Tribute to an Islamic Leader - Imam Khomeini Part 1

Developing Just Leadership

Muhammad H. al-'Asi

Jumada' al-Akhirah 14, 1431 2010-05-28

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,

Allah- whose words are nourishments to our souls, whose guidance is light in our hearts, whose words are thoughts in our minds- says to us and we beg to listen. These words are in Surah Al Fussilaat and the human endeavour to bring out the meanings of these words in the English language goes roughly as follows

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

نَحْنُ أَوْلِيَاؤُكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۖ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِي أَنفُسُكُمْ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَدَّعُونَ

نُزُلًا مِّنْ غَفُورٍ رَّحِيمٍ

Certainly those who said “Our Sustainer is Allah” and then followed from there-on straight forwardly in life, upon them shall be descending angels or angels shall come down saying/inferring to them “do not fear and do not grieve and receive good news pertaining to Al Jannah that you have been promised. We are your premiers and supporters in worldly life and in it you shall have what yourselves desire (or) wish (or) hope (or) imagine to have; an accommodation from He who always forgives and He is very Merciful.” (Surah Al Fussilaat verse 30-32)

There are people- the earth/world and life is not void of people who express a statement that challenges thieves who have stolen authority from Allah and allocated powers inferior to Allah. But these people are human beings- like you and me- (who) when they say the truth of the matter follow that with a straightforward and straight minded conduct in life. This ayah has combined almost the foundations of Islam. A concise expression of the truth: Rabbuna Allah and then istaqamu: a personal behaviour that seeks to become a social behaviour without twisting in the winds/vacillating in the air/tilting to the temptations in life/running away from the powers that are stacked against them. This is the meaning of this istiqama. You are on As Sirat ul Mistaqeem/a path to Allah that doesn’t have any zigzags to it. There is a challenge when people understand what Rabbuna Allah means. We’re not sustained by worldly Governments. We don’t live depending on other human beings. Much of our lives is an affirmation that our Lord and our Sustainer is Allah and we prove it by a demeanour/actions in life that do not gravitate to the right or to the left or by an attitude in life that cannot be tempted forward/accelerated into schemes of enemies nor does it react by going backwards because it feels that it is weak. This is the nature of istiqama. For those of you who might not be familiar with individual words in the ayah, the word thumma gives human nature a chance. There’s a lapse here. In the Arabic explanation of it, thumma tufeed at tarakhi which means to say Allah didn’t say Inna alladhina qalu Rabbuna Allah wa/fa istaqamu… But once again, we comment on the current conditions of Muslims who are unable to elevate these meanings into our practical lives. Allah said thumma giving you the lapse of time which is necessary for you to launch into a social character that is known for its straight direction. Many people don’t know that when the powers of the world identify individuals who say this (they) become wanted individuals. They join the wanted list of secular authorities. In the time of concentrated power thousands of years in the past, when Musa (alaihi as salaam), was saying “Our Sustainer is Allah,” the superpower at that time wanted to kill him. Why? Because when we say “Rabbuna Allah,” we mean that we don’t have other forces/powers/institutions or whatever who come from a God denying system/society. The only Sustainer that we have is Allah. So the powers that “run the show” say “Oh- that person has stepped out of our system with his mind. He knows what he’s saying and he wants people to step out of this system and confront these false authorities and feeble powers.” The response from the system is “let’s kill the person.” Then, a person who did not disclose his iman/commitment to Allah who is in the inner circles of the Pharaoh says Are you going to kill a person because he verbalizes the statement “My Sustainer is Allah? So this is not a statement to be taken easily. This is very serious. When we say “Rabbuna Allah” provided we understand what we are saying. The statement is almost without any affect if we don’t know what we are saying- which happens to be the lot of many people. These types of individuals/peoples who say and behave in a way that reflects that Allah is the only Sustainer know they’re going to need help/reassurance. From where does this come?

تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ

… it comes from the angels that come down to them and they communicate to them… (Surah Al Fussilaat verse 30)

Communicating what?

أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا

… don’t fear and don’t grieve… (Surah Al Fussilaat verse 30)

These human emotions- fear and grief- have to do with the future and the past. We are in our current moment. The present is now-and-here but our minds/emotions race forward and they go backwards. These angels from Allah are instilling in the immediate person

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا

… that you have nothing to regret of the past and nothing to be sad about for doing what you have done or saying what you have said and you have nothing to fear of the future of what may come (from the) consequences of that dangerous statement i.e. Rabbuna Allah. (Surah Al Fussilaat verse 30-32)

The word khawf comes first because most of us are obsessed with “what is going to happen to me?” That’s the natural sentence/idea that comes to a person’s mind when he/she adheres to Allah. After that, people begin to analyse what they did. Why did I do that? I don’t feel comfortable for doing what I did yesterday/last year for Allah. For the moments/months/years to come, don’t regret the moments, the months and the years that you have spent for Allah in the past.

وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

… and receive the good news of Al Jannah that you have been promised. (Surah Al Fussilaat verse 30)

This is how Allah extracts a person from their weakness and transfixes their attention on what really counts beyond the flimsy/fast passing moments in our immediate future/past. Then Allah says

نَحْنُ أَوْلِيَاؤُكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ

We are your Awliya’/supporters/premiers in worldly life and in the life to come… (Surah Al Fussilaat verse 31)

… to the end of these ayaat.

Now, the first step is to understand without any pollution/inferiority complex. We are (to be) free/healthy in understanding what Allah and His Prophet tell us. That’s the first step. OK- we understand. Let us assume for a moment that we have captured with our hearts/minds what Allah is telling us. Now, can we go public with this? It seems like most of our problems is exactly at this point. After we exhaustively understand what Allah is telling us, to go publicly with it becomes to many people an insurmountable obstacle. But Allah has from time to time favoured us with individuals who can do that. We don’t live in a barren timeframe. We live in phases of time within which Allah presents us with individuals who can say “Rabbuna Allah” and then they can proceed without bending to the left/tilting to the right/being intimidated to make premature movements/without being put into an inferiority complex/position to react to the powers of the world. We do have these individuals but even when we have these individuals who demonstrate their mettle/worth and some of us cannot even acknowledge that. You take an example from the past 30-40 years in our life time. We’re not speaking history here. We’re speaking about things that have happened on our watch. An Imam/leader, (in every sense of the word), comes to the Muslims from within their conditions. Another ayah in the Qur’an sheds light on this.

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ

Allah has promised those who are committed from among you and those who do what is right that He will cause them to inherit the affairs of this world… (Surah An Nur verse 55)

Listen to the word minkum. Allah didn’t promise us someone coming from Mars/someone who comes from outside our condition. He promised us one of us if we consider ourselves committed to Him. And an Imam comes to the Muslims from within history/contemporary conditions. This is not a person who graduated from Oxford. This is not a person who comes to Washington/London and has interviews with the FOX/BBC and the rest of the media. This is not a person who feels comfortable/relaxed- some have Islamic ideas in them but they feel relaxed in wearing their ties and shaving their beards. This is not our condition! This person comes to us from whom we are. Not only is the imagery Islamic, but the pulse is also Islamic. And even though the bloodline doesn’t count, but even if we were to pursue that he goes all the way back to the Prophet. He comes to the Muslims and the world in a humble way, as meek as he is, and some of us look the other way and make believe none of this is happening; and those some who open their eyes open it and then they don’t see the character of the person. They want to try and character assassinate him with some sectarian arguments from both sides. Allah favours us

إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ

… it is that the Ulema are the ones who stand in awe of Allah… (Surah Al Fatir verse 28)

This person didn’t stand in awe of the nuclear powers in the world. He wasn’t afraid of military threats. He wasn’t intimidated by regional powers. He wasn’t put in a position to regret pioneering an Islamic change in our time. He was known for his istiqama and this istiqama is what everyone says in the Fatiha when they read it. And some of us cannot identify a person when he is walking on As Sirat Al Mustaqeem. We hope we know the history of the West, (at least some of it), and we know how they suffered from their particular schism and decided to have people of religion and faith confined to their Churches and Synagogues, (and by extension those who belong to the West in the Muslim realm), in Masajid and then those who make decisions for society/flock the course of the future for hundreds of millions of people occupy the Parliaments, Legislatures, Court Houses and Executive buildings of their domains and countries. This person/Imam, (who in this coming week we shall be remembering twenty-one years of his absence), managed to bring back the feature of an Alim with the feature of a hakim i.e. the character of a Scholar with the character of a ruler. No longer was this social and political schism that has lived among us for hundreds of years the fact of life. Now the Muslims are on a new course. Many of you may not know/even think that in the 1970s a Christian person who was a clergyman, (this is a word that is used in the Western context, in Judeo/Christian literature), ruled a nation state. The nation state may have been relatively small, but no one threw out a fuss at that time that a Bishop/Archbishop was ruling a nation state. This just was in the years/decades that preceded the Islamic change for which this Imam is credited with. Of course, some of you are going to say “who are you talking about? Tell us.” The Archbishop of Cyprus, a person by the name of Macharieous became the leader of the Greek part and before that the Turkish part of that island in the Mediterranean. I was a thinking person at the time (who was) very much in contact with the media and what is said in the political world- no one said “how come a person who is a man of faith/cloth becomes the Head of State.” That went totally under the radar. No one questioned this and then just a few years later a Muslim scholar - he’s not an Archbishop/Bishop- combines the knowledge of the Qur’an with the knowledge of everyday life and he brings about this change and then all of the world goes crazy. They begin to ferment furious fabrications against this Imam. By the way, we also have trouble with people who either use the word Imam liberally i.e. they call their local leader of the prayer “the Imam” but when it comes to a person who combines, (and let us borrow a statement from the Sufis), “the will of Allah in theory with the will of Allah in practice” and then everyone says “oh no don’t call him an Imam!” What’s wrong with you? You don’t know an Imam when you see one?! And then Sunnis and Shi’is alike throw in all of these arguments “Oh no- call him na’ib Imam/ayatollah- anything but don’t call him Imam.” This is what happens when we don’t understand Allah and His Prophet. Remember this hadith? Whoever is not concerned with the affairs of the Muslim is not a Muslim Everyone used to quote it during the lifetime of Al Imam Al Khomeini. This is a hadith. You forgot the hadith? You are no longer capable of quoting this hadith? Another version of it is whoever begins his day without being concerned with the affairs of the Muslim is not a Muslim. Whichever narrative/narration/source you go to, you’re going to find it in one wording or the next.

We want to remind you of some of the Islamic rulers who ruled in the spirit of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. When Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) assumed this responsibility he said Oh people- now I have become your decision maker- the first one/Chief Executive who makes decisions for you but I’m not the best one among you. If I do what is correct/right help me. If I do what is wrong/faulty then correct me. Many people can read this in many ways but a contribution of your reading to it is that Muslim leaders lead with the active participation of those who are ruled by them and they rule without violating the Qur’an or the Sunnah. No obedience is due upon a created human being if it means he disobeys the Creator. Another hadith there’s no obedience due if it is an act that requires disobedience to Allah.

Another ruler with Islamic standards/principles: Umar ibn Khattab (radi Allahu anhu) said- and this is a reinforcement of what Abu Bakr- whoever of you sees a deviation on my behalf should correct/set me straight. A person/commoner listens to this and he responses loud/publicly in an Islamic State/society if we see a deviation from you we will correct it with the blades of our swords. Umar and everyone heard it and how did he respond? A Muslim ruler who is imbibed with the principles/standards of iman says thanks are due to Allah that Allah has made in the Ummah of Muhammad a person who will correct the deviation of Umar with the blade of his sword.

You take the rulers of today’s world/ Muslim countries- if they hear someone expressing this frank/public and transparent statement, they’d throw him in prison. They may torture these types of people. In Islamic society people are entitled to evaluate what is happening and Muslim rulers are subject to the opinions of their people. Umar also said my wish is to leave this world meaning when I die the same way I came into this world meaning when I was born. When a baby is born he doesn’t come into this world with rewards or with sin. Umar says I wish I could leave this world as safe as a baby comes to it- no rewards no sin. This doesn’t come from a psychology of a person who is naïve/selfish.

Al Imam Al Husayn (radi Allahu anhu) says- this comes from a person who understands those who are supposed to be responsible for the issues of citizens/subjects/constituents/voters/tax-payers and all of us who are involved- whoever, (meaning you/me/whoever), sees an oppressive/despotic/authoritarian ruler who has made halal what Allah has made Haram, who violates the sanctities of Allah, who breaks his pledge to Allah… which goes back to our initial ayah

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا

Certainly those who said “Our Sustainer is Allah” and then followed from there-on straight forwardly in life… (Surah Al Fussilaat verse 30)

… a despot ruler who is a contrarian to the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, who works his policies that are characterised by al ithm and al udwan i.e. social/political/military/economic policies that violate standards of morality and become aggressive against the subjects of Allah and then does not attempt to change this either with what he says/does, then it becomes due upon Allah to cause this person to enter the inadmissible territory that he has placed himself in.

The Prophet of Allah says a person who is speechless and cannot express the truth is tantamount to a deaf shaytaan. A dumb/speechless/quiet/non verbal person when it comes time to speak up is a deaf devil.

In this week twenty-one years ago, the Muslims parted company with an Imam whose time to go to heavenly company had arrived- but only in the physical sense. As far as the guidance and the Islam, the commitment to Allah (and) the adherence to the Prophet of Allah is concerned- it continues. But just like in those days Muslims did not want to acknowledge an Imam, in these days Muslims do not want to acknowledge the Imam who took his place and those who are followers in this direction of Istiqama.

Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims…

Allah says

وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ اللَّهُ

… and be on guard against Allah’s power presence or protect yourselves against an impending retribution for what you may have done which solicits Allah’s power response and Allah will teach you… (Surah Al Baqarah verse 282)

This tells that a method of Muslim learning and teaching involves the taqwa of Allah. Many of us have swept this concept under the rug. What does ittaqullah mean? Some people say “fear Allah.” (That’s) a partial rendition/meaning. Some people say “have piety.” That’s a total secular Judeo/Christian translation of the word. Ittaqullah is we only think about/calculate/anticipate/factor in Allah’s Power and Authority in whatever we are doing. People who have this level of living can speak about Al Imam Al Khomeini and then not feel that they have not done something wrong/out of place in a khutbah/lecture/anywhere else. Imam Khomeini has passed on to heavenly company today, but likewise there’s Hizbullah. What’s wrong? People can’t speak about Hizbullah? These are people who have Allah in what they are doing/at the core of their thoughts and emotions and they’ve taken on the Zionist military machine. And we are incapable of talking?! These people, (in the expression), is “they have their lives in the palms of their hands.” They are willingly motivated to give up their lives and they are the first ones to defeat the historical and the current enemies of Allah, His Prophets and the committed Muslims. How much more demonstration of taqwa do Muslims need? And still we carry within ourselves crippled psychologies! We live in a generation of dwarfs who are incapable of just giving verbal credit to people who are on the frontlines of this commitment to Allah. Of course, you’re not going to read this in the Washington Post or see it in your favourite TV news channel- ten years ago this week, Hizbullah kicked the Israeli military occupation out of Lebanon. It took 18-to-20 years to do it but it was done. In those last years of liberating Israeli occupied Lebanese territories, the Hizbullah operations against the Zionist entity in South Lebanon were on the scale of 3,000 operations a year. Of course they didn’t have any warplanes, submarines, military satellite and the rest of this gadgetry that the Zionists have/have access to. They did it with simple hit-and-run operations. It may be simple in the physical world but it takes a build up of iman and commitment to deliver on this and they delivered. Now, in the coming 24hours there’s a flotilla of boats/ships that are in the Mediterranean that have disembarked from Irish/Greek/Algerian ports- all of them now approaching Gazzah. Gazzah as you know has been suffering almost three years of a blockade/embargo/sanctions/excommunication and bad/vicious media attacks. For Muslims there, this is Gazzah tul Hashim. Hashim is the great grandfather of Allah’s Prophet who visited that area. Gazzah is a place where Imam Ash Shafi’ee is buried. Gazzah is no simple area. It could have been you/me who was born/live in Gazzah. They have been living under the survival level i.e. barely living from day-to-day and now there is a convoy/caravan of ships that want to deliver food, medicine, humanitarian aid and subsistence material to the inhabitants/occupants of this integral part of the Muslim world and these rulers, Kings and Presidents- each one of them a Sultanun Jaair- are doing nothing except watching what the Israelis are going to do. The Israeli/Yahudis said “we will not let this string of ships arrive to unload their commodities at the border in Gazzah.” In 24hours we will know what will happen. But knowing/not knowing is not the issue. The issue is does a news item like this find itself in the pool of information that you have from the book of Allah and from the Sunnah of His Messenger? If it doesn’t make its way into the ayaat and hadiths that you have memorised, then the ayaat and ahadith that you have memorised are useless in your life and the lives of the rest of the Muslims and humanity. At the time when a million and a half Muslims are living on crumbs of bread watching their babies expire in hospitals that don’t have medical aid in them- they don’t have antibiotics/bandage/the simple things in life- when this is happening we have arguments breaking out within that regime of evil in Arabia about what? Whether female Muslim students in secondary/high schools are allowed to take physical education classes! Where are they? What planet/orbit are they living in? The Prophet says a Muslim to another Muslim is like a structure one brick reinforces the other. Do we see these Muslims reinforcing the victim Muslims? Far from it. They are reinforcing aggression and wars against our own selves- our brothers and sisters. If there’s not enough Islamic scholars to speak on this issue, (then) six feet under may be better for us than to walk the surface of this earth.

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