The ritualistic mis-understanding of Islam Part 12

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Jumada' al-Akhirah 26, 1433 2012-05-18

Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem. Alhumdulillah. Peace and blessings on Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam), his Noble Companions and Family. Dear Committed brothers, dear committed sisters,

This Jum’ah, this time frame and this place we are in have their own dynamics and developments, their ups and their downs and when we present and explain issues and affairs at this time every week we intend it to be understood with the contents of our time and place and within the context that we find ourselves in. We are not just here expressing a khutbah in abstract and we are not here propounding on meanings that are theoretical only. We are trying as much as is humanly possible to activate the meanings that we obtain from Allah and His Messenger in the real world. With that as an introduction of sorts, (as you and we know or at least should know), there’s much talk into today’s political and social and cultural spheres that you and we are in and out of at times we find out that there’s a lot of talk and much concentration on governance. Muslim want an Islamic government and therefore we have movements of people in different countries; some of them pursuing this objective saying “we want an Islamic government” and others who are basically looking for their definition of justice to be done in their society. We are obviously speaking within the Islamic context. We are not here addressing ourselves to non Muslims and to anti Muslims and to enemies of Islam. No! Obviously this is a khutbah, we are in Jum’ah, we are Muslims and so we have to curtail, (so to speak), our khutbah to the Muslim crowd. In this Muslim numbers of people there are two issues when we speak about Islamic governance, basically. One issue is governance itself. Are we, Muslims, entitled to an Islamic government or not. In this crowd of hundreds of millions of people in the world you will find, (contrary to what you may expect), those who saturate themselves with Islamic rituals who will argue and say “no- Muslims should not be concerned with having an Islamic government.” Alhamdulillah, all thanks are due to Allah that these types are on the descending order. Their numbers are decreasing wa lillahi al hamd. Then, once we decide that an Islamic authority is our responsibility and becomes our objective, (i.e.) it’s our prerogatory to have our own authority independent of the power blocs in the world and free of relationships and alliances that take it out of its Islamic character, (OK- most of us agree we should have an Islamic authority or an Islamic government or Islamic rulers), then the question becomes who shall be these Islamic rulers? Who qualifies to become the leader or the leaders of the Muslims in the world? Be conscious of this fact and when you speak and interact and dialogue with others don’t confuse these two issues and don’t overload these two issues or don’t unload these two issues on your interlocutor. We hope and we pray that we here, (who at least are tuned into this khutbah, whether they are present or via the internet or other means), have enough information, at least, by now for all of these years to accept the fact that it is our duty- not our marginal duty (but) our central duty- to have un Islamic authority. This comes from our assimilation into Allah and His Prophet- their words, their guidance, their instruction, the jihad of the Prophet. All of that brings this to our attention. There’s an ayah that most of us are familiar with. The ayah says, Allah is saying

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

I have not created Al Jinn, (which is another form of intelligent life), and Al Ins, (which is we social beings of this world), except of the purpose of, (and the word is), ya’budun. (Surah Adh Dhariyaat verse 56)

Many Muslims misunderstand the word ya’budun or the word ibadah. They think and they say “ya’budun or ibadah means worshiping Allah” and this understanding contributes to the problem that has been weighing down on us heavily for all of these generations and all of these centuries. There is a profound misunderstanding of the word ya’budun. Allah created Al Jinn and Al Ins not to worship Him. That is not what He is saying. He is saying

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

He has created Al Jinn and Al Ins to comply with Him (or) to conform to Him. (Surah Adh Dhariyaat verse 56)

We have to get this straight. Brothers and sisters, as long as there is a social mind out there (and) as along as there are public thoughts in the context of the Muslims in this world that understand this word ibadah and abadah to mean worship then before we even attempt to do anything our thoughts are wrong! So when Allah is saying that He created us, He gave us this lifespan (and) the energy that we have, the thinking capacity that we posses, He has given us this lifespan for what?

لِيَعْبُدُونِ

… to conform to Allah. (Surah Adh Dhariyaat verse 56)

The problem is and this is another area that the Muslim mind is prohibited from entering, and that is if we were to look at human nature without this human nature being influenced by social structures and military structures and educational structures (i.e.) if this human nature was not influenced by these overlapping Taghuti Kafir structures (and) we worked just by our unpolluted human nature (we’d) realise that we should- there would be an urge in us, there would be a trend in our minds that tells us we have to conform to a higher authority. This idea and feeling together are absent from the Muslims. They’re not absent from us because we deliberately inflicted this on ourselves; it’s absent from us because these structures moved in to fill in the void. We created a void for ourselves and such powers as, (in today’s language and in today’s words), Imperialism and Zionism moved in with all their substructures to fill this vacuum in ourselves- a vacuum that begins simply by not understanding or misunderstanding or mal-understanding what Allah says to us as well as His Prophet.

There’s a word, (we want you to take these words home with you for the rest of your life; you know when we recite many ayaat in the Qur’an not knowing that we are not understanding some of us are trying our best to understand), there are words that are still like gems. They are buried in our ignorance and still need to be discovered. One of these words is the word aqamah. You’ve heard that, (we’re sure), many times. Aqama and yuqimu and yuqimuna and aqim- you’ve been exposed to all of these flavours of the same word many times. Some of you have memorised ayaat in the Qur’an that has this word and its derivatives in them. When you take a probing look to the ayaat in the Qur’an you will find this word aqama and its derivatives preceding four other nouns; those nouns are: as salah, ad deen, ash shahadah and al wazn. Ad deen you know; as salah you know; ash shahada basically means testimony and al wazn means the weight of issues. This word, iqamah, appears in all of the Qur’ an before those four nouns- aqama as salah, aqimu ad deen wa la tatafarraqu fi hi, aqimu ash shahadah li Allah, aqimu al wazna bi al qist. You’ll not find this word before other words (or) before other nouns. Many of you may have been reading translations (and) when you read this word you find that many times it is translated as establish which catches some of the meaning but it is not satisfactory. Let us take ourselves a step back. There’s an ayah in the Qur’an- the same word aqama is used in this ayah. Here there verb is agreeable with the noun. In Surah Al Kahf Allah puts in his word the incident in which Musa (alayhi as salaam) and the man of virtue approached a wall. Allah says

فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَيَا أَهْلَ قَرْيَةٍ اسْتَطْعَمَا أَهْلَهَا فَأَبَوْا أَن يُضَيِّفُوهُمَا فَوَجَدَا فِيهَا جِدَارًا يُرِيدُ أَن يَنقَضَّ فَأَقَامَهُ

… both of them, (meaning Musa and His companion, the man of experiential knowledge), approached in this one town a wall that was just about to collapse… (Surah Al Kahf verse 77)

And then the word fa aqamahu. What did he do?

فَأَقَامَهُ

… he built the wall (or) he reconstructed the wall… (Surah Al Kahf verse 77)

Here, the word aqamah is in reference to a wall. A wall is something physical, something tangible, something you can touch, you can feel, you can do things with your hands. OK- here the word aqamah,

فَأَقَامَهُ

… he built a wall… (Surah Al Kahf verse 77)

In another qira’ah which is a marginal qira’ah, (but we don’t want to get into those details), fa aqamaahu. When the same word aqamah occurs pertaining to nouns they are not physical. You can’t put your hand on it, you can’t see it with your eye. If we want to go to the original meaning

وَأَقِيمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ لِلَّهِ

… you build ash shahada for Allah… (Surah At Talaaq verse 2)

Can someone see wazn? Is wazn a tangible object? It’s not, but Allah is using a verb that indicates something physical, so Allah is instructing us (or) ordering us to build this. Now we come to the two familiar words that you are more acquainted with- aqeemu as salah and aqeemu ad deen. Once again we encounter the word ad deen. Is deen something physical you can build like you build a wall? You can’t. It is not something physical, but Allah is telling you

أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ

… you have to build this deen… (Surah Ash Shura verse 13)

(It’s) the same thing with your salah. Allah is not telling you just to render a psychological salah (or) a salah that is only in yourself, He is telling you in so many ayaat, (there are so many ayaat that even to quote the ayaat themselves would take a full hour or more with the translation, but you can go back to the ayaat in the Qur’an), that talk about yuqeemuna as salah, aqamah as salah, yuqeemu as salah. Allah is telling us

أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ

… to build this salah (or) to make this salah something material (or) something palpable in society…

He’s not telling you to pray a ritualistic, psychological, individualistic, personal salah. He’s never saying that. This salah has to become something social. You have to build this salah into a social norm but how are we going to do something like that when we don’t understand what Allah is telling us, (which happens to be the case with many Muslims out there, their goodwill aside (and) their good intentions aside)? We are not here to get into judging people’s intentions and their internal sincerity- we’re not about that.

(In) another ayah that many of you are familiar with and some of you according to your school of thought may repeat this in your salah either before takbir as salat wa al ihraam or after it immediately. OK- that is something almost all of you are familiar with but have you ever given it a thought? This is where we come out empty handed. We haven’t given it a thought. To give you a little explanation (or) to give you a little information here

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Say: indeed my salah and my nusuk and my mahya and my mamat are for Allah the Sustainer of the worlds. (Surah Al An’am verse 162)

Now if you just pay close attention you will emerge from the cocoon of traditions and cultures and customs that have nothing to do with the vibrant meanings of the Qur’an. Notice the wording here- the wording here is not qul: inna salati wa nusuki wa hayati wa mawti… No!

وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي

… Mahyaya, the process of me living and, mamati, the process of me dying… (Surah Al An’am verse 162)

Both of these are happening at the same time in your life, whether you are aware of it or not. This is what happens. We are given a lifespan. Let’s say someone lives seventy-five years. Those seventy-five years are a combination of living and dying at the same time. You can take your life and think about this. What is meant by living and dying at the same time? Is it meant that during the day time I am alive and during the night time I am inanimate? That could be a meaning- there’s nothing that says that is not one of the meanings of this ayah. Even when you are not sleeping (during) the day time when you are active; even during this time your consciousness disappears. You may be involved in doing something as a routine, there’s no conscious effort in it- that could be interpreted as closer to dying than it is living. However way you think about this and it provokes your thought- it should- one is co-contingent upon the other. (It’s) the same thing with as salah and an nusuk. When we approach Allah in our communication with Him- as salah is a time period of communicating with Allah- which is supposed to be the concentration of our senses in those minutes on Allah. OK- we leave as salah. Right now we are in jum’ah salah; we are going to perform our salah and then we are going to leave. In life itself, the meanings that were concentrated in our mind and in our feelings during the times of salah are they to continue with that force into life or they experience a cessation? That flux- salah and nusuk- the concentration on Allah in these moments of salah and in however much we go with that into life- fifty percent, eighty percent, twenty percent, one per cent, ninety-nine per cent- however much, that becomes that nusuk. Now, if you understand aqama as salah and you understand an nusuk as just explained, you’ll understand that we have a task in life. We’re not here simply to be creatures of rituals. These people who attend Masjids that are in a trance are creatures of customs and conventions! These are not vibrant Muslims.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

O you who are committed to Allah, respond to Allah and His Messenger if they call upon you for the sake of energizing you and bringing you more meanings of life; and be aware that Allah circulates between a person and his innermost feelings and that you are eventually returning to Him. (Surah Al Anfal verse 24)

This is one area that needs to be developed. Many Muslims are behind on this that they come and encounter someone who doesn’t know anything about Islam or whose knowledge about Islam is framed in a way that he presents an argument that makes some Muslims apologetic or inferior or defensive. Why? There’s nothing in the character of Muslims that stands for that. Some Muslims, because of this feeling, begin to say “wait a minute we should remain silent.” We don’t see any justification for you remaining silent unless you are like as’haab al kahf i.e. a few individuals and the overwhelming society there is resistant and will not accept the truth and justice from Allah? We’re not Ahl Al Kahf. Or unless Muslims are the forty to sixty individuals in the first three years of the Prophet’s noble struggle? At that time in Makkah, for the circumstances that we all know, Muslims were not out there presenting Islam the way it should be presented or if Muslims become targets of a totalitarian regime. Now there are indications that some places in the world turn totalitarian and genocidal towards Muslims but are we living in a time and a place that is totalitarian and genocidal against us? When we reach that moment, we may choose silence. We haven’t reached that moment so why are Muslims scared to speak (or) to express themselves? If you are committed to Allah you can’t lose. The struggle may continue for however long Allah wills it to continue but we have been put in a position (and) in a corner that we are not even allowed… You know- as we said at the beginning, there are developments and issues in this world around. Today there’s a meeting of the G8 country- here in our area, just a few miles from here, in Maryland and when we, Muslims, read about civilisations and the rise and fall of dictators and monarchies and empires, (all of this is all over the Qur’an) and when something like this happens, we’re dislocated?! We can’t put the information that Allah presents us with that we recite in our prayers- prayers that are meant only to be caged in a Masjid and we can’t carry these meanings into the ups-and-downs of life itself?! So you have a lifespan and the clock is ticking and how are you going to approach this issue when Allah is going to bring you to accountability on the Day of Qiyamah? How are you going to respond to all of this? Empty handed, empty minded, empty hearted! What are you going to do? What are you going to say? What are we going to say? Allah is giving us the type of information that breathes confidence.

وَكَانَ حَقًّا عَلَيْنَا نَصْرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

… I owe it to Al Mu’minin, to give them triumph and victory. (Surah Ar Rum verse 47)

Is anyone listening to this? We mean- how come? What brings it to themselves that “we are far from achieving something.” It is your psychology which is broken that makes you think you can’t achieve anything. If you had a vital and healthy psychology those types of notions would never cross your mind. Remember, the last khutbah we spoke about how the mustad’afin can do dhulm to themselves- you can be in that category even though you don’t have power in this world. You could be your own worst enemy- you yourself.

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ الظَّالِمِينَ مَعْذِرَتُهُمْ

On that day these Dhalimin’s excuses are going to be of no value to them… (Surah Al Ghafir verse 52)

They can contrive as many excuses they want but it’s not going to do them any good. How can any Muslim reading these ayaat feel “I can’t do anything; we can’t do anything?” Where did that come from? If you are in the company of Allah and you are saying “I can’t do anything” it’s your ego that is speaking. If you are in the presence of Allah you can do many things. And when think you’ve accomplished something you refer it to Allah and failure is not something you can refer to Allah. Allah doesn’t fail; but when are Muslims going to have the healthy psychology to understand this simple fact? That becomes the question- when are we going to have that psychology?

Then, on the issue of who’s going to lead, just very briefly here.

قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ

… Allah says (to Ibrahim): certainly I am rendering you as an Imam for people; then Ibrahim said: From my descendants? Allah responded: My pledge does not apply to adh dhaalimeen. (Surah Al Baqarah verse 124)

So these leaders that we have, especially in Arabia... When Ibrahim couldn’t find a place in this world he was offered a desolate area in Arabia, in Al Hejaz- in the area that is to become Makkah. Of all the civilisations and of all the places to go and he was in Al Iraq and he was in Ash Shaam and he was in Egypt and in none of these areas did Allah decide to have the seat of Al Imamah except in Makkah. How did this happen? We all know Ibrahim left Hajar and Isma’eel (alayhima as salaam) in Makkah and they were dying. What happened? A miracle happened. You see- we Muslims don’t propound on miracles; we don’t drum up the issues of miracles. What happened was a miracle. Allah caused, in that area, water to come out of nowhere so that the Imamah of Ibrahim survives. Those people there who claim that they are the descendants of Ibrahim (i.e.) Bani Isra’eel in the broad meaning of the du’a of Ibrahim it would presumably include them but they are excluded

قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ

… My pledge of Imamah does not include Adh Dhaalimin i.e. Bani Isra’eel (and) Zionism, (and) today’s Israel. (Surah Al Baqarah verse 124)

It doesn’t apply to them! Any Muslim can see this very clearly. A Muslim has problem seeing that that doesn’t apply to those who claim that they belong to Ibrahim who are also ruling in Arabia! It doesn’t apply to Aal Saud it doesn’t apply to Aal Khalifah it doesn’t apply these Aal that are ruling in Arabia on the same par with Bani Isra’eel.

Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…

Believe us when we say to you that it is a pain in the heart to realise that there is a serious gap between where the Muslims thoughts are, (we’re talking about the public mind of the Muslims out there), and where it should be. To some Muslim listeners it appears to be strange for Islam, the information we have in the Qur’an and from our Prophet- to shed light on what is happening today. There is a structural failure in this world. You see- the word structure. Just using that word in the English language corresponds with us not understanding the word of Aqamah in the Qur’anic language. How come they use “an economic structure, a social structure, a political structure”? They all say it but when it comes to us understanding the Iqama of salah and the iqamah of ad deen we don’t understand it?! So it becomes problematic when we want to galvanise the vocabulary of the Qur’an and the Prophet to speak about the structural failures that right now are preoccupying the minds of strategists, think tanks, intelligence agencies, governments, secret societies. All of them now are preoccupied- what are we going to do? The European economy is showing signs of serious failure; the North American economy is showing signs of serious failure and we the Muslims are supposed to have some sort of solution to all of this (and) we haven’t improved our thinking of what Allah his telling us?! We have the type of answer and we should be very proud of this in a very humble sense though. We do have some type of solution to all of this- something that many of us do not know and something that many of them (i.e.) the same type of people who are speaking about structural failures in the Euro-American theatre know that there is a structural success in the Islamic East. They know these two facts very well and they see that structural success in Islamic Iran. Now, what are they going to do? They begin to use their war language, “oh, that country is developing or is going to develop nuclear weapons.” They say this so that you and I can tune in. They know in their secret meetings that they are hyping up this issue, (they know that very well), and because the vital information that we need from Allah and His Prophet is taken away from us we fall for their propaganda. We don’t mean you personally, we mean the Muslims out there in their majority- they fall for this propaganda; not only do they fall for this propaganda but they twist the issues upside down and inside out! Some of them with Islamic titles come and say “we shouldn’t be thinking about Israel any longer at this time, the threat is coming from Persia or Iran.” These are their words. We’re trying as much as possible to relate to you what they are saying. They never thought about a unity. They haven’t given unity a serious thought when it comes to Israeli theft of the Holy Land. Where’s your unity? Now they’re speaking about “a Gulf unity.” They want to become united- Saudi Arabia, Al Bahrain, Al Emaraat, Qatar, Kuwait are thinking about unity. Ask them “why are you thinking about a unity?” They say “we have an enemy here.” They don’t tell you Israel is the enemy, they tell you “Iran is the enemy.” (Do) you see what happens? Going back to the first khutbah- when words no longer have the practical meanings they move in and they fill the practicality with their own definition of things. They never thought of developing nuclear technology. Israel has had nuclear technology since the 1960’s. They stole it from the United States and they also acquired it from France and now they have a few hundred warheads. Where’s your unity?! No unity! Iran is working on legitimate nuclear technology and now they say “they want to buy (nuclear technology.)” They don’t even have the confidence in themselves to say that we want to develop our own nuclear power (and) our own nuclear technology?! They want to purchase it just like they purchased everything else, they want to purchase that. Why didn’t they purchase that to liberate Palestine? This source of all this poison (i.e.) that tribal family state called Saudi Arabia do this behind the scenes. They now entered into an arrangement with an Israeli computer company for a program in which the Israelis are training Saudis on how to run a computer system that is controlled by someone who is considered to be a moderate Islamist in Saudi Arabia. Where is this?! Has this made headlines? Has anyone heard this?! They meet in Melbourne, in Australia and they contracted and the Israelis had to check with its own government to see whether it was lawful to enter into an agreement like that with a Saudi Arabian entity. We have these Saudis financing (and) throwing their money all around the place. What a waste! Every Jum’ah there is this hour or two of Muslims (and) this can be a time a week when there is true taqwa where we think of Allah’s Authority and Power more than anyone else’s authority and power. It is wasted because authority and power and not words that are used in the khutbah because they’ve degraded the meaning; they’ve demolished the definition of taqwa and why should they speak of authority and government?

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