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,
Allah says, and we want you to pay close attention to these ayaat- and the ayaat proceed until the end of the surah- Surah Al Fajr. We have visited these ayaat before and as is the feature of Allah’s words and phrases and meanings, they keep on giving extra meaning for those who keep on giving Allah extra efforts. This is the interaction or the interplay between Allah and we who within a certain range of dedication or commitment respond to Him- some of us more than others (and) others of us less than others. If you can- with all the experience and with all the explanations that you have in your mind and in your life- come now to try to grasp another level of meanings of these ayaat. The first set of ayaat have to do with physical laws.
By the dawn. (Surah Al Fajr verse 1)
I or you or anyone in this world- with or without power, with or without authority- cannot impose our will on this daily phenomenon- al fajr.
And a selected sequence of ten nights. (Surah Al Fajr verse 2)
Does anyone control a night? Does anyone administer a day? These are physical laws.
For those who study mathematics there are odd numbers and there are even numbers. Is there anything else?
And the even and the odd. (Surah Al Fajr verse 3)
This is also a part of the physical understanding of the world that we are in.
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَسْرِ
And, now, the movement of the night. (Surah Al Fajr verse 4)
Whether it is the night of a twenty-four hour period or whether it is the night in the history of societies and civilizations. That is also something you and I (and) no other mortal human being can or could control. These are qasams/oaths. Then the question is
هَلْ فِي ذَٰلِكَ قَسَمٌ لِّذِي حِجْرٍ
Can anyone in possession of their mind, of their thinking, of their intellect interfere with the most solemn words or with the most serious authority in (what you just listened to from Allah)? (Surah Al Fajr verse 5)
No one! When you and I and any thinking human being come to our selves we know that these are physical laws that have been applied from the beginning of history and will continue to be applied until its end. This is the first set of ayaat in Surah Al Fajr.
Then we come to the second set of ayaat in Surah Al Fajr. Here there’s a shift from physical laws, which we have no influence over, to social historical laws. This is a new area that Allah wants us to focus our attention on. Here He is speaking about societies, civilizations, establishments, power structures; (there’s) no physical laws here. Of course there are physical laws that apply to them in their own milieu but the focus of attention now is away from that and we come to the human being in his collective construct.
أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِعَادٍ
Have you not seen what your Sustainer has done with Aad? (Surah Al Fajr verse 6)
Suffice it here to know (that) Aad is one of these power civilizational, establishmentarian power structures that no longer exist.
إِرَمَ ذَاتِ الْعِمَادِ
This was a super power that had itself well established. (Surah Al Fajr verse 7)
So Allah wants you and me who are reading these ayaat to consider, to observe, to learn what happened to these civilisations- a civilization that had a construction character to it referred to in these ayaat as al imaad. Imaad is the support system of whatever is built in a civilization and this support system they had obviously comes from physical knowledge. You can’t have modernity and a civilization when you’re void a physical knowledge in reference to the first four ayaat that we were speaking about. So Allah gives this access of information to people who understand these physical laws and then go on to misunderstand the social laws that go along with them; and that is why they are destroyed.
الَّتِي لَمْ يُخْلَقْ مِثْلُهَا فِي الْبِلَادِ
Aad had a support system that had no equivalent anywhere in any country. (Surah Al Fajr verse 8)
Then our attention moves on a historical line to another society of a civilizational and a modernistic feature. Here we are looking at another superpower, another superstructure, another super civilization in history. Where is it? What happened to it? Think Muslims! Allah is inviting you to think. These ayaat are not meant to be read to put you to sleep. These ayaat are not meant to numb your mind. They come to you to stimulate you.
وَثَمُودَ الَّذِينَ جَابُوا الصَّخْرَ بِالْوَادِ
Another feature of their civilization mountains become high rises. (Surah Al Fajr verse 9)
The Pharaoh, the Pharaonic system in Egypt, known in secular history books and in religious history books is another exemplification of how high and mighty superpower structures are. We mentioned this previously and we will remind you here that the physical demonstration of the Egyptian civilization in reference to Phiraun or the Pharaonic ruling class in addition to some of the other scientific breakthroughs that they had- the mummification of the human body; something that contemporary science in our current civilization construct and progress and technological breakthroughs still can’t explain- so those who are in these fields of knowledge and science tell us. Then we had the pyramids.
وَفِرْعَوْنَ ذِي الْأَوْتَادِ
And the Pharoah who has these fixed structures. (Surah Al Fajr verse 10)
And up until know we still haven’t had scientists who can explain to us the function of the pyramids on the deserts of Egypt. We know that the Qur’anic wording of awtaad is the plural of watad and in many references in the Qur’an Allah speaks about mountains as awtaad and rawasi. So the human knowledge in the Egypt of the Pharaohs had progressed to such a degree that they realized that they needed stabilizers on the crust of the Earth. This wasn’t just for cosmetic purpose that they built pyramids there because the ayah tells us so- dhi al awtaad not dhi al ahram. So what comes from this physical demonstration of civilizational accomplishments? What’s this supposed to mean to us? Listen to the ayah carefully. This is an oxymoron of sorts. On the one hand the Pharoanic system has what it takes in the physical world of sciences and of discoveries and then in the same breath (and) in the same line of descriptions how was their social policies?
الَّذِينَ طَغَوْا فِي الْبِلَادِ
but those were policies of aggression. (Surah Al Fajr verse 11)
Which tells you and I, (if we read and understand what Allah is telling us), that yes it is quite possible that we will have advanced technological power structures and with it we will have well established tyranny and despotism. Now the issue of social corruption in the lands that are ruled by these types of classes of governors and rulers. What is it?
فَأَكْثَرُوا فِيهَا الْفَسَادَ
A breeding of corruption, a multiplication of chaos, a spreading instability. (Surah Al Fajr verse 12)
What’s the result? Aad, Thamud and Phiraun what was the end?
فَصَبَّ عَلَيْهِمْ رَبُّكَ سَوْطَ عَذَابٍ
Allah poured upon then a lash of torment. (Surah Al Fajr verse 13)
What happens to them when they, with all of their accomplishments to their credit in the physical world, corrupted themselves by their social character- and this breaks down to their political polices, their economic schemes, their banking systems, their financial transactions and on and on? Their knowledge of physical knowledge did not save them from their abuse of the social laws. Obviously Allah wants us to think about these ayaat because today we have a Muslim mind out there (that) when you come and you combine social issues with Qur’anic ayaat (and) political developments with Qur’anic verses they can’t figure this out! It’s alien to them! If they are reading this book from Allah with objective and opened minds then they will know that all of these factors come together. You can’t separate a personal being from a social being. Each one of us have these elements in us and that is why the following set of ayaat sort of go to the root of this problem. Remember, the first seven ayaat in this surah were physical laws; the second set of ayaat in this surah refer to social and historical laws; now we come to the third set of ayaat in this surah. Here we get to the core of the issue. The human being- you and I, al insaan- is used in reference to one person and al insaan is used in reference to one humanity. If you trace and trail this word in the Qur’an you will find that it interplays between the individual/singular and the plural. When it comes to this insaan in his personal character or in his social character
فَأَمَّا الْإِنسَانُ إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ رَبُّهُ
When this Insan, in his personal or social character, is put to test by His Sustainer; Allah puts this type of living entity to a test … (Surah Al Fajr verse 15)
What’s the test here?
فَأَمَّا الْإِنسَانُ إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَأَكْرَمَهُ وَنَعَّمَهُ
When this Insan is put to test by His Sustainer; His Sustainer honors him and gives him the leisures and the luxuries of life that makes him gentle… (Surah Al Fajr verse 15)
The word in the Qur’an (i.e.) it’s as if the people who coined this word in the English language had access to this scripture; they say “a gentle man.” The word gentle is the word na’amah. This is our human nature that speaks to us in our bosoms, in our internal self: we have riches, we have money, we have affluence we begin to think
فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَكْرَمَنِ
O: Allah has honored and dignified me. (Surah Al Fajr verse 15)
This is a test that you are in, (but) you are not observing the elements of this test! You’re superficially judging because of al ikram and al in’aam.
فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَكْرَمَنِ
O: Allah has honored and dignified me. (Surah Al Fajr verse 15)
Once again there are other tests in life.
وَأَمَّا إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ فَقَدَرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقَهُ
There are other types of human beings and human societies that are subjected to a limitation of sustenance and livelihood and produce and productions, in other words, they’re poor… (Surah Al Fajr verse 16)
How do they react? How to they respond? How do they reply?
فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَهَانَنِ
… Allah, my Sustainer, has dis-honored me, has assaulted me, disgraced me. (Surah Al Fajr verse 16)
Please brothers and sisters- we are reading ayaat here that go together; don’t fragment your understanding of these ayaat in the immediacy of following ayaat, understand them in the context. We’re trying to explain and elucidate this context for you. The first set of ayaat- physical laws; the second set of ayaat- social laws; the third set of ayaat that we are dealing with here amount to something like psychological laws in our human nature, in our human disposition. This is our spontaneous answer to these trials and these tests in life. And then, what’s the following word?
Absolutely not… (Surah Al Fajr verse 17)
This is a firm no to those two answers. Allah’s saying no, that’s not the case but why is it that our human nature feels this way and then thinks this way? There are theories and philosophies and ideologies extracted from the root meanings of this ayah. Allah says
That is definitely not the case … (Surah Al Fajr verse 17)
You’re thinking that Allah has honored you just because you’re rich and you, (the other human being or it could be the same human being if he is taken out of one context and placed in another one), just because you don’t have the means and you don’t have the wherewithal you say that Allah has defamed or disgraced you. You see- your problem is that whichever side you fall in, in this trial life,
بَل لَّا تُكْرِمُونَ الْيَتِيمَ
… you don’t honor the orphan. (Surah Al Fajr verse 17)
And along with the orphan are all status of life that are excluded from the fast lane of life.
وَلَا تَحَاضُّونَ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ
You’re not concerned with having a systemic concern for those who don’t have a livelihood; you’re not offering food for those who work and are still hungry. (Surah Al Fajr verse 18)
This is the problem with individuals and this is the problem of societies; it is the problem of power structures, it is the problem of civilizations. (Take a) look at the way these power structures- they devour the resources of society and the Earth and how they monopolise the fruits of labour and finances and monetary instruments. (It’s) as if these ayaat are not speaking about ancient civilizations even though ancient civilizations were mentioned to us here; but they speaking about us today, the current civilizations that have mastered the physical laws and have bastered the social laws. This is what it’s talking about. But do we have Muslims who are tuned in? Obviously not. We have a system of Masajid in this world who want to tune us out of these vital meanings. If we can understand Allah with these life-giving meanings we would have discharged our responsibilities.
Dear committed brothers and committed sisters on As Siraat Al Mustaqeem…
As you may have realized, by moving your mind in the context of these ayaat recited for you from surah Al Fajr, it’s not out of order for a Muslim to speak about the world that we are in when it comes to a power perspective. This is not something funny in Islam. This is not an odd-ball presentation when a person speaks about these issues but unfortunately because the general Muslim public in the course of generations have been alienated from this depth of meaning (if) a person such as yours brotherly here who wants to open a contemporary issue in light of these ayaat and the Prophet’s teachings of these ayaat some people think “well, this is not a khutbah.” This is how alienated Muslims of today have become. Why is this not a khutbah? If we speak in today’s world about an Islamic revolution that is on par with the civilizations or the social forces that are mentioned in the Qur’an- in the good verses of the Qur’an- why has this become odd, objectionable to some Muslims? If Allah speaks about the tyranny of Phiraun vis-a-vis Bani Isra’eel we can speak about that. When these ayaat in the first ten ayaat in Surah Al Qasas speak about the tyranny of the Pharaoh vis a vis Bani Isra’eel that is fine; you can speak about that. It’s a historical lesson. It is something that happened thousand of years ago. This is how the passive Muslim mind reacts and this is how the establishment want to brainwash all of us. When we come and we say we take the meanings of these ayaat, the Pharaoh and Bani Isra’eel, those who abuse power and those who are abused by power and we put it in today’s world (i.e.) the equivalent of the Pharaoh today… Are we supposed to open up our eyes and detect and discover the Pharaohs of today or not? Banu Isra’eel, the Children of Isra’eel who were neglected, enslaved, indentured labour, third class citizens, discriminated against. Oh! You can see them in history, That’s OK. That’s fine because there is about three-thousand years dividing us from them or more but if you come and you want to detect the same type of people today- no you can’t do that?! The secular world will tell you “this is mixing religion with politics” and the traditional religious world will tell you “this is a bid’a” and both of them- as in the previous ayah- are absolutely wrong. Allah doesn’t want us to live in a dream world of historical past He wants us to learn the history of that historical past so that we can function according to His laws and His morality in today’s time, in today’s world. If a person who wants to speak about the Islamic revolution in Iran- this is another step. How dare you say these types of things because now there is a warfare against these types people who broke all of these innuendo, these accusations the stereotypes, the hypnosis of religion. They broke out that and offered their lives, (as should be the case with all of the committed Muslims), and withstood the cause of thirty-three years and still some Muslims feel “how can I speak about this subject when they are no ayaat and no ahadith to support my presentation?” The reason why you don’t find ayaat and ahadith to support your Islamic sermon or your Islamic lecture about the Islamic revolution in Iran is simply because you’ve been brainwashed by an establishment, by those who have the structures of power in this world to go to the Masjid and listen to a lullaby khutbah and then leave back to real life without any positive character transition from the Masjid to real life. This is the world we are living in. On this day at this time- this is known as the day and the hour of taqwa. On this day we acknowledge the taqwa that has been sustained for thirty-three years; the taqwa of who are of Allah against all the sycophants who come out of the Masajid every year now multiply thirty-three years by fifty-two Jum’ahs every year and you will find that these Muslims, our brothers and sisters, have been going through hundreds of khutbahs that are supposed to be centred about the issue and the concept of taqwa at this time every week and we find only a scant amount of them who have gained this taqwa to speak truth to the power of the oppressors and the superpowers that claim that they can fashion the policies of the world.
Oh Allah we ask, we plead, we beg, that You give us the strength to step out of a defeated character and into a re-energized character- re-energized by Your guidance and by the teachings of Your Prophet and by the sacrifices of Your devout and Your sincere subjects and servants.