The ritualistic mis-understanding of Islam Part 11

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Jumada' al-Ula' 21, 1433 2012-04-13

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,

We are living in a world that bends the facts and twists the truths to suit their interests and basically their profits and moneymaking strategies. We are first of all thankful to Allah that we don’t belong to that crowd of people. Secondly, we thank Allah generously for providing us with the information that is necessary for us to continue to stand up for the truth and for justice regardless of how the winds blow. So in this particular timeframe that we are in there’s a lot of talk about what they call “the application of Shari’ah.” It has taken on a momentum of its own here. The media, the pundits, the propagandists, the public relations persons are all in a type of assault mode concerning what they call “Shari’ah law.” Brothers and sisters- before we get drawn into their direction of things, let us take a brief moment of rebooting our minds or of recalculating this plethora of information out there. Let us begin by saying, (and no Muslim should ever feel something wrong in putting it the way we am going to say it right now), our article of faith, (as it is called), the shahadah from A-to-Z is a political statement and no Muslim should have to defend that statement. Just know what it means and stand up for it. One of the followers of Allah’s Prophet in the days, meaning he was one of the people around the Prophet; (you see, we know who that person is but because there is a psychology out there, we don’t think it is very much important to know who that person is as much as it is important to think about what he said); OK- let’s breakdown what he said and let’s think whether this makes sense or it doesn’t make sense regardless of who said it. He said there is no Islam (or) you can’t have Islam if you don’t have a social nexus (or) if you don’t have social glue (or) people are not glued together…- meaning if you look at people and you consider them just as individuals- this is another Muhammad, this is Ali, this is Umar, that’s Abdullah the other one is Husayn and the fourth is Uthman- we don’t have Islam. There is no Islam and you can’t have this social glue (or) jama’ah, unless you have this administration or an authority... Another word, (for those of you who are not familiar with the sensitivity of Islamic words and their usage in the history books), for this would be wilayah. Imara and wilayah are two synonymous words like you say Khalifah and Imam in the historical sense so we don’t want to get sidetracked into this issue. (Let’s) place that on the side. So if we use the word wilayah or you use the word imara. … you can’t have a jama’ah without having that structure of administration... It can’t happen. So how do you bring about this leadership, an imarah, a wilayah? How does this happen? Where does this come from? What feeds it? … there’s no administration or authority except when you have obedience. So this is the circle. We’ve come full circle here- from Islam to a social order to its governing body and then to the allegiance and the loyalty and the obedience that makes the whole thing come together. Unfortunately we have in our generation people to whom it is awkward or even awful to say or to begin to speak the political language of Islam. (If) you say “Muhammad was a politician” they say “what are you talking about.” These types of people’s definition of a politician is the western definition of a politician (so) they come and say to you “how can Muhammad be a politician?” Well, if you have that definition that taints a politician- well Muhammad wasn’t tainted but did he make decisions? Did he build a state? Did he command an army? Did he have an economic structure? He had all of that. So we are not afraid to say that Muhammad was a politician, but he wasn’t in the same sense they use the word.

There’s another Islamic scholar in the generations after the Prophet, (once again we know the person’s name but we will withhold mentioning the name simply because we don’t want to sabotage the message; we want you to think. We don’t want you to fall in pitfalls), and he says and we quote here you can’t have a deen or, (we’re going to make it easy to understand without the negatives in a sentence), when you have a deen that has no authority then you will have a disfiguration of its legal system and you will have an obliteration of its milestones or of its trade marks which tells us something very important to understand our history and then our world today when we tie all of these issues together.

We’re coming to the ayah; usually we start with the ayah and we go on from there. This time around we’re starting from our human mind and working our way up to the ayah. The Prophet of Allah said whoever is a voice for al Jahiliyyah or whoever is a proponent for al Jahiliyyah, (we can go on with these synonyms), then he is in Jahannam. Now that sounds simple but the key word is jahiliyyah. What do you mean by Jahiliyyah? This word is used many times. What is meant by this? Well- if we take a look at the Qur’an itself, which is supposed to be the reference for these words, and we look at the word jahala, (that’s the root word here), and we read the ayaat, (there’s about twenty-three of them in the Qur’an that have this word in it), we find that there are two understandings of the word jahila. One of them is the lack of knowledge, ignorance- that’s what it is; the other one is the absence of an Islamic system or un-Islamic or anti-Islamic governmental reference- that’s Jahiliyyah. Eighteen times in the Qur’an al Jahiliyah refers to the absence of an Islamic governing order (and) five times in the Qur’an it means ignorance, the lack of knowledge, the absence of education. So when the Prophet of Allah is saying whoever is propagating or promoting al Jahiliyah… (which is an anti-Islamic system whatever it is)- where is he? Where is he going? … he belongs to Jahannam. He didn’t say this to himself, he said it to the others who were with him listening. So they said but what if a person prays and fasts? He said even if he prays and he fasts and he claims to be a Muslim.

When we come to the Prophet’s final address to the Muslims then and the Muslims to the end of time, that speech is political. Just like we said the shahada from A-to-Z is a political statement, khutbah al wada’a from its beginning to its end is a political statement. You can’t cover it. It’s an extended khutbah and obviously you can’t cover all of the details therein (but) suffice it to pick out some sentences of the Prophet. To begin with he said, (and there’s also different versions of quoting this sentence but one of them is and it doesn’t matter that some people want to create some difficulty, there is no difficulty or contradiction), he left us two references (that are counter to this Jahiliyah that he speaks about) and this is Allah’s book and Allah’s Prophet’s Sunnah or itra. Everyone knows what Allah’s book is. There is no difference about Allah’s book from Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Rahim at the beginning of Surah Al Fatihah until min al jinnati wa an naas at the end of Al Muawwadatayn. Between all of these there’s no difference between any Muslim in the world about the Qur’an so we know what we’re speaking about when we say “Allah’s scripture, Allah’s heavenly book.” Here is where some Muslims begin to have a bug in their head (and) it shouldn’t be like. What’s wrong with you? You can’t understand that this is in reference to the Prophet himself?! The Sunnah of the Prophet is the Prophet himself. The social laws that he explained, that he implemented for them then, for us now and for those who are coming. The itra of Allah’s Prophet (i.e.) those who came after him, who belong to him were also of this behaviour and this policy that belonged to the Prophet. So what’s the issue out there? What’s the issue with this mind that wants to make a sectarian comment about a statement from Allah’s Prophet? There’s no room for that. There’s an ayah that used to be quoted very often, now the world has changed from Muslims speaking this ayah to some Muslims who are trying to apply this ayah. There are three ayaat

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

… and those who do not judge, legislate (and) execute authority and power according to what Allah has revealed have become deniers of Allah, Kafirin. (Surah Al Maa’idah verse 44)

… and those who do not judge/legislate/execute authority and power according to what Allah has revealed have become dhalimun or who do injustice. (Surah Al Maa’idah verse 45)

… and those who do not manage their societal affairs in accordance to what Allah has revealed then their relationship with Allah has deteriorated, degenerated, spoiled (Surah Al Maa’idah verse 47)

Ok- twenty years ago, fifteen years ago, even ten years ago- before 9/11 everyone used to say these things, saying “this is what it means.” Right now there’s a silence as if there’s an intimidation. “What’s going to happen if you express an ayah from Allah? Are you that scared? This is where today’s Muslims are. They’re scared! They’re scared to express the ayah and they’re much more scared to explain the ayah.

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

… and those who do not govern with what Allah has revealed, then they are in denial of Allah. (Surah Al Maa’idah verse 44)

What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with you? You can’t mentalize what Allah is saying? What are you? Parrots? You just repeat it during the prayer! Or mechanical, electronic Muslims? You listen to it on the radio or the recorder. That’s the extent of your Islam? You no longer can think through what these meanings are? This has created a problem. Muslims are now looking for a way to come into political maturity. It’s not a very good sign when we have a complex (and) we can’t express ourselves publicly and plainly- that’s a complex. We have a complex. What’s wrong with us? We can’t say who we are? And then we come and say “we want to apply the rules of Allah” then all of a sudden what we say is what is explained by our enemies because we haven’t had the courage to think through this and to answer the question whether they come from a sincere person or whether they come from a person with animosity. So they come and say “look- Muslims want to apply the shari’ah.” Then all of a sudden, because we haven’t done our mental homework, we go on the defensive. What do you mean by “we want to apply our Shari’ah?” Then they bring up the issues of minorities. “How are Christians and Jews going to be treated in an Islamic governed domain?” They bring up the issue of women in an Islamic society. Then they begin to count these issues because they say “you know- if Muslims they are going to apply their rules to their own countries then there’s going to be a lot of violations of human rights and civil rights and natural rights and all types of rights.” Well you can’t blame them for coming at us like that but we can blame ourselves for not being able to express and then from there to promote what we stand for. What’s wrong? This indicates that we have, (what some people call), fiqh al ibadat. (If) you go to the Muslim library and look at these books masha’Allah tens, hundreds of books about the performance of our sha’aa’ir inaccurately called al ibadat- fiqhi al ibadat. It is supposed to be fiqhi ash sha’aa’ir- the fiqh of rituals. Ibadah has a much more inclusive meaning to it. So we look at this Muslim library and all of these books all around are about this fiqh of wudhu and siyam and salah and najasa and tahara, etc. etc. Where’s the books on fiqh as siyasa? (Take a) look around- where is the fiqh of politics? Where is the fiqh of economics? Where is the fiqh of society or sociology? Where is all of this? Not to be found! Where were we? What were we doing? OK- we’ve been absent for over a thousand years, where are we now? Still absent? We know (that) some listeners or some who are tuned in feel very upset about this but what we have to express the truth and the fact of the matter. This is where we are. Now we come to the ayah. We said that we are going to approach the ayaat, now we come to the ayaat. Allah says

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا

Oh you who are secure in your commitment to Allah: obey Allah and obey Ar Rasul and those from you who are in charge of your affairs; if you were to disagree on something (or) if you were to dispute something among yourselves then refer it to Allah and to the Prophet, that’s better for you and it’s better in extracting its original intent and meaning. (Surah An Nisa’ verse 59)

Now, (we want you to travel with us through these words for a moment; we hope we’re not going to be missing you or you’re going to lose contact with us because we’re going to try our best), Allah is saying

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا

Oh you who are secure in your commitment to Allah… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 59)

We all know this. Now listen, Allah is saying

أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ

… obey Allah ... (Surah An Nisa’ verse 59)

And then He used the word ati’u once again

وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

… and obey His Prophet and those of you in charge of your affairs… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 59)

Now who’s you? (It’s) Alladheena aamanu because at the beginning He is saying

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا

Oh you who are secure in your commitment to Allah… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 59)

So our obedience is due to Allah and it’s due to His Prophet and by extension because Allah didn’t use the word ati’u for the third time- there are three components in this ayah: Allah, Ar Rasul, uli Al Amr minkum. You see- three. You hear the word obey Allah and obey Ar Rasul and then when it comes to ul Al Amr minkum He didn’t say obey; He said and uli Al Amr minkum which means our obedience to uli Al Amr is an extension of our obedience to Allah and to Ar Rasul. You got that? We hope we didn’t lose any one. Then, which Muslims are not immune from having their differences? Some Muslim scholar will say this, another Muslim scholar will something disagreeable with that- this becomes a matter of contention, tanazu’. So if we do come across a time like that and we’ve had many times like this in our history and our life time

فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ

… you are to refer to Allah and to the Messenger… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 59)

But how? You ask yourself, how are we going to refer this to Allah and His Messenger if we are just individuals in society? Remember, at the beginning of the khutbah- we can’t have Islam without a jama’ah, we can’t have a jama’ah without a wilayah or imarah and we can’t have that without ta’ah. So how are we going to refer this matter in which we come to differ upon- and there are matters, not one. Allah expects that to be at a minimum, but in today’s world there are many issues of dispute among us but the cure mechanism is absent! If we were now to say “we are going to refer this to Allah and His Prophet” how do you refer this to Allah and His Prophet? Ask yourself. You, yourself, are going to go into the Masjid and say “Oh Allah, you know I have this issue- answer me. What’s the answer here? I have some scholar saying this and another scholar saying that and I am confused. What’s the answer to this?” It doesn’t work that way.

فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ

… if you have a matter of contention you are to refer to Allah and to the Messenger… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 59)

This presupposes that we have the wilayah and the imarah. That is our responsibility which many of us don’t have. We’re supposed to have it. If we don’t have it ask yourself what is going on? How do you understand your Islam? What are you doing in life? You’re going to spend all of this life satisfied with your personal rituals and going on to Allah thinking “Oh- I’ve done my duty in life while in fact you haven’t done anything except maybe satisfy a religious ego in yourself.” The Prophet in khutbah al wada’ says, (in this context that we began our khutbah with), a Muslim is expected to listen and obey in matters that he may like and in matters that he may dislike except if he is made to do a ma’siyah. He’s ordered to disobey, (but) he doesn’t. This is a reminder, if we can just bring the words of fourteen-hundred years ago to today. Ubadah ibn As Samit (radi Allahu anhu) in Bai’ah Al Aqabah Ath Thaniya said to the Prophet we will not challenge those who are at authority in their decision making once they are there and there is no ma’siyah that is circulating or that is being structured or regulated or becoming a policy- then we are citizens. The Prophet also said obedience is due in the context of ma’ruf i.e. it’s goodness (and) it’s virtues is self evident; it doesn’t need a religious explanation, it doesn’t need a legal explanation, it doesn’t need a philosophical explanation- everyone understands this ma’ruf. OK- in matters of this ma’ruf we obey. The Prophet in khutbah al wada’ says everything pertaining to al jahiliyyah is under my foot. Where are we today from what you said on that occasion? The affairs of jahiliyyah, you said, are under your foot; all of today’s rulers, their court scholars, their propagandist have placed the affairs of al jahiliyyah over their heads. The non and anti- Islamic frame of reference, which is al jahiliyyah, preponderant around us as it is (and) these rulers especially the ones in Arabia, (we will remain to focus on the ones in Arabia because they rule over al Haramayn; that doesn’t mean that the other ones are less culpable), adore (and) they idolize amr al jahiliyyah. Tell them Amrica and they will tell “you on our head.” The Prophet is saying under my foot and they are saying “on my head.” Well, if they are honest and frank at the same time- they won’t be honest and frank publicly but if they are privately honest and frank- they will say “but who are we to take on the United States? Who do you think you are? Who are you?” The Muslim in the world looks at him or at her and they figure “wait a minute here- if I am going to compare myself or ourselves to this huge, mammoth, colossal Amrica we got to watch ourselves. We got to tow the line. Maybe in the future sometime but don’t bother me with these thoughts for now?!” Oh- Allah and His Prophet are bothering you with these thoughts?! (Do) you think these are our thoughts? (Do) you think these are human thoughts? Where do you come from? But this is the fact, this is the reality of the world.

إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِندَ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا

The worst creatures in the sight of Allah are those who are in denial of Allah… (Surah Al Anfal verse 55)

This is when a person is in denial of Allah. We just explained to you this what are you going to do? This attitude (and) this mentality: “what are we going to do? Do you mean to tell us we are going to tell the American military to wrap up (or) fold their military bases here in Arabia and leave?” Yes, you tell them that. Sure- why not? Whose land is this? Is it the land of the Kuffaar and the Mushrikin or is it the land of the Muslims and the Mu’minin? Who does it belong to? Instead of coming out and saying, (like we mentioned earlier), they said “we want to close the churches in Arabia. All churches have to be closed.” See- then they tell you “oh- this is Shari’ah law.” Look what they want to do. If Shari’ah takes hold somewhere they’re going to close churches. Oh Allah, forgive the ignorance of these people who are feeding the policies of your enemies. Shari’ah doesn’t mean closing any church anywhere but it definitely means closing military bases, especially in Arabia but

إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِندَ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا

The worst human creatures in the sight of Allah are those who are in denial of it... (Surah Al Anfal verse 55)

This is where they are in denial of Allah, not when they come to salah and they pray- “Oh Allah we are here; this is the Qibla, that’s your Ka’bah we are performing our ruku’s and sujud.” That doesn’t mean you are in denial. You know, being a Muslim i.e. when someone says “he’s a Muslim” that’s like having a membership. We’re just trying to approximate the meaning so that you can understand. Let’s say you joined a club and you have a membership- OK, you perform your salah so that means you have a membership in this larger body of Muslims but does that prove who you are?! Does that tell me that you are a committed Muslim? That you are a struggling Muslim?! That you are a practical, relevant Muslim?! It doesn’t mean that at all. Anyone can have a membership in their pocket and you can go to Cosco or to a country club or you can go wherever so what does that mean? You can have an Islamic membership- you pray, you fast, you go to a Masjid- so what does that mean? Where is the meaning in this? You see- Allah is saying

فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

… they are not committed to Allah. (Surah Al Anfal verse 55)

So don’t be fooled by their Hollywood appearances or by their camera photogenics. The Prophet of Allah says whoever begins his day and is not tuned into the affair of the Muslims is not a Muslim and in another version whoever begins his day and is not tuned into the affairs of the Muslims is not a Muslim. There are some Muslims- you come to them- they are living a cozy life, they are comfortable and you speak to them “look what is happening in the world to our own selves, our own extensions.” They say “don’t bother me with that.” Where is that? Are you interested with the issues of the Muslims? Whoever begins his day and is not tuned into the affair of the Muslims then you’re not one of them. You can do whatever else you want to do but if you’re disconnected from them psychologically and if you’re alienated from them mentality and if you are withdrawn from them physically, (if you are all of that), and then you come and say “you are the most pious Muslim in the world” because you have developed a scar on your forehead from your sujud and an ulcer in your stomach from your fasting and then you want to make believe that you are the perfect Muslim around you are totally dislocated! You don’t know what Allah and His Prophet are all about.

Dear brothers, dear sisters, dear committed Muslims…

As you may have realized, yours honestly tries his best to release the meanings of the Qur’an and the Prophet to you in a way that hopefully reaches your mind and your heart together. Some of you may have noticed that in the quotations of the ayaat and the ahadith there’s much more to say especially when it comes to current affairs i.e. what is happening today and we skip that part. We’re not doing that because we are ignorant of it. No- we know it very well. We are doing it because we know and those who are listening to this khutbah are also plenty of listeners who are not present here now. Now we have this internet and people tuned in to this khutbah; some of them are not Muslims but we try to measure the best way to present the understanding of Allah’s book and Allah’s Prophet so that we don’t overload you- you who are here and you who are not here. We don’t want to overload you and we don’t want to break your backs. The prophet of Allah says this Islam is a solid, a compact and a heavy structure so when you approach it and when you penetrate it do it carefully and do it without haste because if you take from it more then you can tolerate there’s going to be a reaction- some people are going to run away. Some people just can’t bear the load so when we speak about Al Islam and we speak about al jama’ah and we speak about the wilayah or the imarah and we speak about ta’ah. (Take a) look at today’s world- where has there been a serious attempt at consolidating these meanings in real life? Ask yourselves. And you who are listening and who are not Muslims but for the purposes of your own jobs, where in the world has there been an attempt to have Islam as it was meant to be as a social reality, as a power structure, as an independent force? Anyone in his right mind without having fear in his heart would tell you “there’s one place. That’s the Islamic Republic in Iran.” Someone who is courageous enough to speak the truth- that’s what they’ll say but we have, (what we refer to), a complex. We have inferior Muslims. We have Muslims, (we’re talking about Muslims), who have knowledge or have information who come here to Washington DC (and) they say “look, don’t be afraid about Shari’ah law. There’s all these people speaking about Shari’ah law- there is nothing to be afraid of. We are friends. We are civilized. We are modern. We’re cool.” What’s all of this about? There’s something wrong with that. Is that psychology that is expressing itself this way the type that is going be able to put together an Islamic order- whether it’s in Egypt (or) whether it’s in North Africa (or) whether it is in Arabia? Wherever you want to point on the Islamic map- can they do something like that? Something is wrong with them and they don’t even have enough of what it takes to join hands with other committed Muslims?! Instead of these in the Islamic movements, primarily in Egypt, coming here and going to Europe and any other place and telling them “look we are going to have fantastic relations there’s no qualms between us. The issue of Israel we will put aside for the time being. Let’s not quarrel about that” why don’t they go to the Islamic leadership in Iran and say “look- we are Muslims. We understand Islamic responsibilities.”

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ

But indeed committed Muslims are brethren of each other… (Surah Al Hujurat verse 10)

This is where they prove it. A Muslim to another Muslim is like a solid structure- each piece in that structure is a re-enforcement for the next one. This is how we all should be. That’s where they should be going but instead of that, they come to Washington and they beat a trail in Washington back and forth?! What’s wrong with them? Something is wrong. They don’t have the psychology, they don’t have the courage, they don’t have the motivation to be who they’re should be. Look for more problems and more trouble down the road from these types.

Oh Allah spare us their mistakes and correct them before their mistakes become complex and costly.

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