The Pharoah Part 2

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Rabi' al-Awwal 08, 1432 2011-02-11

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,

These days are days of transformation with Allah’s help and guidance otherwise they are just euphoria and a chapter in history. Allah, (we hope and pray to think through the meanings that come to us from Him), in these ayaat at the beginning of Surah Al Qasas says and speaks to us about not only a historical event but a continuous fact that we observe throughout the course of history and indeed in our time. So what are these ayaat saying? They are saying the following

إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا

Verily the Pharaoh reached a very high status or position in the world (or) in the land and he has rendered the occupants and inhabitants of the world or that land into desperate divisions of people or mutually antagonistic segments of population... (Surah Al Qasas verse 4)

How does he do that? What does he do? What is his intention for doing that? What is his modus operandi?

يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ

… he renders a segment of them powerless… (Surah Al Qasas verse 4)

It doesn’t stop here, he goes further.

يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

…He kills off their sons and he keeps alive their women; for sure he was a person who purveys or conveys this type of chaos and corruption. (Surah Al Qasas verse 4)

This is the first half of the ayaat that were quoted and we shall be coming to the second half insha’Allah in the coming part of the khutbah. Listen to what Allah says concerning Phiraun- a position of power in every sense of the word who ruled over what is considered to be an advanced society and was more-or-less in charge of a civilised order of people- just like what we have in today’s world. You have people who have tremendous power and within that power structure that they run they have a population that is considered to be advanced in its technology, sciences and accomplishments; so when you have a power structure like that and a power personality like that what happens? Although the ayah speaks to a peculiar event it has its more general meaning; meaning that if Allah in these ayaat describes for us the relationship between a regime that has power or a power structure and is sitting on the top of the world when it comes to issues of military, economic, financial or social power- even though Allah is speaking about a specific sample in history- this sample also applies to likewise similar or equivalent conditions since then which we can observe in the world around us. One of the major, (if not the major), plans that this type of Pharaoh has is to divide people. There is a cliché or saying that is used by social scientists “divide and conquer.” Well- this is an ancient policy that has its roots in this Pharaonic structure and persona.

وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا

… in his own population, constituency and citizens he had managed to have them divided into segments, sections and petty groups of people and among them each one vis-a-vis the other is antagonistic… (Surah Al Qasas verse 4)

Some people would begin to ask “how can a Pharaoh have such a structure and be in such a position of power when the people he is responsible for are so divided?” You’d think power comes from unity- that’s the natural thought that a person thinks but on further observation we realise that the type of power that this type of ruler has comes from the division of his own people. (It’s) as if the ulu’ i.e. that unsurpassed position of power in the world is organically related to the divisiveness of the people. The more divided he is capable of rendering them the more powerful he becomes! You would think Muslims would learn from this and avoid division instead of falling into the hands of those who manipulate the differences, antagonisms, divisions that exists in human society. We don’t want to part from the general theme of the ayah here but for a moment this applies to those who say “they are Muslims.” If they begin to fall into the frames of contention and clashing with the others they serve and reinforce the power structure of those who are in power i.e. the Pharaohs of the land. Whatever the nature of the divisions were during that time, what has survived the information of centuries coming to us is that one of those segments of that society were the Children of Isra’eel, Bani Isra’eel even though here the word Bani Isra’eel is not mentioned in this particular ayah or ayaat that we are quoting from Surah Al Qasas.

يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ

… In this overall mosaic of social, sectarian, religious, economic and down the line fragmentation there is a particular group of people that the Pharaoh comes down on harder than others… (Surah Al Qasas verse 4)

This is where the ayaat become particular and specific. Still Allah refers to this population base as a ta’ifah. He did not say yas’tadifu Bani Isra’eel because the issue here is more than the issue of an ethnic group of people. We don’t want to lose sight of the forest because of the few trees. So what does he do when he takes away power from a particular group of people under his reign? These are the people who had a relationship with Allah and a Prophet who was guiding them to the right direction. So what does he do after he takes away from them all semblance of power?

يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

… He goes ahead with bloody policies- he slaughters their sons and he reserves or keeps alive their women; for indeed he was a singular of a plural mufsideen. (Surah Al Qasas verse 4)

This wasn’t a feat of one individual. He had a cabal of individuals, a crew of individuals, a coterie of consultants who were helping him out. Allah could have said innahu kana mufsidah- a concentration on one individual. He was a mufsid but He wants us to think. This is not possible without a group of people participating in this type of crime against humanity and society. We know from the history that fills-in-the-blanks of these ayaat that this is in reference to the way the Pharaoh treated Bani Isra’eel who were the followers of Musa (alayhi as salaatu wa as salam). Now here is where we try to make the transition from that lesson in history to the lesson in contemporary life because the Qur’an is not meant to be a book of chronicles “oh you open these pages and you read the events of the past! OK- we have a record and a registrar and that’s that.” That is not the Qur’an. The information and guidance that is represented in the Qur’an is meant to speak to and identify and uncover the realities of our own current life. When Allah says

وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ َ

… there was a state of division in the Pharaoh’s land and in that hodgepodge of divisiveness there’s a particular group of people that the Pharaoh singled out for his wrath and he turned bloody against them… (Surah Al Qasas verse 4)

This group of people are the ones who are related to Allah. Why would the Pharaoh single out one group of people if, (like we are led to believe in today’s world), we have a liberal establishment, an open minded class of people and everyone is sort-of treated the same? Is this true? Do they consider everyone to be the same or do they have their eyes and attention fixed on a particular group of people? Allah is telling you and me and anyone who is willing to listen: no, there is a particular part of people that are singled out by the Pharaonic establishment because of their relationship with Allah. That is the only reason. If they would just severe that relationship with Allah then they’ll fit into that general potpouri of divisiveness and divisions but that is not the case. In the time of the ancient as well as current Pharaoh there is particular attention given to the group of people who hold on to the guidance that comes to them from Allah. These Pharaohs are not satisfied with rendering them powerless. OK- they take away from them power. They can’t participate in the political process, become elected officials, are not recognised as a political party etc.- all of these things that we right now are privy to and can see with our own eyes- they are not satisfied with that. They want to go further. They want to eliminate the potential that comes from these people. So what did they do at that time?

يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ

… they turned around and began killing the men belonging to this group of people... (Surah Al Qasas verse 4)

Let’s kill. The crime was so severe because all of the men were killed at one time that the identity of Bani Isra’eel did not live in their paternal part of society but in their maternal part of society. That’s why up until today Yahud consider their genetic identity belonging to their mothers and not their fathers because if they were to trace it back to their fathers, their fathers were killed. The only ones that survived were their mothers. This was the extent of the crime. Now you tell us, (with a Qur’anic thinking mind and with the information that Allah’s Prophet has given us about this event), if we had a Pharaoh who was as bloody as to cut down the roots of a people and eliminate their paternal character cannot the Pharaohs of our time have equivalent ideas? They may not be as in-your-face as the ancient Pharaoh. The ancient Pharaoh may have had specific information pertaining to someone who is going to be born in this crowd of people who is going to be a threat to his authority so “let’s kill the new-borns.” Now that is a blunt and flagrant way of getting at an enemy but who is to say in today’s world this cannot take on a more complex and sophisticated way of undermining those who still have a relationship with Allah?

Now brothers and sisters- we hope what we have just explained we have explained to you when in your mind you are remembering information that is coming to you in the past two or three weeks concerning what is happening in Egypt. So we have the exact same thing. We have so many different types of people who are divided but now they have one thing in common i.e. they want to see the Pharaoh go. We cannot be as gullible and naïve as to think there is no counter thoughts now that are in high gear of how to pre-empt and abort an effort that is only looking for justice to be done. This was the narrative in history of Bani Isra’eel and how Musa wanted to deliver this particular group of people from the injustice, racism, discrimination, bias, prejudice, disfranchisement and all of these social and human sufferings they endured. They were looking for justice and a way out of this the same way the people in Egypt today are looking for justice and a way out of the Pharaonic power structure that has suffocated them for all of these years. Brothers and sisters the truth has to be said. The people in Egypt are, (in the full sense of the word), Mustad’afin people. We mentioned earlier in other khutbahs that there is about sixty million Egyptians- they tell you in the media “there are about forty million”- who are living at around $2 a day. That is two-thirds of the population; the other one-third of the population is not much better. There is just a few who have made it to the top and you have listened to the amounts of wealth they have amassed and stolen from their own people. This Pharaoh, (depending the source of news), has between $40 billion and $70 billion that he stole from people who are making only $2 a day. This is rank injustice and the most obvious violation of any standards and definitions of what it means for a human to be a human. And finally they burst out and we have been watching this. Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims- as much as these people qualify for the word mustad’afin because the following ayah Allah says

وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ

We (this is in reference to divinity) want to favour those who have been powerless in the land, in their countries- on earth… (Surah Al Qasas verse 5)

It is Allah’s will. Whether it actualises next month or next year or next century- we don’t know; but Allah’s will is that these types of people- mustad’afin- shall gain Allah’s favour. Not only that

وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً

… and We shall make them leaders… (Surah Al Qasas verse 5)

This is contrary to all the schools of social sciences that you have. “Are you kidding me?! Beggars?! Paupers?! Are going to become leaders?!” That is what Allah is saying. For those who can’t understand

وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ

… and We want to make them leaders and the heirs to these affairs of the earth. (Surah Al Qasas verse 5)

Leaders and inheritors. This applies. Of course Allah has social laws. This doesn’t come if there are people who are dispossessed, disenfranchised and without power who are just sitting back accepting the status quo. Nothing is going to happen; but if they move as we see them moving in their millions this is the first step in this direction to fill Allah’s pledge and promise. But this movement needs a head. You just can’t have a movement without thinking through what you want to have done. So far, (we say this with a tear in the heart), that head is not in that body which will give the combined Pharaohs of the world the opportunity to steal this movement of people, its objectives and to take away its thirst for justice. Its hard to say this. Its not easy but it is the truth. There are social laws.

قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ سُنَنٌ

Social laws have played themselves out before your time… (Surah Aal Imran verse 137)

Allah’s sunan were applied to previous societies and civilisations. They took their course. Can you not think about them? Can you not go in every direction in the world and look and understand and study how these social laws work? Right now, at this moment, the last news items coming out of there says “their military is taking over.” Who are the military officers who came to military bases all around this country here? Imperialist military officers who are taking over. Is there a significant change here? The people who were ruling up until today and yesterday were retired military. All of them used to be in uniform. The only thing that happened is they retired, put on a civilian clothing and began ruling. So what do you do now? You take the military personnel with their civilian attire and you place them on the side (and) you bring in a new crop of military personnel with military uniforms on and you think there is some type of change that has happened?! It is heartbreaking to realise that there is a vacuum in this mosaic of divisions in a country whose people have gone out seeking justice. These people- because they were truly living as oppressed, down trodden, underprivileged and under classes- have taken by surprise not only the Pharaonic Establishment in that country (but) they have also taken by surprise those who are supposed to be in-charge of political parties in that country. Whether they are political parties that are concerned with social justice or whether they are political movements who have an Islamic aroma and content to them- they’ve taken them all by surprise. Still, you would think at this time there would be Islamic figures and personalities who are addressing public opinion, their own people- “Yes, we people here in Egypt are Muslims. There is nothing to be afraid of.” The Zionist and Imperialist bullhorns in the world are trying to make a case that “oh we are afraid that the Muslim Brotherhood are going to take over power there in Egypt.” What makes them afraid of that?! The Muslim Brotherhood has bent down forward, backward and sideward to please them in all of these years and you’re afraid of them!? What are you afraid of? What is there that makes you afraid of them? They don’t want to open up an emerging Islamic self-determination in all of these areas. What if Egypt with an appending Islamic future linked up with Turkey that is in the process of Islamic transformation that linked up with Islam in Iran that has been building an Islamic reality in the past thirty-two years? Obviously this is going to be the parting moment for Imperialism and Zionism in that area so “oh no don’t bring that up to the public. Just say to them we don’t want to deal with Muslims who are called Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt” even though the Muslim Brotherhood haven’t fielded leaders, (in the past almost three weeks), to give direction to people who are looking for justice and still we have the Zionist and Imperialists who are shivering and shaking in their closed door meetings “what is going to happen to Egypt?” We will tell them and they should know this rather than anyone else.

وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ

وَنُمَكِّنَ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنُرِيَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا مِنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَحْذَرُونَ

And We want to favour those who have been powerless on Earth and make of them leaders and inheritors. And then to show the Pharoah, Haamaan and their military of these powerless people what they did not want to see or what they were taking all precautions not to see (Surah Al Qasas verse 5-6)

Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…

The Prophet of Allah on the day of Hajjah Al Wada’ said… There are some details that are necessary to explain the full range of what this sentence means but to make it short: the Arabians used to play around with the year. They used to change months. (This is) something that may seem odd to an average person but this is called an nasi’. They used to say OK this year we are going to make the month of Rajab during the same time when Safar occurs. We’ll switch months. They did this for a period of a long time in such a way that their understanding of history and the calendar were almost absent because of this practise of switching months. The Prophet of Allah made it clear and there are instructions and ayaat that speaks to this oddity. So the Prophet of Allah said at this time the cycle of the year and timings of the months have returned to the original order that they were in before the Arabians began this trick with months because somewhere down the line after the time of Ibrahim and Isma’eel (alaihima as salaam) this practise caused havoc in their understanding of events and when they occurred. The Muslims go by the lunar year. So the Prophet of Allah was saying at this time the lunar calendar and the lunar months have been repositioned in their original form. Now, for those of you who are not familiar with the Islamic calendar this happens every thirty two or thirty three years. The exact year that we had thirty two or thirty three years ago is this year now. What happened thirty two years or thirty three years ago was an Islamic change in Iran. We have Muslims who are crippled psychologically who can’t even say that but this is a fact that has been living and knocking on our minds for thirty-two years- those of us who still haven’t opened their minds yet. Now at this time- as if by divine calculations- we have an event that promises to be a change for the Islamic in Egypt and it happens exactly in the same lunar time-frame that the Islamic change in Iran happened thirty two or thirty three years ago; meaning that if you’ve looked at the lunar calendar of thirty two or thirty three years ago you will find that the same days that fell on the lunar calendar fell into the same week on the same solar calendar thirty-two years ago today in our time. So we ask “is this coincidental.” We know some of you, (and we don’t have enough time to cover this area), especially some of you who come from Iran, lived in these thirty-two years with individuals who said “oh wait a minute- let’s give up on this Islamic thing and mind our own business. You know- let’s deal with it the best that we can but just don’t place the weight of the world on us.” No one is placing anything on anyone! We are just trying to observe our relationship with Allah and the teachings of His Prophet- that’s all we are doing. Where did this mind come from that says “I don’t want to be bothered with the other affairs of the other Muslims.” Now, because of the patience and perseverance of those who withstood these thirty-two years on Islamic principle- it’s as if Allah is saying “by the way this is what happens when you continue to honour your relationship with me.” This reminds us on an ayah in Surah As Saff in which Allah or the spirit of the ayah can be conveyed as

وَأُخْرَىٰ تُحِبُّونَهَا

And by the way there is something else that is dear to you, that you like… (Surah As Saff verse 13)

What is this something else?

نَصْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَفَتْحٌ قَرِيبٌ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

… a victory from Allah and a pending breakthrough; break this good news to the committed Muslims. (Surah As Saff verse 13)

So what is happening for those who have withstood on principle and in sincerity all pressures of the past thirty-two years of this cycle, (which happens to be half the lifetime of an average individual), Allah is saying to you emphatically

وَأُخْرَىٰ تُحِبُّونَهَا ۖ نَصْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَفَتْحٌ قَرِيبٌ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And by the way or as an added bonus there is a nasr and there is a fath and there is good news for you. (Surah As Saff verse 13)

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