The ritualistic mis-understanding of Islam Part 2

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Shawwal 25, 1432 2011-09-23

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,

What you are about to hear may sound gibberish to those who are not involved in Islamic activities but those who are grounded and have spent time in the presence of Allah with the meanings of these words, then these words will serve, hopefully, as words of enlightenment. One of the problems with the contemporary Islamic Movement is that it has not defined itself, (we’re speaking about the contemporary Islamic Movement as a whole, there are exceptions to this), vis-à-vis the powers that be. (When) you encounter an average committed Muslim and you ask him, (whether he belongs to and Islamic Party or he belongs to an Islamic Organization or he belongs to an Islamic Association or whatever his affiliation with Islamic activism is), “what is your relationship with the Governments out here?” Besides giving you a very general answer, (i.e.), “well these Governments are not Islamic Governments of these Governments are not what we as Muslims would want Governments to be” he/she does not have the correct set of mind when it comes to: how are supposed to be interacting with these Governmental powers; how should we be addressing these Governmental authorities; how should we be defining these Governmental structures. When it comes to that there’s not much information along these lines. Let us take Allah’s Prophet and see what were the dynamics between Allah’s Prophet and those who represented the Official class of that time. Before we come to the last of Allah’s Prophet, we notice there’s an ayah in Surah Hud in which this ayah speaks about a particular dynamic between Nuh (alayhi as salaam) and those who were with him on one side and those who represented the power class on the other side.

قَالَ إِن تَسْخَرُوا مِنَّا فَإِنَّا نَسْخَرُ مِنكُمْ كَمَا تَسْخَرُونَ

… Nuh said to them “if you make fun of us, then we in our own way make fun of you. (Surah Hud verse 38)

Why should anyone be ridiculing someone else? The power structure in the time of Nuh was presenting Nuh and his followers as something like fools and so there- in their own time with their own devices- word would circulate in society that these are “nutcases”, (in today’s language). They would build on that in their own way. What today’s average member of the Islamic Movement doesn’t understand is there had to be some element, some substance in the message of Nuh that caused the representatives of the power structure around him in his society to make fun of him. Or else, if he was a man of just some rituals, of some sha’aair, of some Islamic rites then these types of powerful figures in society would just dismiss him and say “he has his own ways and we don’t care very much about him.” But there was something of a challenging nature in the message of Nuh that had them make fun of him. We who belong to Allah know that Allah’s power is above their power. Allah’s hand is superior to their hand so in our own hearts we actually look at them with ridicule the same way they look at us with ridicule and here to, if there is nothing of substance that we have, we cannot look at them with ridicule. We come to the time, (and we skip- this happens in the time and in the course and in the biography of all of these Prophets), of the final Prophet of Allah and we, (along these lines), we notice there is an ayah in which Allah says to His Prophet

فَلَا تُطِعِ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ

Don’t obey those who fabricate affairs or issues, those who lie pertaining to vital issues/to the truth or don’t consider yourself inferior to them, don’t let them impose upon you. (Surah Al Qalam verse 8)

All of these meanings are contained in this. And then, the following ayah

وَدُّوا لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُونَ

They would love it if you would just give way, negotiate, trim your principles because they are willing to do the same. (Surah Al Qalam verse 9)

If you give in a little, they will give in a little. If you just forget about some of what you have to offer, they will forget about some of what they have. If we take these ayaat into the context of today and we ask these people around who are supposed to be upright Muslims- Muslims of substance, members of the Islamic Movements in the world- “have you negotiated positions with the power structures around?” Some of them probably didn’t think about this in this manner and some of them know they have. The Prophet of Allah as our guide, as a person who have shown us a way out of this- how do we deal with persons who have all of this finances and has all of these militaries and all of these impressive things. How do you deal with this? Well, they came to Allah’s Prophet at one time in the many times that they approached him- they came to him via his uncle Abu Talib (saying) speak to your nephew. Tell him that we are willing to consider a give-and-take in this affair. He is telling us that “you know- there’s Allah. There is one deity and one authority and we say we have hundreds of deities and authorities. Let us try and find a common ground here? Let us try to find a reconciliatory area between us. So he goes to his nephew and he speaks to him and in the presence of Abu Jahl the Prophet says, (and both of these are people who are well known in Makkah- Abu Jahl and Abu Talib) and the Prophet says to them after they speak their mind and their bottom line is let us find something here that we can live with without this tension between us. There was tension in society and there had to be a purpose for this tension. Rituals themselves do not cause tension. “I’ll leave you to your rituals and you leave me to my rituals and both of us will go our happy way in life.” I’m satisfied with what I have and you’re satisfied with what you have so there’s no tension. Rituals never create tension! So why was it that in this critical time in the Prophet’s life in Makkah there was this significant tension in society that they wanted the Prophet to try to ameliorate or try to deal with this tension in such a way that it would not disturb them. So the Prophet said shall I tell you that there is a word that you can say by which you will become the superiors here in Arabia. A word! A sentence. The Abu Jahl said My God! A word- tell us. Any word, (you know), ten times we’ll say it, anything. Just go ahead. And he said say that there is no deity and no authority except Allah. And then he said anything except that. Don’t expect us to say this. They had three-hundred-and-sixty representations of deity and authority in the Ka’bah- three-hundred-and-sixty of them. Their approach was “Oh Muhammad- if you think Allah is your deity and your authority then we’ll just add him to the three-hundred-and-sixty others that we have in the Ka’bah and we can work out an arrangement here.” So why are you disturbing our social fabric? You’re ripping us apart!” They saw that there was a movement that was beginning. Slaves were breaking loose from their masters. Equality became a concept around which people either accepted it or rejected it and then this resulted inn strong feelings from both sides and they didn’t want this thing to go on because if it keeps on going on like this, social justice is going to be done and they are no longer going to have these authorities and these deities that they have. Today’s members of the Islamic Movement don’t take these lessons from Allah’s Prophet. If he has taught us how to deal with these dynamics in society, why don’t we deal with them? Some Muslims today feel so inferior to the other that they just want acceptance. “Just accept us.” The Prophet of Allah didn’t have that frame of mind. He didn’t go to that society, he didn’t speak in his society saying “oh- I just want you to accept me!?” He didn’t want just to become another political Party in that structure?! He was telling that whole structure the way it existed, (in today’s language), “you are not legitimate. Everything that your structure has been built upon is illegitimate and I am willing to discuss this issue with you in an atmosphere of freedom and in public.” This is unlike today’s Islamic types. They don’t want to discuss this thing in public and bring someone who represents another ideology or another philosophy or another religion- combine together ideology, philosophy and religion- bring them to today’s frontline of the Islamic Movement and tell them “OK- let’s discuss this thing in public. What we have differences among us, let us present it to this public out there.” Whether it’s the public in the United States, the public in Saudi Arabia, the public in Egypt, the public in Pakistan or in any of these other places- let us present our points of view to this public and have this public determine what is right and what is wrong. In the time of Allah’s Prophet, they didn’t give Allah’s Prophet that opportunity. Wherever he wanted to express himself in public there would be harassment, there would be threats, there would be attacks on some of his followers- physical attacks- persecution, torture. There was no freedom offered at that time to express what Islam was about. Ten to thirteen years in Makkah (and) there were no rituals. It was some other significant issues that they were looking at here. It just happens to be in our human nature that we want to refer to those who are in power. Even members of the Islamic Movement in today’s world still in their own shifty and in their own subtle ways refer to those who are in power. If they claim that they are on the Governmental levels, some members of the Islamic Movement occupy positions of power in Governments in that area in Asia and Africa but they refer to the US power- the US becomes their point of reference. When it comes to people who are not in power- you know friends and acquaintances who belong to an Islamic Movement of one color or the other- and when you come to them you find that in theory they express principle but when it comes to movement and planning and how we should move forward, then they refer to those who are in power. There’s an ayah that speaks about these people

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ

Have you not considered or have you not seen there are those who claim that they are committed to what has been revealed to you, (O Muhammad), and what has been revealed to those Prophets before you … (Surah An Nisa’ verse 60)

What’s about them? What’s the matter? What’s the issue?

يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ

… they want to refer their affairs/they want to adjudicate their affairs to At Taghut i.e. those who have a concentration of power … (Surah An Nisa’ verse 60)

This is what describes us. We say this as a matter of pointing at our mistakes.

وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَن يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ

… they were commanded and ordered by Allah to reject this Taghut… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 60)

So why do you, the members of the Islamic Movement, refer to it? As we said at the beginning of the Khutbah, for these types of people who are not involved in Islamic sacrifices, in Islamic struggle, in Islamic sweat, in Islamic blood this Khutbah is gibberish. They don’t understand what is being said; it doesn’t relate to anything in their lives! That’s because their understanding of Islam is alien. It doesn’t come from Allah and His Prophet! They are satisfied that they are one-hundred percent committed Muslims just by performing rituals so when someone quotes an ayah like this to them what does it mean? Their mind hasn’t worked in this area. Once again, because of the time sensitivity of this ayah.

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَن يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ

Have you not considered or have you not seen there are those who claim that they are committed to what has been revealed to you, (O Muhammad), and what has been revealed to those Prophets before you? They want to refer their affairs/they want to adjudicate their affairs to At Taghut i.e. those who have a concentration of power and they were commanded and ordered by Allah to reject this Taghut… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 60)

How are we, the Muslims of our time, to find solace in this Taghut? This Taghut doesn’t offer us a public forum of any type! Have you ever seen committed Muslims who have a satellite TV station? Have you seen committed Muslims who are invited to express their Islam freely with an open mind and an open heart (on the) airwaves? Do Muslims have any airwaves? So if this is the type and the nature of the power structures in the time of Allah’s Prophet- because we’re dealing with human nature here-

كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَيَطْغَىٰ

أَن رَّآهُ اسْتَغْنَىٰ

Indeed a social being has a propensity to show or to express the abuse/accumulation of power once he considers himself not in need/independent of Allah. (Surah Al Alaq verse 6-7)

فَأَمَّا مَن طَغَىٰ

وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا

فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ

As for he who is consumed by the concentration of power; and he who gives preference to this world; then his residing or his final destination is Al Jaheem. (Surah An Naaziaat verse 37-39)

But this word tagha and tughyaan and Taghut doesn’t pre-occupy the central thoughts of Muslims! It’s one of these marginal words or ideas that comes along every once and then; but this is serious committed brothers and committed sisters. This is a serious matter in which we have been marking time simply because Muslims have not had the mental and moral clarity and confidence to come out and say “this is our position from the illegitimate powers that be. And these powers are bringing down humanity and time is on the side of those who are with Allah.” When we are given the freedom to express ourselves- which we haven’t... You give us one example of Muslims anywhere in the world who are given the freedom to express their Qur’anic mind and heart to the general public? Where does that exist?! We don’t even have the freedom to collect the money to have whatever means (and) whatever technology that will give us an interaction with the public, (i.e.) satellite TVs, TV stations, radio stations, a major newspaper in the world? None of that! So do we have freedom? There are some Muslims who actually believe that we are free! That we can do whatever we want to do! Yeah- you can do whatever you want to do if you want to go Ash Shaytaan’s way- you have all the freedom that is available out there but if you want to go Allah’s way, you’re going to have all of these obstacles and you’re going to realise you don’t have freedom. Then, when we do gain the power that is tamed and disciplined by Allah- when Allah’s Prophet eventually liberated Makkah, and Thaqif, (one of the power factions there), said O Prophet of Allah… . Before the Prophet had power they wanted to negotiate with him so that they would erode his principles; now that the Prophet had power they approached him once again- Thaqif came to him and said we have declared our Islam- they said Ash hadu an la Ilaha illa Allah wa Ash hadu anna Muhammadan Rasul Allal . To today’s average Muslim, that’s enough; but they said to Allah’s Prophet but we have our deity and authority called Al Lat. Can we reach a decision or a deal with you to have us worship this Lat for three years. After that it’s gone. They had a type of logic to their request. They said it is hard for us to part with our gods, our deities and our authorities immediately, just give us three transitional years. He said no! If you say you are a Muslim you can’t do that. They said but we are Muslims, give us two years. He said no. (They said) give us one year. (He said) no. (They said) give us a few months. (He said) no. (They said) give us one month. (He said) no. You can’t do that but today’s Muslims place this the other way around. They say “yes, you can have people entertain certain types of ideas that are contrary to Islam on their way/after they say that they are Muslims.” You can’t do that! This goes to tell you and me and the rest who understand these details that we have a long way to go to understand how we should take issue with these powers around us. Delegitimize them! That’s the key word. Delegitimize them! Do it with your words, with your statements and expressions, with your mind- delegitimize them because that’s what they are! They are illegitimate powers, illegitimate power structures, illegitimate Governments and illegitimate militaries and time is catching up with them.

Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…

As an extension to the Khutbah just expressed, if we wanted to take the meanings of these ayaat and bring them down to actual human beings and human societies you would find that Muslims are incapable, (hopefully in the years and generations to come they will be able to do so, but so far they are incapable of saying “we have Mushrik Arabians who today are ruling in Arabia.” Incapable! why? Because in their ownselves, in their own minds they have not processed what the word Mushrik means. It is always mentioned in an atmosphere of rituals. It’s not mentioned in a context of political decisions and military policies and in the Qur’an it’s mentioned in that context.

وَلَا يُشْرِكُ فِي حُكْمِهِ أَحَدًا

… and as far as Allah’s rule is concerned, He has no sharik. (Surah Al Kahf verse 26)

So why do these Mushrik rulers over Makkah and Al Madinah brought in, in what is supposed to be their one-on-one relationship with Allah, (isn’t that tawhid?), the Americans- the Imperialist American power? Why have they brought them in? Why is there a silence now about the military presence that these Mushriks have in the Arabian Peninsula? It’s a studied silence. They used to speak about it thirty and forty years ago, why aren’t they speaking about it comfortably any longer? Why are they calculating in their mouth-pieces (that) “this is an area that we should not be speaking about.” One of the major developments on many people’s mind is whether there should be a vote for a Palestinian state in the United Nations. It has been all over the airwaves in the past week or so. When we think about the occupation of Palestine we are conditioned to think that there are states of proximity or states that are on the border of Palestine and we are always told that these states are Egypt and Jordan and Syria and Lebanon. We are not told that the Israelis occupy islands that belong to the nation-state called Saudi Arabia because that will make Saudi Arabia enter the confrontation lexicon. That will make it a state contingent to occupied Palestine. Why does it want to be a confrontation state? Because it takes its orders from it’s superiors who have stolen the role of God. Now they have become the authorities of those who claim that Allah is the only deity and authority. They say one thing with their mouths and they act another thing with their policies.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Oh you who are divinely committed why do you say that which you don’t do. It is a major offense against Allah to say what you don’t do (Surah As Saff verse 2-3)

These words may be years ahead of the maturing of the public Muslim mind but we are certain that this Muslim public mind will catch up with these Mushriks who rule over Saudi Arabia. They’re not going to fool us. They are not going to camouflage themselves with these rituals, none of which existed in the first ten or thirteen years of the Prophet’s life when the struggle was in earnest, when the principles of Islam defined who is with and who is against Allah and His Prophet. Those definitions will return sooner or later.

The news that comes out of Arabia keeps on coming out to tell us who these people are. (In) this past week, in this land of Arabia, a woman was arrested because she was driving. She was driving with her brother next to her in the car. When they stopped her they said to her, (of course we’re paraphrasing here), “don’t you know it’s against the law to be driving? You’re a woman.” She did not have the excuse of saying “well this is my brother next to me.” Meaning that if she wanted to take the sting out of their argument that “I have a mahram next to me- what’s wrong with me driving?!” Still, that did not stand in their court of law and they took her and they penalized her accordingly. Another item of news in the past week: some type of international sports competition was slated for Saudi Arabia. You know these sports competitions they have have a rotating order. One year it’s in one country and another year it’s another. Well, this year the decision happened to be that these competitions happen in Saudi Arabia. The Government there said “no! It is not permissible because women are going to be participating in these competitions.” Where is it in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Allah’s Prophet that women cannot be sports women? They should just stay home and gain fat on their bodies? Can they not become active women? But this is, once again, the darkness that comes to us- and this is just in the past week. There’s probably other types of news along these lines that have not come to the attention of yours truly here; but these types of issues keep going on and accumulating and how far is the Muslim mind going to stay oblivious of these facts? We pray and we beseech and we plead with Allah to change these conditions and circumstances to conditions and circumstances that are more in tune with His Book and His Prophet.

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