Muslim public mind, absence Part 3

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Rabi' al-Thani 13, 1432 2011-03-18

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,

The khutbah on Fridays at this time every week has been, (in a sense), a bridge between Allah’s revealed instructions to man’s condition on earth with the necessary reminder of Allah’s power presence in our lives. The Muslims in the world now are in a state of flux- as anyone who is tuned in can understand. There are movements of populations, a stirring of the conscience and a rejection of the status quo. It is not easy to say that our mental absence for so long has contributed to our physical reactions today. We have laboured for so long this position on this day to try and make headway as much as stimulating the Muslims to think because that is, (in the humble opinion of yours sincerely), one of the major issues that have contributed to the conditions that we, (meaning all the Muslims in the world not we the local Muslims (or) national group of people etc.), are in today. They are in some cases pathetic, in other cases a matter of concern and in yet other circumstances a cause for sorrow/bereavement. It is not by chance that we the Muslims of the world have withdrawn our minds from Allah and His Prophet. It is this very element that in one definition of events has placed us out here in the street. If we were people who were not thinking or just following the crowd we would be inside the Masjid. So one of the major reasons that we are not inside the Masjid is attributable to our humble effort to place our minds with Allah and His Prophet.

هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ

It is He, Allah the Most High, Who has sent to non-scriptural people a Messenger from themselves who puts in sequence the meanings of this revealed text and thereby raises their status and he, meaning Allah’s Prophet, teaches them, (meaning these scripturally illiterate people), al kitabah wa al hikmah the divine writ and “wisdom” … (Surah Al Jum’ah verse 2)

In the previous khutbah we spoke about the many ayaat in the Qur’an that quote the word hikmah and its derivatives for us. The familiar ayah from Surah Al Jum’ah that is most recited on this day every week

وَمَن يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا

… and whoever is endowed with this hikmah is endowed with plentiness and abundance of what is good and prosperous… (Surah Al Baqarah verse 269)

We know that there is a significant, substantial body (and) number of people who don’t want to think when the ayaat of the Qur’an are quoted for them. They make their major reference the ahadith of Allah’s Prophet instead of having the Qur’an the major reference and the ahadith as a breakdown/helper in understanding the ayaat. They twist the whole issue around. They place the ahadith as the major reference and then incidentally they will quote for you an ayah or a few in the larger body of hadiths that they swarm in. We bring to the attention of these types of people some of the ahadith that they themselves do not want to quote. The Prophet of Allah says a wonderful assembly it is - an assembly from which al hikmah spreads or radiates or goes forth. Now we can, almost with a confident and relaxed attitude and mind, say that all of these people who quote endlessly, adlib the ahadith of the Allah’s Prophet, (and we’re not here in the area of validating and invalidating- that is another issue for another time), profusely in their khutbahs, lectures, conferences, meetings, halaqat and one-on-one encounters that this is the type of hadith they don’t quote often. Why? Because it will cause the listener to think and prompt the Muslim to pounder. Another hadith that doesn’t make its rounds… An expression of wisdom is an objective of a committed Muslim. Let’s take it into today’s language. A word of wisdom is the target or goal of a committed Muslim. Perish the thought that committed Muslims should have a grip on the word hikmah and its many extracts in the Book of Allah and in the teachings of His Prophet?! These hadiths that were just quoted are taken from At Tirmidhi, ibn Majah and Ad Daarami. We know that in the recesses of the mind of these very hadith centred individuals and their likes that they will throw back at this approach the authentication of the hadith, which is yet another area we do not care go into, but we will quote for them a hadith from Sahih Al Bukhari. Al hikmah is defined. From this hadith from the book of Al Bukhari, the Prophet says al hikmah is when you are correct without being or having the status of Prophethood. In other words you make a decision or reach a judgement or pass a verdict or think with sagacity and you are correct but you’re not a Prophet. That’s what the Prophet is saying. Now, because in our history, (and we remind everyone that it is our history with its ups and downs, failures and corrections it belongs to us all), we don’t have a recollection… Alhamdulillah most of us are all here and have gone through many years of reading about and listening to the projection of our Islam in the past. When we tap on our memory and we say OK- in this history that we have – before, during and after the Prophet’s years- do we have individuals who stand out in our mind as being individuals of a mental capacity, perception, wisdom, insightedness, foresightedness? Who stands out in our mind? We don’t have a clear picture of these individuals when they existed simply because the narrative and information about our ownselves in our own fourteen-hundred years-plus when it comes to those who have used their mental faculty and God-given minds is simply absent. We don’t have people who stand out as being wise men. As we said, this did not come perchance. There is an explanation to this and the long-and-short of this explanation is directly attributable to the political dynamics that unravelled during these fourteen centuries or so. Just to give you a couple of names for your references for future referral- a person by the name of Qiss ibn Saa’idah who died twenty-three years before the hijrah, which means that he died when the Prophet was thirty years old. This is a person who lived in the climate and in the society of Allah’s Prophet who was a person of wisdom but he doesn’t appear in anyone’s intellectual, mental, academic and educational radar- not to be found; unless you’re one of the exceptional maybe one-in-a-million who is familiar with a person of wisdom as is Qiss ibn Saa’idah.

Another person who is said, (in reference to some historical material that we all have), and this name is also going to sound alien to you; his name is Aktham ibn Sayfi. Has anyone heard of him? We can comfortable say you can take out of a million 999999 Muslims and they will say “no. Who’s that person?” Even though there’s an ayah it is reported by some of the Mufassirin and those who are familiar with asbaab an nuzul in the Qur’an- the ayah one-hundred in Surah An Nisa’. Everyone reads it. What does the ayah mean?

وَمَن يَخْرُجْ مِن بَيْتِهِ مُهَاجِرًا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ يُدْرِكْهُ الْمَوْتُ فَقَدْ وَقَعَ أَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ

… he who sets out from his domicile or residence or home on a course of hijrah for Allah and then he is overcome in that process or action by death, then his reward is due upon Allah… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 100)

This ayah, (according to some), is in reference to this person who is unknown. You would think if you know an ayah you would know something about its history but once again when the human mind is deleted then we live in the vacuum that has brought us to the conditions, the news and the developments that you are seeing in front of your own eyes today. Probably many people on this Friday are speaking about what is happening in Yemen. Today in Yemen there was a type of massacre that took place or in Al Bahrain or in Libya or in other places. Many people are speaking about this but what good is it if you speak about this once but there is not a mind that is at work before, when and after you speak about it. What good is it?! Our effort here has been to set this mental capacity into motion so that when the ayaat of Allah are quoted and the hadiths of His Prophet are mentioned in conjunction with what is happening in the real world around you get it; but when there is no mind at work you can mention anything and say everything but no one is going to get it. We are trying to go back to the roots of this issue and with the healthy mentality and wholesome psychology to emerge from this type of historicism with a fresh look at what Allah and His Prophet are saying to us to have a better understanding of what the Mushriks and Kafirs are doing to us. So this ayah was revealed concerning this unknown person. This person who was a man of thinking and wisdom heard about Allah’s Prophet and what was going on in Makkah and the Arabian Peninsula and so he speaks to his own people about what he heard going on in Makkah, Al Madinah and Al Hijaz and in the ninth year of the hijrah he decides in the company of one hundred of his own people to go to Allah’s Prophet and to state or affirm his commitment to Allah’s Prophet on his way to Al Madina he perishes and dies. Those hundred who were with him continued with that journey and affirm their imaan and commitment to Allah and His Prophet there.

Another person who is more familiar to you (is) Abu Dharr Al Ghifari. This person became a person who acknowledged Allah’s authority and power three years before the wahi and revelation from Heaven to Earth. Isn’t this a man who we should honour in him his wisdom, insight, forethoughts and experience, in other words his hikmah; but as Islamic history has been officially written he only appears in the margins. He’s not one of these major figures. When it comes particularly to the issue of this hikmah and because of the way Islamic history politically unfolded we have in a book like Nahaj Al Balagha by Al Imam Ali (radi Allahu anhu)… This book also is marginalised by Muslims- well let’s say the majority of Muslims. Why? Is there anyone trying to run away from trying to ascertain and recognise the words of wisdom that are in such a book? There are some Muslims who place a very important premium on the status of As Sahaba and that is legitimate but the problem is not in that, the problem is in defining who As Sahaba are. But this is yet another issue that we care not to delve into at this point but one of the narrations that took place… A person by the name of Abu As Siwar said that he heard Imran ibn Haseen or Husayn (radi Allahu anhu) , (with the sawd not seen), say he was repeating some of the Prophet’s hadiths. One of those hadiths is al haya’ can only result in what is good. Isn’t this a little awkward with all of these events happening in the world around us. We are speaking about individuals now whose history has been distorted because of political expediency and the monopoly of power to have us now dig up this information to realise what had happened to our internal thoughts?! This person, a Sahabi, (we want to be up front with it), in the presence of other Sahabis quoted Allah’s Prophet as saying al haya’, (which means a form of moral modesty), can only result in what is good. This is what the hadith is saying. This is a type of hadith that many people have heard before but what they didn’t hear is the context of the hadith at one point when it was enunciated in an assembly of Sahabah. Another Sahabi by the name of Bashir ibn Ka’b (radi Allahu anhu) said this is what is said in the books of wisdom. We don’t have a recollection or register of this type of discussion taking place among the Sahaba. One of them saying this meaning you can find in works of sagacious people, wise men, intellectuals and thinkers and then the first one responds to him by saying I am quoting to you what the Prophet said and you are telling me what other wise men said?! Notice (that) as far as the information that we have “no one said go to those books, (they called books of wisdom, in today’s language probably something like philosophy) and get rid of them, burn them.” No one said that. That type of mentality was not around but we have that type of mentality around us today. The words of the Qur’an and the Sunnah do not stop here. The Prophet is reporting in these two hadiths that you’re going to hear right now that are some of these hadiths that are avoided by establishmentarian types of speakers… The first hadith says whoever wants knowledge has to excite, incite or aggravate the Qur’an. The other hadith –same thing. Incite or excite the ayaat of the Qur’an because in it there is the news of those who preceded and those who are coming in time. Only when you think it makes sense that these types of hadiths are withdrawn from public attention?! The many ayaat that corroborate and blend in together because the hadiths and the ayaat of the Qur’an are a two-some. They go together. But when you begin from the highest offices in the political systems that we’ve had to disregard these types of hadith systematically, this was not something that was done naturally. There was a plan behind all of this.

Another aspect of this whole subject is man’s intellect- al aql i.e. your ability to think. Now one of the issues or problems of relating Allah and the Prophet’s words into English is the issue of translation. Al aql is translated as the mind, the brain and sometimes the intellect. What it literally means is the modulator, moderator and tamer- that is what it literally means. If you go deep inside the origins of this word it means men has the capacity, ability and endowment of reasoning. This function in us is no longer encouraged and stimulated by the status quo types of speakers about Islam from the Muslims themselves. We can’t expect this to come from other sources but from us. What is wrong with us? We can no longer speak about the word al aql, al lubb, idraak, yaddabbarun? All of these are scores of times mentioned in the Qur’an. Al lub, ulul albaab (are) words that you are familiar with. What does al lubb mean? It means the core. So your core as a human being is your lubb, your thinking capacity. Take away your thinking capacity there’s no longer an obligation. All these furud that we speak about- Fara’id Islam or the mandatory responsibilities upon us; responsibility itself- you take away your ability to think you no longer have a responsibility. If you are sleeping or insane you don’t think you don’t have a responsibility. When do you carry responsibilities? When you think. We have 1,8billion Muslims in the world. What a waste of energy to have ninety-nine per cent of them discouraged through the Masajid and so-called Ulema’ discouraged from thinking. This is what we have. (When) you look around and see bloodshed in Muslim lands and people want to explain and understand why is this happening. Like we said at the beginning of this khutbah one of the reasons- and it maybe the major reason- why all of this is happening is because now we are carrying almost fourteen centuries of not thinking. That is what we have. So don’t be surprised if a Muslim raises his sword against another Muslim. This gives, (in a way), fuel to those who say Islam is spread by the sword. Of course we know this is a lie, a propaganda objective. We hear it many times but why do we give it credence or credibility? “Islam is spread by the sword” – (this is) nonsense! Islam is spread by reasoning and the intellect. We say it with humble pride that we are the only aggregate of people in history and in the world whose commitment to Allah comes through our thinking and reasoning. We don’t say “you have to believe and throw your mind on the way side.” No one ever said that. At the time when we were intellectually robust we had Muslim thinkers who would consider it a responsibility to speak to non- Muslims in a rational way about Islam. One of them said, (of course this is also in the way side of history), the Mu’tazila school of thought, (if we can call it that), i.e. just Muslims who wanted to think, that is as basic as it gets- the impulse for thinking is there. It’s whether we had social effort at it- that’s the question. If you read closely in the literature of Al Khawarij, the impulse for thinking is there. Did they do it as a whole? No. They were very much involved in carrying arms and fighting. In the Shi’i context of history the impulse for thinking is there and it lives on until today because they still have the process of ijtihad continuing; but for political reasons with justifications from their own times they did not engage the larger Muslim world in fermenting the thinking process amongst other Muslims- an issue that they labour under even up to this day after much of the successes that have been scored by them. Then you have these who say “they are Sunnis” all over the world and it’s as if their mind is blank. The impulse for thinking is there. Every Sunni tells you “my reference is the Qur’an and the Sunnah.” The ayaat of the Qur’an and the ahadith of the Prophet, as we have stated, all of them want to stimulate your thinking capacity. Why don’t you do it?! Because you’ve been labouring under the false presentations of all of these Regimes, Dynasties and Dictatorships today that have littered the Islamic geography and history up until this very day and what we see in the world today. What we see in the world today is, (a way to put it in a nut-shell is), a popular movement to break-away from this calcification of fourteen centuries of the Muslim mind.

Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…

Many of us encounter a psychological barrier. We don’t want to begin to think. It’s not natural or in the intellectual course of things. Take one little issue which is doubt. We read in the Qur’an Ibrahim (alaihi as salaam) speaking to Allah said

رَبِّ أَرِنِي كَيْفَ تُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ ۖ قَالَ أَوَلَمْ تُؤْمِن ۖ قَالَ بَلَىٰ وَلَٰكِن لِّيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِي

… show me how You revivify or bring life to something that is dead? Allah says (to Ibrahim) “have you not committed yourself?” Ibrahim’s answer was “Yes indeed. But I want my heart to be at ease.… (Surah Al Baqarah verse 260)

Qalb here is the low side of thoughts and feelings. Many times in the Qur’an you will find the word qalb.

لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا

… they have qulub but cannot understand. (Surah Al A’raf verse 179)

You would think that this is a reference to the mind. A mind does not understand. But a mind belongs to a integrated whole that has a convergence point. There’s a conscience, an emotional being, an intellectual being. All of these have a conjoining point that is called the qalb. So this total summation of the convergence of these elements of these spheres of the human being are called al qalb and Ibrahim answered

قَالَ بَلَىٰ وَلَٰكِن لِّيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِي

… “Yes indeed. But I want my heart to be at ease.… (Surah Al Baqarah verse 260)

Which means he entertained some question marks and these question marks did not pertain to a material issue in the world; it pertained to Allah. There’s also in the narrative of the hadith Sahabis coming to the Prophet and they say we have internal thoughts that we dare not express in public or that we keep to ourselves because even to speak these internal thoughts and express them by words would be something like, (in today’s words), blasphemy. Do you know what Allah’s Prophet’s answer to them was? It wasn’t like “Oh my God! What is this?! They have wasawis.” In today’s world the answer of some Muslim Scholar of today’s making “what is this? The person is riddled with wasswaas.” The Prophet said to them these types of internal thoughts that generate the doubts and uncertainties is the essence of being committed to Allah. Because without this how are we going to be driven by commitment?! Some of the hand-made individuals around the Prophet said if I did not understand Al Jahiliyyah I would not appreciate Islam. (In) today’s world (with) the way these institutionalised Masajid that are remotely controlled by Imperialists and Zionists with their agents proliferating throughout our Muslim territories to express and encourage this type of character or movement forward in anathema. You will never hear it from these types. We tell you- brothers and sisters- this contributes and has been contributing to the status quo that now is beginning to come apart and the future looks promising. We’ve hit rock bottom! How can anything become worse than they are today? And, mind you, in some of these areas, (and we didn’t mention anything in particular or go into the details; Today there’s probably demonstrations around the world with concentration in the Jum’ah on what is happening in the sensitive areas of popular movement in places like Al Bahrain, Yemen and Libya. A Muslim in the conventional and traditional sense doesn’t have schemata and mental framework to absorb what is happening in this information rich mind that he should have! So what do we want to do? (Do) we want to express what is happening in these areas just on a reactionary basis?! Something happens like this last week or this week so we begin to speak about it?! Or we have to take a long range look at it and cure this problem at its roots- not deal with the symptoms of the problem but deal with it at the core of the problem? This is where we are and this is what has to be done.

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