Towards understanding Islam Part 10

Ensuring Socio-economic Justice

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Rabi' al-Thani 26, 1434 2013-03-08

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,

There is a component or a character that displays itself in human nature. We can see this in the past and we can see this in the present and it will probably continue to be a constant feature of society and this is something that we may call or what some people call fanaticism. We may have to call it on different occasions a person who’s out of character or out of their mind or on other occasions people who may be referred to as psychopaths and some of it may be neurotic, over-zealous. This is a feature that even Allah has opened up our eyes about. It’s easier to see it in other peoples and in other societies than to see it in us and that’s how we begin. We begin to look at it through the ayaat in the Qur’an as it points to those who many of us consider to be the other. There’s a Qur’anic word for this and that is ghulu’. Allah says concerning those who say “they are Christians”

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ

O Folks of Scripture: don’t over extend the meanings of your deen (or) don’t exaggerate the contents of your deen (or) don’t overdo the definitions of your deen… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 171)

What concerns us here is the first sentence in this ayah. The ayah goes on to explain to us this ghulu' or this zealous interpretation of what is supposed to be a deen from Allah to a people on earth. It says

إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ

… the Messiah, Jesus, is a Prophet from Allah that was a presented to Maryam and a spirit from Allah… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 171)

This was later on developed in Christianity to mean that Jesus (alayhi as salaam) is the son of God. This is a sense is ghulu’ fi ad deen. Then they have more than a thousand explanations for what exactly or actually the son of God means and all of these issue from a false understanding. Nevertheless, with all the explanations, because some of them will come to you and say “we believe in one God.” So all of these explanations are under the word ghulu’ and any Muslim can see that this is extending the revelation from Allah to its breaking point whereby a fact becomes a fiction. The Qur’an tells these people who think and believe like this who Jesus is. So Muslims don’t have any problem with that. If you come to any Muslim they’ll say “yeah- we understand this.” But then, the other side of al ghulu’, i.e. this zealotry, is that you have Ahl Al Kitab, i.e. those who are “Christians” and who raise Jesus into the area of a divinity and thus he is in some definition and in some explanation a divine. Then you have on the other side those who took Allah’s Prophets and diminished them to such a degree that they accused them of lying or they simply killed them.

قُلْ فَلِمَ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنبِيَاءَ اللَّهِ مِن قَبْلُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

… Why do you kill the Prophets of Allah aforetime if you are truly committed to Allah?(Surah Al Baqarah verse 91)

When Muslims look at this, you have some people from this history of revelation who raise a Prophet into the area of divinity and then you have others who belong to this same history who diminish Prophets who diminish to the degree that they justify trying to get rid of them or actually kill them. Then you speak to a Muslim about these two extremes- this is al ghulu’; these two extremes that set in to this dynamic of scripture, revelation, Ahl Al Kitab, etc.- Muslims have no problems looking at this because what Muslims have done to themselves is they have delinked themselves from this history of continuum to the degree that they see Christians and Jews as the other. So, looking at them as the other becomes simple to decipher these meanings and these ayaat from the Qur’an. There are other ayaat; of course, we don’t have time to quote them. But when it comes to looking at our ownselves, this becomes problematic. The way we, the Muslims all of us, look at history is that some of us have interjected a concept of infallibility that becomes very hard for others to understand. It’s almost harboring on this ghulu’. When we look at Isa al Masih ibn Maryam and when we look at what the Christians say about him we can easily come and say they have gone out on a tangent here and they’re wrong about this explanation. When we come to the ghulu’ i.e. this type of extremism- we’re not saying that the Ambiya’ are not Ma’sumeen- they are but for those who say “the A’immah are Ma’sumeen”, the question becomes in our internal minds “what do you mean by this? Has a human being become Angelic? Is a human being an Angel?” This is what occurs in the internal mind of those who are not briefed or are not privy to the information of what ismah means. This is for the Muslims who come out and state upfront that “the Imams are infallible.” Then there are other Muslims who place these same meanings in the context of those who are known in Islamic history as As Sahaba. They don’t say it but they conclude it. In both these internal minds put together that make up the general Islamic mind is the same thing. Some of them just say it and some of them do not say it but infer it! Some of them state it and some of them don’t state it but they infer it and we end up with the same connotation and that is “wait a minute- are we stretching these meanings too much?” Whoever we are and whatever background we come from, all of us share a human nature. All of us are humans and we are all subject to this extreme (or) of going to that extent- this was a feature from the time of Allah’s Prophet. There were human beings around him and some of them came to Allah’s Prophet and said I am going to fast for the rest of the days of my life. Others came to him and said we are going to stay up the nights for the rest of the nights of our lives. And others came up to him and said we are going to stay at a distance from our wives. What does this say to you? What does this indicate? It indicates that in human nature there’s that propensity to out of a will to be devoted to Allah, more than Allah is expecting you to be devoted to Him, still there’s that internal pulse that you want to do more in the regards or in the parameters that are already set by Allah. Allah has explained to us what these words or what these ayaat mean- we want to be more divine than Allah?! We want to be more Prophetic than the Prophet?! But this is what happens in certain quarters. By the way, because this is human nature it doesn’t happen among Jews and Christians and Muslims- whether we can see it or not or whether we can identify it or not is another issue but it’s there- but it also happens among those who don’t belong to scripture. It happens among seculars, among Atheists, among materialists, etc. It happens among them too. They have an urge to go to the extreme of whatever ideology, religion, persuasion they belong to. They have this penchant in them to go to the extreme. We don’t find that in the ayaat of the Qur’an (and) we don’t find that in the established and verified hadiths of the Prophet. We find this strain in some Sufis. Some Sufis want to improve their affinity (and) their involvement with Allah and they want to give up on some of the vital energies and responsibilities of life. They sort of withdraw from life! This is also going to the extreme because to link up with Allah you have to be involved in the duties and the responsibilities that come your way from Allah. You can’t withdraw and say “now I am closer to Allah.” You have to be involved and in that involvement you become closer to Allah.

Then we have those who have condensed the meanings of Islam, the ayaat and the ahadith, only in the matter of what you may call jihad and qital. Everything to this particular group of people has become only jihad and qital. We have these popping up, especially nowadays, in different parts of the Muslim world. This type of inclination brought us a troubling aspect of our current lives and that is what is called the takfir. Muslims, because of not honoring the hudud of Allah (or) the limitations that Allah has explained is to us, look at someone else and they say “this someone else is a kafir, this other Muslim is a kafir.” To try to trace this- where did all of this begin? It began after Siffin. Before that, this didn’t exist. In the time of Allah’s Prophet it didn’t exist. In the first thirty odd years after the Prophet it didn’t exist. No Muslim came to the other Muslim and said “you are a kafir.” You can’t find any incident in which this happened, but then there’s an event that took place, a very significant one in our development, and that was at tahkeem when there was an effort to arbitrate the difference between Imam Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and king Mu’awiyah. At that time there was a group of people who did not except this tahkeem nor did they accept the results of it. Before the issue of these people who we disagree with are kafirs they came out with a statement, that is very famous in Islamic history, that said there is no governance except that that belongs to Allah (or) except for Allah’s governance. They were very blunt in expressing themselves. They said that the enemies of all the Muslims- which they meant themselves because every other who disagreed with them was not a Muslim- now have become three persons: Ali, Mu’awiyah and Amr ibn Al Aas and they have to be killed. Obviously to rationalize killing these individuals they said these individuals were not Muslims, they are kafirs. So at takfir in our peculiar history began with that incident. In their literature there is frequently mentioned a word- that word is hukmullah or hukm al ibad (i.e.) the governance of Allah or the governance of the people (or) the subjects of Allah. Where did this belong? Now, brothers and sisters, here is where we begin to notice that (in) our current thinking we haven’t understood some key words, some basic words. We don’t understand them. Even our thinkers today don’t understand them. What are these words? We want to tell you what we’re speaking about here. The word hukm is a Qur’anic word.

إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ

… but governance belongs to no one except Allah… (Surah Al An’am verse 57)

يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَن يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ

… they want to refer their decisions or their judgments or their policies to At Taghut when they were ordered to take issue with At Taghut… (Surah An Nisa’ verse 60)

You see the word once again, the word hukm.

وَأَنِ احْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ

That you judge or govern among them, (this is speaking to Allah’s Prophet and those who follow him), with what Allah has brought down to you in scripture and revelation… (Surah Al Maa’idah verse 49)

In other ayaat of course and other locations in the Qur’an we find the word hukm- it’s a Qur’anic, Prophetic word. The reason why we are out here in the street is because we want to think unlike people who are in these Masajid who come and they listen to some words and they don’t even comprehend what was said and they leave with nothing in their brains. Another word in the Qur’an which in our minds the meanings of the word are not developed is al wilayah. Al Wilayah is a Qur’anic and a Muhammadi word. We’re not taking words that are in the margins of the language; these are at the center of the Qur’an and the hadith.

هُنَالِكَ الْوَلَايَةُ لِلَّهِ الْحَقّ

… over there, al wilayah, belongs to Allah, Al Haqq… (Surah Al Kahf verse 44)

وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ

And those to whom Allah and His Rasul and Alladhina Aamanu are their Awliya’ then Allah’s party shall become victorious. (Surah Al Maa’idah verse 56)

But in our minds, (you ask yourselves because we’re speaking to two halves of the Muslim mind); we ask you, whichever half you belong to- whether you have made a distinction between al hukm and al walayah? Some people mis-pronounce it, they say al wilayah. Al Wilayah is a word but it’s not walayah. Al Wilayah is the geographical-political jurisdiction but al walayah is this concept that is still not clear in the Muslim public mind that confuses it with al hukm. We come down to our time.

The first person or thinker in the past one-hundred years who took the word al haakimiyah i.e. a derivative of the word al hukm, (after its usage way back in thirteen-hundred years ago), and resuscitate its meaning was Sayyid Abul A’la Al Mawdudi. No one before him- who we consider to be contemporary pioneers of the Islamic Movement, whether is Sayyid Jamaal Ad Deen Asad Abadi or Al Afghani or whether it is his student Muhammad Abdou or whether it is their student Muhammad Rashid Rida or Hassan Al Banna- used the word haakimiyah. This was peculiar to Abul A’la Al Mawdudi and he emphasized these words in his writings between 1936 and 1941 when he was in India and he saw that the Muslims there are being ruled by those who are not Muslims, (i.e.) by the Hindus, by the British- by whoever; its not Muslims who are ruling themselves. So when he looked at the issue of governance and ruling he zeroed-in on this Islamic term from the Qur’an and in early Islamic history used primarily by Al Khawarij. They used it in another sense. It’s the same word and he used it in other circumstances and in a different context. When Al Khawarij spoke about hukm or al haakimiyah they spoke about de-legitimizing either a legitimate ruler or someone who is competing to become the ruler of the Muslims, i.e. Ali and king Mu’awiyah- that’s how they were speaking about it; but Al Mawdudi was speaking about the same word and the same concept in the Indian sub-continent where there are no Muslims who are ruling, where Muslims don’t have self-determination (and) where Muslims need, (what you may call), a grand jurisdiction of their own. It’s interesting to note here that this word al haakimiyah, as it occurs in the Sunni sphere of thinking, when he speaks about this whole concept he doesn’t use the word or its counterpart, (as far as we know and as far as we can tell), al walayah. The same thing happens on the other side. If you go to Shi’i literature (or) the Shi’i thinking field you will find that they use the word al walayah but they don’t use the word hukm at that level. Hukm would mean some injunction in the fiqhi sphere of things or something more local context. So we have two types of thinkers in two spheres of activities who are using particular words and avoiding particular words. This doesn’t happen only in these two key words, it happens in other words. It happens with the word Imam and with the word Khalifah. Both of these are Qur’anic and Prophetic words. There’s more concentration on one word in one context and opposite that, there’s more concentration on the other word in the other context. It’s notable that Allah says (or) He uses the word Khalifah in the Qur’an. Khalifah has a Qur’anic meaning and it also has a historical meaning and don’t these two with each other. The word Khalifah in the Qur’an means that Allah wants someone to do His will on earth- vicegerent or viceroy or representative or deputy or other synonyms like this. The meaning is

إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً

… I am placing a Khalifah… (Surah Al Baqarah verse 30)

Khalifah is a position or a status that comes with the involvement of Allah’s will with man’s will. If there’s a struggle and there’s an effort and Allah’s involved in it then you become a Khalifah. It’s not the historical Khalifah where there’s Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (radi Allahu anhum) who were the Khulafa’ of the Rasul. This is not the Qur’anic definition of Khalifah.

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ

Allah has promised those of you who are committed to Him and do His will in what is right then He will have you become the Khulafa’ of the world… (Surah An Nur verse 55)

Once again we find the word Khalifah.

Then, on the other side Allah says to Ibrahim (alayhi as salaam)

إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً

… I, (in reference to Allah), am designating you (or) I am putting you in the position to become an Imam… (Surah Al Baqarah verse 30)

Once again we find the word ja’il from ja’ala. Now you tell us, (whichever sphere of mind that you belong to), have you ever tried to synthesize what these words may mean in today’s real world? An example that we sometimes quote to make it easier to understand- the word Imam and the word Ummah are also two Qur’anic-Prophetic words. One side of our minds says the Imam is infallible; another side says it’s impossible for my Ummah to have a wrong consensus or a consensus about a false issue. So here, the Ummah is infallible. One side says the Imam is infallible the other side says the Ummah is infallible. Has anyone ever thought through this? First of all, can we have an Imam without having an Ummah? Second of all, can we have an Ummah without having an Imam? But it goes to show you that we, ourselves, don’t think through these types of issues.

There are other words that are mentioned in today’s Islamic revival and in today’s Islamic Movement- al jahiliyyah is another word (and) maybe we’ll deal with this later. Then you have al firqah an naji’ah. Remember when we said, to begin with, there’s an inclination in human nature to go to the extremes? Well here it is when some individuals claim that they belong to al firqah an naji’ah i.e. the contingent of Muslims that is saved. Where did this come from? When you hear these words you say “I can’t find the flavor of this in the ayaat of the Qur’an or in the hadiths of the Prophet.” Then there is al uzla ash shu’uriyah i.e. the emotional disconnect from the people or from the society around you. All of these are vital components of today’s living Muslims who are looking forward to self-determination and self governance. The Prophet of Allah says I caution you against these extremist tendencies pertaining to ad deen because this zealotry has caused those who came before you to perish.

Dear committed Muslims who’s days are days of taqwa and who’s timeframe from Jum’ah to Jum’ah is a timeframe of taqwa…

We’ve mentioned Masjid Ad Diraar last week in the khutbah and out of objectivity and reason quoting the ayaat from Allah and the history of the Prophet we said that not only is this Masjid, Masjid Diraar but also are the Masajid that are controlled by the people who control this Masjid and that means the Saudi Arabian regime and because it controls Makkah and Al Madinah the Masajid there that are supposed to belong to Allah have become Masajid Diraar. Lo and behold, in this timeframe in the past few weeks we have Zionist zealots, psychopaths (and) rabid fanatics who are right now making their presence known in Al Masjid Al Aqsa. Just in the past couple of days fifty of these Zionists went into the area of Al Masjid Al Aqsa where Muslims congregate for prayer (or) get ready for prayer and they began kicking a Qur’an around as if it was a football of sorts. Some Muslims ask “how can this happen?” We’ll answer you in a few sentences. This happens because the Masajid we have around the world are Masajid that are controlled by the enemies of Allah and His Prophet. If they put you to sleep every week and you come for your sleeping pill every jum’ah then how are you going to respond to offenses like this? There are many offenses that are coming our way. They are violating us in our private lives; they are violating us in our social lives, in our civil rights, in our political rights- left and right! Because of what? Because these Masajid are controlled by them. There’s no message of conscience that emanate from these Masajid and therefore they get away with this type of stuff. Why should anyone ask “how are the Zionists getting away with kicking a copy of the Qur’an around in Al Masjid Al Aqsa?” The Zionist are getting away with that in Al Quds, Jerusalem because the Saudis are getting away with the preparation for that in Makkah and Al Madinah. If we were to understand our Prophet correctly, (we say this probably for the umpteenth time), we would clean our own house first. This is where it all begins. Some Muslims say “look- we are outcasts, we are aliens, we are victims of discrimination, we can sense prejudice in the air.” OK- if you are all of that, why don’t you feel at home here in the street?! You want to feel at home with those who are causing you all of those problems and all of that agony? You want to go and render all of your services and rituals to Allah shoulder-to-shoulder with them?! How long is it going to take for these people who call themselves Muslims to realize what is happening in the real world (and) for the Masjid to be located in the real world? How long is that going to take? Or are they satisfied with an hour of tranquilizers every week so that they can be absent for the rest of the week from these real events, these real issues- life and death issues as they are?

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