The ritualistic mis-understanding of Islam Part 3

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Dhu al-Qa'dah 02, 1432 2011-09-30

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,

To try to build up on what we have already said in the past several khutbahs- it’s as if the whole issue that was central and a priority in the time of Allah’s Prophet at the beginning of this enunciation of Islam no longer exists in the crowd of Muslims today. What the Prophet and the first line of committed Muslims with him was concerned with was first and foremost Allah’s legitimate power and authority and the illegitimate power and authority of the society around them- that’s what they were concerned with. Today we have Muslims with whom the word legitimacy and illegitimate doesn’t factor into their thoughts! You rarely hear it in Khutbahs if at all. There’s not much published about the issue. What happened? Outside the fossilised mind of today’s Muslims- even though there is a vitality now that is beginning to come of age- but within that general fossilised or calcified mind there is an inability to step out of the status quo and take a fresh look at reality. Its just (that) the average or the normal Muslim, because of the constraints that he or she are born in and because of the chains that he or she acquire because of traditions and a monotony of what they call ibadah become incapable of breathing the fresh air that comes to us from Allah and His Prophet. Outside of this shrinking mind-set there are facts that are mentioned to us in Allah’s book and that should be impacting us from Allah’s creation. Allah says, for the healthy minds that can think outside the box

وَتِلْكَ الْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ

… and it is the movement of time climaxing of societies that happen on a shared basis within mankind ... (Surah Aal Imran verse 140)

At one time you see one society up and at another time you see it down and then comes another order or another civilization or another regime that you see at the peak and then after some time- generations, centuries- you look and it’s at the bottom.

وَتِلْكَ الْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ

… and it is the movement of time climaxing of societies that happen on a shared basis within mankind ... (Surah Aal Imran verse 140)

You, (the Muslim who can think outside of the box), show us where ever has there been a social structure that has occupied the summits of time, that has outlasted all other societies sitting at the highest level of power and authority (and) where is it? It doesn’t exist.

وَتِلْكَ الْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ

… and it is the movement of time climaxing of societies that happen on a shared basis within mankind ... (Surah Aal Imran verse 140)

Now this is nothing new. This ayah is not new. You’ve probably come across it, (we don’t know), hundreds of times, (but), it never touched or stimulated your thoughts! This is the area that we are lacking. The ayaat seem just to go by having no real practical meaning or consequence! The Prophet of Allah and the first generation of Muslims with him were looking- they weren’t just reading these ayaat- at these ayaat in motion. When they recited these words, they saw their meaning out there, in the world. They were not chained by traditions or caged by rituals- no!

وَتِلْكَ الْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ

… and it is the movement of time climaxing of societies that happen on a shared basis within mankind ... (Surah Aal Imran verse 140)

OK- so what causes or what brings some societies up and then causes them to go down? We, as Muslims, had a time when we were up and then we had a time when we were down. We went through this cycle and we still go through it because we’re human beings- we’re not unlike others. That ayah was in Surah Aal Imran. There’s another ayah in Surah Al Qasas, Allah says

وَلَٰكِنَّا أَنشَأْنَا قُرُونًا

We have raised generational societies … (Surah Al Qasas verse 45)

But what happens to them?

فَتَطَاوَلَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْعُمُرُ ۚ وَمَا كُنتَ ثَاوِيًاَ

… they could not survive their old age … (Surah Al Qasas verse 45)

Which means these are social laws. These social laws that we are supposed to be aware of are blocked from our minds because of the performance of our traditional Islam. What stands as a barrier between us and our minds capturing these meanings and our hands developing these meanings is this traditional Islam that we have. Oh my God- you tell a Muslim or mention the word Sunni Muslim or Shi’i Muslim and his fiber begins to come alive! Where’s this- you: the same person who begins to flutter when you hear these two words- two words in the Qur’an the way you understand them? Where are they? You’re missing an ocean of meanings and you come alive when there is a drop of pollution?! This is what happens. This is the real human-relations world that we are in. We also have been subjected to old age. We aged just like other societies aged. We haven’t been able to regenerate the youthful meanings of Allah and His Prophet because we are caught up in a whirlwind of traditions. In the time of Allah’s Prophet, when Allah’s Prophet came, (this was mentioned and we’ll mention it again, because as many times as a person mentions it, it’s not enough because there is a image of speeches and articles about Islam that don’t touch on this area), those who were the followers of Ibrahim (alayhi as salaam) were an endangered species. Those who were following him in the true sense of the word, not following him by rituals because those who were following him by rituals were all around! Practically all of the Arabians who were in Makkah considered themselves followers of Ibrahim and Isma’eel (alayhima as salaam). Salman Al Farsi, Abu Dharr Al Ghifari (radi Allahu anhuma) and others- who as a spark of their genuine being- were enquiring about Ibrahim. They were going around- what is this? We want to know? Give us information. You couldn’t get information about who Ibrahim was. Besides the normal, traditional, cultural, historical, tribal set-up that was in Al Hejaz, what was Ibrahim’s message all about? Information wasn’t around because those who were followers of Ibrahim, (as we mentioned previously), were very few and very threatened. When we speak about the condition that we are in, that resembles very much the condition that they were in, in the time of Allah’s Prophet and before the generation of Allah’s Prophet. Let us consider that human beings always are impressed by those who have power- Muslims included. Beyond their verbal affirmation of Islam people who say “we are Muslims” are impressed by people who have power and wealth; they consider those who have power and wealth regardless of their religious affiliation to be imitated, to be adored, to be revered. This is the truth of the matter. Behind words, there’s a psychology that doesn’t fit in to the words expressed by the tongue and such was the case with those Arabians in Al Hejaz, in Arabia. There’s a person by the name of Amr ibn Lahy. This person is the ancestor of Khaza’ah- one of the tribes that was affiliated with Allah’s Prophet against the Mushriks of Makkah. This person had gone to Ash Shaam and at that time the Byzantines were there. At that time, just like today’s world, when someone says America, the United States- beyond the rituals and the fancy words that some of us camouflage ourselves with, the psychology comes alive- “the US, America, what do you have to offer? We will listen. You are the greatest nation of Earth” and this stuff. This Amr ibn Lahy went to Ash Shaam and he said what do you have to offer us. They said here; we have our idols. Why don’t you take one of them to Makkah. They gave him this idol called Hubal to take back to Makkah. He took it with him. Now, if these people were independent, if they were followers of Ibrahim- if you read the Qur’an, there’s a word that’s sort of is synonymous with Ibrahim in the Qur’an; that word is hanifan-

دِينًا قِيَمًا مِّلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۚ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

… the way of Ibrahim- the upright one; and he was not of those who set up rivals with Allah. (Surah Al An’am verse 161)

This word Hanif is similar to the word independent in today's language. So if Ibrahim was independent and if these followers of Ibrahim in Arabia were independent being that they said they follow Ibrahim then why are they so in-numerated, they are so fernoxed, they are so impressed by the Byzantines? Once again if we just extract ourselves out of the traditions that we are in we begin to see history as it unfolded. This is the history we had. It’s an irony of this same history that the person who introduced Hubal to Makkah- his offspring, Khaza'ah, who was in alliance with Allah's Prophet- who were attacked by the Mushriks of Makkah were the reason why the Prophet went finally in his last year or two in life and liberated Makkah. The social scene at that time as an introduction to Islam, just before Islam, (take a) look at the Arabian Peninsula what do you see beyond (these rituals)? If we outgrow these rituals what do you see? You see a war between Al Aws and the Khazraj. Remember, these were going to become the Ansar of Rasulillah. There was a war between the Aws and the Khazraj that was to be continued for a-hundred-and-twenty years. There was another war called Harb Al Basus. We don't know if we can call them wars; they were referred to, (by the way), in some historical books as wars but when you take a look did they really have militaries? A war requires militaries, these didn't have militaries; but on the scale of tribes when each tribe gave a conflict all it had, if you want to call that a war then it qualifies to be called a war. So you have this one-hundred-and-twenty year war between Al Aws and Al Khazraj, you had another war called Harb Al Basus, the war of Basus, you had another war called Dahis Al Ghabra that also continued for around forty years. You had a society that developed its meaning of power- you see when someone speaks about infanticide (i.e.) you kill your baby girl when she is born, this was a social norm and it wasn't because these were, (let's say), savages. They were not savages. They had a keen understanding of power and the raw meaning of power to them was that girls don't represent any power to them in society so they are disposable so they got rid of them. They didn't have access to what we have- today's abortion methods; so immediately after birth in the first hours or in the first days you kill it because it has no power value. We are told that the number of literate persons at the time of Allah's Prophet were seventeen. Out of thousands of people in that area only seventeen of them could read and write perfectly and accurately; there were many others who were articulate- they could speak articulately or they could compose poetry very eloquently but they could not read and write. We don't mean to state these facts for you as a matter of a story we mean to state these facts so that you can bring those issues (and) those facts from that time to our time today. (Take a) look at how the world considers females- do they still look at women and girls with a mind that is obsessed with power? Have we got rid of that or it still lingers on? We may have gotten rid of killing small babies or babies of hours or days of life but did we get rid of the mindset behind it? Isn't abortion related to power? Isn’t the way women are treated in society related to power? No Muslim is going to access these meanings as long as he’s going to stay chained with the Saudi sponsored Islamic da’wah in the world! It will never happen!

The Prophet of Allah came after Isa (alaihi as salaam) by around six-hundred years. This was a long stretch of time in the history of Prophethood, The history of Prophethood had sometimes multiple Prophets or a couple of Prophets in one generation. Ibrahim and Lut (alaihima as salaam) were of the same time frame, Isa and Yahya (alaihima as salaam) were in one timeframe, Suleiman and Dawud (alaihima as salaam) were in one time frame, Harun and Musa (alaihima as salaam) were in one time frame. Here we have an extended time period. No one had a Prophet around. Is there a parallel between that and the world that we are in today? Besides, let us draw your attention to the following: we Muslims- the product of traditions; we don't care what tradition you belong to; you have a tradition and that weighs heavily on your character and who you are- are top heavy with rituals. When a person wants to become a Muslim the way to authenticating his Islam according to these rituals is the performance of as salah and as siyam and the rest of these private and personal obligations; but when we take a look at the way this was done in the time of the Prophet it wasn't done like today. A person is or becomes interested in Islam because he is fed up with the illegitimate system out there. He wants to break from that illegitimate system and he wants to join a legitimate one. That was the option; that was the definition of being a Muslim or not being a Muslim but look at today's world… Someone goes to some Islamic Center some where, (it could be this one here), and he says “I want to become a Muslim.” OK- you want to become a Muslim, here’s what you have to do… You have to say ash’hadu an la Ilaha illa Allah wa ash’hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah. A person can say that but does he know what that means? Does it have anything to do with something legitimate and something that is not legitimate? Is that part of the meaning of ash shahada? No! It’s a religious meaning saying that there’s one deity only and there’s no other deities. The issue of legitimacy, loyalty, leadership- all of that- is absent from ash shahada! This is not the way the Prophet expressed himself to the world around him. Let us remind you, (as if we haven’t done this before, but let us remind you again), that it was after the Muslims anchored in their own power and authority in Al Madinah that we had the five salah that we have today (i.e.) the raka'aat of al fajr, the raka'at of adh dhuhr, al asr, al maghrib and al isha. It was after we gained power and authority in Al Madinah. So what was it before that? For ten or thirteen years that the Prophet was in Makkah? Were the Muslims praying? Yes they were praying. How were they praying? In one set of history books they tell us the Muslims were praying the Ibrahimi salah- those were two raka'at in the morning and two raka'at in the evening- that is it. In another set of history books they tell us no, there were five times of prayer during the day but these five times were also two raka'at. Ad dhuhur was not known to be four raka'at, al Asr was not known to be four raka'at, al Isha was not known to be four raka'at and maghrib was not known to be three- all of this wasn't there. (Do) you mean to tell us if we took today's world and compared it to the world of Allah's Prophet we'd think that Allah's Prophet didn’t know something very important?! He didn't tell these people who wanted to be Muslims this is what you should do?! There was no Ramadhan in that time period; there's no zakat al fitr, there was no salat al Jum'ah, there was no salat al eidayn- none of that existed! There was no zakah? It all existed when we had our legitimate authority and power which we don't have. With the exception of the Islamic effort in Iran, Muslims everywhere else don't have our power and authority- we just don't have it! In today's world, someone asks OK- there are those who rule in Arabia over Makkah and Al Madinah- you tell us, are they legitimate? Why can't we pose this question? Ask this question- are they legitimate? If we give the correct answer which is that they are illegitimate, they are not legitimate, they are illegal, they are criminals- if we can express this answer we prove that we are at a level and at the standard that we are expected. Short of that we are just marking time, going around vicious circles.

الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ

Those, once we have anchored them with authority and power on Earth… (Surah Al Hajj verse 41)

What do they do?

أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ

… they socialize as salah, they systemise az zakah, they have the power and the authority to say things are legal and other things are illegal or things should be done and other things should be banned and to Allah is the conclusion to all affairs. (Surah Al Hajj verse 41)

Brothers and sisters committed Muslims…

We hesitate to express the following- not because it is not the truth, we think it approximates the truth but because it will be misunderstood by some who will hear it; this is the risk of standing up for what is right and expressing your Islamic mind and your Islamic conscience. (We use the word we with humility and meekness), we probably can say this far away from others who will be accused if they say it. The fact of the matter is, (we don't think we’re exaggerating this, we think the powers that be understate the fact), we think there’s about two-billion Muslims in the world. Of these almost two-billion Muslims in the world, at least four fifths of them are what came to be known as Sunni Muslims. Skipping the merits of the history that has been associated with those who for one reason or the other identify themselves as Sunni Muslims we go to the point of trying to look at what has become the brake that prohibits the acceleration of this massive amount of people forward. We say this and we know what we’re venturing on… The first issue is the Sunnis- those who consider themselves Sunnis first- are going to have to surmount the following obstacles… Obstacle number one is it is almost in their tradition- may Allah bless those who have stepped out of that tradition and still are fervent Sunni Muslims but for those who are still in that tradition- they have come to consider Al Bukhari and Muslim and, some of them, the other four sahaah, (i.e. these six books of sihah), to be on par with the Qur’an. Muslims who think like that are going to have to surmount those types of thoughts. This is the first and most demanding challenge that has to be overcome. If Al Bukhari and Muslim were as traditional Sunni Muslims think they are, then Allah's Prophet would have made reference to them. You will not find one hadith in which he alerted the Muslims, (at least we haven't come across), to the crucial role that is going to be paid by Al Bukhari and Muslim. It’s not there. In the days of Allah's Prophet, he did not order anyone to write down his hadiths. This is an issue that has to be outgrown. The second issue that traditional Sunnis are plagued with and they are going to also have to out maneuver is the issue of takfeer. Now, (as we have mentioned many times before), the word kufr and its derivatives is mentioned hundreds of times in the Qur’an. The problem with the Sunni tradition is that it takes this meaning and then it turns it on its own. This is another problem that has to be surmounted. We can't turn this word kufr on Muslims and say “ Muslims are Kafirs.” You can't do that! Some people do this. This is dangerous and it has caused us to sink in our own grounds. The other issue that has to be outgrown is (that) there’s a grey area between Muslims who rule and Muslims who are ruled. Take today's world… We have Muslim people and populations all around and we have rulers who are ruling over them but there is no significant well pronounced, well defined delineation between Muslims as peoples and those who illegitimately rule over them. This also has to be surmounted by the ayaat from Allah and by the verified hadiths of His Prophet. Another issue that has to be thought through- and there’s enough ammunition, (so to speak), mental ammunition for the mind in this area- is Muslims of the Sunni tradition, (and you know every time we use the word Sunni and Shi’i we bleed inside), have a reverence for what is called Islamic history- as if nothing went wrong in this history. Everything is fine all along up until 1923 or whenever was officially declared that the Khilafah no longer exists by Kamal Ata Turk in Turkey. Everything before that is rosy and fine. This is also so simplistic as to be foolish. Even if you want to take the hadith the best generation is mine and then the one that follows and then the one that follows. So what happened? If this is a hadith that you recognise, the best generation is mine and then the one that follows and then the one that follows and then there’s a sequence of deterioration per that hadith. The hadith about Khilafah Ar Rashidah, Al Mulk Al Adud, Al Mulk Al Jabri and then Al Khilafah Ar Rashida once again- what happened? When you put this hadith in its historical context and evaluate rulers when they become tyrants beginning with Mu’awiyah and then coming all the way down- this has to be worked on. Then finally there’s the hadith of what is called Al Firqah Al Naji'ah, the redeemed faction of Muslims. This they attribute to a hadith- as the years go by we’re convinced is not a legitimate hadith- saying the Prophet says the Yahud were divided into seventy-one different sects and the Nasara are divided into seventy-two sects and the Muslims are going to be divided into seventy-three different sects; all of them are in the hell fire or all of them are to perish except from one. What is this? This sounds like an ego! A holier-than-thou hadith that gives justification and indirect endorsement of divisions! Brothers and sisters- we have some work to do. We have to wake up instead of being chained by the type of Islam that is financed by criminals in Arabia. There are thieves in the Masjids and it is about time we open our eyes!

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