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,
The Muslims have been contaminated with the rust of time. A person may say “this sounds eloquent; what do you mean by that?” People in the course of history begin to slow down. It’s a fact of life or using the Qur’anic and Islamic terminology (i.e.) the words of the Qur’an and the Prophet, it is a Sunnah. Sunnah here doesn’t mean the traditional meaning, (you know), of following the Prophet and it doesn’t mean like it does in some languages (that) it is a tradition. A Sunnah is a social law.
فَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلً
… you will not find a change in direction to OUR social laws… (Surah Al Fatir verse 43)
Sunnah therefore is a social law. Human beings- and we Muslims are part of humanity, remember- are subject to these social laws. So as time goes by, we begin to rust and this rust appears in our minds and it also appears in our hearts. We have, (and Alhamdulillah, we have to say this before going on), Alhamdulillah that we have a generation that is proving to be more vital and more resistant to this effect, to this oxidizing of the Muslim tissue and organs and cells in the Muslim body- not the bodies oxygenation, that’s different. Oxidizing is one thing, oxygenating is something else. So we have been subjected throughout these many many years to a slow process of just breaking away from our origins, from Allah’s Prophet, from Allah’s Book, from the original and the genuine and the profound meanings that were alive at one time, so much-so, that even our rituals- our salah, our zakah, our Hajj- have become meaningless performances. They were meant to give meaning to what we do. Now, what we do is separated from these rituals; these rituals no longer feed whatever we do in life with a meaning and a direction. We want to present to you something that we hope you will think about…
The Prophet of Allah, (who every Muslim agrees is our guide), taught us and he teaches us what to do and how to do it and for what it is done. OK- and we say that “we follow the Sunnah of Allah’s Prophet.” The usage of that word itself is dislocated but we’re not going to deal with this issue. The Prophet of Allah spent the first, (almost), half of his mission without the traditions that we spend our life in! And because of his behavior and interaction with the people around him, he incurred their hostility. They began to hate him. This is a person you can’t hate but they began to hate him. Now, if we take that picture and we place it beside our picture today, we spend a lifetime praying and fasting and going to Hajj and maybe some of us paying our zakah and sadaqaat and we say endlessly the shahadah and these things and it seems like, (if you take the people that you know), they don’t incur the hatred that came to Allah’s Prophet. It’s simply not there. If you tell them that something is malfunctioning in you life; something is not right! How come you and I call ourselves Muslims but we don’t have the powers that be showing us the same thing they showed the Prophet of Allah? Something is wrong here! Something is missing or something is deliberately being omitted and it could be a combination of all these things together. To be a little more down to Earth, let’s take ourselves to the context of the ayaat in the Qur’an.
Before Allah’s Prophet, in the history of Prophethood, what was the response of the Pharoah and his elite to Musa (alaihi as salaam)and his people, or in this case to Musa and his brother (alaihima as salaam)? What did he say to them? This ayah is forty-seven, Surah Mu’minun
فَقَالُوا أَنُؤْمِنُ لِبَشَرَيْنِ مِثْلِنَا وَقَوْمُهُمَا لَنَا عَابِدُونَ
Are we to commit ourselves for the sake of two people who are like us, meanwhile their own people, (meaning) Bani Isra’eel are aabidun, (i.e.) slaves to us? (Surah Al Mu’minun verse 47)
To try to rub some of that rust off of the minds and the heart that we have, Pharoah was called the Pharoah designate those who are in power who abuse that power and then target the innocent and the men and people of God. The Pharoah is not the way the rusted mind thinks, (if it thinks)! It’s not a proper noun; the Pharoah is a common noun. These Pharoahs have names but we don’t know them by their proper noun/individual name, we know them by that title- The Pharoah; a title that is locked up in history! It doesn’t flow in today’s language. You can’t say or people don’t say in their common usage of the language “the Pharoah in the White house.” It’s an apt description. It’s an accurate description but no one says it. No one says “the Pharoah in Tel Aviv.” It’s an accurate definition and an accurate portrayal of the decision maker in Tel Aviv. No one says “the Pharoah in Arabia.” It will take time for you to ask yourself “why? What happened? The Qur’an is here, the language of the Qur’an I read/recite but how come it does not rub off on me and becomes my language or some of its words becomes my language or some of its words becomes some of my vocabulary? Why?” It’s a serious and a cumulative question that has, as of yet, not been tackled. So they said the Pharoah, (just like we have historical Pharoahs, we have also contemporary Pharoahs who say the same thing and mean the same thing),
أَنُؤْمِنُ لِبَشَرَيْنِ مِثْلِنَا وَقَوْمُهُمَا لَنَا عَابِدُونَ
… are we to commit ourselves with (or) along with two individuals (and) in the meantime the people of these two individuals are aabidun to us. (Surah Al Mu’minun verse 47)
Now, the word ibadah/aabidun and you take the information that you have, (all of you), have you ever come across any Islamic or non-Islamic religious book that tells you that “the Israelis worshipped the Pharoah?” Has anyone ever encounted that type of information? No, because they didn’t. There was no one going from the followers of Musa and Harun (alaihima as salaam), these two individuals that the ayah is speaking about and praying and offering their sujud and their ruku’ to the Pharoah. So ibadah doesn’t have the rusty meaning that we have inherited and we use to misguide our ownselves and then alienate ourselves from the meanings of the Qur’an. Ibadah here in the meaning of these people- the Children of Israel, the followers of Musa and Harun is,
أَنُؤْمِنُ لِبَشَرَيْنِ مِثْلِنَا وَقَوْمُهُمَا لَنَا عَابِدُونَ
… are we to commit ourselves with or along with two individuals (and) in the meantime the people of these two individuals are aabidun- complying with our laws, the laws of our land, our legal system and fall in to the pattern of life that we have. (Surah Al Mu’minun verse 47)
So why should we be listening to these two individuals? There are other ayaat… Ayah number 78 from Surah Yunus, (we will not read the ayah and it’s translation simple because of time, but for your references), Surah Yunus- ayah number 78, Surah Hud- ayah number 87, Surah Al Furqan- ayah number 43, Surah Ash Shu’ara’- ayah number 54-56. Anyone who wants reference can go to these ayaat and you will find, (if you read them closely with a thinking mind), that the issue in the history of Prophets and the issue in the history of the last Prophet was not that of rituals; it was that of de-legitimizing the power structure around- that was the first, the central, the major, the concentrated, the overwhelming, the consuming issue of the time. The lesson, (as long as it was), has been skipped by these minds that have rusted and these hearts that have rusted during the course of our history. To be more practical, today in the world that we share/the life that we are in there is a legitimacy of sorts to the power structures that are around; they impose their legitimacy or they sell their legitimacy or they convince people of their legitimacy in a variety of methods and ways. The bottom line is whatever (or) however the religious character of a person is, the issue of questioning that legitimacy does not exist! That was the issue of Prophethood, that was the issue of Allah’s last Prophet but how come it’s not the issue of today’s Muslims? In today’s world we have Islamic Movements right? You have an Islamic Organisation and an Islamic Association and an Islamic Party and these things, (we don’t want to name them, you know them; you should know this information. OK- come to them. Let’s first of all take them on in their geographical areas. We are here in the United States and we have these Islamic types of orientations with their different names and labels and all of this- you come to them and ask them why is it not in your study group, your leadership (and) your strategizing? Why don’t you speak about the legitimacy of the system that is around? There’s a system here- a power structure/an Establishment/a Regime/a governing class, all of that exists… (Take a) look at all of their studies/ all of their research/all of their speeches, (we tell you from what we know and from experience), you will not find statements/you will not find decisions/you will not find orientation that de-legitimizes this power structure. Meaning all of the history of Prophets and all of the Sunnah of the last Prophet, (as it is used currently), is absent from their programs/from their planning. It doesn’t exist. If you go outside of the US geography and you go to other places where Muslims are supposed to be pre-dominant such as in Arabia- we speak about Arabia because Makkah and Al Madinah are there; we’re not picking on them. If anyone else was in Arabia besides the current rulers and they’re behaving in the same way, we’re going to say the same thing. It’s not because they are Aal Saud; it’s not because they are Kings and Monarchs and this; it’s because of their power structure/their power allegiance/their power inferiority- ask these Islamic Movements “what do you think about the legitimacy of the Saudi Rulers.” This is a prohibited question. You go with this question to these figures in the Islamic Movements. You have names out there/up-front- leaders/spokespersons/ideologues/thinkers/commentators- ask them “what do you think of the legitimacy of those who are ruling Makkah and Al Madinah? Are they legitimate or are they not legitimate?” Is there a gap in the Qur’an and in the Prophet that doesn’t tell us how to evaluate that system/that ruling class of people? Is the Qur’an and the Prophet deficient? They didn’t leave us enough information by which we can look at these rulers and say to them with the conviction from Allah and the words from Allah and the struggle from His Prophet “you are illegitimate.” These are the words that are absent from what is called ad Da’wah. Do they have these programs about Da’wah around? This is absent from what is called At Tableegh. You know all of these movements concerning Tableegh. No one questions the legitimacy of those who rule Arabia and the Prophet of Allah’s first concern was to tell that ruling class in Arabia at that time (that) they were illegitimate- prayers aside, fasting aside, and all of these rituals aside. Do we know more about Islam than Allah’s Prophet? Some of us think we do and they swear on it that they are the best followers of Allah’s Prophet and they have this gashing gap from which Allah’s enemies come through and they carry the day and you can’t argue with these fervent ritualistic Muslims! Their Islam is way beyond everyone and everything. They’re beyond question and this is a prime example. (Take a) look- the Prophet of Allah went with a small number of people and this small number of people continued until the liberation of Makkah. The Muslims were not a large number of people; they were not numerous. They were small; they were few and look at today. (Take a) look at those who can count hundreds of thousands and millions and in some instances tens of millions who belong to their organization and movement and with that, they still have not mustered the courage to question the legitimacy of illegitimate rulers. They still haven’t done it! What’s going on? What’s wrong? Why have we reached (a point) where everyone is satisfied? We look around and they think “O Allah we are your most faithful” and they don’t have the nerves, they don’t have the manhood to stand up and have a look at these power structures in the eye and say publicly for everyone to hear “you are not legitimate. You have to go and you have to be replaced with another order, another strategy and another plan of justice.” When that begins we will have a serious polarization as was the case in the history of Prophethood. In today’s world, reality has it that some of these Islamic types want to become part of the illegitimate system?! They want to become members of Parliament, they want to become Ambassadors and they are! This is no joke! The very system that is illegitimate that they should be challenging- no! They say they want to become part of it! Even when it crushes them- the system comes down on them. The Establishment, the power structure from-time-to-time, (we don’t have to repeat this to you; you know just in the past twenty/thirty years). (Take a) look at these different areas in the Muslim world. These systems come down on them. They throw them in prison; they torture them; they hang them; they do all sorts of inhumane acts to them and then their leaders come out and say “but we want to be part of the system.” There’s an agreement between some of these Islamic Movements and some of these Monarchies or some of these ruling classes, (i.e.), “you don’t mention the king with any type of criticism. You can criticize a Minister, you can criticize the Prime Minister, you can criticize some other official but you can’t criticize the Head of State.” These Islamic types of movements, (as they are called), wind up becoming part (of the system). You see, this was offered to Allah’s Prophet- they know this! It’s not information they don’t know. They know Allah’s Prophet was offered this type of thing- you recognize our legitimacy, we recognize your legitimacy- they said that. Come let’s reach an agreement. He said no. But these people are not saying no! So because of this silence- the silence of those who have knowledge- we have the hard times that we are in.
Some people have an argument about the ismah- who is ma’sum. It’s a verbal argument. But if we look at today’s real world, the rulers are ma’sums- not in fact. In fact they’re furthest from it. They’re criminals! How can they be (ma’sum); but because of the silence no one criticizes them, no one assesses them, no one tells them “you’re making a mistake. You are wrong.” No one says that so they turn out to be “hey they’re infallible.” No one is sizing up the Emperor. In fact, we have infallibles who are ruling us. Don’t misunderstand us. Some people will take this one sentence and say “look what he said.” No- no. Don’t take one sentence?! Put it in the context. We’ve been speaking here- this belongs to a context and at the end of the day we will be held accountable
We want to take this from a Hanbali source. There’s a piece of information from a book called Min Jawami’il kalim, which means something like Extracts from the most eloquent/most telling statements and this is by ibn Rajab Al Hanbali. (Do you want something more than that?) He says quoting Ash Shaykh Fudhayl ibn Iyadh when a committed Muslim does something wrong, you give him something like a sitar because he doesn’t do it out of malice or he doesn’t do it out of a criminal nature, you give him advice; but then a faajir… Like these rulers of today- they’re out-and-out in your face, “this is what I’m going to do to you. We’ll kill you.” The Pharoah of all time said
يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُم
… we will kill you, we will kill your children and we will keep your womenfolk alive for us… (Surah Al Qasas verse 4)
(Whichever meaning that may play itself out). So this type of faajir, (which means) … you rip him of the camouflage that he has and then you evaluate him with words that will injure his character. (It) seems like no one listens, especially these people who call themselves Hanbalis.
Our dear brothers and sisters…
In light of what was just said in the previous Khutbah,-(the Khutbah a few minutes ago), we spoke about our positions as Muslims and how it compares with the history of Prophets and the history of the followers of Prophets and we don't look very good. Now, let us compare ourselves with those who don't call themselves Muslims but who are keen on social justice. We don't know, (but we think), you may be hearing bits and pieces about some individuals who may have whatever religious backgrounds they may have- but not Muslim; (or) whatever civic background they may have- it is not Islamic but what are they doing? They’ve been demonstrating in New York and they’ve been demonstrating in other cities in this country. What are they demonstrating against? The same power structure, the same ruling class that the Muslims don't have the courage to say that “it is illegitimate.” Now, what is wrong with Muslims if you come out and show your public displeasure and opposition to the power structure- have demonstrations and all this. That may be going a little too far this time but look- these are non- Muslims and they are beginning in different cities around to express in their own way the illegitimacy of a system that has gone bankrupt. A Government that many Muslims are so infatuated with- “Aah the American dream… We want to be in America… The United States…” It’s a hollow structure. There’s no substance to it but the Muslims can’t see! They can't see the correct information that comes to them from Allah and they can't see/ evaluate the value of the society that they are so enamored with. We don't look good when we compare ourselves to Prophets and their history; we don't look good when we compare ourselves to thinking people and their history. Where are we? Ask yourself “where are we?” And - seems like we’re always few when these things happen- when the few Muslims have the courage to stand for justice and to express the truth to power then the majority of the other Muslims begin to point the finger “wait a minute I think they’re crazy or I think they’re out of step or they are irrational or they are lunatics or they are just not smart enough.” All of these accusations and much more went the way of Prophets.
وَإِن يَكَادُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَيُزْلِقُونَكَ بِأَبْصَارِهِمْ لَمَّا سَمِعُوا الذِّكْرَ وَيَقُولُونَ إِنَّهُ لَمَجْنُونٌ
وَمَا هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
And those who deny Allah would almost smite you with their eyes when they hear the reminder, and they say: Most surely he is mad. But it is nothing other than Adh Dhikr to the worlds. (Surah Al Qalam verse 51-52)
Once again, we discover, when we juxtapose ourselves to men of Allah/men of God and we compare ourselves to our fellow men, we have nothing to be proud of ourselves here. It’s all because of us.