s like with the bureaucracy and the legal system that we have around, it’s like going and getting a legal permission to do something- “now you’re covered.” So he did it until the social pressure came down on Abu Ad Dighnah and he went to Abu Bakr and said I no longer can protect you; you’re on your own. At the time when Allah’s Prophet and the followers of his were putting into behavior Allah’s words- Allah is saying

إِنَّا كَفَيْنَاكَ الْمُسْتَهْزِئِينَ

الَّذِينَ يَجْعَلُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ ۚ فَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ

We will spare you those who are making fun of you, those who are mocking what you say and what you do; those who have equated with Allah other deities and other authorities, in due time they will come to know what the truth is. (Surah Al Hijr verse 95-96)

It’s not now. Don’t think you are going to be able to convince them of the truth in this moment (or) in this time frame- that is coming, it’s in the future. So you do what you are required to do. Uthman ibn Madh’un (radi Allahu anhu), another companion refused Al Waleed ibn Al Mughirah, another Mushrik, who said I will give you the social protection you need to express yourself. He said no, I don’t need your social protection to express myself; I’m going to express myself on my own- come what may. Another two individuals who are very well known to have vocalized and publicized Allah’s ayaat in the vicinity of the Ka’bah- one of them is Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radi Allahu anhu), a person who was, physically speaking what you would call a weakling. This wasn’t a person who had a robust body, muscles- Heman. No-no. He was skinny, he was short. His physique compared to others was not admirable. He volunteered- he said I want to go to the Ka’bah and - we said the Ka’bah was not just like the Masjid; the Ka’bah was the center and the symbol of the power structure of Arabia. Equate that with the symbols and the power structures of our time- I want to go, I volunteer to express the meanings of Allah to these people. They told him but do you know what the consequences may be? They’re going to beat you. They may beat you into a pulp. You may die because you are going to do that. He said I’m willing to run the risk if that’s what has to be done and he did it and they beat him. (Do) you know what he said after he took that beating? It was severe, it was no joke! After that, (do) you know what he said? He said I’ve never seen them as insignificant as they appeared to me to be when they were beating me and after they beat me; meaning before he expressed Allah to them he thought “wow- these are some important figures; these are power figures! Executives, Chief Executives, Commanders, etc.” But after what they did to me, the way I see them right now, they pale, they’re nothing. Another person who volunteered to do the same thing in the Ka’bah- the symbol and the centre of the powers that be at that time was Abu Dharr (radi Allahu anhu) and he encountered the same result. What did that do to them? Did they say “hey- wait a minute; let’s go back underground?!” No. Did they say “this Islam is costing us too much. We’re taking so many hits and we don’t see any results out of all of this; let’s just renounce this Islam- I’m no longer a Muslim.” None of them did that. Did they say “Allah’s words are too harsh on these people; we can’t express these words! Let’s not express them.” They didn’t say that. They kept on expressing themselves and the Prophet of Allah himself kept on expressing himself in the Ka’bah in the Haram- the symbol of Arabian power (and) the symbol of Arabian influence- cultural, political, religious, social. It wasn’t in an alley somewhere or just in front of one or two individuals; it was in public. In today’s world it would be like going to the Parliaments of our world, the religious centers of our world, the Executive buildings of our world where decisions are made into policies that impact hundreds of millions of people. We ask you: have we, the Muslims of today- even though there are Islamic Organizations and Islamic spokespersons and all of this- done this? Have we lived the meaning of

فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ

Go public with what you have i.e. this Qur’an … (Surah Al Hijr verse 94)

Where are we? Ask yourself. Look around and measure where people are today with where Allah’s Prophet was with those who were with him.

Brothers and sisters of As Siraat Al Mustaqeem…

We know that it challenges some Muslims minds to make a transition from the life-and-death issues of the Prophet and his followers to the life-and death issues of our time. (with) the way some Muslims are programmed (and) the way they are traditionalized its just out of the question to bring the real meanings of fourteen-hundred years ago into the real life of today. So, if you want to begin to say to them “look what is happening in the Muslim world; open up your minds. Open up your God-given ability to think and look at what’s happening.” Powers in this world- military powers and political powers and economic powers- tell you “they are concerned for your well being.” They say “they want to democratize the who Muslim Hemisphere in the world. They want you to have your human rights.” We can’t even have our human rights here! We have a violation of human rights, of natural rights and of civic rights here, in this area and in this place. We can’t go into a Masjid and you want to believe them that “they want us to have our rights” thousands of miles away when they don’t even give us our rights here?! Some people are not here- they don’t know what’s going on. They don’t come here every Friday. They can’t see how Muslims are being violated every Friday. They don’t know that. Everyone goes on a Friday to a secure and safe corner in a Masjid or in a room somewhere for the rituals of Salaat al Jum’ah. That’s what happens to almost everyone on a Friday here in this area. What do they do? They’re going to liberate us by killing us! (They say) “we want to liberate you” and what do they do? They begin to drop bombs on populations. Why are they interested in certain populations? Is the population in, (let’s say), Sudan and Libya more dear to them than the population of, (let’s say), Bangladesh or Indonesia? Or to be more relevant in Bangladesh or the Ivory Coast? Or in Mali? Or in Niger? Why don’t they go there and be concerned with human rights and feeding the hungry and saving lives that are two days away from death?

إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

… Shirk is of a magnitude of oppression without any equal. (Surah Luqman verse 13)

People want to define what Shirk is? Look at the colossal dhulm in this world, the gargantuan dhulm in this world- who’s responsible for it? Al Mushrikun. That’s the definition of Shirk. It’s so big that no-one can see it!

Another issue that has been bouncing back-and-forth and people ask questions about this and it has caused a cleavage among some sincere Muslims is the issue of Syria. We have peoples who are moving to claim their rights and they have all the right in the world to have their own rights wherever they are; but there is something that goes beyond the simplicity of all this. In the time of Imam Ali (radi Allahu anhu) some of his followers broke away from him and they came up with a slogan. They saw the Muslims polarized between Ali and Mu’awiyah so they said the hukm/governance belongs to Allah. This is what they are saying: what are all you Muslims arguing and fighting about? Mu’awiyah is not a haakim; Ali is not a hakim. The hukm/governance belongs to Allah. What they meant by this specifically is Ali more than Mu’awiyah; so when this statement reached Ali and they asked what do you think about what they are saying. He said it’s a word of truth but the intention is false. To take that statement and put it in the world today, (we can’t go into the details of these uprisings), (but) suffice it to say some of these uprisings are genuine- people wanting their rights; people wanting their dignity; people wanting their equality, people wanting their livelihood. All of this is right. When it comes to Syria in particular, we can say about the people who are moving there (that) their movement is right; but that’s half the way! The other half is the intention is wrong. Not their i.e. the people’s intention, the intention of the superpowers who are trying to macro-manage these popular movements. That also remains half the formula, the other half is how about these people who are governing in Syria? What do you say about them? To put it in a few words, this is an illegitimate Government (but) its intentions are good and because of this some Muslims can’t see the full spectrum. They become divided among themselves- they can’t see on this side there are merits (and) on that side there are merits; on this side there are strategic errors in the making and on the other side there are fundamental errors that are grounded for centuries. What do you do when you find Muslims who are not equipped with ayaat and ahadith to look at these issues objectively and say the word of truth with the objective of justice?

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