Makkahs essence Part 3

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Dhu al-Qa'dah 28, 1431 2010-11-05

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,

In a matter of less than ten days the Muslims of the world will be concentrated in Makkah. Unfortunately their concentration is not going to be of any substance. You reap what you sow! If Muslims haven’t been thinking about Makkah, understanding what it means and analysing what its effects should be then they just become individuals who go and come meaninglessly. So what is Makkah?

To try to fertilise our minds with some meanings and to try to give our Hajj some purpose we shall try to recoup some of these meanings. Allah says in one of the relatively short Surahs in the Qur’an- the Surah as is known by almost everyone as Surah Al Balad. There is one other designation of it- Surah Laa Uqsim. This considerably short Surah tries to capture our mind as concerns the importance, the significance, the centrality, the inclusiveness and accommodating character of Makkah. (The roughly translated meaning) Allah says

لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ

I shall not mention this city… (Surah Al Balad verse 1)


لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ

Shall I not mention this city… (Surah Al Balad verse 1)


لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ

I shall mention this city… (Surah Al Balad verse 1)

This is the general mental understanding of the beginning of this ayah. However way you want to understand it, what Allah is trying to say is this city is so important that I ask you shall I swear by it? That’s the best way to approximate the beginning of this Surah to your minds. Then the ayah says… OK- there’s also different understandings of what wa anta means. Anta means Allah’ Prophet Muhammad. One of the meanings of what Allah is saying

لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ

وَأَنتَ حِلٌّ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ

I shall not or Shall I in the most solemn of words mention this city- Makkah; while you are a resident of Makkah. (Surah Al Balad verse 1-2)

The word hillun here means haal- residing in. So the connotation or the importance of Makkah is the presence of Allah’s Prophet in Makkah. Makkah is not just a city. It has a character to it. The human feature of Makkah is synonymous with the character of Allah’s Prophet not just some houses or tents and some individuals going to the market and the Haram and leaving! So when Makkah is mentioned along with it should be, (in our minds), the behaviour, the lifetime, the struggle, the objectives, the principles, the values and the essence of Muhammad. That is one meaning. The other meaning is (that) hillun means halal. Which means Allah is saying to His Prophet that if I mention Makkah in the most solemn of words and meanings I do so when- you bear in mind- your life and the shedding of you blood became halal to your enemies (i.e.) the occupants in Makkah. This is in contravention of their own history, their own culture, their own traditions, their own customs, theirpown norms and their own values because the Haram was a sacred area. You could not harm an ant in the Haram. No life was to be annoyed in the Haram. The sanctity of that Haram was extended to include all of Makkah so the sanctity of life of all human beings living in Makkah was honoured by the Mushrikin; but when they were so upset and annoyed by Allah’s Prophet they decided to trash all of this history and all of the days and times they honoured the sanctity of human life and they decided to shed the blood of Allah’s Prophet. So when we mention this city of Makkah, along with it, this fact has to be remembered and it hascome to mind. The other meaning of hillun is the opposite of mana which means forbidding. Allah gave to His Prophet a license, hillun to fight those who fight him in this sanctified city. And Allah says

وَوَالِدٍ وَمَا وَلَدَ

By a father and what he gave birth to. (Surah Al Balad verse 3)

This could be, (in the general sense of the word), kept anonymous. Waalid, any father.

وَوَالِدٍ وَمَا وَلَدَ

By any father and whatever life springs from him. (Surah Al Balad verse 3)

So this can be a generic reference to human life because Makkah came into existence from non life. There was nothing. Then it could be more specific.

وَوَالِدٍ وَمَا وَلَدَ

By a father and what he gave birth to. (Surah Al Balad verse 3)

Is a reference to Ibrahim (alaihi as salaam) and his progeny or offspring that he gave birth to. This should be heart of our thoughts whenever we hear the word Makkah and Al Balad Al Haram. We know before Ibrahim Makkah didn’t exist. (There was) no such thing. So where is the lost history here? Who is Ibrahim? How does Makkah relate to Ibrahim and therefore to Allah’s Prophet?

Another ayah in the Qur’an says

إِنَّ أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِإِبْرَاهِيمَ لَلَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ وَهَٰذَا النَّبِيُّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Those who have the right to claim Ibrahim are those who follow him and this Prophet- meaning Allah’s final Prophet Muhammad- and those who committed themselves with him. (Surah Aal Imran verse 68)

These are the ones who can claim Ibrahim. OK- what is the part of Ibrahim we don’t know or the history of Ibrahim that did not live on or the information about Ibrahim that has been deleted? Who is Ibrahim? You and I know that Prophets and Messengers of Allah are sent to their own people- that’s a given. There cannot be a Prophetic responsibility without a society. Prophets do not exist without a society. Allah never selected a Prophet by himself?! To do what?! If there’s no people around him what’s a Prophet for? So all Prophets were sent to their own people and all Prophets were made of substance of their own societies. There never was a Prophet who came from a foreign land or from another people. All Prophets were extracted from the social material that they were born into. All of these Prophets, (you can in your mind review all of the history of all of these Prophets), dealt with their societies. There was a tug-of-war between the Prophets and their Sustainer on one side and errant, deviant, recalcitrant, disobeying and hostile societies on the other side. The Prophets of Allah withstood their principles. We don’t know of any Prophet who negotiated away any principle. They stood firm on principle. This is an area that is not highlighted in the presentation of the lifetime of these Prophets. So when they stood on principle and defended their principles they did so until Allah intervened and when Allah intervened those societies were either demolished or they were cut down. We see this in the history of Allah’s Prophets with Nuh and Salih and Hud (alaihim as salaam), etc. with Ibrahim- same with all other Prophets. He was selected by Allah to be the Prophet of his own people to his own people but his own people did not want him. They- people and authorities and worldly power- finally decided let’s get rid of him. So they said kill him or burn him. What do you do? Allah knows these are people (and) this is a person who is qualified to be their Prophet and now they want to get rid of him. They want to expel him. They don’t want to listen to him any more. So they do their ultimate act. They throw him into a bon-fire, a stoking fire. Allah changes the law of physics. He changes what man is used to occurring. Ibrahim doesn’t burn. Ibrahim is rescued. But he is not rescued to come back and resume his mission with his own people. This is the beginning of Makkah and this is the history that doesn’t come to you! Allah saved him. You would think that when Ibrahim by force and threat and assassination attempt and decree to kill him left his own people and society at that time “well what is a Prophet all about.” Now he no longer has his people and society but here is when Allah wants to regenerate history by an individual. He says pertaining to Ibrahim with these circumstances and his character

إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً

Ibrahim was an Ummah… (Surah An Nahl verse 120)

Because he had to begin to remake a society in the absence of his own society which is contrary to Prophetic history. Now he went to another land, culture and people. So how does history pick up the importance and uniqueness of Ibrahim? Ibrahim began to build a nation with his own family. Part of the history and building that nation of Allah took two courses. One of them via his son Is’haq and other via his son Isma’eel (alaihima as salaam). Here is where in the continuation of Ibrahim’s mission and purpose we find two diametrically opposed blocs of people i.e. those who relate themselves to Ibrahim because they were born to him. This became what we refer to Israeli history and those who relate themselves to Ibrahim because of character affinity, (i.e.) those are the ones who come via Isma’eel and Allah’s last Prophet Muhammad. So Isma’eel and Ibrahim build Allah’s first house of devotion on Earth. Where was that to be was to be? In Makkah in a piece of land that was desert. There was nothing there at that time- absolutely nothing- just sand. No water. No people. Nothing. But this place should mean to us just like it meant to Ibrahim. “This is the place where I have deposited all the efforts of my life. When I was thrown out of my society; when I was an alien- I didn’t belong to other people; when I was alone in the world. The refuge and respite and recourse that I had was to this isolated piece of land in Arabia.” But we ask you if this is the genesis of the meaning of Makkah when people who are stateless and homeless should find a state and home how come all of this relevant meaning has disappeared and doesn’t make its rounds in the minds of the Muslim public mind? Because Makkah itself has come under mental occupation. Not only is it under the physical occupation of those now who control it by their policies, military, police forces and all of these but much before that Makkah’s appreciation, centrality and significance has disappeared from the Muslim mind. Makkah is supposed to be a city that is open to all people.

We don’t want to go right now into the little nitty-gritty about whether you enter Makkah with or without an ihram. This is a silly subject! This type of information kicks in when Makkah has developed its character. Right now we return to the basics- what Makkah is supposed to mean free of the accumulative effect of inaccurate information that has set in throughout the centuries. What do we have today? What type of Makkah do we have? Do we have a Makkah of Ibrahim? If we have a Makkah of Ibrahim we would have a city that declares itself open and accommodating of those who don’t have a society, a country and culture. Some of you here in the United States especially if you’re a minority or African-American will find that you don’t have a culture. We’ve heard this from some brothers who in a moment of clarity spoke their heart and conscience. They look around and they see some people come from this or that country. We don’t want to be specific here but they realise that they have a culture of their own. It is a miniature culture. It’s not an Islamic culture. It’s a local culture but people have a culture of sorts. Some of our brothers and sisters who live here in the United States who become Muslims realise “hey wait a minute what type of culture do we have?!” Then they realise that they don’t have a culture. If you realise that you don’t have a culture- that is a segment or just some part of what Ibrahim realised in his life. When he left his people he was dislocated in as far as his culture is concerned. So he’s a person without a culture. When he wanted to find himself he eventually wound up in Makkah where there’s to be a beginning of a new culture- a culture that belongs to Allah. So Makkah is supposed to bring meaning to your life and glue the meaning of the life of individuals into a society. But how do you do that when Makkah, (we are told), is a city off limits to Muslims. Forget about the larger human society; forget about Makkah having resonance among refugees and homeless people; in today’s world we have populations that are homeless! Why don’t they naturally and instinctively look at Makkah? Because all of the relevant information has been dumped! Makkah no longer serves that conceptual purpose in our minds. So what does it become? It becomes a yearly journey. People go there once a year. Does the meaning of what Makkah is all about occur to them? When the last Prophet of Allah came, he came to revitalise this meaning and offer Makkah to An Naas. How did we slip from that level- An Naas and Al Alamin and become Muslims. Makkah is cut off- only Muslims!!! And now after that, not all Muslims have access to Makkah- only some Muslims!!! Where did this come from? And for those “some Muslims” there’s a preferential class there. If you’re a citizen of Saudi Arabia you can go there endlessly. No one is going to tell you “what are you coming to do in Makkah?” Where did this come from? Or if you belong to the other miniature states in that area- the Gulf- and you go there, not many people are going to question “why are you coming to Makkah and Al Madinah?” So what about Muslims outside of this? Who tells people who are in power there to say to the other Muslims and homeless human beings “Makkah does not belong to you!” Where does this come from? It came from our ignorance. How many of you know or read or listened to this relatively short Surah? When Allah whose words are accurate and precise is speaking about Makkah He is speaking about human kind. Makkah is human specific.

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ

We have created man in pain and toil and agony. (Surah Al Balad verse 4)

Then the details flow from there on until the end of the Surah. Do we not lament ourselves for the absence of this vital information that goes with understanding Allah’s words to us? Makkah now is a type of feast for those who have the finances! The status quo and the power structure tells those who don’t “it’s your tough luck.” Here is the polarization between what Allah says and what these people who are making decisions in that land are saying. This polarisation of meanings is lost on the public because the public decided that it does not want to engage Allah’s words with the mind that Allah has given it.

Brothers and sisters committed Muslims…

If we were to skip the traditions that have caged Makkah and paralysed the Muslims and look at Makkah with its Qur’anic and Prophetic meaning we would readily realise that Makkah is a place that belongs to, (in today’s world), the Palestinians, the Kashmiris and the rest of the populations of the world that have been denied their God-given right to a home, a people and a homeland. That’s what Makkah was meant to be- it was meant for them. But that’s a long way from saying “oh you have to be…” and they give you these technicalities to go to Makkah- this grand bid’ah of visas. Brothers and sisters- in the comfort and calmness of your ownselves, whatever time of the day that is, before you go to sleep or when you wake up- please remember who has the right on Earth to sign a piece of paper saying “a person is permitted or forbidden from going to Makkah.” Where did this come from? Why do we take this for granted? Why can’t we break out of this, (at least), conceptually with our minds? Why can’t we have a public mind that is convinced that Makkah is an open city that belongs to Ibrahim and the followers of Ibrahim and this Prophet and with those who are committed with the Prophet?

Oh Allah we read your words, understand your ayaat, study reality and bear witness after that that these people who govern and rule over Makkah and Al Madinah are in violation of Your words, values and laws. Oh Allah we are in a material sense powerless; You are the power. We will give and do what is required of and from us to dislocate the usurpers of Makkah and Al Madinah.

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