The ritualistic mis-understanding of Islam Part 7

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Rabi' al-Thani 23, 1433 2012-03-16

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 consciousness and the attention that is required of you as it is part of the meaning of taqwa on this day; I beg you to pay attention to an abbreviated khutbah because of the time factor and because of the weather factor.

We, Muslims, have been living and practice an individuals and sometimes selfish practice of Islam. There’s not much meaning that accompanies our Islamic practices. What is required of us is to, as much as possible, bring the Prophet’s behavior and interaction in his times and society into our lives and at the same time transfer our lives into his social and his personal life. This is something we have not done and all attempts at doing it have been short of a full success. Let us bring to your attention what we mean by this and we’re going to be guided by an ayah in the Qur’an in doing and expressing what we’re going to be expressing to you. Allah says

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا

Are they not capable of managing the Qur’an or is it that hearts have locks on them? (Surah Al Qitaal verse 24)

(If we) take today’s Muslims and we hope we don’t have to go into the details of the way they explain Islam and the way they propagate Islam and the methods they use to make Islam a public relations project. We are quite confident that most of you know how a Muslim in today’s world begins to explain Islam to the other; what we are not aware of, as we should be, is the way Allah’s Prophet explained Islam to the other. This is the area that begs for our involvement and begs for our application. We mentioned to you, (we’ve said this in the previous khutbah), and to follow up on that we will say that- listen brothers and sisters- the moral character of the Muslims of the time of Allah’s Prophet was outlined in Al Madinah. Let us take one example of this…

The prohibition of khamr, intoxicants, habit forming substances, liquor, hard-stuff- all of this was prohibited in Al Madinah. There are different statements pertaining to when in Al Madinah was it prohibited. Was it four years into Al Madinah? Was it during the time of Hudaibiyah, which is towards the sixth year in Al Madinah? But throughout all of these years, Muslims were drinking. Was the Prophet wrong in his approach in educating the Muslims? Was he wrong in refining the character of the Muslims? Was he wrong for keeping them for somewhere around fifteen to eighteen years before he told them well right now you can’t drink any longer? But that’s what today’s what today’s Muslims do. When someone wants to become a Muslim, one of the first issues that they are alerted to is “you can’t drink.” Whatever the exact day or the exact year was, it was definitely after the Badr and Uhud clashes that Muslims no longer drank. Some of the individuals who kept on drinking until the prohibition ayah were persons no less that Umar ibn Al Khattab and Mu’adh ibn Jabal (radi Allahu anhuma). They kept on drinking throughout all of these years. Now, doesn’t this conflict with the stereotypical impressions we have about Muslims- “(do) you mean to tell us that Muslims who went to Badr and that Muslims who went to Uhud were drunkards?” Well- that’s the way it was. All you have to do is go back to the books of seerah and the books of Islamic history during that time and you’ll find out- its true. The same thing can be said about al maysir, gambling. Drinking and gambling were prohibited in the same sequence of ayaat in a gradual way unlike the ayaat that were revealed in Makkah.

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ

Prohibited for you are carrion and blood and swine and that on which a name other than Allah’s name is invoked, that which hath been killed by strangling… (Surah Al Maa’idah verse 3)

When the prohibition was stated in the Qur’an concerning al khamr and al maysir there was no word haraam used. You’ll not find in the Qur’an the words hurrimat alaykum al khamr wa al maysir. It doesn’t exist. But in today’s public Muslim mind they have this whole issue confused.

We take the moral character of Muslims a step further. Where were the ayaat in the Qur’an that had to do with orphans, the details pertaining to food or the Islamic diet, the mannerism of social interaction (like) entering into residences and homes, the ethics of family life, what pertains to the charming aspects of women, eating or having access to the kitchen or the table-spread of family and friend, the declaration of hijab revealed? Think brothers and sisters- because this is the absent element in our lives. The average Muslim will tell you “I think these must have been revealed in Makkah.” It’s not so. That’s not the case. They were all revealed in Al Madinah. (when) we take a look at the ayaat that were revealed in Al Madinah itself, in addition to these ayaat, obviously we’re going to find what are called legislative or legal ayaat. There is a consensus in the Muslim mind that all o these were revealed by Allah to His Prophet and the Islamic society at that time in Al Madinah. Some of these ayaat pertain to the state structure, retribution, declaration of war, conditions for peace, the prohibition of usury (or) riba’, the penalty for zina’ (or) fornication and the penalty for theft and other issues pertaining to state were revealed in Al Madinah- fine. Other legislative or legal ayaat that were revealed in Al Madinah pertain also to family structure. Here, there is a common ground between family and state, and, we’re speaking about marriage, we’re speaking about inheritance, we’re speaking about divorce. All of these were revealed around the time of Al Hudaibiyah, not in Makkah. So what we realize now is that most of the information that we have nowadays- just because we have information doesn’t mean that we are right and on the right path- besides the information in the Qur’an itself has much to do with the Muslims in Al Madinah and less to do with the Muslims is Makkah. If you trace the books of fiqh that we have, they basically and generally skip over everything that took place in Makkah.

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا

Are they not capable of managing the Qur’an or is it that hearts have locks on them? (Surah Al Qitaal verse 24)

Remember, one of the reasons we are out here in the streets is because people who go into the Masjid are not permitted to think. So the question here, that stimulates our thought is: then why is it that the injunctions and legality pertaining to issues like marital life and issues like inheritance, and even to as salah and as siyam which we consider to be personal issues- who many Muslims now say if a person wants to become a Muslim, “this is what you have to do to begin with” which the Prophet did not tell other people who wanted to become Muslims to do at the beginning- revealed to us later on in Al Madinah. Why wasn’t all of this revealed to us in Makkah? To put it in numbers, (and we know there’s just a little difference, nothing major, here among the scholars pertaining to this number), the number of Makki ayaat (i.e.) the ayaat that were revealed in Makkah were around four-thousand-six-hundred-and-thirteen ayaat; the number that were revealed in Al Madinah were around one-thousand-six-hundred- and twenty-three ayaat. Why is it then that we live in a world today in which all of our understanding of Islam, our communication of Islam and our application of Islam is in and about what happened in Al Madinah? More than two-thirds of the Qur’an was revealed in Makkah and almost nothing (or) none of that is applicable to today’s Muslims?! Why? What happened to our understanding? (We’re trying to help ourselves out), let’s take the example of siyam (or) fasting- because the ayaat that were revealed pertaining to fasting (or) siyam were in Al Madinah and today we don’t have an Islamic power structure the same way the Muslims in Al Madinah had one, so does this mean that we don’t fast? No, it doesn’t mean that. Does it mean that we postpone fasting until the time when we have an Islamic system and an Islamic society and an Islamic state? No, it doesn’t mean that. We will continue to reap the benefits of this information that we have; but what it does mean, though, is that when we communicate Islam to those who are not Muslims we don’t communicate it the same way we have been doing. It is wrong because it is not sanctioned by Allah and it was not practiced by the Prophet.

You know, when Ramadhan comes along, we find the same way Muslims perception of how we begin this Islam and how we move on with this Islam is in the wrong direction, this becomes very obvious in the time of Ramadhan. At the time of Ramadhan when it comes to tarawih prayers and when it comes to night prayers and when it comes to salah at tahajj’jud and salah al layl, everyone is motivated and everyone is charged to be there. There is no basis for this as a faridah from Allah. It’s not a fard. It’s not even a sunnah the way it’s being practiced. It was something that Umar decided to have for the Muslims to facilitate or to make it more social for the Muslims to be in the Masjid in Ramadhan. We’re not saying he’s right, we’re not saying he’s wrong. We’re looking at a historical fact. But, when it comes to Ramadhan, why are the Muslims worked up about tarawih and tahajj’jud and at the same time when Muslims are being divided and the Muslims are being killed and the unity of the Muslims and the sanctity of Islamic life is a faridah and the Muslims are not concerned with al faridah?! This is the tragedy that we are living. There are occupations and invasions, there is slaughter and mayhem all over the Muslim world and our unity and our sanctity is a faridah from Allah but the way we understand Isla-, that faridah doesn’t count?! What counts is this traditional, cultural, historical and ritualistic practice that we don’t want to negotiate on. This is the dilemma that we are living.

Dear brothers and sisters, dear committed Muslims…

If you follow the explanations of the ayaat and the ahadith and if some of you are also coming under the influence of the propaganda and disinformation in our time you will find something very peculiar, but only if you think. Thinking is a requirement. There are now in the atmospherics of sectarianism, (you know there are certain quarters that are trying to stir the sectarian pot), and one of the issues that is brought up is the issue of infallibility, isma’. Do we consider people do be infallible? If we do or if we don’t, how do we explain that? As you know, we are not here to open up the fine and refined arguments that have lasted fourteen hundred years about this issue. Let us take the real world- instead of looking at Prophets and Imams, let us take a look at the leaders of today. Are they infallible or are they not infallible? If we take a look at those who are ruling in Arabia, if you come to theory a Muslim will tell you “of course they are not infallible. They are human beings, they make mistakes.” OK- you say that in a low voice and you say that one-on-one privately. Are you willing to stand up (and) go public and become vocal about the fact that the rulers in Arabia are not infallible? Are you willing to put the facts on the ground? Are you willing to expose the crimes of these who are in your subconscious infallible? Are you willing to wake up to the fact that they are criminals any way you want to look at them? Allah says

ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ فَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَكُنتُم مِّنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ

… if it wasn’t for Allah’s privilege and His grace towards you, you would have been losers. (Surah Al Baqarah verse 64)

No one says wa law laa fadlu Fahd alaykum or Abdullah alaykum or fulaan alaykumNo one says that. If anyone says something like that you’ll say “Astaghfirullah. This is an ayah. What are you saying?” OK- no one says it, but how do we behave? People express and project the meaning of this ayah on people in power and they feel comfortable and confident that they are devout and religious Muslims. You can’t approach them about their religiosity and faith, (but) in the meantime their loyalty is dislocated. They have deified people in power and this is the issue that consumed two thirds of the Qur’an and thirteen years in Makkah (i.e.) to delegitimize earthly powers and authorities and return that legitimacy to Allah. This is the fact that has to be explained to the average person out there instead of chaining him or her in religiosity, rituals, traditions and cultures. It’s as if this doesn’t exist?! Even if we wanted to take the yearly proportions- thirteen years in Makkah and ten years in Al Madinah. If we wanted to give twenty-three presentations, thirteen of them should be about what he’s doing in Makkah and ten of them about what he’s doing in Al Madinah. But no, the percentage is gobbled in the other direction. Twenty-two khutbahs about these ayaat and ahadith in Al Madinah and only one, if that, about what the Prophet was involved in when he and the committed Muslims were in Makkah. (It’s) something that you are required not only to listen to but to make it part of your personal life and your social life so that this institutionalized and financed mis-direction that the Muslims have been in throughout all of these centuries can finally be corrected.

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