The ritualistic mis-understanding of Islam Part 10

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Jumada' al-Ula' 14, 1433 2012-04-06

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,

As you may have realised throughout all of these years, we have endeavoured our human best to clarify issues that have been buried under centuries of ignorance and generations that have abdicated their responsibilities. It wasn’t an easy effort and it still remains to be a challenging one. Obviously with all that is said and all that is expressed we, (meaning the Muslims), still have a condition in the world that needs necessary improvements. Our concentration is on our own internal thoughts because that’s the dynamo (and) that’s the dynamic of how we proceed in life and because we all refer to Allah’s Prophet let us revisit some of his character and interaction with the people around him- provided we are thinking. This is another obstacle that we encounter. Muslims are expected to come to Jum’ah prayers as a matter of the force of traditions or because they were born in a certain culture that does certain things on Friday and in all of this the mind doesn’t accompany what we do and what we hear. Let us revisit some of the meaningful- and all his days and all his efforts were meaningful; and let us visit some of these pertinently meaningful events as they should speak to us in our time and in our society.

We’ve all listened to and read about and pondered the issue of some individuals from Yathrib, before it became Al Madinah, coming to meet the Prophet. We know from history books (and) from assembly line type of khutbahs that there were two of them- the first one was called Bai’ah Al Aqaba Al Ula and the second one was called Al Bai’ah Al Aqaba Ath Thaniyah. Almost every Muslim knows this. The problem with ourselves is that we cannot place that information in its social context. Some of us fail to place it in its social context then and some of us fail to place it in the social context now and yet others fail to place it in the social context then and now. So you can realise for yourself how complex this issue has become. So in this first encounter when the Prophet of Allah met with these twelve individuals who came to Makkah- with our minds thinking- what happened? If you were to understand a necessary something from this meeting between Allah’s Prophet and twelve willing individuals from Yathrib (and) if you were to give this meeting a minimum mental definition of this is it had nothing, whatsoever, to do with rituals. That’s the least you could expect from yourself understanding what happened. It had nothing at all to do with prayers or with hajj or with zakah or with these other things- nothing that we understand to be our personal and our private responsibilities and duties. So how is this summarised in this meeting? How is it summarised in all of the history books that we have? The words in a paragraph or so that were exchanged between Allah’s Prophet and these willing individuals are the following: … that you don’t equate anything in power and authority to Allah. That’s the first element. The second element is … you shall not acquire (or) you shall not obtain for yourself what belongs to someone else; you should not have illicit, immoral sexual relationships in society; you shall not kill off your children… (however meaning that may have in society then or in the society today.) This is what was being exchanged between Allah’s Prophet and Muslims who approached him with devotion from Yathrib. This is the communication between Allah’s Prophet and these twelve individuals. Remember- these twelve individuals were not just on par with the persecuted individuals who were in Makkah. These twelve individuals were notable on the social status of their own society so the Prophet was speaking to them at their level of social responsibilities. Therefore what we just stated is relevant to, (what people say today), “their civic or their civil character of influence in society.” So what was the following communication? … they should not with their own hands or with their own feet be responsible for any civil or social crime and they should not disobey- the word disobey here has a legal inference to it. When you disobey something or someone it has to be some type of orders and some type of fulfilment of their orders. So here the Prophet was telling them … they should not disobey him in ma’ruf. Notice the word ma’ruf. He didn’t say “in Islam”, he didn’t say “in Iman”, he didn’t say “in Haram or in Halal” or these other technical words are used later on as the Islamic life gains momentum. Ma’ruf means what human nature (and) what common sense agrees to be intrinsically good. Any human being can realise when something is intrinsically good that is a ma’ruf. So it goes beyond the boundaries of culture and language and class and gender and ethnicity and all of these other things. When something good in life is recognised by human nature and humanity it is a ma’ruf and the Prophet communicated to them on the basis of this shared human acknowledged ma’ruf. These are the words that you will find in all history books that recollect and that recall this event. Notice the Prophet wasn’t telling them “look- there’s a lot of people out there in this world, there’s a lot of ignorance out there in this world so what we need to do is we have to approach these people with education, with da’wah, with conferences, with symposia” and the rest of these things. None of that was said. There is nothing whatsoever if you refer to these sources and resources nothing in the least that speaks about this kind of approach (that was) summed up ayah 199 of surah Al A’raf that word al urf and its synonym al ma’ruf was were the Prophet expected their minds and their potential to be. We all know this was followed by Bai’ah Al Aqaba Ath Thaniyah, The Second Contract of loyalty at Al Aqabah. Everyone knows that too. (It’s) also common information. We’re not telling you anything new but we hope (that) with your working minds you will begin to understand new things about this. This is called The Major Contract of loyalty or bai’ah or allegiance. This is the major one. Why? Because in it- this took place months and months after the first one- first of all it was attended by seventy-five individuals. The first one was attended by twelve (and) this one was attended by seventy-five and this one had in it the willingness to engage in major sacrifices. Because when these twelve individuals went back home they spread the word i.e. what is this person in Makkah, the Messenger of Allah, expecting from us? So when this second meeting took place these people of status and civil standing in Yathrib came to him (after) Musab ibn Umayr (radi Allahu anhu) had gone to Yathrib as a person to break the information about what a relationship with Allah means. He stayed there for only about a year. So when these individuals left Yathrib to meet Allah’s Prophet in Makkah they left with the intention of proving themselves i.e. we are willing to do what has to be done. So how can we summarise this second bai’ah? The first words are we listen and we obey... There is no one coming here to argue, there’s no one coming here to pose or spreading challenging or legalistic or philosophical questions to the Prophet. These were men of action. They’re coming here to do something. … whatever their condition is- whether it is a condition of social vigour or whether it is a condition of social recession and to give of what they had, (meaning), they’re going to spend money in times of affluence and in times of an economic slump, (as today’s words would have it.) They weren’t conditioning themselves, “hey look if we are in good times we are going to give but when we are not in good times then, oh Prophet of Allah, forgive us we won’t be able to give.” There would have been some type of rational argument for that. You hear that from people today everywhere but that is not the way they approached him. They went to him and said if you expect us to give we are going to give regardless of the conditions and the circumstances we are in. Then here is al amr bi al ma’ruf and an nahi an al munkar. We’ve covered this territory many times before. There can’t be a fulfilment of al amr bi al ma’ruf and an nahi an al munkar if there is no power. … and you express Allah’s truth regardless of who’s going to blame you, who’s going to assail you, who’s going to defame you, who’s going to do whatever propagandistic attempts they’re going to do against you- you don’t care; you express Allah’s words (or) the truth from Allah. The Prophet was telling them … and you support me if I approach you. This may have been signalling to them that he may move from Makkah to Yathrib so he tells them if I do this i.e. if I move to you you’re going to have to support me the same way you support your families, your wives, your children, your possessions. And what were they looking for in exchange for this? Today’s and every material’s mind is going to say “so what do we get for this? What’s the pay off?” He says for doing this what is due to you is Al Jannah. This social contract of loyalty, (please brothers, liberate yourselves from the vocabulary of inferior minds (and) think along with Allah’s Prophet), was called a contract of combat bai’ah al harb. There’s nothing to be scared. They want to scare you in today’s world, “oh don’t use these words jihad, harb, qital. Stay away from these words. Don’t use them.” What’s wrong with you? You express Allah’s words and Allah’s truth and you don’t fear the verbal consequences that follow from your detractors and from your antagonists. Don’t fear that. They went from Yathrib to Makkah and their state of being was asking the Prophet what are we to do? What is there to be done? They weren’t asking “oh what shall we learn. Teach us the prerequisites, the foundations, the introduction, the basics of Islam.” They didn’t say that. They came with a voice expressing what do you expect us to do? That’s the difference between them and us. These weren’t Scholars. These were not people who went through long courses of education. They were people who came with the sincerity of heart and the practicality of life. What is there for us to do? Compare that with today’s extensive and extended programs of those who belong to different Islamic movements. Count the years! Count the decades! And in some instances count the centuries! After all of this time period that extends years to generations some people in these programs of activities are still asking “so what shall we do? Tell us what shall we do?” The Prophet didn’t extend that for years and generations for them to ask so what do we do now?! These seventy-five who came to Allah’s Prophet said you take from us for yourself and for your Sustainer whatever is required. Anything- our lives, our wealth, anything. You take whatever is required. That was the giving nature that they approached the Prophet with.

Some of us in today’s world we think that just because we say the shahadah and we pray and we do these necessary individual obligations we have cleared our path of responsibilities. We’re on our way. We’re on to paradise and they quote. It’s not as though they don’t have ayaat and ahadith. They come and they’ll quote a hadith Islam is founded on five…. Well- this is the foundation of Islam. Yeh, but brothers and sisters think! The Prophet of Allah said this is the foundation and let’s say you are doing this exactly and thoroughly the way it should be done, but it’s only a foundation. Where’s the structure? Where’s your building? You stay in this foundation forever?! Was the foundation meant to be built without a structure to it think?! A person begins his submission to Allah by these rituals. It’s just like first grade or second grade. OK- you learnt your rituals and your sha’aair and your ceremonies and your rites; you learn these and you stay all your life in the first and second grade?! You’re an elementary Muslim! You’re a primitive Muslim! There’s much more to that. The Prophet didn’t even mention this. Let’s tease our minds so that we can think a little. We always have these two words accompanying themselves. Ninety-five percent of the times (they’re) linked to each other- iqaama as salah and we have another iqamah deenu lilllah. Iqama ad deen- there is an iqama here. There’s a structure. You don’t remain underground all of these years at the foundation level. Begin to build. We try to individually build our salah through movements. That’s the least definition we have or else a person can just repeat ayaat! Why should this body go through motions? Why is it that we go up and down? Why is it that we bow down and we prostrate? Why is it that our bodies move with words that we express? There’s no need for the body to do that, but this is a lesson that what you are verbalizing needs to be materializing. Can’t we just make that transition and understand that from iqama as salah there is an iqama ad deen? But no- if people don’t think they’ll never be able to understand this. This is the predicament that we have been living through all of these years until we have now an inflation in a certain part of our mind or an inflammation in that part of the mind where we have Fuqaha’ and Scholars of Islam, (and this is in the language of the Fuqaha’ themselves), that concentrate on issues of the monthly cycle and menstruation and these types of things. That is what they concentrate on and they want us to believe that the whole world rotates around these types of issues?! It’s nothing new. In the first generation or two after the Prophet an Iraqi person comes up to one of the sons of one of the Sahabah and he asks him, (these are the words), about the blood of a mosquito. What if I was performing the hajj or the umrah and a mosquito comes and lands on my skin? Is squashing that mosquito haram? This was being done in the same time frame that the Prophet’s grandson’s blood was spilt?! Imagine this- a person asking about the blood of a mosquito and not asking about the blood of the Prophet’s household?! So what we have today can be traced all the way back to this type of dummying down of the Muslims and we should know better.

إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ ۖ وَبِذَٰلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

… indeed my salaah and my sacrifice and my life and my death is all for the Sustainer of the world. He has no rival, no partner, no competitor- this am I commanded and I am the first of those who has submitted to Allah. (Surah Al An’am verse 162-163)

Come on- why don’t our respected Muslims dwell on the meaning of this ayah? Brothers and sisters- some people will say “well- do you have any justification in the Qur’an for what you are saying? You are here trying to demote those who in the mainstream of things, who appear to be very devout, very pious, very God-fearing Muslims- is there any ayah that communicates to us that these types of people may in fact be sub-mu’mins (or) lesser Mu’mins?” For those of them who want an answer to this say to them

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا

These Arabians came and said but we are committed Muslims… (Surah Al Hujurat verse 14)

Listen to this ayah in the context of what has just been outlined for you in the past thirty or forty minutes.

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ

The A’rab came and said, (just like today’s very religious types who adhere to their salah and pay their zakah and do these things), that we are committed Muslims too; say to them: you haven’t committed yourselves to Allah but say that you are Muslims al iman has not entered your hearts, al iman has not settled into your hearts, al iman has not penetrated your hearts… (Surah Al Hujurat verse 14)

Some people are not content with one ayah. OK- these ayaat are from surah Al Hujurat, by the way.

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْتَابُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ

Committed Muslims are those who have a civil contract of loyalty to Allah and His Prophet and they were not by any measure undermined by uncertainty (or) they did not contemplate a doubt, they did not have questions that impeded their actions and they struggled with their possessions and with their lives on a course to Allah, those are the truly committed ones. (Surah Al Hujurat verse 15)

If they want another ayah, also express it to them.

يَمُنُّونَ عَلَيْكَ أَنْ أَسْلَمُوا

They, (meaning these types we are talking about and we hope we can think there and we can think here we can think in that society and we can think our society because human beings are still human beings- did human nature change?!), come to you, Oh Prophet of Allah, and they make you feel that they are doing you a favor that they have become Muslims… (Surah Al Hujurat verse 17)

Have you encountered that behavior? People who are very religious and if you want to remind them of their social character, the one that liberates them from their ego selves and then they say “oh but we are Muslims. What do you mean?” Oh- express the word “we’re doing you a favor that we are these types of Muslims that we are.” That’s what they mean. You have an answer to that. This answer is in this ayah.

قُل لَّا تَمُنُّوا عَلَيَّ إِسْلَامَكُم ۖ بَلِ اللَّهُ يَمُنُّ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ هَدَاكُمْ لِلْإِيمَانِ

… say to them: don’t make me feel like you are doing me a favor that you’ve become Muslims. If there’s anyone here who is doing anyone a favor it’s Allah who has guided you to commitment, (not to Islam)… (Surah Al Hujurat verse 17)

Remember we’re speaking about Islam here. No one spoke about iman here but the whole issue is about iman because iman is going to cost you time and effort and sweat and tears and blood- that’s the price of iman.

بَلِ اللَّهُ يَمُنُّ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ هَدَاكُمْ لِلْإِيمَانِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

… and Allah’s doing you a favor that He guided you to this Iman if you are true to yourselves, if you were true to Allah if you were true to the Prophet and if you were true to your responsibilities. (Surah Al Hujurat verse 17)

Notice as you read the Qur’an that iman in the overwhelming majority of times in the Qur’an is mentioned in an ayah or in a context that is related either to action, al amal as salih, or productive action or to jihad, a struggle and a sacrifice. Where does iman exists outside of that context? It doesn’t. Brothers and sisters- we express this not just to fill your heads with some information. That’s not what is required. What is required is to tap your motivation. If these words didn’t go to the motivation in you then they don’t belong in the intellect in you.

Dear brothers and dear sisters…

The khutbah on Friday is meant to be relevant to our lives and palpable to our thoughts. We are not here to theorize. We are not here to score points. We are here to obey Allah and His Prophet as Allah and His Prophet expect us to obey them. In the process if we have to say the word of truth and some people are going to feel incensed about it or others are going to feel offended about it or others are going to feel harmed because of it we hope we can help out. These weeks and months, (you may know or you may not know), there has been much political and official and diplomatic and propagandistic efforts that are trying to win over a popular change that is taking place in the Muslim East. The Shaytaani Mustakbireen don’t want this popular movement to take a heavenly direction so we have some leaders for spokespersons who are meeting with some Ambassadors and some diplomats overseas and we have some of them coming here to Washington DC. Brothers and sisters- this is a long subject matter. We can comment on it by saying that there is a race on to try to fool Muslim public opinion by implementing Islamic laws- that’s the best way we can summarize this. All of the rest of the struggle of the Muslims can be poured down the drain as far as these types of people are concerned! Muslims who gave their lives throughout the course of our history, (we’re talking about fourteen centuries and in our own life time, people like Abdul Qadir Al Awda’ and Syed Qutb and Hassan Al Banna from Egypt), (yet) some of the individuals belonging to that organization are busy now trying to convince the Imperialist administration in Washington that “it has nothing to fear if they rule.” We don’t know if they are saying the truth like as was expressed in Bai’ah Al Aqaba to say the truth and let the cookie crumble as it may. You are trustees of this truth. We’ve live here. Brothers and sisters- we’ve been out here in the streets for some time now and we remember back in the mid nineteen eighties, one of these brothers who belonged to the same general organization, (or be it independent and peculiar to Sudan) and we were praying here in the street and he went right there into the Masjid. Right now barely anyone speaks about him. There’s a lot of details to it but what does he get? He looks at Muslims out here in the streets as if they don’t count and he goes and we don’t know how he feels in there? We don’t know how he feels before he went in there and we don’t know how he felt after he left? This is not a simple issue. It may appear in the eyes of the people “what were they? Twenty or twenty-five individuals that are out here in the streets? Forty individuals? What does this mean?” It’s not what meets your eye. It’s your relationship with Allah that counts. Did anyone ever plan for this? No. Did we sustain this for some ego or some interest or some materialistic benefits? No. Here they come again, but this time with more numbers and more representatives to Washington on our clock. Where is this affair ultimately going to be decided? Is it going to be decided in the White House? Is it going to be decided in the State Department? In the Pentagon? In Langley, Virginia? Where’s it ultimately going to be decided? Ask yourself- if you express your tawhid of Allah then what does the White House and all of these power manifestations in this world have to do with that? Here is where we have all of the funny staff come to play when Islam altogether and these meanings and this mental territory that we were just covering is absent from these traditionalist so called Ulema’ in Arabia. So what do they do? A week or two ago they come out and they say “all churches in the Arabian Peninsula have to be destroyed.” Did you hear about that? Did anyone read about that in the Washington Post or CNN or these other media? You can rest assured that if a statement like that was made by a representative in the Islamic Republic of Iran everyone would be speaking about it- “look, they want to destroy all the Churches in Iran.” Is it (not the case) when someone who is the highest religious official in Saudi Arabia makes a public statement like this?! We ask him, (forget about all of the bells that are ringing; come to him just Muslim-to- Muslim, one-on-one come: are you more knowledgeable or is Allah’s Prophet more knowledgeable? He is going to say “of course astaghfirullah. Allah’s Prophet knows much better than what I know.” We are sure he’ll say that. OK- did you ever hear him say (or) did he ever intimate (or) did he ever with any stretch of the imagination say “Churches should be destroyed in Arabia.” In the Prophet’s time there were Churches in Arabia. There were Christians in Arabia, in Najran- in the South of Arabia, what is today Yemen; there were Christians in the North of Arabia, what is today part of Saudi Arabia and part of what is called Jordan. This was all under the Prophet’s jurisdiction. Did he destroy any of these Churches? Absolutely not! Did he ever express a statement that we can use that would justify destroying Churches? Absolutely not! Say this and understand this with open hearts and minds. So how does this guy and this person in Saudi Arabia justify what he said? He took a quote from Allah’s Prophet and he said in the Peninsula, (meaning in the Arabian Peninsula), there cannot be a combination of two deens. OK- if your understanding of deen has shunted to rituals- which is not the understanding of Allah and His Prophet- you have a point but that’s not what deen means! You see what happens from the destruction of understanding words? You get war policies and you get this hatred of Muslims emanating from Muslims and circulating all around the world. When Allah’s Prophet said he meant there should not be two deens two systems operating in Arabia. So if this Shaykh, this senior A’lim in Saudi Arabia, the Grand Mufti, (as it were), understood deen right he would have immediately said “all military bases in Arabia should cease to exist not the churches.” Do you see the difference? This is the gap that exists in our minds that gives them the opportunity of to say what they say and gives the rest the opportunity to broad brush the Muslims as being the fanatics that they are and we know none of that is true whether it emanates from so-called Islamic personalities or whether it comes from the media from the West and both of them speak the same language.

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