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 go back to the canopy of the ayah that has been quoted in the previous khutbah that tells us to close ranks and to maintain our togetherness.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
Oh you who are securely committed to Allah guard against Allah as is due to Him in the full measurement of this guard and do not die except in a state of submission to Him. And hold firm to Allah's binding matter all of you- no exceptions- and be not divided; and bare in mind Allah's provision, favour and privilege upon you when you (who are now Committed Muslims), were once enemies of each other and then He reconciled your hearts and familiarized and acquainted you with each other and then, due to this provision, favour and privilege you became brethren of each other; you were on the edge of a pit of fire and Allah saved you from it; it is with this is mind and with understanding these dynamics and factors that Allah is going to guide us. (Surah Aal Imran verse 102-103)
We visited the meanings of these ayaat before so it is not time wise to repeat the meanings of this ayah. We're sure you know the general implications of it by now. We bring the meanings of this ayah with us to what can be considered the day that the Muslims of today look back at to explain or to rationalize or to justify their positions- and when speaking about today's Muslims what we mean by that is those Muslims who consider themselves either Sunnis or Shi’is. There is something peculiar about the statements that were said on that day and in that time frame that many Muslims use or quote to justify a position that has turned into a type of asabiyah position; so for that reason we are trying to weed out the misunderstandings and get to the root of these issues so that we can comfortably liberate ourselves from this asabiyah that did not serve the first generations very well and will not serve the latter generations very well, ourselves included.
Just a very brief recap of what was previously encountered- we said that there is an asabiyah that was submerged in the psyche or in the social mind of the people around the Prophet- it doesn't matter who they were, generally speaking that asabiyah was submerged. There were times that this asabiyah expressed itself and we covered some incidents along those lines. We said that Al Muhajirin and Al Ansar (radi Allahu anhum) had their exchange of words and their exchange views on the day the Prophet was to be buried and in the exchange of statements we sensed that there is this asabiyah but it wasn't an asabiyah that was operational and it wasn't an asabiyah that was divisive. So we mentioned the Ansar and what they said and we mentioned the Al Muhajirun and what they said. Now we come to take a closer look at a third party because at this time what we are witnessing is the emergence of Islamic parties. We repeat, there’s nothing wrong with having Islamic parties because Islamic parties are political ijtihad. What makes them wrong is the component of asabiyah, (i.e.) when people begin to think that their position is exclusive of others or their positions are supremacy positions vis a vis others. These are the elements of asabiyah that give political parties their negative component. So the third Islamic party is referred to, depending on your books of choice, as Al Haashimiyin or Al Alawiyin later on in main stream Islamic books referred to as shiat Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (radi Allahu anhu). These individuals were not participating in the give and take between the Ansar and the Muhajirin on the day of saqifa which we covered previously. They were, (more or less) with Ali when he was preparing the Prophet for the funeral services. This was the first emergence of a political trend; before there may have been some ideas or some notions (or) some inclinations etc. but at this point it took on a configuration of the beginning of an Islamic party. They agreed with the Muhajirin that the leaders of the Muslims belong to the Quraysh. They didn't argue with the statement Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) said when he was contending with the Ansar quoting the Prophet the leaders come from Quraysh or the Imams issue from Quraysh. They had no problems with that but they were more specific, they didn't leave it in that general context and to be more specific about it Ali is the most qualified to become the leader of the Muslims now that the Prophet had passed on. Of course they had a very strong point of view. No one could argue that Ali had all of these features, characteristics, qualifications (and) credentials that others did not have to the same degree and to the same range that Ali had. No one argued that in that context. This political trend (or) political party in Islam took a further position- it said not only is Ali an inheritor of the Prophet as a relative inheriting some worldly belongings, he also is an inheritor in the moral sense of the word. But when we take a close look at the individuals or the personalities in this Haashimi or Alawi crowd we find that unlike the Muhajirin and unlike the Ansar there was no asabiyah to them; in other words if a person spoke on behalf of a Muhajirin or if a person spoke on behalf of Ansar- even though they were not, at this point in the political sense, of an asabiyah component but you could sense that beneath their statements there was a lurking asabiyah- not necessarily belonging to them but to their crowd. This is very important to understand- please brothers and sisters because these people who say “they are Sunnis and they are Shi’is” overlook these details and these details are extremely important. So a person like Al Miqdad ibn Al Aswad (radi Allahu anhu) who was supportive of Ali didn't have his tribe of Kinda advocating around Ali. Salman Al Farisi (radi Allahu anhu), the Persian, also did not have an asabiyah that goes with him in support of Ali. Abu Dharr Al Ghifari (radi Allahu anhu) who comes from the tribe of Ghifar did not have the Ghifari tribe in support of Ali. Ammaar ibn Yasir Al Ansi (radi Allahu anhu) didn't have his tribe along with him in support of Ali. So here unlike the other two positions Al Muhajirin and Al Ansar you can't detect a submerged asabiyah. Now, this absent information feeds in to today's asabiyah that wants Muslims- Sunnis and Shiahs- to kill themselves.
This consolidation of people around Ali was not born on the day of saqifah. There were weeks and months and even years that convinced people who were pro-Ali that he simply is the most qualified to lead the Muslims after the Prophet passes away. Remember, this information doesn't come to you from isolated sources. The information you are listening to comes from books that are considered references of all Muslims- At Tabari, Ibn Qutayba Ibn Sa'd, Al Bukhari, Muslim, etc. So let's not say (where does this information come from), as some people here who are going to throw in this asabiyah of today when we are trying to reconstruct these facts. So from these books we are told that Al Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib (radi Allahu anhu), the Prophet's uncle and Ali's uncle, came to Ali when the Prophet was passing away and he said to him, (which means something like), the Prophet is being recalled by Allah. Al Abbas is telling Ali go and ask him if the affair, meaning the affair of leadership, belongs to us then let him explain it and make it clear which tells us that this issue was not as clear as it should be. If this affair of leadership belongs to others, besides us, then let him make his recommendations for our well being. You sense in this statement that if al asabiyah is going to turn to this Islamic society there’s going to be a type of grudge that's going to take it out on the Prophet's intimates and his family. There's another statement along these lines and because of the time we’re going to skip that statement but you understood here what is going on.
Now remember, in the Islamic public mind at that time, Ali had so many uplifting statements that were to his credit and expressed by none other then the Prophet himself. This is not the time to quote all of them but we think a couple of them will suffice. He said, and this is a statement that belongs to all Muslims; it doesn't belong to a sect (and) it doesn't belong to an asabiyah. On the day of Ghadir Qum the Prophet said the Prophet takes priority even over the selves of the committed Muslims and then he says and all the Muslims are there listening and watching, (this is the Prophet here speaking), whoever I'm his mawla then Ali is also his mawla. Oh Allah be with those who are with him and be against those who are against him. This is a very strong statement and all Muslims quote it whether they are Sunnis or whether they are Shi’is but the problem is that they understand it in different ways. We want you, at this point, to ask yourselves what exactly is the meaning of mawla? Remember the Prophet didn't say whoever I'm his Imam then Ali is also his Imam. He didn't say that. He said whoever I'm his mawla then Ali is also his mawla. This amounts to be impartial about this, as objective as possible. This means that the Prophet was speaking to the asabiyah component for those who are listening and trying to have the listeners (or) the committed Muslims overcome their asabiyah, identify qualifications when they belong to a person and then do the right thing when the day comes.
The Prophet is speaking to Ali and he is saying you are to me what Harun was to Musa except that there is no Prophet after me. Harun (alayhi as salaam) was a Prophet who came after Musa (alayhi as salaam) but there's not going to be a Prophet that comes after Muhammad and all Muslims agree to this. We’re not quoting a hadith here that is controversial or a minority hadith. So these are very strong nomination statements of what should be done when he is gone when it comes to the issue of leadership.
So when the Muhajirun and the Ansar were in a type of give and take (or) exchange of words as to who is going to fill in the vacancy now that the vacancy is gone the Hashimiyun were not there and the bai'ah was finished. The Muhajirun and the Ansar who were there gave their bai'ah to Abi Bakr with the exception of Sa'd ibn Ubada (radi Allahu anhu). Remember at first he made the case who the Ansar were and they should be in-charge. Well, he refused to give his bai'ah to Abi Bakr. We don't know of anyone- at that time or today or in all of the millions of Muslims in between- no one said that something is wrong with Sa'd ibn Ubada. He had the right to say no, I'm not going to give this person my bai'ah and it lives on with us until now except Muslims don't dwell on it. Muslims don't want to think about it. What's wrong about thinking about this? It will open up your freedom of conscience, your freedom of choice (and) your freedom of political action. When the people left as saqifah and went to the Masjid, at that time, (we know this is a little heavy word), it was almost like a bombshell that fell on the Hashimiyin. It's already done! The decision has already been made. Abu Bakr now is the successor to the Prophet because all the people with the exception of Sa'd ibn Ubadah who was there pledged their allegiance to Abi Bakr. Al Abbas, the Prophet's uncle and Ali's uncle, wasn't surprised. If you follow his statements in these books he sort of was anticipating something like this along these lines to happen. To be honest to the subject matter, now we have our history books giving us conflicting information about the bai'ah of Ali towards Abi Bakr. Some history books will tell you when he knew this happened he immediately gave his bai'ah to Abi Bakr; other history books will tell you no, he postponed it for around six months until his wife Fatima (alaiha as salaam) passed away. The explanation for that was there was a contention (or) a difference of opinion between Fatima and Abi Bakr. They didn't agree on the inheritance of the Prophet. Abu Bakr said he heard the Prophet say we the folks of Prophethood do not pass on any inheritance and the Prophet had some belongings in Fadaq and in Khaybar and so do they go on to Fatima or not because she’s the only survivor in his family. Fatima said yes, Abu Bakr said no. So they had this very serious disagreement to the point that Fatima estranged herself from Abi Bakr, in other words she kept her distance and did not want to speak to him. Brothers and sisters- this is a difference in our history (and) it's a difference in opinions among those who were there at that time but does this difference, (you tell us), justify today some Muslims killing themselves? This is how it went. After Fatima passed away Ali goes to Abi Bakr, (according to this historical narrative), and gives his bai'ah. So whether he did it early on or whether he delayed it for some time, (and probably it was between the two- it wasn't immediately and it didn't take six months), because he was aware just like everyone else of the asabiyah that was out there tugging at grabbing power. What are you going to do? Create an internal war among the Muslims? It would come to that if we submit to the opinions of some people. Right now we’re going to cover the territory in which there were exchange of words between Abi Bakr and Ali.
So when Ali gave the bai'ah to Abi Bakr the rest of the Hashimiyin did the same. If something was terribly wrong about Abu Bakr leading the Muslims in the circumstances of asabiyah that we are talking about and we are analyzing he wouldn't give the bai'ah. He would have been like Sa'd ibn Ubada- I don't want to give this person my bai'ah but that wasn't the case because this isn't an issue of personalities. It is an issue of social forces at work. This is where both Sunnis and Shi’is default. They fail to understand that there are social forces at work, abbreviated in one word asabiyah. So now the Ansar basically are no longer in the picture. They already made up their minds and gave their bai'ah to Abi Bakr who was considered to be the front runner of the Muhajirin, (so to speak), but now it became a matter of contention of sorts- not animosity. There's no hostility in this. We don't care how you’re reading your history, there's no enemies here. There are no enemies. There's differences of opinions, there's differences of ijtihad- yes but there's no hostility, animosity (and) adversarial relations. Nothing of that because any Muslim who begins to understand this history like that has brought down all the education that the Prophet's lifetime was to these people around him. So now the argument was basically between the Muhajirin and the Haashimiyin.
When you go into this particular area in our history you feel (and) you sense that Ali here was being excluded. Ali here is speaking to Abi Bakr (and) he says to him I qualify for this position of leadership more than you- not only Abi Bakr. Even though he was personally speaking to him but what he meant by the plural you is the Muhajirin, I am more qualified for this task and responsibility than you the Muhajirin are. I am not going to readily give my bai'ah to you when you should be giving your bai'ah to me. When he says this he is not saying this, (number one), with an asabiyah. We just described that his camp doesn't have the element of asabiyah in it. So from the get go he is not burdened with the psychology, with the tribalism, with the history and with the culture the remnants of which were beneath the surface in the Muhajirin and in the Ansar from step number one. He was free from that. Ali is speaking to Abi Bakr saying you’ve taken this affair from the Ansar, this is in reference to the dialogue that was going on that we spoke about previously, your superior argument against them was that you were relatives of the Prophet- the Muhajirin; and here you appear to be taking this position from us, (the word ghasba means without our endorsement), it's almost like you forced this thing into your own camp. Ali is still speaking to Abi Bakr did you not claim to the Ansar that you are more qualified to fill in this position as Muhammad is one of you, i.e. Muhammad was a Muhajir just like the Muhajirin? The Ansar gave you the go ahead to lead and they acquiesced and had you become the commanders. Listen here very carefully, throw your asabiyah aside, your emotionalism- all of that. We want to be fair to this subject. It’s enough they suffered from asabiyah, we still have to suffer from it?! Ali says my argument of evidence against you is the same argument (or) evidence you used against Al Ansar. Ali continues in another statement to Abi Bakr rather we, the Haashimiyin, saw that we had a right to this affair but you took it into your own hands excluding us. This is the fine line here that we want everyone of you to zero in on because this has become a matter of misunderstandings, estrangement of Muslims from each other and then a relapse into asabiyah. When Ali is saying to the Muhajirin you excluded us from it but that exclusion was not on the basis of asabiyah. This ijtihad by the Muhajirin could have been wrong. Only Allah knows what the alternative would have been like if Ali would have become the leader at the time. No one can prove a negative but the way the Muhajirin saw it is “yes we did exclude you but we didn't do that because of an asabiyah even though in our crowd that element exists. We didn't do that because we have a grudge against you, Ali. We have no grudge against you. We did it to keep the Muslims together as much as we can within our own understanding of things.” So the Haashimi political trend vis a vis Al Muhajirin was like the Muhajirin’s political trend vis a vis the Ansar- as sabaq wa al qaraba. Remember those two words? The Muhajirin were saying to the Ansar we are pioneers and we are the relative material of the Prophet. The Haashimis said the same thing- we are the sabiqin inside the context of the Muhajirin and we are more closely related to the Prophet than the general context of the Muhajirin. The same thing applies here but the difference is you can't detect an asabiyah in the Haashimi crowd but you can detect an asabiyah in the Muhajirin and in the Ansar.
One of these statements there in the books of references that we all have said when all was said and done and Abu Bakr had become the Khalifa of Rasulillah, Ali would during the night time in Al Madinah go from street to street, (as it were), riding on a donkey and with him would be Fatima, the Prophet's daughter, and they would try to speak to the conscience of the Ansar reminding them of who should lead the Muslims but they would say to both, Ali and to Az Zahra particularly to the Prophet's daughter Oh daughter of the Messenger of Allah we have already endorsed our bai'ah to this man, meaning Abu Bakr. Ali had a status when Fatima was alive that was to be consumed by the asabiyah that was beginning to surface after Fatima passed away. So you think Ali wasn't aware of these things we are talking about? He was aware of these things and much more that have escaped the history books. So it made sense to him to keep the Muslims together to go along with the ijtihad of the Muhajirin and to express his bai'ah to Abi Bakr. He wasn't in an opposition. He could have taken a political opposition position- “no, I'm not going to give my bai'ah. This is all wrong and that could have stood the test of time” and Muslims today could look back and say “Ali was in opposition to the Khulafa’ and we maintain this opposition position today.” But he wasn’t! He disagreed with them. He differed with them. He had his opinions, his ijtihad (and) they had their opinions and their ijtihad- that’s a given. Of course, one hundred per cent but there wasn’t “I’m going to kill him because he’s wrong! I’m going to kill him because he’s a Kafir!” The same things these people today who attribute themselves to these personalities whether they’re Sunnis or Shi’is are talking today. These are their words. These words today of takfir don’t have foundation in anything we are seeing that’s supposed to be the day in which the Muslims politically parted company. None of it! Besides, when all of these things were developing from day to day (and) from week to week (and) from year to year do you think these Muslims were not echoing with the ayah?
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً
And hold firm to Allah's binding matter all of you- no exceptions- and be not divided; and bare in mind Allah's provision, favour and privilege upon you when you (who are now Committed Muslims), were once enemies of each other… (Surah Aal Imran verse 103)
This ayah was probably at their core, in their conscience, in their heart, in their mind, in their soul (and) in their spirit when all of these events were taking shape so they held the fort together until later on, (and we covered that part of history in a very long series of khutbah some years ago), but because today the events are imposing themselves on us- Muslims are killing Muslims; Muslims are calling for jihad against, not their enemies but against their ownselves- as if the ayah doesn’t exist.
Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…
To remind you with this day of taqwa, we are concerned with Allah’s power and authority more than we are concerned with any other type of power and authority anywhere, anytime and because of that the ideas that are expressed in this khutbah are extracted not only from historical precedent but also from current developments. This type of khutbah would probably never be expressed if we, the Muslims altogether, whatever our Islamic affiliations are, were not going through a very critical time in which there are master strategies that want us to turn against each other in a bloody and almost genocidal way. Some of these Muslims are beginning to resurrect dead language and dead words. Now we have words such as Ar Rawafid, Az Zanadiqah, Al Kuffaar, An Nawasib coming into play?! And most of this, (these) people who are saying these things claim they substantiate it by going back to that particular part of history that we are focusing on. You can see by the way we are as objectively as possible trying to express it you can detect that there is no basis for these people carrying arms right now to kill our own selves! We know at one time that was the punishment of Bani Isra’eel
فَاقْتُلُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ
… mortify yourselves, this will be best for you … (Surah Al Baqarah verse 54)
That was because of their misconduct with Allah and His Prophets. We don’t have any serious misconduct with Allah and His Prophet for Allah to tell us to kill ourselves (and) to purge our lives from the sins and the serious defaults that we have with Allah and His Prophet! It doesn’t exist! But we have insiders and outsiders who are closing ranks and want us Muslims to feel free to shoot ourselves (and) to entrap ourselves militarily. What are the Zionists doing? Some news items tell us “on the Golan Heights they placed certain zooming technology, binoculars and some other gadgets in which the Israelis can go up the Golan Heights and watch the civil war in Syria- Muslims killing Muslims.” That’s the way you like it? That’s the way you understand your history? If that’s the way you understand your history then this becomes the result. “Abu Bakr was an enemy of Ali, Ali was an enemy of Abu Bakr and if they were enemies we have to be enemies also?!” The flow of logic continues if that's the way you perceive yourself. What we want you to do is liberate yourself from that perception. Understand the complexity and the delicate issues that were at work at the time and learn from our own selves. You, Shi’is, can learn from Abi Bakr (and) you, Sunnis, can learn from Ali provided you have an open mind and a non polluted heart because these were decisions that were made that are subject to review. These are not decisions that were made that were ayaat from Allah (and) direct orders. This was an area of human ijtihad and if this doesn't serve as a lesson for us we will be condemned to suffer the consequences even for another thousand years but it depends on us. You open your mind, you learn; you close your mind and you come to this asabiyah- an asabiyah that still is alive and kicking and now wears the attire of Islam. It has the details of Sunnis and Shiahs with all the unrefined information therein. Who do you think now feels comfortable with all of this? Obviously you should know the answer to that.