The ritualistic mis-understanding of Islam Part 9

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Jumada' al-Ula' 07, 1433 2012-03-30

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,

Today, we are highly conscious of Allah’s power and authority therefore we behave with that consciousness, saying the truth whatever the results may be. The final results are with Allah and not here; our presence here is only transitory. Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims- be advised that we are not individuals only. We are a larger body of committed Muslims. If we read the Qur’an with a consciousness and a thinking mind, we notice that Allah speaks to our plural character more than He speaks to our singular character. This would mean that when we read the ayaat of the Qur’an and we come across such words as Muslim and Mu’min and whatever extractions we have from these two words we realize that in the overwhelming majority of ayaat the collective body of Muslims and Mu’mins is mentioned much more than the singular Muslim or Mu’min. Muslims are expected to have a jama’ah. They are expected to have a glue to them, a togetherness and furthermore, this togetherness is supposed to be organized and is supposed to have a decision making body. In today’s language, Muslims are supposed to have what we call a government or a state, so pay attention when you read what Allah is expressing to you. You find out that your personal self dwindles into insignificance and then your social self becomes dominant; and when your social self becomes dominant you need instructions and information and Allah gave us those instructions and that information so that we can organize our members. Let us be a little more specific about this. If you read throughout the whole Qur’an, you will find the word Muslim i.e. one singular Muslim only mentioned twice. That’s all. Once as it refers to Prophet Yusuf (alayhi as salaam) and another time as it refers to Prophet Ibrahim (alayhi as salaam). In the meantime, if you take a look at the word Muslimoon which is the plural or the collective or the society or the social order of the Muslims, you will find that it is mentioned thirty-nine times. The word Muslimoon or Muslimeen is mentioned thirty-six times; the word Muslimaat which is the plural of one female Muslimah is mentioned twice and Ummatan Muslimah is mentioned once- that makes it a total of thirty-nine times that Allah is speaking about our social character, not our personal character. Then we take a count of the word Mu’min i.e. committed Muslim and Mu’minah. These two words in the singular or just one is mentioned twenty-six times in the Qur’an. Al Mu’minoon, the plural, meaning committed Muslims is mentioned four-hundred-and-forty-three times. It breaks down as follows: Alladhina Aamanu is two-hundred-and-forty-two times, Al Mu’minoon is one-hundred-and-seventy-nine times and Al Mu’minaat is twenty-two times. Knowing this, we realize that or we should but unfortunately we don’t have thinking minds so the realization is basically absent- it’s not there; but once we open our minds and we begin to think, we realize that Allah is concentrating on our social existence here in this world more than our personal existence. This flies in the face or it contradicts the thoughts, (if we can call it that, they’re actually notions, they’re pre-thoughts), this contradicts the notions and the feelings and the impressions of the average Muslim around. (When) you come to the average Muslim around and query the average Muslim, you’d think “oh- the major responsibility is myself and the secondary responsibility is society and all of the Muslim body out there.” If you’re reading the Qur’an closely with a working mind, you realize that’s not the case. There’s a disconnect between the traditional understanding or approach to Allah and His Prophet versus what is meant in the words of Allah and the words of His Prophet and this reflects on us. When we think about our relationship with Allah as primarily a personal relationship and secondarily as a social relationship we lose the momentum to do what has to be done. We no longer can think that we’re spending our life and not accomplishing our goal. We no longer realize that we have numbers of Muslims in this world but these numbers don’t have a head. It’s like a body without a head when we have committed Muslims, (and we have the numbers out there approaching two-billion in the world if not more), we have traditional or habitual or cultural jama’aat as is the case in this Masjid and most of the other Masajid around. So we don’t have this glue. The Muslims don’t have this glue to bring them together and then they begin to emphasize the few ayaat in the Qur’an and de-emphasize the many ayaat in the Qur’an. So they fit the description in the ayah in Surah Al Baqarah

أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ

… do you commit to some of Allah’s book and do you reject or deny other parts of Allah’s book? (Surah Al Baqarah verse 85)

This ayah was revealed to who? Looking at this ayah in history concerning “another stock of people” it’s easy and we can condemn Bani Isra’eel. We can say “look at them, look at their fault. This is the ayah that exposes them” not knowing that the same ayah exposes us!

Then we come to, (what is supposed to be), the enlightened and informed segment of the Muslims in the world, sometimes referred to as Islamic movements, sometimes referred to as Islamic parties and other times Islamic organizations, etc. etc. We’re talking in their circle. We come to them and we find that many of them may be mentally tuned in to these details in the Qur’an but when it comes to practice they are AWOL, they’re absent. Some of them will begin to tell you, if you’re very close to them, “there’s nothing we can do. We just can do what we are personally responsible for and then, as far as the ambition of we ourselves accomplishing the goal which is to bring the Muslims into a coordinated and purposeful body in this world; well you know, that’s a task belonging to the Prophets or belonging to the Imams or belonging to special people. We’re not of that categories. Maybe our grandchildren will see that happening or their great grandchildren will see that happen. ” So this type of lackadaisical attitude among the Muslims doesn’t belong. Let’s for a moment just take ourselves outside of Islamic context and look at other human beings in the world. There are many other blocs of ideological and religious people in the world who put themselves together. They’ve glued their numbers together and brought about a change in a lifetime or in a generation. How did they do something like that and when we are equipped with the necessary information and guidance to do this we are the ones who can’t do it!? What happened? Is something wrong with us?! We can’t carry an ambition and say we can do this in our lifetime? Did Allah give us an assignment (or) a Qur’an that we are incapable of?! Obviously not. When He revealed to us corresponds with our abilities and our potential and our human nature. He didn’t place on us a burden that’s going to break our backs. The only thing we need to do which we haven’t been doing is to think of ourselves as Allah defines us, not as we define ourselves or as others define us! There’s no escape from this, this obviously leads to Muslims acquiring and maintaining and sustaining a state of their own. We can do it?! What’s wrong with you? You’re a lesser human being? Or the Qur’an is a lesser scripture?! Or the Prophet is a lesser Prophet?! Or Allah is a lesser God?! What’s wrong? Why can’t it be done? In the Qur’an itself, (all of us read the Qur’an from time to time at least), if we look for the word state as it is understood today- they speak about a nation state, they speak about a government state, they speak about an ideological state- this wording is not in the Qur’an. (Of course, this would be an excuse for those who don’t want to get on with what has to be done). The fact of the matter is the concept and the idea is there in the Qur’an. Let us quote some ayaat for you that refer to this responsibility that we have to obtain this state of our own. The Muslims of this world belong to a state of their own. Allah says in Surah Yusuf in reference to Yusuf

وَكَذَٰلِكَ مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ فِي الْأَرْضِ

In such a manner have We, (meaning the providence the Almighty Allah), gave him assertive power on earth… (Surah Yusuf verse 21)

One of the meanings of makk’kanna is we gave power. This is issue of power that people run away from- “I don’t want to think about it; Oh it’s something to happen in the remote future; we have to wait for someone to come along and do it for us” and all of this other stuff is not there. Another ayah also in Surah Yusuf

وَكَذَٰلِكَ

And it was in such a manner, (after going through the details of the life of Yusuf)… (Surah Yusuf verse 56)

Yusuf would be the last person you would think would be able to acquire power on earth. This was a person who was dislocated from his society, from his folks, from his family (and) from all the elements you would think would go into acquiring power. He was raised in a foreign land. He was dislocated from his own people. He was plucked out of his own family with the circumstances and information that you know. Here it is. Allah is saying

مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ فِي الْأَرْضِ

… Allah has managed to grant Yusuf this substantial power on earth… (Surah Yusuf verse 56)

Another ayah in surah Al Hajj. You see once again Makk’kanna

الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ

Those who when We, (in reference to Allah), give them power on earth… (Surah Al Hajj verse 41)

What do they do?

أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ

… Aqamu As Salaah … (Surah Al Hajj verse 41)

It doesn’t mean that they pray. It means that their performance of this prayer becomes a social value. Who can compare that with the way we perform our salah today? Is it the social value? The society recognizes this as a value?! We do it as, (and excuse us for using the blunt word), cowardly individuals. We have not standardized or socialized this salah. Why? Because we don’t have power. And you’re not going to have power if you’re a coward. No one is going to have power if they are cowards!

وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ

… wa Aatawu Az Zakah … (Surah Al Hajj verse 41)

Zakah is not that you put your hand in your pocket and you give out money to someone who is in need. That is not Zakah. Excuse me- that is zakah. Let’s be careful with our words. That’s not Ita’ az zakah. This, once again, az zakah becomes a feature of the economy of the society that we are in. Just like taxes are a feature of society, zakah is a feature of society. How are we going to have as salah as a feature of society and az zakah as a feature of society when we don’t have power? How is that going to be? So let us read the words of the Qur’an with open minds.

وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَر

… wa Amaru bi al ma’ruf wa nahaw an al munkar … (Surah Al Hajj verse 41)

The function of al amaru bi al ma’ruf wa nahaw an al munkar is contingent upon at tamkeen fi al ard! You have in today’s world people who think they are practicing amr bi al ma’ruf wa nahi an al munkar when they don’t have any power! How can that be? If you don’t have power you can’t have al amr bi al ma’ruf wa nahi an al munkar. It can’t be! You’re misunderstanding what you’re reading.

There are other ayaat in the Qur’an that don’t use the word makk’kanna. There are other ayaat in the Qur’an that refer to power positions.

وَلَقَدْ كَتَبْنَا فِي الزَّبُورِ مِن بَعْدِ الذِّكْرِ أَنَّ الْأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحُونَ

And it has been registered in the Registrar of Allah or in the Zabur, in the Psalms, that the earth shall be inherited by My, (in reference to Allah’s), good doing subjects. (Surah Al Ambiya’ verse 105)

How do people inherit the affairs of the world? Can you run the affairs of this world without power? If a person thinks like that they must be living in a dream land! It’s a dream. The world life is an illusion. We can’t do that without power.

Another ayah in the Qur’an says

هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ

It is He, (meaning Allah), Who has sent his Messenger with truth and justice… (Surah Al Fath verse 28)

Why?

لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ

… so that it will become dominant over all other systems in the world… (Surah Al Fath verse 28)

How can this happen when Muslims don’t have power (and) if Muslims don’t think of power? You see- by avoiding thinking about power you lose a lot in understanding what Allah is saying. This is a mental block that many Muslims have. They exclude the power concept from their minds so they read these ayaat in a mindset that is not conducive to having these ayaat open up to them the extent of their meanings.

There’s another ayah in the Qur’an in Surah Al Hadid. Allah is saying in this ayah

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ

He has sent His messengers with evidence and He has inspired them with scripture and al mizan… (Surah Al Hadid verse 25)

For what reason?

لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ

… so that people can administer their affairs with social justice… (Surah Al Hadid verse 25)

And then immediately thereafter He says

وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ

… and We have inspired man with obtaining Hadid, steel or metal or iron… (Surah Al Hadid verse 25)

In the sentence before that He says

وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ

He has inspired them with scripture… (Surah Al Hadid verse 25)

And here He says

وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ

… He has inspired them with iron… (Surah Al Hadid verse 25)

How can you think about metal and steel or iron and not think about power? How can this be? Then, al qist, the word before al Hadeed is social justice.

وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ وَرُسُلَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ

… so that Allah will know who is going to support Him and His Prophets at a distance of the unknown... (Surah Al Hadid verse 25)

How are you going to support Allah and His Prophet? By going to a corner of a Masjid or hiding in the darkness of night without contemplating these meanings of power? These have been demonstrated in the life style of Sulayman and Dawud and Dhul Qarnayn and the last Prophet of Allah (sallalahu alayhim as salaam). It was Hadid, it was ba’s shadid.

وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ

… in this Hadid there is robust power and there are advantages... (Surah Al Hadid verse 25)

We are not here to build a factory. We are here to try to stimulate your conscience and your thought to go to new found meaningful concepts that are embedded in these ayaat that are absent from your minds. Obviously, when we think about power, we can’t escape thinking about jihad- this boogie word that has been used all over the place. “Jihad, jihad.” So what? What’s your problem? You don’t understand what jihad is? Yeh- we have jihad and jihad is on different levels, in different circumstances with different responsibilities pertaining to different and varying potentials and all of this. And the ultimate jihad of course is to go and sacrifice your limb and life for Allah and His Prophet. That’s the ultimate jihad so what’s the issue? Why is everyone scared? They don’t want to use the word anymore? Why do some people say “if you go up the mimbar leave the word jihad behind.” What’s wrong with us? This is what happens when our minds are not thinking (and) are not being stimulated with Qur’anic thoughts. We scare people away; we even scare people who are expected to say the truth from the Masjid. You scare them away. We’re scared because we don’t think! If we were thinking we wouldn’t be scared. First of all lies do not scare us. Most of these scare tactics come from a lying propaganda machine out there and then it comes also from distorting the truth or polluting it. If we are with Allah, understanding what He says, none of that should affect us. None of it! Rather it should demonstrate our resolve and we should be able to counter argue their false statements, their fabrications, innuendo (and) lies; not hide and then apologize for who we are. Al jihad can be done in an Islamic, (let’s say we reach a point when we have an Islamic society and state), is there going to be al amr bi al ma’ruf wa an nahi an al munkar or is it going to be absent? Muslims as a society will have gained an Islamic representative body of decision makers and that is done isn’t there still going to be the obligation of addressing power if the use of that power deviates? In the time of Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) there was a sense of al amr bi al ma’ruf wa an nahi an al munkar. When Abu Dharr (radi Allahu anhu), a renown sahabi, stood up to the deviations that were beginning to show themselves in the Islamic administration at that time he didn’t say “oh well look- we have an Islamic form of governance and if we see the truth to be in one direction we can’t express it.” We don’t know this gag order on Muslims in society. It could be a necessity at a time of war. Muslims may choose to remain silent when they see the truth otherwise at times of emergency, threats, what they call today “national security threats” or war but otherwise you can’t tell a Muslim “don’t speak, don’t talk.” Why? Let him talk. Let him speak and then address what he has to say. Counter affect it. The first time in Islamic history that we have what is called today an opposition figure told “get out of here.” You can no longer live in Al Madinah. What we mean to say by all of this is we should be more confident of what Allah is telling us and we should be more serious about it. This is not a book just to read to feel good. This is a book to read and feel responsible.

يَا يَحْيَىٰ خُذِ الْكِتَابَ بِقُوَّةٍ

Oh Yahya: take scripture seriously... (Surah Maryam verse 12)

Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…

When we aspire (or) when we have the living ambition to acquire a society and a state of our own we don’t want that to be like the current rulers in Arabia. The current rulers in Arabia who say “they have the most petroleum in the world.” They tell us “they are the most generous donators or donors in the world.” They pride themselves on being self-sufficient in the production of wheat. They also brag “they have won the Asian cup three times.” They take pride that they defeated Iraq in Persian Gulf war number two or number three, (however way you want to look at it.) They turn to the Islamic movements of the world and they whisper “those who were responsible for 9/11, the World Trade center and the Pentagon were from Arabia.” They advertise themselves “as having been the first from among the Muslims to have an astronaut that has gone to space.” They make big talk about “having the most satellite receivers of any country.” For those of you who are familiar with their systems they have something called MBC and ART that they think is doing well for them. Then they want us to know “they are the most involved. When they have these programs on TV they are the most people to call in with their comments and to flirt with the female broadcasters or moderators of different programs.” They say they have encouraged and sent most of the mujahideen in the 1980’s to Afghanistan and Bosnia and to Chechnya.” They project themselves as being the most religious crop in the Muslim field throughout Asia and Africa meanwhile who knows? No one has really taken a survey! Maybe most of them don’t pray! Even if they did pray, it’s the type of prayer that we have been talking about that has nothing to do with the meanings of Allah and His Prophet. They say “they are the most annoying to the Kafirs of the world” as if they are annoying the United States and Israel. In the meantime they have this word takfir; they stamp anyone who disagrees with them with the disgrace of takfir. They say “they’re the most affluent society in the world.” In many of their parties half of their food goes to the dumpster. It is said “they are the most to consume tobacco and the hukka and even intoxicants.” They have developed their potbellies or beerbellies or sex bellies. Jeddah, (is one of their cities on the Red Sea), is reported to be the fourth polluted city in the world. Remember- brothers and sisters- we are recounting all of this to tell you that if we begin to think and hopefully we will begin think of an Islamic state, this is not what we’re talking about. There’s no longer any wild life in Arabia because they went out trapping animals (and) hunting animals. So when they figured out now they put an end to wildlife in Arabia they crossed the Red Ocean and gone to Africa and Sudan pursuing wildlife there and if they have it their way Africa will no longer have wildlife?! They go around cities of the world chasing girls, ladies, chics and prostitutes here and there. This is the Islamic state anyone wants? They have the most foreign workers of any other countries in the world yet they look down on these workers more-or-less like slaves. They don’t count. They think they- the Saudis, the Arabians- are superior to the foreigners that are there. They have nothing they can produce themselves. They can’t manufacture anything. They have nothing to be mentioned. Everything they use in daily life and they consume is made somewhere else. They don’t work in restaurants, in bakeries and Laundromats. Oh no- they’re way above that. You can’t expect them to work. They are fanatic about traditions even when traditions are wrong. Then, it’s as if females there belong to another race; they are a cast of their own. They’re considered incomplete human beings. They have no opinion, they have no sense of responsibility. In the parties that they have, some of them eat the leftovers there. Then, in the streets of their cities they prohibit Saudi women or any other women from driving cars but the Saudi men can get in their cars and then they begin to ride around hunting for other women. This is not an Islamic state. Should women participate in sport? They say “no! Sports belong to the youth, to the boys.” What do they want women to do- become obese, fat? A woman has no face in Arabia. She leaves Arabia and she exposes her charms to the rest of the world. They say “we don’t permit this to happen in the kingdom because it becomes a fitnah.” If it’s a fitnah if women of charm and beauty drive cars, well then why don’t they let ugly women and unattractive women drive cars and act normally in life? But as we said, they are fanatics even when traditions are wrong. How do they justify having male chauffeurs (or) male drivers for women and then being chased around by other drivers? These drivers would love for these women just like to look at them. They would even love for these women to spit in their faces! They have the most expensive dowries in the world! A third of their marriages end up in divorce and after all of this they say “we are the cream of the crop of the Arabs and we are the cream of the crop of the Muslims.” We’re not speaking about the political and the economic slavery that they have (and) the trillions of dollars that they have out there. It’s not theirs any longer- we have spoken about this at length before. When we speak about makk’kanna lahum fi al ard we’re not speaking about these types. We never want an Islamic domain that is similar or parallel to the one that occupies Al Haramain, Al Hijaz and Arabia.

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