In a world of post Islamic Asabiyah- Ali had none

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Shawwal 22, 1434 2013-08-30

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,

As you all know, the atmospherics are charged nowadays almost in a global fashion and the centre of attention happens to be the geographical area called Syria and each block of interest approaches the issue from its own selfish interpretation of that developing civil war. We have tried our best in the past months to chip away at the basic ingredients that have been mixed together to give us the misunderstandings, the ignorance, the tension and from that the bad feelings and the hostilities and the wars that are currently costing innocent people their lives- innocent people regardless of their geographical areas and regardless of their religious persuasions. They’re innocent! So we will continue, (even though yours in faith here tried to see whether we should continue), with this approach of going to the elementary elements in what has become a sectarian polarisation among the Muslims that has given itself out to those who are trying to use this division for their own expansionist, occupationist, capitalist and other purposes. So we will continue to focus on those elements that they, meaning the information masters out there who are in control of the mainstream media, are trying to play up so that we begin to take opposite sides of each other. We’ll continue to go into those historical facts and try to be as objective as is humanly possible to present them to take away the gunpowder from those who are trying to ignite these differences into bloodshed and warfare.

It goes without saying that we have repeated many times the very fundamental issue of the Muslims being a fraternity. We’ve quoted many hadiths and we’ve quoted many ayaat to this end and to this affect. Just as a reminder we will quote an ayah and a hadith from the many ayaat and ahadith. Allah says

وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا

And hold firm to Allah's binding matter all of you- no exceptions- and be not divided… (Surah Aal Imran verse 103)

This is an order from Allah that we hold firm to the extension of Allah to us and be not divided. The Prophet of Allah says the Muslims in their mutual affection for each other (or) in their reciprocal concern for each other (or) in their exchange of grace amongst each other are one integral body. If Allah is telling us this and the Prophet is explaining it to us in his words look at the Muslims today- what is happening? It’s as if someone took the ayah and the ahadith understood exactly what it is saying and then reversed it so that we appear to be antagonistic towards each other (and) we appear to be divided amongst each other. Look at what Allah and His Prophet are saying and look at what we are doing- two different things! That’s why we think it behoves us to go back to those formative years where Muslim people begin, whichever side these people are on, to quote a certain incident or refer to a certain historical development and say “look- I’m on the right side” and so the other Muslim has to be on the wrong side or he has to be at fault automatically- just like that, with that simplicity. So in our tracing of this whole issue we emphasize almost repetitiously that the key element in all of this is what is referred to as al asabiyah. When this character of asabiyah presented itself in the community of Al Madinah the Prophet of Allah said do away with it because it has a fowl odour to it (or) do away with this asabiyah (or) part with this asabiyah (or) kick away this asabiyah because, (and here’s another word that everyone understands), it stinks. This is the asabiyah that is at the roots of what the imperialists and the Zionists are trying to work on so that they can plunge that whole geography there that holds the promise of breaking away from their imperialist and Zionist control into decades if not centuries of civil wars rotating from one country to another- that’ why its so important to go back to those citations that some fanatical Sunnis use and some fanatical Shi’is use. When they use them, they use them with the attitude and the character of this unwanted asabiyah.

So to carry on where we left off, (in these many weeks that have preceded this week), we reached the time period, (and please don’t think about this as historical lessons, we’re not here for the purpose of a historical narrative; we are here to focus our hearts and our minds on the issues that are playing out today so that they don’t play out in this bloody manner), where the operational centre of the Muslims moved from Madinah to Al Kufa. This was in the immediate aftermath of Ma’rakat Al Jamal, the conflict or the battle of Al Jamal- that is when we had two asabiyahs that became political party asabiyaat. They were no longer the social asabiyah that was known in the Arabian Peninsula, now they became something like what we have in today’s world (i.e.) political parties that disagree on issues. (We have to say this and probably have to repeat it many times because what some people do is they listen to one khutbah and they say “look (or) listen to what he said.” One khutbah has to be placed in the context of all the other khutbahs! Don’t listen to this khutbah or one khutbah by itself, listen to all of them. Put all of the pieces of the puzzle together and then after that express yourself). So here we are in this period of time to which both Sunnis and Shi’is refer to try to make or to give some type of credibility to their position. It’s not the fact that they refer to this- that’s fine; anyone can refer to it. The issue is when they refer to it they refer to it with asabiyah. This is the problem. This has been the problem all along and this is the one particular issue that only a few of us can get a very good grip on. So ask yourself- if you can free yourself from centuries of inherited asabiyah- why did the centre of Islamic operational decision making move from Al Madinah to Al Kufa? You’d expect (that) if there‘s going to be any move from Al Madinah to anywhere it would be from Al Madinah to Makkah- that wasn’t the case! Anyone who is trying to understand this history (and) if they’re trying to read it and they are not aware of the asabiyaat that were interplaying at the time because you had a jahiliyah that was overcome by Islam in the Prophet’s years but when the Prophet passed away all of those pre-Islamic power centres, (as it were), tried to recede back into their pre-Islamic peculiarity which was their own particular asabiyah. So the reason why, (just to give it to you in a sentence), Al Imam Ali (radi Allahu anhu) moved the centre of operations from Al Madinah to Al Kufa was because of this asabiyah that was now making a strong comeback throughout the Arabian Peninsula. At this time, because of the movement of this Islam away from Al Hejaz (and) away from the Arabian Peninsula, those areas that became new Islamic areas began to have a considerable rate in this growing and in this flourishing Islamic expansion and here is where we noticed that what was previously an asabiyah in the social sense has become an asabiyah in the political sense. Let us say, (before we begin quoting some individuals here), that Ali had to fight three wars because of this asabiyah. Remember we said in his camp there was no asabiyah. Banu Hashim did not have an asabiyah and all the rest were trying to plan their political future around their own specific asabiyah and Ali had to deal with these on three occasions (or) on three warfronts (viz.) Al Jamal and then Siffin and then An Nahrawaan and in all of these positions Ali had the truth on his side. We think this is the consensus of the Muslims. Even those who have not thought through it will agree with us. No one is going to come and say “Ali was wrong in Al Jamal or Ali was wrong in As Siffin or An Nahrawaan.” What they will say is “we don’t want to judge this whole affair.” They’re not going to say he was wrong and there are exceptions to this rule but the exceptions remain exceptions. So when Ali moved his centre of power in his last years from Al Madinah to Al Kufa he did that with a type of citizenry (or) with a type of population that he described. We’re going to take his own words, he said what are we to do with a people who possess us and we don’t possess them? This is the literal translation of it, they own us and we don’t own them meaning they have more influence over us than we have influence over them. Your desert Arabians have rushed to them and they, this crowd that appears to be in possession of the public affair are all around, they are in you, they are with you, they are beside you and they are doing whatever they want to do. This being the case, do you see any area (or) any possibility of we being able to do what has to be done? This is a description of a social fabric that has tendencies of coming apart. We know and we mentioned this earlier that when this political polarisation took place Al Basrah in Southern Iraq took the side of Aa’ishah, Talha and Az Zubayr (radi Allahu anhum) and Al Kufa took the side of Ali. If these sides were without asabiyah we probably would not have the legacies of Sunnis and Shi’is i.e. this divisive tradition that worked itself into our Masajid, into our programs, into our curricular, etc. etc. that we have today. If there was no asabiyah at that time we would have just been left with the facts and when you deal with the facts it’s easy. When someone says one and one is two, (we’re parting here for a minute), that’s a fact. It means no asabiyah. No one says it with a type of selfishness or clannishness or self-centredness in politics (or) in society or whatever. (Does) anyone sense any asabiyah there? One and one is two! (Does) anyone feel any asabiyah there by somebody quoting that? No! Because it’s a fact. Facts don’t need asabiyah but here when we are recalling our own history instead of recalling it just like that (i.e.) as if it is a mathematical formula (and) needs no asabiyah (and) it’s a factual thing and this is what happened; but we don’t do that! Sunnis don’t do that and Shi’is don’t do that therefore we are stuck with this asabiyah! This Sunnism that some have inherited or this Shi’ism that some have inherited is stuck with this element of asabiyah in which there’s no place! It doesn’t fit (and) it’s not condoned by Allah and His Prophet; actually it’s condemned by Allah and His Prophet! So realising what was the task in front of him, Ali sends a person by the name of Jarir ibn Abdillah Al Bajali (radi Allahu anhu) to the one area that refused to give the bai’ah to Ali and that was Ash Shaam. All the other areas acknowledged and placed their bai’ah to Ali, only Ash Shaam didn’t because Muawiyah was there and here is where we encounter this asabiyah going into high political gear because Muawiyah, unlike Egypt (and) unlike Iraq, Ash Shaam now had Arabians who were indigenous to Ash Shaam. The Arabians who went to Egypt or who went to Iraq left the Arabian Peninsula and settled in Al Basrah. Yemeni tribes, Hadramawti tribes, Hejazi tribes, Najdi tribes left and they settled in these areas and they settled in Egypt but that wasn’t the case in Ash Shaam. There was a sizeable community or society of indigenous native Arabians who were living there so it was easy to stir a nationalistic trend in them using a political statement. Muawiyah was using something political (and) hiding behind it. We’ll quote to you how this was expressed by some of the Sahaba (radi Allahu anhum) because Muawiyah was telling the Muslim public concerning Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) your leader was illegitimately and oppressively killed. So he used that political statement beneath which he was stirring a nationalistic pot beneath which he was fulfilling his own asabiyah- the asabiyah of Bani Umayah. So here is where the asabiyah of Bani Umayah under this nationalistic rubric- all of that under the statement that appears to be a neutral statement- a leader has been killed without due course. Uthman wasn’t taken to a court of law. He wasn’t given the opportunity to defend himself. He was attacked and killed so something has to be done about this. There’s the issue of diya’. The ayah in the Qur’an

وَمَن قُتِلَ مَظْلُومًا فَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا لِوَلِيِّهِ سُلْطَانًا

… and whoever was killed as a madhloom then their next of king have an authority to get even with those who perpetrated that crime… (Surah Al Isra' verse 33)

(It’s) as if Muawiyah stopped there. He didn’t realise that the ayah keeps on going

فَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا لِوَلِيِّهِ سُلْطَانًا

… if you are given this authority because you are the next of kin… (Surah Al Isra' verse 33)

OK- Muawiyah, you’re the next of kin as far as Uthman is concerned you are all Umawis but the ayah goes on

فَلَا يُسْرِف فِّي الْقَتْلِ

… there shouldn’t be any excessive killing, any excessive warfare, any excessive bloodshed… (Surah Al Isra' verse 33)

But Muawiyah brought about Siffin with all the excesses and the bloodshed and the tens and thousands of Muslims who were killed in that battle because of this asabiyah.

Now we’re going to take a statement from Ammaar ibn Yasir (radi Allahu anhu) a very well known Sahabi. No one- Sunni or Shi’i- doubts his credentials (and) his prominent position here. Ammaar is describing Muawiyah’s objectives. He is speaking to people (and) Ammaar ibn Yasir says the following, (we’re going to quote it and we’ll translate it also), Oh people, come let’s go towards those people who are mourning because of Uthman’s blood being shed (or) because ibn Affan’s, (that’s Uthman obviously), blood was shed. These people who are now in mourning for Uthman claim- we’re not talking about the second day after Uthman was killed, this was years and years after Uthman was killed (and) when Muawiyah was claiming he is the legitimate person to take revenge for Uthman’s untimely assassination- that Uthman was killed as a madhloom. By Allah they are not requesting to get equal because of his blood, rather these people have had a taste of the materialistic world and they felt satisfied with that (or) they felt nurtured with that. They know that if they were to abide by al haqq, truth and justice, that is going to be a barrier between them and their love for this world. These people have no Islamic precedence, in other words they don’t belong to the pioneering class of those Muslims who were with the Prophet in those years of jihad and struggle; many of them just became Muslims yesterday. They just jumped on the bandwagon. They’re just in it for the benefits of it so people’s obedience to them is not due. They can’t come and say that people should follow them as decision makers. Remember Ammaar ibn Yasir is still speaking. (Does) anyone have any problems with Ammaar ibn Yasir? No Sunni (and) no Shi’i has any problems with Ammaar ibn Yasir. They fooled their followers- Muawiyah and his clique fooled their followers as they said our leader was killed without any right. So these people- Muawiyah and his crowd- want to become something like dictators and authoritarians, taking the law into their own hand. The asabiyah (and) the selfishness once again appears on Muawiyah’s side. We’re trying to state this like we’re stating one and one is two. If you’re stating this with some type of asabiyah- whether you’re a Sunni or a Shi’i- the other Muslim- whether he is a Sunni or a Shi’i- just like a small child will sense your asabiyah. Ali suggested to Muawiyah- to avoid the bloodshed of potentially thousands and thousands of innocent Muslims he challenged him into an encounter. This was another type of warfare. There were two armies, both of them on opposite sides. One way of settling the issue that they are fighting for or against would be that each side picks one individual to fight- not the whole army- and whoever wins between these two individuals means that that army has won, meaning that the whole army didn’t go to war. So in order for Ali to spare the Muslims the bloodshed and all that comes with it challenged Muawiyah to what is call al mubaraza where only both of them come and only the two of them will fight each other and the two armies are standing there on the side. So when Amr ibn Al Aas heard this type of challenge he turned to Muawiyah and he said go for it. Remember they were on the same side of the issue. When Muawiyah heard him say that he said oh you’re greedy too. You want to have this after I die.

On another occasion Muawiyah says to Qais ibn Sa’d, this is the ruler of Egypt at the time, in a way to try to win him over, (and we quote), follow us in our affair in this war that we have with Ali ibn Abi Taalib- come to our side and you will be rewarded for that by the two Iraqs this means the whole area of Iraq whether it’s the north or the south or the east or the west provided of course that I win. Muawiyah is telling Sa’d the governor in Egypt and provided that I’m still alive. Then Muawiyah adds to that and for anyone you choose from your family, they can have authority on parts of the Hejaz as long as I am able to deputise that authority to you so that you can give it to them meaning if I win the war this is what you’re going to get. So there was this back and forth between Ali and Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan. In one of these exchanges Muawiyah was expressing how proud he is that he is from Bani Abdi Manaf. Abdu Manaf is one of the common grandfathers of Ali and Muawiyah because as you know they come from Quraysh. So Ali is responding to him, (we want you to listen to this closely because it indicates these elements of pre-Islamic asabiyah), Ali says to Muawiyah you, Muawiyah, are saying “we are the descendants of Abdi Manaf”, we are also the descendants of Abdi Manaf but you can’t say Umayah is the same as Hashim; you can’t say Harb is the equivalent of Abdul Mutt’talib; and you can’t say Abu Sufyan is on par with Abi Talib. These are the cousins of each other so Ali is coming to say Muawiyah you’re taking pride in these ancestors of yours so you can’t say this great grandfather of yours who is the cousin of my great grandfather, (and he names them down the line), are the same. There’s some other things he said and we’ll skip over, then Ali says to Muawiyah from us there was a Prophet and from you there was a contrarian who accused the Prophet of lying, from us there is the person known as the lion of Allah and from you there is known the lion of the confederates, (we’ll explain these later), and from us there are the two prominent masters of the people of jannah and from you there are the children of the fire (or) the rascals of the fire and from us is the best of the women of the world and from you there is the bearer or the carrier of lumber or wood. So when Ali was saying from us there was a Prophet obviously that’s the Prophet and from you there was a contrarian who accused the Prophet of lying that’s Abu Sufyan he said from us there is the person known as the lion of Allah that Asadullah was Hamza (radi Allahu anhu) the Prophet’s uncle and from you there is known the lion of the confederates, that was Utbah ibn Abi Rabi’ah. We’ve covered some of his history previously. When he said and from us there are the two prominent masters of the people of jannah the two prominent figures in al jannah are Hassan and Al Husayn and from you there are the children of the fire (or) the rascals of the fire he meant the children of Marwan ibn Al Hakam. When he said and from us is the best of the women of the world is meant obviously Fatima the Prophet’s daughter (alayha as salaam), and from you there is the bearer or the carrier of lumber or wood, you should be familiar with that because it is in the small surah of the Qur’an, Abu Lahab’s wife’s name was Umm Jameel bint Harb. So when Ali was saying this- of course if you read this you will say what is this? Is this a competition of asabiyaat here, (i.e.) the asabiyah of Bani Umayah and Bani Hashim? It wasn’t a competition or a rivalry of asabiyaat. It is using the language of Muawiyah to underscore (and) to undermine the argument of Muawiyah. When Ali said or did whatever he did, he didn’t do it with asabiyah. Whatever many of the followers of Ali, (excuse us brothers and sisters, we want to be frank as you know us to be frank), say or whatever they do, they do it with asabiyah. If they didn’t do it with asabiyah they wouldn’t have been isolated! They’d be among all people. Was Ali ever isolated? Did he ever think of himself (or) “I’m only speaking to my followers” or is he speaking to the rest of the Muslims and for that matter for the rest of the people? But how come those who say that they are his followers congregate in their own Masjid? How come they have their own program? Why? What’s wrong? You can’t communicate with the other people (and) with the other Muslims? If you can’t, why? When you’re in a moment of peace with yourself you’ll understand (it’s) because there is this asabiyah interference. Al Asabiyah compensates for ignorance. When people don’t have their facts together (and) when they can’t present themselves right then they want to fill in the void with asabiyah and that’s what they do.

Dear committed brothers and dear committed sisters…

Believe it or not- the misunderstanding of this information that we are covering or the lack of it is contributing to the fighting that has been going on now in which there’s a world out there that wants Muslims to begin a century long civil war. Some of their officials said “this war can continue for over a hundred years.” Of course they were speaking about their imperial Zionist war with the Muslims but one of their strategies within that war is to have Muslims go to war with themselves. Some of you are not familiar with our presentations throughout the past thirty odd years- we’ve said, (and this is a good time to remind you), that there are ruling classes in this world who are themselves a fraternity and they should not be discriminated against because of their religious affiliations. Some of them say they are Jews, some of them say they are Christians and some of them say they are Muslims and they go about honouring their religious rituals. They go to their Synagogues, they go to their Churches and they go to their Masjids and because we have been conditioned to classify people because of their rituals we were not able to detect the larger picture- the larger picture is they are all of one feather (or) they are all of one kind regardless of their rituals. Don’t let that obstruct your thoughts. Now you can see the rulers of Arabia. We the Muslims, (we begin with us), should have enough courage to expose those rulers in Arabia- who are utilising our ignorance and then instigating our asabiyaat and then financing the weaponry that is involved and then indoctrinating those who come under their influence- like Aa’ishah said about Uthman, (we are not better than Aa’ishah and the ruler in Arabia, Abdullah ibn Saud is not better than Uthman). kill the male hyena (or) kill the crazy old man as he has obviously become guilty of or is guilty of kufr. Do we have courageous Muslims in this world who can repeat the sentence of Aa’ishah at this time as it applies to the current ruler of Arabia? We didn’t live in the time of Uthman, we live today- there’s a ruler today and justice has to be done. The first step towards that justice is to expose the lies and the fallacy and the shenanigans and the hypocrisy and the stratagem of those who are ruling in Arabia. We the Muslims have to do that. We don’t expect the Jews or Christians to do that. If we take a further closer look we find that those who call themselves Christians and Jews who have officials of theirs in government want to cover up (and) they want to protect these rulers in Arabia! Why? Because these rulers in Arabia don’t belong to us, they belong to them. That’s in regards to we the Muslims. When it comes to those who are Christians, they should also be as courageous as Muslims and just like Saudi Arabia in the Muslim hemisphere is the number one trouble maker the United States government in the Christian hemisphere is the number one trouble maker and Christians should find enough courage in themselves to point out the fallacies, the faults, the flaws, the hypocrisy, the lies, the strategies (and) the stratagem that emanates here in Washington DC and do that with the confidence that comes to them from understanding their Lord and their Creator. Just as we expect Muslims to act, we expect Christians to act and we also expect Jews to act. The number one trouble maker in the Jewish hemisphere is the Zionist state of Israel and Jews should have enough courage to come out- especially now. Watch what is happening in the world- the ganging up of officialdom in occupied Palestine with officialdom in occupied America with officialdom in occupied Arabia- all of them are ganging up and where are those Jews who say that they are obsessed with justice? Where are they? Can’t they come out and say Zionist Israel is a travesty of justice?! Can’t they do that? What’s wrong? What’s wrong with the Muslims? What’s wrong with the Christians? What’s wrong with the Jews? No one has a moral compass anymore?! You can’t identify a mega criminal (or) a criminal of universal proportion? You can’t identify a criminal like that and you want to use God’s scripture to pick on the petty criminal who steals because they want to feed their families?! Those are the real criminals?! You can’t detect the criminals who are stealing from populations and from continents? You can’t identify them? Something is wrong with the way you read the Qur’an or the way you read the Injeel or the way you read the Torah when you can’t see this Mammoth (and) this gargantuan criminals as they lock hands to shed innocent blood in the Holy Land and they’ve been shedding that innocent blood since 1947 (and) 1948.

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