Makkahs essence Part 6

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Dhu al-Hijjah 01, 1432 2011-10-28

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 about another week the Muslims who have gone to Makkah will have reached the climax of their sha’aa’ir/their Islamic ceremonies there. We did not, (as is the convention), use the past two or three or more Khutbahs to speak about the Hajj. We hope and we wish the time arrives quickly when the Hajj is a meaningful one and when we can speak about it in preparation for it; but what’s the use of speaking about it when it is performed in a vacuum. There’s something about Makkah. When Muslims use their God-given minds and think about Makkah, there’s something peculiar about it. Before there was a Makkah there was just sand; no life, no livelihood, no inhabitants, no human habitat. How did Makkah come into existence? The physical Makkah came into existence because of the history of struggle of Ibrahim (alayhi as salaam). Ibrahim, (as we insha’Allah know), was dislocated from his people, from his society, from his culture- from all that goes with living a normal life. He was dislocated and finally he found himself by settling into that area- that specific place called Makkah or Bakkah. So the coming into being of that city was the result of an alienation, the accumulation of a lifetime of estrangement, of one person and his history. Ibrahim placed his wife and son to be in a particular place on Earth that had nothing to it. There was nothing there. He placed them in the care of Allah. This was the beginning of Makkah- those human feelings of a person who did not belong to a society, a family that had no roots, (as we understand family roots). From there on it was up to the mercy and care of Allah to take charge of this nucleus family. With Allah’s compassion, with Allah’s care and with Allah’s kindness we had the beginning of Makkah. The details here we will not go into at this moment because it will take us into another direction, (but) suffice it here to say that Makkah was a refuge for Ibrahim and then Isma’eel (alayhi as salaam). It was their shelter from a world that was not kind to a person who wanted to express his independence of the powers at that time. That was what Makkah was meant to be (i.e.) a refuge for people and persons who don’t agree with the power structures of their time. Then the years and the centuries go by and then Makkah becomes the birth place of Allah’s last Prophet. But unlike the Makkah of Ibrahim, this was a Makkah that did not act as a refuge for Allah’s last Prophet. It was a Makkah that could not tolerate a reincarnation, (so to speak), of the social character of Ibrahim. It was another Makkah. This Makkah had Mushriks in it and these Mushriks, even though they acknowledged what ever reached them of the rituals of Ibrahim, they could not affirm the authority of Allah. So the same Makkah that Ibrahim found solace in, the last Prophet of Allah found torment in. Here’s where we pick up from the previous information in the previous Khutbahs.

In the fifth year of the Da’wah, the fifth year of revelation, the fifth year after Iqra’ was revealed the Prophet of Allah turned to his followers- remember, this is the nucleus of what was to become an Islamic society and what was to become an Islamic civilisation and Islamic history- and he said to them/now the Prophet is saying to his sincere followers if you would leave to Al Habashah because there-in is a Ruler who does not do injustice to people…, meaning Al Habashah with it’s ruling King is not a land of injustice the same way Makkah has become a place of injustice. There you will not be tortured, you will not be harassed, you will not be offended, you will not be excluded. You will feel the normalcy that human beings are to feel and live. ... it’s a land that has the standard of truth in it until Allah decrees a break-through of comfort from the pressure that you are in now. Remember, this pressure did not come from praying and fasting; this pressure, (like we said previously), came from going public (and) saying “the power structure around is illegitimate. The Rulers who are making decisions for this society are illegitimate.” All of the pressure- the persecution, the harassment, boycotting them, not speaking to them, making fun of them, the Prophet included in all of this, (remember)- came because of that. So what do you do when you come under pressure? This is Makkah. This is where Ibrahim went and was relieved of the pressures in his own society and his own world. This same Makkah turned around and began to behave like the anti-godly power structures of those centuries before it. Makkah became a Mushrik habitat. Makkah became a jahili society and this meant the Muslims had to be relieved. They had to go somewhere; something had to be done. So the Prophet advised them to go to Al Habashah of all places and this means that the Prophet knew. (When) some people read the Prophet’s Seerah and history have him saying certain things, well how about the Prophet’s knowledge of the real world around? He knew where there was justice and he knew where there was injustice. He didn’t suggest to them why don’t you leave and go to Byzantine or why don’t you leave and go to Persia? He didn’t suggest that because these were power structures that had their own interests. So where is there a land around that will accommodate Muslims? Well- go to Al Habashah and they went there. Muslims had to leave Makkah because Makkah was no longer a society that would accommodate them with fairness and with dignity. It is very hard, (honestly brothers and sisters, it’s very hard to say), definitely what the population was of Makkah at that time. There are some references that put the population at several thousand and other references that would put the population at a few tens of thousands, meaning thirty/forty/fifty thousand- whatever. It’s very hard. Whatever the case is, between several thousand and between thirty and forty thousand, (whatever the number is), that was the population of Makkah. At this time when the Muslims had to leave this population- this hostile population- how many were there? (By) the fifth year of the Prophet’s era, here we have somewhere in the area of three-hundred Muslims. Remember, only a couple of years ago when they went public with Islam- Al Jahr bi ad Da’wah- at that time there’s only about forty committed Muslims around the Prophet. In those two years of torment and torture the number went up significantly in terms of those days (i.e.) from thirty to forty individuals to around two-hundred to three-hundred individuals who were committed Muslims. That is a significant increase in numbers in a timeframe of hostilities and animosities. We mentioned how in these years (i.e.) the third year and onwards the Muslims had to endure all types of pressure. We have to ask, once again, why? Why were the Muslims going through all of this pressure? Because they were pointing to the core of the issue which was the power structure, the power system, the power Government around- all of that were illegitimate. That’s the core and that’s the gist and that’s the thrust of what they were all about. (That’s) something that if you wanted to compare with our current Muslims you’d find there’s a significant difference here between what they stood for as compared to what today’s even active Muslims stand for. The number of Muslims who embarked on this Hijrah- on Makkah expelling its own- Makkah could no longer accommodate its own. Now, social Makkah became a force of expulsion. Get out! They weren’t like in today’s world deporting Muslims. Makkah wasn’t in the form of its Decision Makers saying “we have to get these people out of here” but they were putting so much pressure on them that they felt we have to get out of this social hell as it had become- Makkah becoming a social hell for the committed Muslims and for Allah’s Prophet! When he advised some of these Muslims if you feel the pressure and you can no longer tolerate this pressure move to Al Habashah. The first comment we have on this is that Muslims did not leave Makkah voluntarily, in a sense without pressure. Muslims we not comfortable in Makkah to say “we can’t put up with this little harassment going on- we going to go somewhere else.” The pressure was so intense that they had to say now is the time to leave. We have to leave our folks, our families, our finances- we have to leave all of that and we have to go. So they left. In the beginning, the first group to have left Makkah to Al Habashah was about seventeen. Then about two months after they arrived in Al Habashah false news was relayed to them that the conditions in Makkah have changed now and the Muslims are much better off than they were when you left only two or three months ago. So they felt now comfortable that they can return to Makkah but when they arrived now back in Makkah they found the condition to be the same. Nothing has changed. Sot happened now is one-hundred-and-one individuals left Makkah now and went to Al Habashah. It’s not a big venture. They just cross the Red Sea and go to what is today called Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. That was at the time the geographical area referred to as Al Habashah. So they had to leave the Makkah of Ibrahim. Remember this. Always remember this brothers and sisters because the way powers worked on our history it doesn’t come natural for us to remember. What you have to remember is that this Makkah that is supposed to be recourse and a refuge and a place of peace and serenity for committed Muslims has turned into a place that hates committed Muslims, that wants to torment Muslims. We had about seventeen or eighteen women and eighty-three men leave Makkah to a land where they could feel the freedom, the liberty, the independence and the dignity that every human being should feel. They stayed in Al Habashah for different amounts of time. As far as we can tell, eventually they all returned barring an individual or two who may have passed away there or got married there. The rest all returned at different times. They may have returned to Makkah. One of them, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radi Allahu anhu) returned to Makkah. Others returned to Al Madinah after the Prophet’s hijrah. We’re talking about the fifth year of the da’wah and the Prophet’s hijrah was around the thirteenth year of the da’wah; which means they stayed at least seven or eight years in Al Habashah not wanting to go back to Makkah. Committed Muslims, fervent Muslims don’t want to go to Makkah. Some of them upon their return to Al Madinah immediately went to the battles of Badr and Uhud. The last group to have returned from Al Habashah came just at the beginning of the military campaign against Yahud in Khaybar. That was about the seventh year, just before the preparations to go and liberate Makkah all together. That was the last group that returned from Al Habashah. One of the important things that is not mentioned- at least not obvious in reading the books of Seerah and Islamic history literature that we have- but one of the important things to pay attention to, (which obviously we’re not going to mention in this Khutbah but you can review them in the books of history), but when you read the names you will realise that most of the names of these one-hundred-and-one individuals came from affluent and, (what we call today), upper class society in Makkah. These were the ones who went to Al Habashah. Just a few names well known to everyone: Uthman ibn Affaan, Abdur Rahman ibn Awf,Mus’ab ibn Umayr, Uthman ibn Madh’un, Abdullah ibn Az Zubayr (radiAllahu anhum)- all of these came from what we call the upper-crust of society in Makkah. With all the affluence that they came from, they still could not tolerate living in Makkah. They wanted out. There is some notion in some quarters among some people that most of the people who left Makkah and went to Al Habashah were, (what we call), fuqara’/poor and masakeen/poverty stricken people. That’s not accurate. They were not. This has an explanation to it because people who are in the lower rungs of society (or) the lower classes of society, (as are the words of today’s language), can tolerate more persecution and pain than the upper classes; so their tolerance level did not say that we feel so much pressure that we want to give up on this and leave. No, they stayed; but those who left and those who stayed still when they re-joined together in Al Madinah they were the nucleus that withstood all the combined pressures against the leadership of Allah’s Prophet.

Another observation that we have here is that the way Allah’s will works (is) Muslims are being harassed, harangued and humiliated in Makkah and then a relief comes in a distant land. The Ruler in that African territory himself became a Muslim. He didn’t have an Islamic State. There’s no Islamic State in Al Habashah- there never was in the total area; there were in other parts and obviously today parts of that geographical area is Islamic. Even the number or percentage of Muslims in what is today called Ethiopia is fifty-to-sixty percent. Forget what the mainstream media tells you! The fact on the ground (suggest) that’s the case. What happened? Also, this is an area that the current Muslim mind doesn’t have information on! When one of the people who had gone to Al Habashah, Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (radi Allahu anhu), returned to Arabia, he had with him twenty-to-forty Habashis that came to Arabia. Now, one thing that comes to our mind reading through these books is that sometimes there’s not much information about them and there’s ayaat that was revealed in Surah Al Qasas, ayah 52-to-55 were revealed concerning these individuals. Now what do these ayaat say? These ayaat are speaking about these individuals who came with the Muslims who were coming back to Arabia who had these Ahbaash/Habashis coming with them. What do these ayaat say about them?

الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِهِ

Those to whom we have revealed scriptures before it, (meaning the revelation of the Qur’an… (Surah Al Qasas verse 52)

It here is either the Qur’an or the Prophet.

الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِهِ هُم بِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ

So these “Christians” who were given scripture in times before commit themselves to it or to him. (Surah Al Qasas verse 52)

The ha here is either the Prophet or the Qur’an and there’s no contradiction.

وَإِذَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِهِ إِنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلِهِ مُسْلِمِينَ

If these ayaat (revealed to the Prophet in the Qur’an), are sequenced verbally to them, they say “but we are committed to their meaning.” It is the truth and the facts from our Sustainer; we were before it or him- meaning the Qur’an or the Prophet- Muslims. (Surah Al Qasas verse 53)

Christians are saying “we are Muslims.” Because the way they understood Christianity did not conflict with the ayaat of Allah and with the explanations of it from His Prophet. They realized “we were yielding, we were submitting, we were surrendering to Allah.” When this happened- they realized who they were now- by virtue of the Qur’an Abu Jahl comes to them. They’re in Makkah and Abu Jahl, this avowed enemy, realizes these Africans have come to Makkah but what’s happening to them?! So he comes to them and he says to them we’ve never seen a travelling group of people that is more crazy than you are; your people send you to obtain information about this man, (in reference to Muhammad), and then you cozy up to him in your settings to such a degree that now you- Abu Jahl is speaking to these Ahbaash- have abandoned the deen of your ancestors, of your forefathers and now you believe him and you authenticate what he says. They said/responded we are not going to exchange jahili statements with jahili statements. Then the other two ayaat- ayah fifty-four and fifty-five- describe this encounter.

الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِهِ هُم بِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ

وَإِذَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِهِ إِنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلِهِ مُسْلِمِينَ

أُولَٰئِكَ يُؤْتَوْنَ أَجْرَهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ بِمَا صَبَرُوا وَيَدْرَءُونَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ السَّيِّئَةَ

Those are the ones who will be given double rewards due to their patience and they cancel a sayyi’ah with a hasanah … (Surah Al Qasas verse 54)

Abu Jahl’s statement was a sayyi’ah that had the potential to have them react with a sayyi’ah to him and they cancelled that with a character that is becoming of Muslims. They didn’t exchange bad words with bad words. They didn’t exchange hostile intentions with hostile intentions.

وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ

… and they give out of what we have provided them. If they hear nonsensical words… (Surah Al Qasas verse 54-55)

Like Abu Jahl’s words.

أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَا نَبْتَغِي الْجَاهِلِينَ

… they go the other way/give it their cold shoulder; they said “we have our own works and deed and you, (Abu Jahl), have your own works and deeds; peace your way; we have no interest in pursuing jahili and ignorant people, (as were the expressions of Abu Jahl). (Surah Al Qasas verse 54-55)

We want to ask you- you’ve all heard that the Prophet of Allah sent Muslims to Al Habashah- and this will reflect on how we are conditioned. Does anyone know the name of this Ruler of Habashah? An Najashi is a title. Just like Emperor is a title, Pharoah is a title, Caesar is a title, Czar is a title Najashi is a title. But what’s his name? You tell us what’s his name? Has anyone registered? We’ve heard these stories, we’ve heard these incidents many times but how come no one knows his name? May be one-in-a-hundred may recall his name but that’s not enough! We need a public mind. If the Prophet of Allah was on friendly terms with this Ruler; if Allah’s Prophet sent persecuted Muslims to the land of this Ruler; if the Prophet of Allah prayed salat al gha’ib when this Ruler died and we don’t know his name?! There’s something going on in the way information is communicated to us and there’s something going on in the way we read our own history! How come no one knows his name? For your information hopefully we won’t forget- the persons name was Ashama.

Once again back to MakkahMakkah was originally a place receptive- that’s its construct (and) its meaning. It was to receive those who are alienated from Mushrik and Dhalim power structures in the world- whether they came from Byzantium or whether they came from Persia or Africa or Europe- wherever they may come from, Makkah was meant to be theirs!

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آوَوا وَّنَصَرُوا أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقًّا ۚ لَّهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ

And those who commit to Allah and make the hijrah and strive for Allah’s cause; and those who give them refuge and support them- those are the truly committed; for them is an amnesty and a generous sustenance. (Surah Al Anfal verse 74)

Ibrahim’s hijrah was to Makkah; the Prophet’s hijrah was from Makkah. What type of Makkah do we have today? Is it a Makkah that is opened and receptive and welcoming of those who are in the character of Ibrahim and Allah’s last Prophet or is it a repulsing Makkah?! A Makkah of revulsion?! A Makkah of expulsion?! A Makkah of quotas?! You need to be a number in a quota now to go to Makkah. This is the type of Hajj that we have, the type of Makkah that we have and from here on you shall know the type of Muslims that we have.

Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…

Muslims of the past fourteen centuries or so- after those initial forty years of the Prophet and his immediate successors times- have been plagued with Autocratic, Dictatorial, Authoritarian, Despotic Regimes. That’s what we’ve been living for almost fourteen centuries. That doesn’t mean we’re not Muslims- some people get confused in their minds. The people are Muslims to whatever degree that is but when it comes to the decision making bodies that we have, they are simply not so. They gradually broke away from Islamic standards and norms way back then until we wind up today with the tin-pot dictators that we have. The Muslim world has Dictators in it. You compare the Rulers in today’s world- Presidents and kings- with the Rulers of the first forty years of Islam. The Rulers of today have security contingents all around them. This goes for Rulers who are have Islamic rituals to perform and those who have non-Islamic rituals to perform, (i.e.) those who consider themselves Christians or Jewish or whatever. All of them have contingents/layers of security people all around them! Intelligence types, armed types, military types- all of them around. What are they scared of? Are they scared of their own people?! At the beginning of our history the Rulers did not have military protection. They lived with transparency with their own people even though that population at that time was not perfectly Islamic. There were Munafiqin in the crowd- many of them; there were opportunists in the citizenry- many of them; there were Dhalims inside and outside this Islamic society- they didn’t have these types of guards around. The bad types, the assassin types made it to them. With the exception of one, (excluding the Prophet, we’re talking about the Khulafa’), with the exception of Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) the rest were killed. They were killed because they were ignorant?! They didn’t know who they were? They didn’t know who the people out there were? They knew themselves very well. They knew the people out there very well. They were not ignorant! They could have easily said “we want protection, we want security services, we want intelligence agents operatives around us” just like today’s Rulers. They didn’t do any of that. The challenge for Rulers in today’s world is do they have the transparency to come out and be with their people just like those Rulers were? Say that to the king of Saudi Arabia! We speak about Arabia because Makkah and Al Madinah are there. We have to repeat this so many times (because) some people think we have a grudge against them; we don’t have any grudge against anyone. To have a grudge against anyone you have to know them personally; we don’t know these people personally. We see them through their records. Their records speak for themselves. Just three Jum’ahs ago they said “there was some type of assassination plot to kill this Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in this country.” He passed by here secured (with) police and security and all. What is he afraid of? Does he carry a crime on his shoulder? What is he afraid of? These are the types of people today that you should compare with the types of people around Allah’s Prophet, with Allah’s Prophet, for Allah’s Prophet. Even their Hajj has become something special- the Hajj itself. Can they enter with the average Muslim? We have yet to hear, (there are many Muslims that we have met in our lifetime), that one of them have come shoulder-to-shoulder with one of these Rulers! When it came to the time for Hajj, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (radi Allahu anhum), (we went through their history many times before, this is not time for history), they were there with the people. There were no special security around! They didn’t say “take the people out of the Haram- we going to go in there and perform our tawaaf.” That wasn’t the case. People were their in their tawaaf and they were there with them. In addition to all of that they used to summon/call back, (in today’s world), Ambassadors from the distant lands- from Yemen, from Egypt, from Syria, from Iraq, from Bahrain, from Hadhramaut- come to the Hajj. They used to come to the Hajj and were there with the rest of the people. Why can’t that happen today? Where are these people? Where do they perform their Hajj? We’re supposed to be equal. They don the ihram; they take off their fancy clothes and they put on the ihram saying “we’re equal with everyone.” If they’re equal with everyone, why aren’t they with everyone?! Why doesn’t anyone see them? Where are they? We are supposed to have blinders on our eyes- not see what is happening, not think of what is happening?!

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