Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem.
Alhumdulillah. Peace and blessings on Muhammad, his Noble Companions and Family.
Brothers and Sisters, Muslims whose relationship with Allah is one of responsibilities and duties and one of tasks and obligations....
With reliance upon Allah we will continue to break through the walls of ignorance/misunderstanding and offer our effort to Allah in trying to consolidate at least a common understanding that will preclude us from what is otherwise a bleak/doomed future. In the previous khutbahs we took a closer look at the way our previous/first generation of Muslims dealt with the issue of power. We tried to follow, as conscientiously as possible, the information that we have available to us and we pursued that line of information closely as it unraveled/developed until the first King of Islam took his position by force from a camp/block of Muslims- beginning with Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) and ending with Hassan (radi Allahu anhu)- who were concerned with, first and foremost, the issue of justice/a free Islamic conscience/the equality of the committed Muslims/Islamic participation in the decision making process. We followed this type of concern and how it eventually gave way to another type of concern i.e. to govern and not be burdened with the issue of justice/equality/participatory politics/a free Islamic conscience/mind. This is a new set of people which we have to reconsider in light of what happened because all of this was to usher in events that had no equivalent/precedent- events like ibn Ziyad having the head of Al Imam Al Husayn (radi Allahu anhu) presented to him on a platter. Which ever way a person may understand Islam this is not something that can be explained from the Qur’an or Sunnah. Because of this unscrupulous obsession with power as represented by the first King in Islam we were to witness later on the horses of this new power structure commit a massacre in Al Madinah referred to in Islamic history as Yawm Al Harra. The horses came into the Prophets Masjid and urinated between his grave and the Mimbar. Because of this new set of rulers we were to have a class of Muslim Scholars who were going to say that Al Imam Al Husayn was slaughtered in accordance with the shari'ah of his grandfather. Things that don't make sense at all were going to become part of our history. We were going to begin to have a class of Muslim Scholars who would argue in a scholarly way- is it prohibited/not prohibited during the days of Hajj to bleed a mosquito or a fly or an insect but they would not look at the shedding of the blood of the Muslims who stood for justice. They were more concerned with the blood of insects than they were with the blood of the Mujahidin who were inside the Islamic context trying to stop a deviation that protended ominous days for future generations. With these events in our history it should behoove us to take a closer look with our minds/conscience and our combined understanding of the Qur’an and the Prophet to see where are the beginnings of all of this. To do that we are going to have to muster enough courage to take a hard look at the formative years of what later on became a monarchy or in the words of Allahs Prophet in the hadith in which he refers to the sequence of Islamic Governance- the Khilafah and then Al Mulk Al Adud- the type of monarchy that we are going to take consideration of. How and where are the roots and the beginning and the genesis of this monarchy?
With our best understanding of this early era of Islam we can trace it back to the feelings of solidarity that predate the Prophet, the Qur’an and Islam. There's something we can call nowadays, Al Usrah Al Umawiyah/the Umawi family, Al Ashirah Al Qurashiyah/the tribalism of Quraysh and Al Qabaliyah Al Arabiyah which can be roughly upgraded today to mean Arab Nationalism. These elements were at work prior to the Prophet/the Qur’an and Islam. Then all of a sudden, as if coming from no where, this society that had these three important/integral elements to it was presented with a problem- Islam is Justice, Allah is Just and the Qur’an is justice and family solidarity/clannish interests/Nationalist priorities don't recognize this type of justice. So the struggle began and it continued during these years that we are familiar with- the years referred to as the Makkan era and the era of Al Madinah. We don't have to cover this territory because we have a sense of what it was about. The area that we have to cover though is towards the twenty-third year of this cumulative life-long effort centered around justice/equality/participation of the people/freedom of conscience and thought.
What happened was the forces of the Umawi family/the tribalism of Quraysh/Al Qabaliyah Al Arabiyah that clung to these notions found themselves at a loss. They lost this confrontation with Allah, His Prophet and the committed Muslims who broke out of this mode. They no longer recognized family relationships/tribal clannishness/National interests- that no longer was part of their mind/soul but some people still had that. When Allah’s Prophet returned to Makkah there was a class of people that had fought against him. There was a population of people that spent a generation in a war against him and now they had to make up their minds. They could either become Muslim/leave that territory altogether/fight and die. Looking back at twenty-twoyears they saw/thought that the best thing to do/the only choice left is to become Muslims. We are speaking here particularly about Abu Sufyan and Mu’awiyah. So they and the rest of Makkah became Muslims. We may refer to them as Quraysh At Taleeqa/the nationalist Quraysh that were amnestied by Allah’s Prophet. To refresh our memories we have to remind ourselves that Abu Sufyan and Mu’awiyah took charge of the military force in Makkah against the Islamic forces in Al Madinah after Badr. In Badr shuyukh/senior commanders died and the opposition in Makkah needed a leader and Abu Sufyan was to fill in that gap. He thrust the Mushrik forces against the Islamic forces in Al Madinah. In other words he brought an army from Makkah to Al Madinah to threaten the Muslims twice- in Uhud and Al Khandaq- and in both instances there was no victory. So Makkah was beginning to feel the psychological defeat of its encounter with the devout/committed Muslims of Al Madinah. But now these age long enemies of Islam became Muslims. When this Prophet of Allah went to Makkah how did he deal with these people who said that they are Muslims? They'd been fighting the Muslims for over twenty years and now when the power of Islam grew to an extent that they no longer could challenge, they said now we are Muslims. What did the Prophet do at this moment? When he saw that Makkah is no longer resisting he said whoever enters the residence of Abu Sufyan is secure or safe. The Prophet also gave Abu Sufyan and his son Mu’awiyah one-hundred livestock. Why? Because- we have to take a moment to think about this- you are not permitted to help Ash Shaytaan against these types of people. These were living in the higher positions of society and now they were defeated. So the Prophet of Allah called them At Tulaqa’ so that he would give an accurate definition of their status. The Qur’an called them Al Muallafa Qulubuhum/those who are left to be won over through their hearts. In a condition like this you want to be forth-coming to those whose hearts/minds have been broken after all of these years. So he and the Muslims were generous towards these Tulaqa’/Al Muallafa Qulubuhum. There was a revenue from the Islamic budget that would go to them to help them overcome this psychological retreat/“inferiority position” that they found themselves in. Also, remember- this is hard for some people to factor in, but this was part of real life at the time- the Prophet of Allah was married to Abu Sufyan’s daughter, Umme Habiba (radi Allahu anha). So this is not that easy/simple thing of blindly going to condemn people because lines here are drawn on the basis of peoples character not on the basis of family relations. All of this was to take the antagonistic/belligerent sting out of a generation that fought against the Prophet in Makkah. But were Abu Sufyan and Mu’awiyah really won over to the psychology/character of the Committed Muslims? The facts later on indicate otherwise. Even though, (as far as we know), they never challenged the rituals of Islam; none of them ever took issue with the salaah/siyaam/zakaah or whatever constitutes the personal responsibilities of Muslims- never have we come across anything like that. What we do have though is a set/class of people who have the old attitude of opposing Islam from under a veneer of Islam. This is the new development that occurs at this time. So the Prophet of Allah passes on trying to blunt the Shaytaani inclinations of people who used to have power but now lost that power. It was in a sense demeaning to call these opponents/enemies of Allah and His Prophet when they finally surrendered to the wave of Islam in its innocence At Tulaqa’/Al Muallafa Qulubuhum. They felt inferior. Then if you read these books of history/Seerah etc. you will find that the committed Muslims at that time were not socializing with these Tulaqa’. They would not communicate/associate with Abu Sufyan/Muawiyah and the rest of this class of people.
When the Prophet of Allah came into Makkah and Islam became the order of Makkah it is reported in the common books of history, (we're not plucking out information from a particular side, we're trying as much as possible to stick to the common history that we have), in the shades of the Ka'bah, when the Prophet of Allah came to express this sense of equality/justice/common-hood of the Muslims to the new adherents of this Islam (and) when he was stating to them the new value system that many of them reluctantly/in an opportunistic manner just to avoid the problems/trouble if they chose otherwise you- the folks of Quraysh! Allah has relieved you of the upper classmanship of this pre-Islamic era/the jahiliyyah culture that you belonged to and of magnifying your ancestry/giving your tribal affiliation a status in society- Allah has relieved you of that too. Are we not from Adam? And Adam comes from clay. Then he quotes the ayah from Surah Hujurat that we are all familiar with.
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ
Oh people: We have created you from male and female and rendered you as (shu’uban) derivatives of each other and (Qaba’il) correspondents to each other so that you may mutually come to know one another; the most honorable of you as far as Allah is concerned is the one who is most conscious of Allah’s power presence/immediacy… (Surah Al Hujurat verse 13)
When the Prophet of Allah was in the vicinity of the Holy sanctuary in Makkah stating this to the Qurayshi public Abu Sufyan and a couple of other prior Mushriks were sitting around the Ka'bah and they were making statements- how did we reach this condition that we are in now- feeling either negative/sorry about the condition that they are in. When these two people with Abu Sufyan were saying these types of things, Abu Sufyan said (we're paraphrasing here) I'm afraid that if I were to speak these stones around would inform on me. If this was a Muslim at this time, even though the Prophet was dealing in a delicate manner with the potential transitional psychology that this person may be in- this statement divulges to us the real self of this person.
He goes up to Allah Prophet later on, (and according to some sources of information), he pleads with him, to have my son become a scribe/a person who will register the scripture that is being revealed to you. He wanted something else. He wanted a position of power- someone from his family/himself/someone from his sons to become a military commander. He didn't get that type of request but his son Mu’awiyah was given the leeway to write. The person knew how to write, let him write what there is of these ayaat/wahy.
When the Prophet passes away and in As-Saqifa- this is another time where a persons real personality surfaces- when there was a little commotion around. What's going to happen right now? Who's going to lead the Muslims? Who's going to fill in this vacuum? Abu Sufyan urges, (not that he had much clout. This was in Al Madinah. This was a place where his power base, that was in Makkah, really didn't have much clout,) the Muslims to agree that Ali (radi Allahu anhu) become the leader of the Muslims. He doesn't do this because he recognizes the virtues/qualities/merits of Ali. He does this because he recognizes the group solidarity within Quraysh- because Ali was closer to Abu Sufyan than Abu Bakr/Umar (radi Allahu anhuma) were to him. If we were to take the pedigree of Quraysh- Abu Bakr/Umar came from Taim. They weren't the immediate cousins of the Umawi clan as were the Hashimis from whom Ali is an individual. So on the basis of this Usrah/Ashirah/Qabaliyah he spoke what was on his mind. But he didn't find a response because the majority of the Muslims who were around were convinced that they don't want the culture of jahiliyyah to influence their decisions, especially on this matter.
So the days and the years go by without any break through until now as far as regaining that stature/position of power in Makkah. During the rule of Abu Bakr/Umar the Islamic territories had expanded into the North/East/SouthiWest and people are going to have to be given responsibilities. One of the responsibilities that was given to the sons of Abu Sufyan is that they should be... Let us track back a moment here. During the time of the first successor to Allah’s Prophet the Islamic forces were under the leadership of Khalid ibn Al-Walid (radi Allahu anhu), and one of the major generals, in today’s language, around Khalid was Abu Ubaidah ibn Al Jarrah (radi Allahu anhu). These basically were the military type of men. They were looking, (as should be the case), at who qualifies to be in charge of this area? Who is familiar with this area? We're talking about an area referred to in Islamic history as Bilad Ash Shaam- the geography of today says that it is Palestine/Jordan/Syria/Lebanon. They were looking at who qualifies to be in a position to administer this area. These were administration responsibilities. This responsibility was given to Yazid, the brother of Mu’awiyah and the son of Abu Sufyan. This was done because, (and this is also a piece of history that also goes un-thought of), the Umawis, before the advent of the Prophet and Islam, used to track in their commercial pursuits between Arabia and Ash Shaam. They used to go several times a year on commercial missions to that area. It is even said that there was a dispute- the grand-father of Mu’awiyah and his grand-uncle had some type of fall out between themselves and one of them- the grand-uncle- relocated/moved from Makkah to Damascus. So, this family, not only was it familiar with these people/territory/culture, but they also had something like a residence there. So you would want to give administrative responsibilities to people who had some qualifications here, and it may also have been with a streak of extending the concept of Al Muallafa Qulubuhum, because up until now, they didn't show any outright hostility to the central Islamic Government in Al Madinah. So- give them this responsibility. After a short while, Mu’awiyahs brother Yazid, who was basically in-charge of what is today Jordan passes on and Mu’awiyah becomes an inheritor to the area of Jordan in addition to the area of Damascus/Ash Shaam. This is the explanation of why they occupied these positions. Also when Amr ibn Al Aas was given the governorship of Egypt it is because he was a person who had traveled there many times and was familiar with/had experience with these people. You can't send someone, as sincere as they may be, but cannot have administrative qualities to perform the responsibilities/duties that come from that position. This is how they began to climb the Islamic social ladder- it was through the military. But having this position would not fool Aba Bakr/Umar. As a matter of internal politics/decision making there was a very serious disagreement between Abu Bakr and Umar as to how far/for how long is this concept of Al Muallafa Qulubuhum applied. Is it going to be forever? Are we going to keep on paying these Tulaqa’/Al Muallafa Qulubuhum this monthly stipend or there shall come a time when they're going to have to prove themselves. Umar was of the opinion enough years had lapsed and they should prove themselves. They should not be on this, (let's say), Islamic dough. Abu Bakr during his time disagreed with that. Nevertheless these individuals gained these positions and they used the goodness in the Muslim hearts of Al Quraysh Al Muhajirah.
Remember, before we were looking at Islamic history as it unfolded towards the North and East- Al Kufa/Al Basrah and the Iraqi areas; now we are looking at Islamic history as it unfolded in the North and West. We begin to have now in this new dimension of Islam an excessive expression of opportunism.
Remember how sensitive Ali was to people who wanted to express themselves even though they were against his own opinion; how he left them the freedom to do so. When it comes to Mu’awiyah, a person like Hujar who refused to annul the Hadd/Islamic legal procedure and go along with Mu’awiyah and his types was killed. This is what happens in Autocratic/Dictatorial expressions of state functions/positions. This is a new type of government that the Muslims are going to have to take a good look at without the type of Sectarianism/Nationalism that is interjected almost always into reconsidering/rethinking the details of this history. We have to mature enough to look at this and come out comfortably without the accusations and counter accusations of Sunni verse Shi'i or Arab verse A'jami. We have to outgrow all of that and look at the merits/de-merits of these issues one by one/step by step/heart with heart/mind contributing to mind. This new chapter- Mu’awiyah was in Ash Shaam twenty years as an Ameer/Governor, (roughly speaking), and he was there also twenty years as a King. That's forty years of a type of administration that does not countenance/tolerate criticism/plurality and even serious disagreements- it doesn't tolerate any of that. There was a type of lobby that lived on, from those early days in Makkah when Makkah was finally subdued by the will of the committed Muslims according to the Qur’an and the Prophet which lived on to work to regain its position in power. It found its channel through the military and finally it unfolded in some of the details that we were looking at- Al Jamal, Siffin and from here on we are going to have other experiences with it, that have throughout fourteen centuries snowballed/accumulated/reached the peaks of Autocratic/Dictatorial/Monarchical, non-representative Governments that we have in our Islamic lands/countries/territories.
Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…
Today we live in a world in which you/I can see for our own selves, (just look at what's happening), some Muslims who are anxious to align themselves with those who are at war with the Muslims. Need we say who they are by their names?! There's enough of them around that you cannot miss them. You can almost point to any Government in the Muslim sphere of the world and you will be almost 99% right that that Government is anxious to side with the external threats and leave the Muslims to the tragedies that follow. This is why what we are talking about is relevant to today. When the King to be, Mu’awiyah was concerned/overworked with trying to defeat Ali, he was willing to pay the Byzantines to neutralize that front- at least for a while. That may have been the first detection of Muslims who were in power who were willing to ally themselves with the devil to tend to internal Islamic issues. Later on we saw this happen. During the Abbasi era the Kings who were in Baghdad- Harun Ar-Rashid was willing to be on good terms with Sharlemon in France, so that they could get rid of the Muslims in Al Andulus. Later on we saw how the Fatimis in Egypt were willing to be on good terms with the Crusaders so that Salah Ad Deen would not be able to bring about the consolidation to liberate Palestine from that first form of Colonialism and Imperialism nearly 1,000 years ago. This is what we see today developing in front of our own eyes- it's just the re-run of what began to happen during that time. For how long are we willing to visualize these types of arrangements? This is going to go on for a long time as long as these Masaajid that we have don't bring this information and place it in our heads so that we can begin to make sense out of it/learn from our mistakes/improve the efforts of those who preceded us. This is what needs to be done today. And brothers and sisters, please- if anyone wants to try to help in this regard leave out the issues of today’s nationalism and sectarianism. Anytime these issues are put into this mix, they just spoil the whole effort. Let us try to look at them with the maturity of our brotherhood/the sincerity of our togetherness and the devotion that we all have towards Allah and His Prophet.
[This khutbah was presented by Imam Mohammad Al Asi on the occasion of Jum’ah on 2 September 2005 on the sidewalk of Embassy Row in Washington D.C. The Imam previously led the daily and Jum’ah prayers inside the Masjid. His speeches were revolutionary and thought provoking, and eventually irritated and threatened the Middle-East Ambassadors who control the Masjid. Finally, the Imam, his family, and other Muslims faithful to the course of Islam were forced out, into the streets. This khutbah originates from the sidewalk across the street from the Islamic Center, currently under siege.]