Islamic Governance: Shura/Mutual Consultation Part 4

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Sha'ban 11, 1431 2010-07-23

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,

We will continue to shed light/open up our minds and begin to think of what Allah and His Prophet tell us instead of just automatically expressing ayaat and ahadith and then automatically- without any thought process- dismissing ayaat and ahadith. We want to be as cautious as not to do such a folly. We were, (in the course of the previous khutbahs), speaking about the nature of rulers and their tendency to misrule/abuse power/ oppress people. This is one of the common features that we find in the ruling class. We spoke about the necessity of shura. When we have an Islamic body of responsible ruling individuals and an Islamic body of citizens and constituents we have an ayah that disciplines the relationship between those who rule and those who are ruled. The ayah says

وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَىٰ بَيْنَهُمْ

… and their affair is a matter of Shura among them… (Surah Ash Shura verse 38)

Them meaning the Muslims and the committed Muslims. So we have this God-given instruction about shura. We spoke about shura to some extent in the previous khutbah. We will try to continue. We took a look in the previous khutbah at some of the instances/precedents at the time of Allah’s Prophet. There is one particular issue that many Muslims have difficulty with and this is from the Prophet’s Seerah i.e. his exemplar political/leadership character and behaviour. Towards the end of his life long struggle he embarked on a journey to Makkah. Remember, Allah’s Prophet was in Al Madinah and the committed Muslims society and Islamic state were in Al Madinah. Makkah was not liberated. Makkah was still the stronghold of the Prophet’s enemies- the Mushrikin. So, a couple of years, (or so), before Makkah was liberated the Prophet set out with the committed Muslims with him to go to Makkah. The Muslims were with the Prophet were entertaining high hopes/a lot of expectations concerning the eventual/final liberation of Makkah especially when the Prophet had told them he had received an ayah/information from Allah that Makkah shall be liberated and they shall enter the Haram/the Ka’bah. This is the ayah that says

لَتَدْخُلُنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ آمِنِينَ

… and you will enter Al Masjid Al Haram by Allah’s leave in a state of security/you have nothing to fear… (Surah Al Fath verse 27)

So Muslims had received this ayah; they had listened to it and so they were going now to Makkah hoping that they are to bring into reality the meaning of this ayah. They didn’t think that they are going to be fighting. They were not in a mood to go to a war. There was about 1,400 of them but still they were prepared. If someone was going to come and pick a fight/war with them, they were still prepared to do that. As the Muslims and Allah’s Prophet were moving towards Makkah, (you can imagine the desert and its climate), a person by the name of Utbah Al Khaza’i came to Allah’s Prophet and he said to him Quraysh has mobilised all its forces against you and they’re going to “open fire” on you- remember, I’m using today’s language to try to convey the original words and meanings- and they will bar/deter you from entering Makkah and the Ka’bah. The Prophet listened to Utbah Al Khazai’. OK- he has news/information about these Mushriks who have been in a state of war with the Muslims and the Prophet for two decades, twenty years plus. What did the Prophet do? Did he make a decision on his own? This is Allah’s Prophet. This is not some ruler of today. It’s not the average person. He is Allah’s Prophet. He had around 1,400 people- committed Muslims- with him. He heard that the enemies are preparing for war. It would seem like it was an easy decision i.e. an enemy is preparing for war (so) you counter prepare for war. He is the Commander-in Chief/Chief Executive/Head of State/Imam of the Muslims/Allah’s Prophet/Apostle. What else do you want? He has all the credentials/merits to make a decision right there-and-then but what does he do? He turns to the Muslims who are with him and says people- advise me. What am I going to do? What shall we do? Those who were with him- the closest people to him said Oh Prophet of Allah you have set out and your intention is to enter Allah’s Haram: Al Masjid Al Haram, Al Ka’ba in Makkah. You did not set out with the intention to engage the others in a war therefore let us precede with our original intention and then if the Mushriks of Makkah resort to force and if they want to take us on then we’ll deal with them at that time. Then Allah’s Prophet said go forward on our understanding of Allah- the designation of Allah. As the Prophet was riding on his naaqah- it had a name it was called Al Qaswaa’- and he was leading the rest of the Muslims who were behind him, then all of a sudden his naaqah stops, goes down to the ground and refuses to move. Just all over sudden/out-of-the-blue/without any reason for that happening! The committed Muslims around the Prophet came to this camel and tried to budge/nudge it to move. It wouldn’t! It was as stuck-as-a-rock and they said, (and this is a very well known couple of words in the books of seerah. We said Al Qaswaa’ is the name of that particular mode of transportation that the Prophet was on), it’s stubborn and it’s unable to move forward. The Prophet of Allah said no. This is not a stubborn and unable animal. It is not part of it’s “character”, (so to speak). It’s not known to do something like this. Meaning it’s strange to have something like this happen i.e. something that no one has been familiar with. No one who knows this would say “why did it happen?” Then he said the thing that has incarcerated her from movement/imprisoned her from moving forward is the same element that affected Al Fil. Remember the story of the Fil the year before the Prophet of Allah was born? They were coming to tear down Makkah, (so to speak), but the Elephants reached a particular area outside of Makkah and they wouldn’t move any longer. The same dynamics was at work there was at work pertaining to Allah’s Prophet’s naaqah- his camel. We were speaking about shura i.e. Allah’s Prophet’s communication vis-a-vis his decision with the committed Muslims who are struggling with him. At this moment the Prophet of Allah said listen. What did he say now? He said by He, (meaning Allah), in whom my life is in His hand- if Quraysh were to recommend a plan that magnifies the Hurumat of Allah and that honours family ties- remember, Al Muhajirin who left Makkah have families back in Makkah- I will accede to it meaning I will accept it. Then the Prophet instigated Al Qaswaa’ and it stood up and then the Prophet of Allah from here on began to proceed in the presence/company of the 1,400 committed Muslims with him. Now, there was no more a flow of information/feedback from the committed and struggling Muslims to him and he said, (these are his words) I am Allah’s Messenger and I will not disobey Him and He is my Victor. He will give me victory. We learn from this lesson that the Prophet of Allah had the Muslims involved in the decision making until something extraordinary/unusual/paranormal/that cannot be explained by logic happened. When that happened, the Prophet of Allah realised that from there on this is an issue in which he has to consult with his God-given heart and mind together to proceed in one direction or the other and now there’s no longer any time for any input from the committed Muslims around them. Here, they would have to rely on their faith in Allah’s Prophet. One of the ayahs that anyone could refer to in a circumstance like this is

إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا

Allah has despatched His Messenger with the truth, validity, al haqq and legality to express the good news where it should be expressed and to break the bad news where it should be broken. (Surah Al Fath verse 8)

So Allah’s Prophet was not derelict. Allah tells him

وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْر

… seek, solicit and ask their advice, input and feedback when it pertains to the current issues of the Muslims or the current decision that have to be made… (Surah Aal Imran verse 159)

These are issues that pertain to what we call today military decisions, (just like we’ve seen), political decisions i.e. (for) issues pertaining to war and peace the Muslim society within an Islamic State having an Islamic leadership are expected to meet these standards; but there’s no shura when it comes to a couple of things i.e. (regarding) scientific facts there’s no shura. What: are we going to consult the people on a scientific fact?! We can’t do that. There’s no shura on the Wahy what Allah has revealed. You’re going to consult people on what every Muslim and thinking human being knows Allah to have said? Allah said

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ

…haraam or unlawful to you is carrion, blood, swine meat, etc… (Surah Al Maa’idah verse 3)

What: are you going to make shura about this? There’s no room for Shura on an established fact of Wahy, fact of knowledge and science- no shura on this.

Another confusing area is public opinion/people. We read the history of Allah’s Prophets and men of Allah and we see most of the time all of society was against them. What: are you going to do shura with them? They are against Him! They’re going to advice him: “we don’t want you to say this any longer. Stop preaching and teaching what you say comes to you from Allah!” Did they listen? No, because this is not a matter of shura. Because Prophets are human beings, they feel and think in the same manner that all other human beings feel and think- in the same manner remember. Every time they would “run out of gas/their batteries were low”, (so to speak), as human beings

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا اسْتَيْأَسَ الرُّسُلُ

… up to the time/moment that Allah’s Messengers felt despair? (Surah Yusuf verse 110)

That’s a human feeling and they experienced this feeling of losing hope. Why? Because the opposition from the majority of people against them was so intense/harsh. An ayah that would remind us that shura has no place and we carry on with our God-given responsibility.

وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ

If you follow the opinions of most of the people in the world, they will lead you astray; the only thing they are following is conjecture, they have a lot of doubts- and the only thing they do is guess work. (Surah Al An’am verse 116)

So what are you going to do? Are you going to consult people that are surrounded by doubt/perforated with uncertainty? This, (shura), is not applicable here.

Another issue that sometimes comes into people’s minds- (which) even though many times we try to skip these details (but) because they have worked themselves into the core of our history and therefore to some people become matters of belief- is during the time of renunciation of the civil character of Muslims. You haven’t heard this before because it comes to you in a packaged wording called hurub ar ridda. Hurub ar ridda, (in today’s language), was (when) there were some Muslims who wanted to take off their civilian character. They only wanted to be Muslims as individuals. “OK I’m a Muslim leave me alone. I’ll do whatever I want to do. I’ll pray/fast but don’t get me involved in the civil character of Muslims.” Do you mean I have to pay zakah? I have to go to the warfront i.e. the military/social/political/economic/financial responsibilities- they didn’t want anything to do with that. This created a division in the Muslim public mind that was just left on its own as Allah’s Prophet had passed away and Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) had become the leader of the Muslims. At this point there was a serious disagreement between, (not to mention the others), between Abu Bakr and Umar (radi Allahu anhuma). Abu Bakr wanted to take on Muslims who he knew could not split their private character from their social character like they wanted to do- their expression of that was we’re not going to pay any money to the Islamic treasury. Relieve us of that. That’s not our obligation. Umar said to him what are you doing? These are Muslims who say the Shahadah. In other words at the begin way before the word secularism came into vogue, we had committed Muslims who understood that in human nature there are people who want to break away from Allah. “Oh God is a god that is in heaven. What does He have to do with us here on earth” was the attitude. He said no. We’re not going to let them get away with that. Once this begins we will no longer have an Islamic State and society which Allah’s Prophet spent twenty-three years struggling to put together. Obviously, (after give and take with Muslims who weren’t polluted with materialism/secularism/God-denial), they agreed to the validity of this use of force against people who amounted to betrayers to their oath and allegiance to Allah and His Prophet. Now we come to what is called Totalitarianism or Dictatorships. This is another issue that’s been kicked out off the Masjid and prohibited from the Manabir. Speak about Dictatorships/Totalitarianism?! Let us say that this Totalitarianism and Dictatorship is a condition that afflicts different societies in the world- Muslim societies/peoples, non- Muslim societies/peoples. (Stay with us, we’re not going off on a tangent here). There’s a difference between Dictatorships that have come into existences because of, (let’s call them), Euro-American societies and Dictatorships that came into existence in Muslim countries. In the past century there was the peak of the combination of Totalitarianism and Dictatorship in what is called Nazism and Fascism, but remember when Hitler and Mussolini came to power, they came to power because there was a population endorsement of them. All of the people agreed- “we want a dictator.’ That was the will of the majority of the people. You come to Muslim countries and we have Dictators/Totalitarian rulers but they’re not there because the Muslims willed them to be there or voted them into the office as was the case in the Western Totalitarian and Dictatorship chapters of history. We know some people are going to feel a little sensitivity to this coming one… For anyone who understands the social justice element of Islam and the Qur’an, they cannot live with Dictators. We cannot tolerate seeing them. When Sa’ad ibn Malik (radi Allahu anhu), one of the Muslim commanders when Islamic rule still had its merits, entered the palace of the Persian King at the time, he remembered the Pharaoh. These are people who are educated in the meanings of the Qur’an because when they live a reality, that reality reminds them of Allah’s words or the other way around; when they have mentalized Allah’s words then they can identify the reality that corresponds to it. So when Sa’ad ibn Malik entered this, (let’s called it), “White House” in Persia, he remembered the ayah in the Qur’an that speaks about the Pharaoh of Egypt and the ayaat in Surah Ad Dukh’khaan speaks about the condition/luxury/abundance/wealth/power that the Pharaoh and the King in Persia had in common. Remember, the Muslims were against their own Arabian Nationalists in Makkah; they were not going to reserve their words if they found Persian Nationalists in Persia because these ayaat undermine this Nationalism but only a clear-headed Muslim can find the meanings of these ayaat in his/her lifetime.

كَمْ تَرَكُوا مِن جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ

Can you count how much they have left of these running waters? (Surah Ad Dukhan verse 25)

Water and fertility are always a symbol of affluence. You will find them in these higher civilisations and modernities. The Qur’an is saying

كَمْ تَرَكُوا مِن جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ

وَزُرُوعٍ وَمَقَامٍ كَرِيمٍ

وَنَعْمَةٍ كَانُوا فِيهَا فَاكِهِينَ

كَذَٰلِكَ ۖ وَأَوْرَثْنَاهَا قَوْمًا آخَرِينَ

فَمَا بَكَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّمَاءُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَا كَانُوا مُنظَرِينَ

How many times have we found them parting with these lush gardens, and these springing waters? And the agriculture, the produce and the tonnages that they had? And the status they were living an abundance, ni’mah and bounty in which they were delighted to be in it? It is in such a manner that We have all of this become the inheritance of another people. The heavens nor the Earth did not shed one tear for these types of tyrants and dictators and they were not even given a time of respite. (Surah Ad Dukhan verse 25-29)

They want a break; when the time comes Allah’s not going to give them any break. There’s a hadith that you will not find quoted in your run-of-the-mill Masjids. For those of you who want to get technical, go to Al Bukhari and find it there. This hadith has been taken out of circulation long time ago. We don’t even know if you even heard this hadith before because it has been taken out of circulation for so long. The Allah’s Prophet said the destruction of my Ummah shall occur by the hands of, (in today’s world it would be like saying), punks from Quraysh. We can see what happened after the reign of Al Imam Ali (radi Allahu anhu) with the Umawi branch of Quraysh taking over the affairs of Muslims and behaving just like Totalitarians and Dictators. (Do) you want to compare Umar with Yazid or you want to compare Ali with Muawiyah?! There’s no comparison brothers and sisters. These dictators have a way of behaving. To them everyone else in equivalent to rodents/insects. Let us take a moment/snapshot from Allah’s Book in words that are exchanged between the Pharaoh and Musa (alaihi as salaam).

قَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ وَمَا رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Phiraun said: What is this Rabb Al Alameen stuff? (Surah Al Shu’ara’ verse 23)

You speak about the Sustainer of the worlds? What is all of this about? Musa answered

قَالَ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ إِن كُنتُم مُّوقِنِينَ

He said: He is the Sustainer of the Heavens and the Earth and everything in-between if only you had some certainty to you. (Surah Al Shu’ara’ verse 24)

Now listen to this. Musa and Piraun are speaking, Phiraun now acts as if Musa doesn’t exist.

قَالَ لِمَنْ حَوْلَهُ أَلَا تَسْتَمِعُونَ

He turns around to the crowd around and he says to those who are in his presence/company: listen to this guy- can you hear what he is saying? (Surah Al Shu’ara’ verse 25)

This is what the ayah means can you understand what he is saying? You see how the arrogant behaviour of the Pharaoh was? He just dismissed Musa. He was speaking as if he wasn’t there. He turns to his own people but still, because Musa is in Allah’s presence before he’s in the presence of some tin-pot dictator like Phiraun said

قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

He is Your Sustainer and the Sustainer of your forefathers/predecessors/ancestors/great grandfathers. (Surah Al Shu’ara’ verse 26)

This is how they talk. The Pharaoh said

قَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَكُمُ الَّذِي أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ لَمَجْنُونٌ

This Messenger of yours who was sent to you is crazy. (Surah Al Shu’ara’ verse 27)

Isn’t this the way the established media in the world speak about committed Muslims who are trying to express Allah’s words to the public? Still Musa is speaking. With all the derogatory behaviour and the condescending conduct of the Pharaoh, Musa was still speaking.

قَالَ رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

He said the Sustainer of the East and the West if only you could reason. (Surah Al Shu’ara’ verse 28)

And then the Pharaoh just like people who are full of it- he has all the power/money- says

لَئِنِ اتَّخَذْتَ

If you continue and you insist… (Surah Al Shu’ara’ verse 29)

These are the emphasizers in the Arabic language, the words are not there, just the emphasizing articles. Pharaoh is telling Musa

قَالَ لَئِنِ اتَّخَذْتَ إِلَٰهًا غَيْرِي لَأَجْعَلَنَّكَ مِنَ الْمَسْجُونِينَ

If you continue and you persist and you designate a deity besides me, I’ll throw you in prison. (Surah Al Shu’ara’ verse 29)

This is how they behave and this is how they talk. It’s not history, it’s now. It’s happening in our time. The barrier between us and seeing these facts is the absence of our mind from what Allah and His Prophet are telling us.

Brothers and sisters committed Muslims,

We have today in the same land that this Wahy was revealed a ruling class that prohibits and pays handsomely preachers and teachers all around the world to omit this awareness so that we are unable to have contact with these vital meanings. This has been going on for a long time. Sometimes it is astonishing to see how long Muslims are going to keep on taking this nonsense out of that land of ours in Arabia. Some of the news items that come out of that land in the past week… brothers and sisters: they don’t want anyone to speak about Shura, Dictators/Kings and this whole subject- no. As usual we find their thoughts concentrated on their appetites. In this past week the news out of that dark regime says to us that “sixty-seventy percent of their scholars are not convinced about what is called Zawaj Al Misyaar.” This is a type of marital relationship that their own scholars dug up because these Princes wanted to have sexual relations when they go around the globe to the hotspots of the world and they don’t take their family with them. So they wanted somebody to find a way out of this build up pressure inside of them. So when they pay money, you can find a lot of things in these books. They had some scholars dig deep down inside the books of Islamic history and fiqh and come up with the concept of Zawaj Al Misyaar which is roughly identified as having a legal sexual relationship with someone who is not your permanent wife. That’s the best we can, (on this hot day), summarise this. This has been going on now for at least fifteen-twenty years and then all over sudden now there is nothing else going on in the world- no Muslim blood/occupations/wars- nothing! It’s their sexual appetites that they have to consider and reconsider! They come up and tell us “sixty-seventy percent of their Ulema’don’t agree with this concept.’ This is how they want us to move around in circles. As if all of humanity and all of our God-given potentials are centred around our gender organs! That’s what everyone should concentrate on and leave the millions of people who occupy our resources and steal our markets and do whatever they want to do with us. Just limited your thinking to that area in your central body and never go beyond that. This is where we are- these are the facts. This is where we are; and Allah and His Prophet are showing us where we should be.

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