Struggle in the context of the seerah Part 4

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Safar 05, 1433 2011-12-30

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,

To begin this Khutbah I would like to preface it with the following remark: many times traditional Muslims or cultural Muslims or ritualistic Muslims try to look at things through to their myopic sights and one of the issues that they try to dwell upon in as far as our presence and our Khutbah here is on Friday is the Khateeb or the Imam does not quote very often the sayings and the statements of Allah's Prophet. For those of you who have been living this extended Friday in all of these years you probably came to realize that we concentrate more on what the Prophet did than on what he is reported to have said. We want the Muslims to transition from saying “the Prophet said this…” to understanding that the Prophet requires us to do this. This in a nut shell is the difference between those who live in an Islamic religion of tradition and those who live out an Islamic conviction and ideology.

That being said, (and you can detect this in the Khutbah that follows), we tried in the past Khutbahs to follow Allah's Prophet as far as his decisions and his struggles is concerned and we have reached the seventh year of the Hijrah and this seventh of the Hijrah is a critical year because it is the year in which balances of power were tipped away from the Mushriks of Makkah towards the Muslims of Al Madinah. The seventh year is when that began to happen. Leading up to this seventh year there are major military clashes that took place. Just to name a few of them: Badr, Uhud and Al Khandaq in that sequence. We know that in this tug-of-war in these seven years the Muslims scored a resounding victory at Badr. We also know (that) following that sound victory at Badr there was what the Mushriks consider to be their success at Uhud and then years later came Al Khandaq or Al Ahzaab when ten-thousand Mushrik warriors came from Makkah and besieged Al Madinah and that resulted in the routing of these Makkan Mushriks. They were also defeated on this occasion. After this give-and-take at the military front the Muslims began to feel that those long years of conviction and sacrifices now were beginning to bare the fruits of their efforts. The Muslims during all of these years were involved in, (what is called today or what may be referred in today's language and words as), civil disobedience. Military thrusts in these years were not the rule, they were the exception. The rule was Muslims in their civic character were opposed to the social and the political construct within which they were geographical located. Brothers and sisters- even though these are a few words (and) even though it is one idea it is virtually absent from today's Muslim mind. No average Muslim will come and tell you that those twenty-three years of the Prophet's lifetime in the shades of the Qur’an and in the shades of the swords were virtually civil disobedience against the power structure in Arabia. In this seventh year, with the acumen of Allah's Prophet, he decided that the Muslims shall go from Al Madinah to Makkah intending an Umrah. Umrah is known to some people as the lesser Hajj. In the seventh year, (take note of this brothers and sister), there were no Islamic legal instructions as to how to perform the Hajj or the Umrah; meaning the Prophet of Allah, and he’s Allah's Prophet, wanted to go to Makkah and Al Masjid Al Haram to perform the Umrah the way it was performed before the Umrah was defined and regulated which was in the last year of the Prophet's life. Throw that at today's cobweb types of Muslims! The Prophet of Allah going to Makkah to perform the Umrah according to the practice and according to the rituals that were not yet defined by Allah and His Prophet?! So he put together a number of people, around one-thousand-and-four-hundred Muslims who set on a journey from Al Madinah to Makkah to perform the Umrah. They were not armed. Of course, in those times as is the case in these times, in the Arabian Peninsula if you carry arms by your side, whether it's a knife or a dagger that’s normal; but being prepared for war is something else, (i.e.) you take with you other instruments and other tools and other arms that you use for war. The Muslims now were setting for Umrah from Al Madinah to Makkah didn't have any weapons with them. So they were going on a peaceful journey to Makkah with the instructions and the directions of Allah's Prophet. We know its probably straining to the ritualistic and traditional mind to say that this was a civil disobedience demonstration. That’s what it would be referred to in today’s language. Today’s spokespersons who are financed by petrodollars say “oh- we don’t have anything in our history that says Muslims were involved in any type of public protestation or public demonstration.” This is a prime example- yes they were! One-thousand-four-hundred Muslims with peaceful intentions, with declared peaceful purposes were setting themselves on a course to go to Makkah, a type of city-state that was at war with them for the past almost two decades.

The Prophet of Allah did this knowing what the public attitude was in Arabia. There was a very subtle but significant shift in the perception of the population, of the peoples in that area and this was a political move. When the Prophet assembled around one-thousand-and-four-hundred people who were going to perform the Umrah, he was placing the power-centre of Makkah under the scrutinizing attention of public attention. In other words the other Arabian power-centers in the Arabian Peninsular were looking at this- what’s going to happen now? This person from Al Madinah with one-thousand-four-hundred or so others with him are peacefully on a journey to Makkah. How is Quraysh going to deal with this, because Quraysh were the up-keepers and the maintainers and the custodians of the Haram and it was against all laws and all customs to impede anyone’s access to Al Bayt Al Haram? So now the Prophet was putting Quraysh to a test. How is Quraysh going to deal with this because now there’s a public opinion that’s beginning to shift away from Quraysh towards the Muslims with him- how are they going to deal with this? Add to this that this movement of people was done during one of the four security zones of the year- one of Al Ash’hur Al Hurum. The Prophet set out for this Umrah during the month of Dhil Qa’dah. How’s Quraysh going to behave now? Not only is it antagonistic and war-like towards Allah’s Prophet but now Allah’s Prophet is placing further pressure on it seeing what is it going to do in Ash Shahr Al Haram when everyone’s blood is sacrosanct. Besides, one of the legitimacies, if not the main legitimacy, of Quraysh was its care for Al Bayt Al Haram. So what are they going to do now? They’re going to shed Muslim blood in Al Bayt Al Haram or around Al Bayt Al Haram? They have to make up their mind and make a decision.

The Muslims began to approach Makkah. They were not very far from Makkah. The Makkans, i.e. Quraysh sent eight-thousand warriors. Remember, the Muslims were around one-thousand-four-hundred; Quraysh sent out eight-thousand to confront them or to intimidate them so that the Muslims would begin some type of skirmish with them to justify killing the Muslims, and among them were women and children. In addition to that eight-thousand there were two-hundred who were horse mounted. So what did the Prophet do? Knowing that he is on a publicly declared peaceful Umrah, he took, using some of the expertise with him, an alternate route towards Makkah, not the conventional one that usually people travel on to avoid confrontation with these people who need the excuse to go to war against the Muslims. Its not that the Prophet is afraid of war, it’s that the Prophet does not want to be distracted and fall into an entrapment policy by his enemy. When the Prophet knew of this, (here’s where we quote the Prophet, and we think here is where in such a context after establishing the facts, after that we say what the Prophet said; unlike other people who just quote you the Prophet out of context with no content, with no background information, with no facts on the ground, with no interactive human activities), the Prophet we quote, said how foolish can Quraysh be, they have been consumed by warfare. What would have harmed them if they just left me alone to interact normally with people out there in the world? What would have harmed them if they just left me to interact with the rest of the Arabians in the Peninsula? If the rest of these Arabians had to get at me and finish me off then Quraysh would have what it wanted but if Allah determines that I have the upper-hand then the rest of these Arabians would have entered into Islam along with others and if they wouldn’t do that they would fight with the power that Quraysh knows exists in the Peninsula. By Allah- I will continue to struggle- civil disobedience- according to the information and the revelation that comes to me from Allah until Allah causes it to overcome the obstacles or until I lose my life in that process. So the Prophet was not intimidated. There were powers coming at him that wanted to draw him into war when they thought that they can finish him off; he did not fall for the bait. He continued, (what is referred to today), civil disobedience. When the Makkans realized that they were out there in the desert waiting for the Prophet and the one-thousand-and-four-hundred with him to approach them on the regular route between Makkah and Al Madinah and he didn’t appear in the time-frame that he was supposed to appear they ran back to Makkah afraid that the Prophet may have bypassed them and made it to Makkah and Makkah was off guard. The Prophet with those around him were thinking what is going on? We aren’t cowards. If the Makkans want to fight us we can fight back. That was the level of confidence that had settled into the Islamic community. The Prophet to re-iterate his civil disobedience said there is nothing Quraysh can suggest to me in as far as mending relations, there’s nothing out there that I will not accept…; meaning the Prophet was open for any gesture that would further the communication between he, himself, and the committed Muslims on one side and the obvious hostile leaders of Quraysh and their society on the other side, meaning the counterforce to Muslims (i.e.) the Qurayshis, the Makkans are on the defensive. It’s not Allah’s Prophet that’s on the defensive. He didn’t have the military might that they had but psychologically, socially, morally, motivationally he had the upper-hand. At this point Quraysh realized Oh My God- who are we dealing with here?! We’re trying to relate to you a lot of this literature in a few words. He’s dodged a military confrontation with us, we know the rest of the Arabian Peninsula is watching to see what the outcome is going to be, we also know that we are the Custodians of the Haram, of Al Masjid Al Haram, of Makkah itself. So they began a long and arduous negotiation process.

As you know brothers and sisters- we have no time to go into the details of these negotiations, but suffice it to say that the Qurayshis sent Emissaries to the Prophet to speak to him. They sent four men, (in today’s language), Ambassadors to speak to Allah’s Prophet from different tribal-power configurations from Makkah and from around Makkah and they all returned being convinced that Muhammad and the people with him don’t harbor any war plans to fight against the Makkans. What happened here? This began to split public opinion inside Makkah itself. They no longer had one mind towards Allah’s Prophet and the committed Muslims. The Prophet of Allah also sent Emissaries to the other side; spokespersons who would express the Islamic point of view. He sent Uthman ibn Affan (radi Allahu anhu), a person who is well respected in Makkah, a person of status and rank. There was a rumor that Uthman, himself, was killed. Before this news item came out the Qurayshis said to Uthman you can go ahead. If you want to go around the Ka’bah or if you want to perform your Umrah you can do it. We’re going to permit you to do that. He said no. I will not do it by myself in the absence of Allah’s Prophet. Then for a time period he stayed in Makkah and did not come back to Allah’s Prophet and here is where… Allah knows where this news item generated and with your common sense you can have a strong feeling of where it generated. Here the Prophet called the people who were with him to an assembly in which he wanted to rededicate their convictions towards a struggle because here is where they may be forced into a confrontation and here is where the ayah in Surah Al Fath was revealed.

لَّقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُونَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ

Allah is well satisfied with the committed Muslims who have pledged allegiance or have renewed their pledge of allegiance to you beneath the tree… (Surah Al Fath verse 18)

In reference to this particular incident in this context that we are speaking about.

فَعَلِمَ مَا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ فَأَنزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ

… Allah knew what they have in their hearts so He caused comfort to descend upon them … (Surah Al Fath verse 18)

They’re not nervous, they’re not reacting, they are not gun-ho, they are not accelerated into a character of unpredictability. They were calm, they were thoughtful, they were measured.

وَأَثَابَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا

… and He rewarded them with a victory that was pending, a victory or a triumph that was about to happen. (Surah Al Fath verse 18)

Where did all of this lead? What happened after all of this? Immediately after these negotiations which we put into a few words, (and there are pages and pages if not chapters and chapters of them in history books), what was the result of all of this? It was Sulh Al Hudaybiyah. We think every Muslim has heard these two words- Sulh Al Hudaybiyah, the Non-belligerence Agreement of Al Hudaybiyah. This is what some Court-Clergymen refer to every time there is a capitulation policy in process. When Camp David was signed we heard loud mouths looking Islamic quoting to us Sulh Al Hudaybiyah. We should refresh the memories of some of us. What are the major Articles of Sulh Al Hudaybiyah?

The first one was between Al Madinah and Makkah or between the Prophet’s leadership and the Qurayshi leadership for ten consecutive years. The second one was that the Muslims were not permitted to proceed to the Umrah during that year but the following year it was agreed upon that the Muslims could go to Makkah and perform the Umrah. The third Article in this Sulh Al Hudaybiyah was that every power centre in Arabia had the right to enter into a military or a political agreement with either Al Madinah or Makkah. The forth one was that whoever comes to Muhammad from Makkah has to be returned to Makkah, but whoever comes to the Makkans from Al Madinah doesn’t have to be returned to Al Madinah. Some people read this very superficially. They say “look, the Muslims now have negotiated away their principles.” Why? If you understand the context of all of this and what was happening in the larger picture the Muslims didn’t negotiate away anything. First of all if it was warfare that they are speaking about, the ten years ceasefire is reinforcing the civil disobedience that the Muslims set out to begin with. The Muslims first option was not to go to war but if war was imposed upon them they certainly will go to war. The first option was to have a social character that takes issue with the established power- the strongest, most assertive form of civil disobedience. You can look at our presence here for the past twenty-eight/twenty-nine years as civil disobedience. Still, the powers that be continue to tolerate civil disobedience depending on how well you understand your Islam, how well you understand your Prophet and how well you understand your Sustainer.

Another Article in it: if a Muslim was to leave Al Madinah and go to Makkah Muslims are to have no recourse to that person. All the better because it’s only going to be a feint hearted, if not a Munafiq Muslim. It’s only reported that just a few of them did that (i.e.) they left Al Madinah and went to Makkah. Good riddance! And if there were Muslims that wanted to leave Makkah and join Allah’s Prophet, and there were, what did they do? Allah’s Prophet said I have to honour my agreement so they became something like a rebel force against Makkah that proved their commitment to their convictions. What’s so weak and compromising about this? The problem is not in what the Prophet did, the problem is in what our generation today interprets what Allah’s Prophet did!

Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…

We thank Allah for the time period that we are in that is beginning to see a movement of Islamic self-fulfilment; we thank him also for having privileged us with many years of sacrifices and struggle. Along with that we should be careful with some individuals who you can say skipped all of this Prophetic history- if they didn’t skip it by learning from its lessons and its courses they skipped it by being absent minded from its values and its principles. We have those among us that have much of the world’s attention nowadays- Muslim and non- Muslim- looking at what the outcome is going to be in Egypt. There is now a clash of ideologies and strategies in that country. There is unopened electoral practice that has shown us that those who are considered in the Islamic camp have garnered around two-thirds of the votes so far and the voting process is not over yet. We thank Allah that the public trust is placed in the hands of those who have an Islamic background to them. But we are weary to speak our Islamic conscience at this Islamic time of the week. We are weary of some of these for-the-camera Muslims who are the holier than thou types, the ones who will take issue with the small details. In the contract of the Hudaybiyah when both sides sat down- the committed Muslims and the committed Kafirs- to write this agreement Muslims said begin by writing Bismillah, the Kafirs said no we don’t know this phrase we will write Bismikallah humma. What did the Prophet do? Begin to argue with them about a detail- an insignificant detail- the same way these types of Muslims today who are being elected to office will argue night and day? They can’t see the larger picture. They said right Suhayb ibn Amr who was on the side of the Kuffaar writing said write bismikallah humma. Then when it came to write in reference to Muhammad the words Allah’s Messenger the Kafirs objected. The Prophet of Allah said OK- fine, don’t use the word Rasulallah. That’s only practical and looks on the facts on the ground. If these people believe the Prophet is Rasulallah that then what’s all this history about? They don’t believe it! The Prophet conceded that point. He said OK- don’t write Rasulallah. It wasn’t written! These are the types of issues that today’s holier-than-thou want to prosecute the rest of the Muslims and accuse them that they are of a lesser faith, if not that they are of no faith at all. Brothers and sisters- this is an embarrassment. We will just give you one example of how they speak. One of these individuals who appears on these TV programs was asked about “whether Muslim women can participate in running for office?” He said “no.” Of course, we’re summarising. He was asked “why?” He said “because they’re going to expose themselves. They have to be covering all of themselves and wearing the niqab.” So the moderator asked “wearing the niqab?! Why is it mandatory for a Muslim women to wear a niqab?” He said “of course.” He said “why?” Brothers and sisters- we’re not kidding you this is real, the answer of this person to potentially millions of people who are watching (and) this is an embarrassment- “because if you look at her face it’s like looking at her vagina.” These are not our words, these are the words of a person who could potentially become the Minister of Health. It will be a disaster upon us but this is the real world and because Muslims are put asleep in Masajid like this we have these types who are speaking their minds over the air to our chagrin and to our embarrassment!

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