Muharram - Burdened by Ignorance Part 8

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Muharram 23, 1434 2012-12-07

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,

What you are about to hear is not something the average Muslim hears or speaks about, and this has become one of our problems. The less we speak about our past, our experiences, our trials and errors (and) our vulnerable human nature the more prone we are to doing some of these things all over again. We have been on a Jum’ah journey in the past few months speaking truth to the propaganda and its power structure pertaining to the issue of jihad, qital and harb. We said all of these words, qital and harb jihad are Qur’anic words. You will find them in many ayaat throughout the surahs in the Qur’an. In today’s world there are power figures, power interests, power centres and power coalitions that want to indict us, the Muslims, because we have these words in our Holy scripture, these words explained by the holy Prophet and these words living in our holy communications with Allah. They want to criminalise us because Allah has given us information and insight, discipline and character when it comes to these responsibilities of jihad, qital and harb. But as we just mentioned, our deficiency is in the fact that we’ve never looked into the contextual meanings of these words the way they come to us from Allah and His Prophet. We haven’t done so and so the ayaat and the hadiths become the playthings of these power establishments and these power structures that want to wreak havoc among us. As we often remind you, when these meanings expressed to you in the khutbah, they are expressed to you to relate to the context of today’s world because if we were to open up these meanings from our sources, i.e. the Qur’an and the Prophet, into today’s developments at least, and we don’t have the extra half-hour to a hour to do that.

One of these areas that have become canon fodder for today’s power mongers who are aligned against us is this issue of the first Muslims who wanted to break away from the Islamic unity and authority in Al Madinah. These types are referred to as Murtadd Deen- an area that we covered in the previous khutbah and we will try to finish in this khutbah. This particular chapter in history is a grey area in the minds of the overwhelming majority of average Muslims in today’s world. So it needs our attention so that these bloodthirsty warmongers can no longer take advantage of our ignorance.

To describe the Islamic world at that time (and)the day Allah’s Prophet passed away- one historian said when the Prophet passed away all of the Arabians regressed except for the Quraysh and Thaqif. (We want to parenthetically remind those who observe the month of Muharram that remember that there were years and decades that went into this issue. It wasn’t this simple clash between Imam Al Husayn (radi Allahu anhu) and Yazid. This territory that we are going to cover is a feeder into what was going to happen fifty-odd years later.) That means that when the Prophet passed away all of these Arabians that had become Muslims in the organisational meaning of the word (and) in the authority meaning of the word regressed or retreated from that allegiance and that alliance with Allah’s Prophet. We want you to follow this closely with us because what is needed here is your mind- nothing else; give this your thought. Now, these people who regressed were Muslims. The were not people who said “I’m not a Muslim any longer.” They were practising, observant (and) orthodox Muslims (and) that’s why when this happened, in our mainstream Islamic history books a serious argument erupts between Abi Bakr and Umar (radi Allahu anhuma); because the first successor to Allah’s Prophet, Abu Bakr, wanted to take them on. They can’t do this, they’re not allowed to do this if they are Muslims which they say they are. His famous statement that reverberates by different people at different times which they quote but of course they don’t put it in this enlightened context by Allah- if they were to withhold from me one years due of zakah, I would go to war with them. Then Umar says to him, (and this is like internal thoughts which should be you like you would be saying to yourself if you were a thinking Muslim), how can we go to war against people just like us? They don’t differ from us at all; the only difference is they don’t want to pay this zakah to the central government in Al Madinah- that’s the only difference between us and them. So this was not a matter, (like the intellectual trouble-makers out there make it to be), of freedom of conscience. The Muslims (and) the decision-makers in Al Madinah at that time didn’t tell these people “you are deficient in your understanding of Islam.” What they told them was you are committing a type of political and social act that bears the consequences of going to war. Once again, we refer to the ayah in the Qur’an that this could happen against Muslims. We’ve explained this ayah many times before.

وَإِن طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَىٰ

If there are two camps of committed Muslims wage war against each other, then the first decision that has to be made by the rest of the Muslims is to reconcile them but if one of these camps harbours the policies of aggression and acts out this aggression in warfare… (Surah Al Hujurat verse 9)

It’s called al fi’ah al baaghiyah.

فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي

… then it’s the responsibility of all the Muslims to channel our energy against the aggressor from Al Mu’minin… (Surah Al Hujurat verse 9)

The only thing these Murtadd Deen, the ones that regressed from the central authority of Islam and from the leadership of Islam is say hey look- we’re collecting this zakah money and the only thing we want to do is spend it in our areas. The people in Yemen said we want to spend it in Yemen, those in Al Yamamah said we want to spend it in Al Yamamah, those in Hadhramaut said we want to spend it in Hadhramaut, those in Bahrain said we want to spend it in Bahrain, those who were in the vicinity in the North, in Bilad Ash Shaam said we want to spend it there. Everyone wanted to spend it according to their own decisions and according to their own best judgement. This wasn’t an issue of what these Orientalists and these so-called academics that are supposed to know a lot about Islam say “look at these Muslims! They had this apostacy war.” Remember, (we said this previously and we’re going to repeat it now), don’t use the word apostacy, it doesn’t apply. These Murtadd Deen were not people who said we are no longer Muslims. So this became a war against breakaway power factions in Arabia against their individualising of themselves; when Islam came to unite them, they wanted to breakaway from that unity and that wasn’t going to be tolerated. So what did Abu Bakr do? Abu Bakr militarily fortified Al Madinah. Remember these dynamics and these social breakaway tendencies and movements when you are speaking about events ten years later, thirty years later, sixty years after that, ninety years after that and all along- remember these issues. The first successor to Allah’s Prophet, (in today’s language), commissioned eleven battalions or eleven small armies to go and put an end to these breakaway figures and policies. There was a battalion against Al Musailama Al Kadh’dhaab in Al Yamamah, a battalion to fight against Al Aswad Al Ansi in Al Yemen, a battalion that would go to the areas between the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant to the North, a battalion to engage the breakaway faction in Al Bahrain. These were some of the battalions that were dispersed all around Arabia to maintain the unity of the Muslims- we don’t mean their emotional unity and we don’t mean their psychological unity and we don’t mean their academic unity. What we’re talking about here is their political, ideological and military unity. As we said, we can’t breakaway from the khutbah and bring this information to your attention concerning what’s happening today when Muslims are fighting Muslims in Syria, when Muslims are fighting Muslims in Egypt, but this information that is brought to you is reference information so that you can evaluate what is happening in today’s world in many areas of today’s world.

In this chapter of Hurub Ar Ridda’- the wars of political regression, military regression, financial regression and thus social regression- there was one incident that stood out and that was the incident when Abu Bakr put together these eleven battalions. One of them was a battalion that was headed by Khalid ibn Al Walid (radi Allahu anhu). This battalion was commissioned or assigned to go to a tribe headed by a person whose name was Malik ibn Nuwayrah. This was another person who’s an observant, conservative and abiding Muslim except for that one issue, i.e. he didn’t want to pay az zakah to the Islamic treasury. He wanted to take control of it and do with it. What he said was why should I pay the zakah to the people of Al Madinah when my tribe needs it more. In a couple or a few minutes we’ll be coming to how these Murtadd Deen justified their position by quoting an ayah in the Qur’an. Just like in today’s world, the Takfiris, the breakaway Muslims (and) all these types that are around justify themselves by quoting ayaat from the Qur’an. So this Malik ibn Nuwayrah was a person praying the five salah, he was fasting Ramadhan, he was going to the hajj in Makkah (and) he was paying the zakah but he wasn’t paying it where it was due. He wanted to pay it and disburse it with his own authority and with his own decision. So when this battalion led by Khalid ibn Al Walid approached these people (and) this tribe they found that these are just like themselves. The troops in this battalion (who were) senior Sahabis, told Khalid what are we doing here? Why are we fighting these people? They’re just like us. Some of them broke away and said we’re not going to fight because they say that they’re just like us. To be technical about what happened, this is what happened. This Islamic battalion despatched by the Islamic government in Al Madinah (and) commandeered by a famous Islamic General or warrior, Khalid ibn Al Walid, approached this faction or this tribe, to surprise them, during the night to place a measure of fear and to place a psychological blow that precedes the military blow. So this army of Muslims coming from Al Madinah asked these people we are Muslims, who are you? They said we are Muslims. These people (or) this tribe of Malik ibn Nuwayrah were militarily prepared or they were armed. They heard there’s a Muslim force that’s coming to take them on so they were preparing to defend themselves and they had their weapons and their ammunition, (so to speak), with them. So when this Muslim army came and asked them so why are you armed? They replied but why are you armed? So the Muslim force that came from Al Madinah said so un-arm yourselves. They did and after these people un-armed themselves all of these Muslims prayed together and even though that happened, Khalid ibn Al Walid after that turned his force against them and he killed this Malik ibn Nuwayrah. This is happening among us. We don’t care how you filter this in your internal thought, the bottom line is this is who we are! No one can come here and say Khalid is not a Muslim of Malik was not a Muslim or those who were in this battalion are not Muslims or those who left this battalion are not Muslims or those who fought to defend themselves are not Muslims- they all were but even though they were, they came to blows with each other because of this issue of who is going to control or make the final decision concerning the zakah revenue. That was the issue, it wasn’t the issue of “ Muslims can’t tolerate someone who has another theological opinion or another ijtihadi opinion.” No! That wasn’t the case. This is where the trouble makers come in and that’s why in this contention between Abu Bakr and Umar, Umar said a statement, he said of Khalid after this clash and the casualties that took place (when) information came to Al Madinah and Umar heard this information of what happened so he described Khalid ibn Al Walid as the enemy of Allah. He aggressed against a Muslim person and killed him and then- the words naza’ ala imra’tih has an animal meaning to it; it’s a loaded word and it roughly translates as- he laid, the person that he killed, wife and he bulled her. Now, we would think that these events are thoughtful events that took place in our history that we should think about. Our intellectual absence from these events will cause us to do these events all over again.

Now, let us explain to you how these Murtadd Deen rationalised their stance that they don’t want to give their zakah to Al Madinah. They took the ayah 103 from Surah At Tawbah. The meaning of this ayah comes out roughly as follows

خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِم بِهَا وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ إِنَّ صَلَاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَّهُمْ ۗ

Take, O Prophet, from their wealth or from their monies a sadaqah to purify and to elevate them with it and pray for them for your prayer is a tranquillity to them (or) a relief to them... (Surah At Tawbah verse 103)

Every Muslim reads this ayah. The ayah is speaking to Allah’s Prophet. These people who regressed from Islam said this ayah speaks to the Prophet not to Abi Bakr. Who’s Abu Bakr? We didn’t agree that he becomes our leader. Who’s he to tell us where to spend our money? So they tried to justify their position by reference to the Qur’an and by reference to a particular ayah in the Qur’an.

وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ إِنَّ صَلَاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَّهُمْ

… and pray for them for your prayer is a tranquillity to them (or) a relief to them... (Surah At Tawbah verse 103)

They said Abu Bakr can’t perform this, this can only be fulfilled by Allah’s Prophet so the money that we collect (or) our zakah money is not due to them- finished! The issue is over. Now, some of us have read very sparsely or very generally about Hurub Ar Ridda’ i.e. these conflicts pertaining to those who wanted to regress from the consolidated Islamic authority and the united Islamic society. We said they wanted to breakaway from that but if some people want to breakaway from an Islamic authority and then they begin to cite and quote the Qur’an and the Prophet? These people were doing that but the verdict of history and with hindsight we can understand that in principle- if you want to refer to the Book of Allah and the Prophet of Allah- you do that in the atmospheric of an Islamic shura. Islam is a package. You can’t look at it one piece at a time, you put all the pieces together! One of the pieces of this larger Islamic body is the principle of shura. If they wanted to collect the zakah and if they wanted to circulate their money among themselves, why did they make an individual decision to do that (or) an arbitrary decision to do that (or) an offensive decision to do that? Islam in its nature (and) iman in its nature has an element of camaraderie and togetherness. You can’t come and do like they did in this phenomenon and in those two years after Allah’s Prophet passed away when the unity and the stability and the consistency of an Islamic state were in danger; there’s no room for someone or a collection of other individuals to make arbitrary and personal decisions like that. We ask this Malik ibn Nuwayrah who made that decision- OK, if the way you feel is that you can dispense your money better than the central authority in Al Madinah, then go to Al Madinah?! Go sit down with the Islamic leaders- they’re accessible. They’re not big shots living in ivory towers. They are persons of the people, you’ll find them at the Prophet’s Masjid at salah time. Go and speak to them and say “this is how I think we should do this thing.” We would have spared ourselves this war or these wars, but it wasn’t done in this fashion so it triggered that response. The absence of shura triggered the necessity of war! But we’re not going to understand this if we don’t think about it.

In light of what was just being said, we ask Allah to favour us with the God-given mind that He has endowed us with to understand him and his Prophet.

Dear brothers and dear sisters and dear committed Muslims…

What was happening a-thousand-and-four-hundred years ago is beginning to re-happen today. When we look at what is happening in Syria, as an example or what is happening in Egypt as another example or what is happening all along in these areas that have been trying to through off the yoke of Imperialist management and Zionist occupation we say “why are Muslims going to war with other Muslims?” Like we said previously, if we didn’t think out our own experiences- we have a history of experiences, we experienced a lot in our history- if we don’t think through what we have gone through we will be condemned to repeat the tragedies and the bloodshed of the past. This is virtually what is happening to us. Our Masajid, our schools, our education centres and everything else don’t cover this territory. (Its) as if it never happened?! When we haven’t exercised our minds to identify our internal weaknesses and eliminate our mistakes what is happening is that we are reliving the bloody chapters of our history. Why do Muslims come to blows and shed their blood in places like in today’s news- open the first section or the first page of a newspaper and you’ll see something about Syria and something about Egypt. We don’t know what’s going to be the case a month from now or a year from now- it could be another territory in the Muslim world (or) another country but this is happening all the world over. Why is it happening? Why are some Muslims pronouncing the word of takfir on other Muslims? We haven’t learned anything. In that initial history of ours when Muslims were coming to blows with other Muslims, with the exception of Al Khawarij, the word takfir was not used against other Muslims. They didn’t say “you’re a Kafir.” We just saw this incident where they all prayed together that night and the following day they went to war against each other. We saw this recurring in Al Jamal, in Siffin, in An Nahrawaan and in other clashes in our own history? What happened? Why is it at that time- whether its Malik ibn Nuwayrah or whether its Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan or whether its Abdul Malik ibn Marwan or whether its in today’s world whether it’s the President of Syria or the President in Libya or the President in another place- what’s wrong with these people? (Do) they have something on their mind that they think they can substantiate with the words of Allah and the instructions of His Prophet, then by all means, let’s us hear about it. Let’s come and sit down and deal with this issue but these people who make individual decisions away from the rest of us think that they can get away with it! They thought they could get away with it then and they think today they can get away with it. We need not go to blows and wars against each other, we just can sit down. There’s a principle of shura. What’s wrong? Let us sit down and let’s discuss this matter? We don’t have enough tolerance with ourselves to sit down with each other?! We say this to all the political officials and the military commanders who are responsible for the bloodshed that is taking place today, even as we speak. This is an internal Islamic affair- we should be mature enough, enlightened enough (and) thoughtful enough to work our way through this. We don’t need fighter jets to bomb our villages (and) we don’t need hundreds of thousands of demonstrators to clash with each other, if not millions of them. This is innocent blood!

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