The ritualistic mis-understanding of Islam Part 6

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Rabi' al-Thani 16, 1433 2012-03-09

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,

We are guided by Allah and the meanings that have been expressed to us by him. Allah says

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ فَلَا تَدْعُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ أَحَدًا

Certainly Masajid are Allah’s therefore you, (the committed Muslims), do not evoke anyone besides Him. (Surah Al Jinn verse 18)

This point we tried to clarify in the past. There’s another ayah in Surah Al Anfal- the ayah thirty-four- in which Allah describes those who are in control of Al Masjid Al Haram at that time and if the conditions repeat themselves, at this time.

وَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَا كَانُوا أَوْلِيَاءَهُ

… and they, (meaning the Mushrik managers of Al Masjid Al Haram), repel from it, deter from it and they are not to be considered the Awliya’ of this Masjid, (either in the proprietors of this Masjid or the people chosen for maintaining this Masjid or the protectors of this Masjid)… (Surah Al Anfal verse 34)

In this realm of meanings, these Mushriks don’t belong here. Now we had a class of rulers in Arabia to whom this ayah is speaking and exposing. They shouldn’t be the maintainers and the custodians and the protectors of this Holy sanctuary. So what is Allah telling us to concentrate our attention on? The first part of this ayah

وَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ

… and they cause people to deflect from Al Masjid Al Haram or they detract people from Al Masjid Al Haram... (Surah Al Anfal verse 34)

But how is this? This ayah was revealed in a human condition in which people flocked to Al Masjid Al Haram, (in which there were) people who were going to Al Masjid Al Haram in droves during the time of the Hajj each year, during the Umrah in the other months of the year. So there is a meaning to be probed here. These Mushriks were not detracting or distracting from Al Masjid Al Haram if we were looking at this in the physical meaning of the word. The ritual and ceremonial rites of Prophet Ibrahim (alayhi as salaam) were still there and people were coming to Al Masjid Al Haram. So what is it? How does this ayah gain its practical, lively and pertinent meaning? The way the Mushriks of antiquity and the Mushriks of today distract and deter and deflect and bar from Al Masjid Al Haram is not in the physical sense per se even though that is, in today’s world, part of this meaning. They can issue visas and permissions to whomever they want and they can withhold it from whomever they want; but the meaning here is much more significant than what first meets the eye. They used to repel people from the livelihood of the message that is meant to radiate from Al Masjid Al Haram. That’s how this ayah exposes them and condemns them. Al Masjid Al Haram and Makkah itself have been at that time and continue to be today under ritualistic siege- that’s how the deterrence is. In order for us to understand this, we would have to go back to the common information that we have and look at it with probing minds. We live in a world (where-in) what is imposed on Makkah is by extension imposed on the rest of the Muslims everywhere. Not only is Makkah under ritualistic siege but Muslims everywhere are under ritualistic siege!

Listen- brothers and sisters- with the taqwa that we are conscious of at this hour- we, (meaning) the average Muslim, understand that the rituals of Islam were revealed during the Makkan era. The fact of the matter is- if we were to be disciplined enough and not swayed by money and not softened up by the status quo, just us and our Allah-given heart and mind together- if we were to look at the facts on the ground that teach us from the time of Allah’s Prophet, we would find that most of the rituals that we cling to today religiously and fervently are attributed to the Madinian era, not the Makkan era. We want this fact to settle into your heart of hearts. Also, the mannerisms of Muslims (and) the morals of Muslims, (i.e.) what became the religious culture of Muslims was a by-product- unlike what many think of Makkah- but a by-product of Madinah when Muslims had power, when Muslims had economics, when Muslims began to have control of their own social life. Let us begin to break this religious siege...

The regulation of as Salah itself, (you’re at salah al jum’ah and you perform your five salawaat everyday), the current definitions that we have of as salah were revealed to Allah’s Prophet ten years after the first word from heaven. Ten years after Iqra’ we began to acquire the details of our salah- during the last months or the last couple of years of the Prophet’s presence in Makkah. So what was as salah before that? Muslims were praying. You read in the books of history and seerah that Muslims were praying. What were they praying? What were they doing? They were praying two rak’aat at the beginning of the day and two rak’aat at the end of the day- that’s how they were praying. Then, as the months went by, these two rak’aat were extended from the beginning of the day and it’s and then we had in addition to that Dhuhr time and Asr time, but it was still only two rak’aat. We don’t have the details pertaining to Maghrib salah that were three rak’aat; but this was part of the Prophet’s sunnah. Now we want to ask you: did the Prophet’s sunnah begin in Al Madinah because we follow Allah’s Prophet, but do we follow him when he was in a struggle with the status quo power structure of Arabia when he was in Makkah. Obviously he was, but why are we less capable of understanding that he also stands for a sunnah when he was in Makkah? If the conditions re-arrange themselves in our time to be similar if not carbon copy conditions to when the Prophet was in Makkah, then doesn’t the Prophet’s sunnah when he was in Makkah apply to us? This is a serious question that has to be answered with knowledge, not with traditions (and) not with money.

Today- Masha’Allah- Muslims build Masjids left and right regardless of the conditions. No one is looking at having a Masjid or not having a Masjid as it should be defined in the conditions and the context that we are in. No one is doing that. “Oh- we have some money (and) Muslims become generous. They want to build Masjids- let’s go collect money and build a Masjid somewhere.” That’s how it’s done. No one is looking at a Masjid in a social context. That wasn’t the case with Allah’s Prophet. When Allah’s Prophet was in Makkah he did not build one Masjid. Thirteen years (and) he didn’t build one Masjid. You tell us- isn’t this the sunnah of Allah’s Prophet, (i.e.) not to build a Masjid? Not to build a Masjid was the sunnah of Allah’s Prophet! You come and tell that to the average Muslim around who’s under this ritualistic trance or within this ritualistic siege (and he’ll say) “the sunnah of Allah’s Prophet is not to build a Masjid?! What are you talking about?” Yes- that was his sunnah for thirteen years. In Makkah he didn’t build a Masjid. And, when a Masjid was built for ulterior purposes reasons when a Masjid- Masjid Ad Dirar- was built to deter from Allah, the Prophet ordered that Masjid to be destroyed. At one time his sunnah was don’t build Masajid and at another time a Masjid goes up to destroy the leadership of Allah’s Prophet and Allah’s Prophet words were to bring that Masjid down. So the first Masjid that was built-Masjid Quba’- was built in Al Madinah, not Makkah. This is Allah’s sunnah meaning His social law and the Prophet’s sunnah meaning the application in a systemic way and in a social way of Allah’s law.

The qiblah that we pray towards was finalized when the Prophet was in Al Madinah. According to some history books, eighteen months after the Prophet was in Al Madinah he finalized our qiblah towards Al Masjid Al Haram in Makkah. Before that (and) during all of these years where did the Prophet and the committed Muslims pray towards? What was the direction? It was Al Quds, Jerusalem; to Al Masjid Al Aqsa.

Even the instructions about al adhan- these are things we take for granted, we never think about it- and al wudhu we find in Surah Al Maa’idah. Surah Al Maa’idah is a surah that was revealed in Al Madinah and one of the last surahs to be revealed in Al Madinah. In the same surah we will find information pertaining to al ghusl and at tayamm’mum. Some Muslims who are in this religious trance think all of these things were clarified and settled in Makkah. No, they weren’t. The Mushriks used to know al ghusl. Al ghusl wasn’t a new concept. The Mushriks, because they were in their own ways and in their own minds followers of Ibrahim and Isma’eel (alayhima as salaam) still had the concept of al ghusl, the full bath that we are required to take on certain occasions. We find this in the Makkan Mushrik society. One of the Mushriks said after their defeat at Badr he will not take al ghusl until he extracts his revenge against the Muslims. Fatimah (radi Allahu anha), the sister of Umar ibn Al Khattab (radi Allahu anhu) told him when he wanted to read the Qur’an you go and take a ghusl before you open and read this book. So the concept of ghusl was there; the rituals were there in Makkah just like they are today- Makkah has its rituals. So we find the details of these, what we call ritualistic issues, in Surah An Nisa’ and in Surah Al Maa’idah which were revealed overwhelmingly in Al Madinah. The same thing can be said about abbreviating as salah- instead of praying four rak’aat, you pray two rak’aat in the case of travelling. The same thing is said about the salah of fear, salah al khawf.

Then, there was no salah al jum’ah in Makkah. This was the sunnah of Allah’s Prophet. Why was there no salah al jum’ah in Makkah? Does it have to do with society or not? If Makkah was an Islamic society, there would have been salah al jum’ah in Makkah. It wasn’t an Islamic society, it was an anti-Islamic order and therefore there’s no salah al jum’ah. Some ritualistic Muslims just follow traditions. Some of them go to jum’ah because of the trance that they are in- every jum’ah they automatically go to jum’ah regardless of what society and the power structure around is! Other Muslims at the other end of the spectrum don’t go to salah al jum’ah at all even if they have an Islamic state. They say “no- it’s not our obligation to go to salah al jum’ah .” Both of these are not right. They’re not looking at the social dynamics that are around and they’re not learning from the Prophet.

Salah Al Eidayn- when did the two salahs that we pray, eid al fitr and eid al adha, come into existence? In an Islamic society (and) in an Islamic system (and) in an Islamic state- that’s when we had them. Before that they didn’t exist and you want to tell us that Allah’s Prophet did not know how to arrange these affairs?!

We come to the fasting of Ramadhan. In all of the Makkan era the Muslims didn’t fast as we understand fasting to be today. There was no Ramadhan. They may have fasted with the remnants of the information they had from the time of Ibrahim and Isma’eel. You know, when you get to Islamic issues there’s someone who disputes this and says that… but when it comes to this issue there is no dispute; when it comes to the issue of fasting Ramadhan, sahar time, iftar time, the information we have about fasting- it is a consensual issue that the ayaat that were revealed about fasting that we quote every Ramadhan were revealed in Al Madinah.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

O you who are secure in your commitment to Allah, siyam, fasting has been assigned to you as it was to those who preceded you … for the purpose of taqwa, so that you may gain or so that you may ingrain in you this component of taqwa. (Surah Al Baqarah verse 183)

Also, explaining voluntary fasting, siyam at tataw’wu’,was also done in Al Madinah.

Az zakah itself was mentioned in the ayaat revealed in Makkah eleven times and in the ayaat revealed in Al Madinah it was mentioned twenty times. The details of the quantity of zakah and the channels of zakah were not mentioned in Makkah; they were mentioned when the Muslims became a social and a structural power reality in Al Madinah. Then, just spending, al infaq, was mentioned only seven times in the ayaat revealed in Makkah but it was mentioned forty-four times in the ayaat revealed in Al Madinah. Not once was the word sadaqah mentioned in the ayaat revealed in Makkah; it was mentioned twenty-two times in the ayaat revealed in Al Madinah. The details about zakah are mentioned in surah At Tawbah and surah At Tawbah was revealed in Al Madinah. The same Madani ayaat revealed in surah Al An’am. There was no such thing as zakah al fitr in Makkah until the Muslims became who they were in Al Madinah.

Then, the first and the last time all the manasik of the hajj were outlined to the Muslims was during hajjat al wada’, not before that. There was umrah al qada’, (that we spoke about previously), in the two to three years before the Prophet passed on and there were some details pertaining to the umrah. The same thing can be said about salah ad adha. There was salah al adha when the Prophet was in Al Madinah and he had no access to Al Masjid Al Haram in Makkah; but yet every year he was sacrificing. Being denied access to Makkah doesn’t mean you deny yourself the rewards of the sacrifices.

What do we mean by all of this? is does this humble speaker of yours trying to say to you at this time? We’re trying to say that many times, (and this is borne out by experience), the problem is our enemies understand us better than we understand ourselves. We don’t like to say this; it’s hard for us to say this but it’s the truth. Our enemies understand us more than we understand ourselves. Our enemies (i.e.) those who are in-charge of our affairs, we’re not talking about the average Joe Smou around! We’re talking about people who are making decisions, people who are thinking out policies and people who are strategizing- they understand Allah and His Prophet better than we understand Allah and His Prophet. This is a shame! We never looked at our history, we never looked at our seerah with critical minds (and) with critical minds so that we can break out of traditions that are wrong on the right and wrong on the left. Can’t we just mature enough to listen to Allah and His Prophet in context relevant to the world that we are responsible for? Can’t we at least do that?

Dear Brothers, dear sisters, dear committed Muslims…

What we have just said is relevant to what we are just going to say. Outlining and understanding Allah and His Prophet is more urgent today than at any other time. Today, in this world, there is now a fad (and) a political and social wave that seeks to apply- this is what we hear and this is what we understand (from) the Islamic types who now are riding a popular wave tell us what is all of this about if a person who is curious and approaches them and presents them with a question seeking a sincere answer. The Islamic side is not giving a diplomatic answer (and) it is not giving a press conference answer; it is giving a sincere answer. What is all this Islamic parties, Islamic uprising, Islamic awakening, Islamic movement about? Can you put it in a nut-shell? What is all this about? They say “yes.” In the majority of cases the answer is going to be “it’s about the application of the shari’ah.” That answer has burled itself in Western society. Right now, they’re trying to scare people saying “look- the Muslims want shari’ah law. Muslims are worked up now because they want to bring us their laws and enforce it upon us.” Of course, we know this is boulder-dash. There’s no such thing. Muslims don’t want to impose laws on anyone- not on themselves and not on anyone else. Laws are an outgrowth of the moral character of individual and society together. Those are laws. We don’t come and impose laws on Muslims who don’t want it or on non- Muslims who don’t want it. This is not in the character of Islamic history, Prophetic history, scriptural history- it’s not there. We have to clear the air on this. So you ask this average Muslim, (especially the ones that come out of Islamic Centers like this), “you say you want the application of shari’ah” or someone would tell you “the shar’a of Allah. That’s what you want- OK.” We tell them in this world there are three nation states who clamor and boast about their application of shariah: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Sudan; and someone else may argue Afghanistan or argue Malaysia or argue Turkey. All of these say “they are applying shari’ah.” You take a look at these societies. (A sub-note here is the Islamic Republic doesn’t make a central point of applying the shari’ah. It’s concerned with Islamic laws but it’s not over-playing it, especially in a way that gives opportunities to the enemies to use this as they are doing now in our time and in our context. (When) you look at these societies, especially Saudi Arabia, has the shari’ah there eliminated poverty? We ask you- they have all of this wealth and they say “they apply shari’ah law”; have they eliminated hunger? Just the other week in this country there was a Saudi member who was asking for handouts to be able to send one member of his family to hospital. Is this shari’ah? Is there a scientific advancement in that country, that should come obviously from going by Allah’s laws? Is there social justice in Arabia where they claim “they have shari’ah law”? Is there equality? Of course, the answer is no. Anyone with an average mind and a minimum amount of information, (you don’t need a library to get an answer here), so what’s the application of shari’ah law? What does it mean? A person will come and say “shari’ah law is one thing and those who are applying it is something else.” OK- we can see that point. That’s true. They are mis-applying the laws of Islam (and) getting away with the partial application of it and getting away with the partial absence of it. Besides our geographical look at things, let’s take now a historical look at things. We ask you, this shari’ah law aspect- that these Islamic parties and movements are trumping up- was it not applied during the time of the Umawis, during the time of the Abbasis, during the time of the Mamluks, during the time of the Safawis, during the time of the Ottomans? Didn’t you have shari’ah law applied? What happed on the watch of shari’ah law? One of the most tragic events of Islamic history happened when shari’ah law was being applied. The tragedy of Karbala’’ happened when there was shari’ah law in the land! So is this a panacea? Is just the application of shari’ah law without a spirit (and) without a heart a panacea for the Islamic or the human condition? Shari’ah law was applied when the Umawis used the catapult to destroy the Ka’bah, when they crucified sahaba in Makkah, when they raped Muslim women in Arabia! Shari’ah law was the canonical order of the day! Is that what we want? Is that what the Muslims want? We, the Muslims in the world, had shari’ah law all the way up until about one-hundred years ago (but) why does it live in our popular memory that we only have five or six Khulafa’- even though the others used (or) monopolized that title for themselves but in the public memory of the Muslims there’s Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Al Imam Al Hassan and Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (radi Allahu anhum)? Where’s the rest? Who are those? They were responsible for shari’ah law- why don’t you call them khulafa’ Rasulillah?! The problem is we haven’t taken a look at our own selves! You want to apply shari’ah law- who do you want to apply it to? The poor man?! A person who steals because he wants to support his family?! Is that who? That’s what’s being done in Arabia. Every once and then you come across a news item (where) a Bangladeshi or an Indian or a Pakistani or a Nigerian or a Sudanese or an Ethiopian Muslim had their head chopped off in the public square after jum’ah prayers. That’s shari’ah law!? How about these people- the kings, the princes, the emirs, the muluk- who are stealing budgets and treasuries and the resources of the earth? Doesn’t shari’ah law apply to them? A person, Haatib ibn Abi Balta’a (radi Allahu anhu), in the time of Allah’s Prophet had some workers for him, (some history books say slaves), and they stole a camel and they slaughtered it. What applies to them? What do you do with thieves who steal a good amount of money (the) Islamic law is well known.

وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُوا أَيْدِيَهُمَا

A male or a female person who steals, you amputate… (Surah Al Maa’idah verse 38)

OK- that’s what’s there in the book. So these people stole in a time when Muslims still had the character and the heart and the meaning of Islam in them and so the Khalifah at the time, Umar, called them, OK, come here Haatib ibn Abi Balta’a- I want to talk to you. He says to him- after getting the information about what happened, i.e. these people needed the money, they needed to eat and they needed to feed their families in an Islamic society, (before this religious and traditional trance took over (and) before we became captivated to our own rituals and ceremonial rites), you use them and you have them suffer hunger; I’m going to lay a penalty on you that’s going to hurt you. Then he told these thieves you’re free. Now, we have a world information system that tells us “these people in Arabia are the custodians of the two Harams. These rulers in Arabia are the champions of Islam.” That’s what they tell us and if we continue to be brainwashed by their Masajid and their clergymen, (and many of us believe them), this is what is happening today. These Islamic parties want to apply shari’ah law over there and by that they want to qualify as Islamic leaders and Islamic rulers. Where is the heart of Islam? Where is the justice of Islam? Where is the equality of Islam? Where is the dignity of Islam? Don’t let the Zionists and the Imperialists pick up on our weakness and utilize some of us against the others to the extent of having Muslims kill other Muslims in pursuit of what they call “tatbeeq ash shari’ah or the application of the shari’ah.”

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