THE STREET MIMBAR Khutbah ( 9 June 2006 )
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It is such a manner that We make plain our signs so that the course of
criminals may become clear.
Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem.
Alhumdulillah. Peace and blessings on Muhammad, his Noble Companions and Family.
Brothers and Sisters, Muslims on As-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem...
CONSOLIDATING THE MUSLIM RANK AND FILE PART 6
DEVELOPMENTS LEADING TO KHALIPH, IMAM OR EMIR AL-MU'MININ UTHMAN (RADI ALLAHU ANHU)'S DEATH
With reliance upon Allah and confidence in His life giving words, we continue to take a hard look at an area which the Muslim mind has avoided for many generations which has given an opportunity for trouble makers of today, the fomenters of wars, those who have their national interests and their personal agendas at work to try to move in and instigate what may be probably one of the worst chapters of our history that can be added onto the other chapters that have been closed if we don't move in with our minds that are strictly located in the reference of the Qur'an and the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa sallam). We remind ourselves of how it is important, essential and central to our
understanding of Allah and His Prophet to always be aware and sensitive to the issue of justice.
And when you govern or arbitrate the affairs of people, or when you rule over people, you govern or arbitrate or rule with justice. (Surah An-Nisa verse 58)
Part of our history and our progression is the initial Ijtihaad and mistakes that were made, whether we like it or not, whether we identify it or not, whether we are able to learn from it or not, it is part of our make up. We can't run
away from this fact. What is left for us is to try to make the best of it without a repetition of those mistakes and deviations and without offering the opportunity to the enemies of Allah, the Prophet, Ad-Deen and Islam to come in as they are trying to do nowadays and try to create or intensify divisions, misunderstandings and ignorance that now describes this particular area. We will continue to take a measured look at the information that is available to us at this critical time period that has been so sensitive to the Muslims, that even though we had around fourteen centuries to develop a healthy mindset and attitude to as accurately as possible understand what happened on one side, and on the other side, to build the necessary barrier of knowledge that would make it impossible for those today who are trying to penetrate our internal thoughts, the sensitive area in our psychology and then ferment unrest that will lead to further divisions down the road. That is why it
is incumbent on us to step into this forbidden territory and to do so with a consciousness of Allah, with a confidence in Allah and with a general understanding of the Qur'an and the Prophet. Remember, even though in a sense this is history, in another sense it is contemporary, we are not looking at something that is not related to the real world today- rather it is. Allah gave us an Amanah, He says
We have presented this Amanah to the heavens and the Earth and the Mountains but they declined to carry it and they trembled at this type of responsibility, but man assumed this responsibility. (Surah Al-Ahzaab verse 72)
At the core of this Amanah that we are speaking about is the organization of Human society- the light, the information, the enlightenment, the ayaat, the revelation, the scripture, the words, the meanings, the feelings that have come to us from Allah can be distilled into organizing the human will, which in a sense at its core is the decision making process. We tried as much as possible to trace this decision making process and how the Muslims dealt with it after our Prophet passed away. We reached the critical area which still begs (number one) our objective approach; (number two) our full fledged analysis of what happened during this critical time. The Prophet of Allah in the best and most informed way tried to give the necessary information that we need to organize and develop our social existence, while maintaining our submission to
Allah and our obedience to the Prophet when the Prophet is finally gone, and he's a Prophet, he's a human being , he's a mortal and death as every human being understands will overcome every human being, and the Prophet himself was no exclusion, as dear as he is to Allah and those who love him, he is not an exclusion to this sunnah- to this law. We saw how in the best understanding of the Qur'an and the Prophet this issue was dealt with pertaining to the first two successors (radi Allahu anhuma) to the Prophet. We come though to an area that still begs for our thinking ability. This is an area that doesn't need our emotions. It's been a mind field of emotions for so long, let us try to minimize that aspect and to place more emphasis on our rational approach to what happened. This information is gleaned from different sources and references, trying to avoid those who are on the extreme of this era. There's always extreme opinions and we are trying to avoid this. We are
trying to be as objective, as factual while we understand Allahs words and his Prophets words simultaneously. When we come to this, you see, we're not excluded from this, it's easy to run away and say "Well- that has nothing to do with me!" It does! Because what happened then still has an impact on our lives, and further yet, it has an influence on our thoughts and feelings, so we can't come and say we have nothing to do with this. This is part of our make-up, whatever is positive, whatever is negative about it- is part of our total make-up. Anyone who wants to deny this is either trying to run away from reality or deny his own Islamic History and character. We are not trying to do that. That's an easy way, people can run away and say "Well- You know, this has nothing to do with us." It does! In ways that we understand and in ways that we may not understand.
During the reign of the third successor to Allah's Prophet, Uthman, there were serious violations of the standards that were established before him and of the meanings of certain Qur'anic criteria. There's no way anyone in his right mind and heart can avoid this. When we look at it, we're not looking at this with a vengeance, we are not looking at this to try and behave as if we are superior or inferior in understanding this- we approach this with a healthy mind and a healthy heart, away from the reactionary attitude that characterized many people who tried to step into this territory. How did we have the assassination of the
third ruler after Allahs Prophet? How did we get to that? What happened? Something happened here! This didn't take place in a vacuum and it didn't happen at the spur of some ones emotions. There must have been something that was developing throughout the years, and we're talking about a decade and a half- something was happening to have led to people doing what they finally did. Here, we can pin-point some major developments. We repeat that during the reign of Uthman, there was a break with the pattern of governance that preceded him. That break is accentuated by Uthman appointing his relatives as governors of the most prized territories in the Muslim domain. Most of the sensitivities towards this began in Al-Kufa. The other areas, Ash-Shaam, Misr, and Al-Basrah were not as sensitive to what Uthman did as the population of Al-Kufa, which will force us to take a closer look at Al-Kufa itself. Al-Kufa was something like a forward
head-quarters for the military surge of Islam into what is today called politically and geographically Iraq and Iran . Al-Kufa which is a city in the southern part of todays Iraq, was the head-quarters of this Islamic Military vitality and because this was the case it was a magnet for the Arabian warriors who are now under an Islamic command structure who were coming from the Arabian Peninsula and bringing with them their previous culture, even though now they had an Islamic character, but there previous culture was still there. Meaning, tribalism was part of their make-up, and now, there's a new element that has been intensified and that is nationalism. Al-Kufa now, was also a city of status. There was a considerable budget and there was money here to be made. What was happening was, as the Islamic territory was expanding and
growing, there was new wealth to be had by psychologies and mentalities that were not thoroughly at the standards of the Qur'an and the Prophet, the standards of Islam and the Sunnah. Nothing can happen in a few years- you can't come, just because Islam now has grown into new territories, assume that the culture of the people in these new territories has become an Islamic culture. They bring with them a non-Islamic culture. Central to this non-Islamic culture is basically two elements- tribalism and its nationalistic extension, and now, capital and its feudal developments. These were not there before, now they had become a new element to which the people in Al-Kufa had become super-sensitive. Contributing to that was the fact that Uthman, the ultimate decision maker in the Muslim state, now has appointed one of his relatives, a very close relative, a cousin and a brother by breast-feeding, Al-Waleed ibn Uqbah ibn Abi Mueet to be the governor of this
Kufa area. Sometimes, in history, little things become major issues. What happened after the first five years of Uthmans rule is, his governor who was known to be a drunkard, (remember, we are trying to extract this information from mainstream versions of this history)- what happened during this time was someone stole something, a theft occurred which led to a clash between two elements of that population and that clash resulted in deaths. This whole issue was raised to the governor of Al-Kufa who is a confidant and a very close person to the governor of the Muslims, and the governor was in-capable to see to it that the rule of Allah, the Hadd applies in this case, and so the governor himself was recalled because this issue was going to get out of control. He was recalled and Uthman himself was not able to bring his own Governor in the Islamic line of judicial action. This was the first serious, popular movement against the central Islamic government
in Al-Medinah. Let us say, before it passes us, that the Islamic government was in Al-Medinah and not in Makkah for a reason. Remember, we spoke about Quraish At-Taleeqa, remember, we spoke about a city that was in opposition to Allahs Prophet for over 21 years- it appears that the Islamic capital could not be moved to Makkah itself because of the strong anti-Islamic feelings that were still alive there. The Prophet liberated Makkah in the last year and a half or so of his life, he can't change their deep seated feelings, reservations and internal hostilities towards him in one or two years. Now, don't tell us that this is an easy thing to deal with. If the Prophet of Allah himself could not locate his seat of power in Makkah which is where the Ka'ba is, Al-Bayt Al-Haram, the Ibrahimi legacy and tradition, then we are dealing with a significant force here, a force that did not go away. The Prophets decision to stay in Al-Medinah, should send us a message as to the
repelsitrant feature and character of the people of Makkah themselves. During the rule of Uthman, when he was unable to bring his own governor into the legal procedures of the Quran and the Prophet, he thought maybe now is the time to replace him with someone else. So, he came, he brought to Kufa to replace his cousin another person from the same family, Saeed ibn Al-Aas, but he turns out to be just an extension of the previous ruler, and during this time there was another incident that also brought the population of Kufa closer to take more action against the central authority in Al-Medinah. What was that? There was a day in which this new governor in Al-Kufa called for a meeting of his consultants- Muslims who are known to have had a glorious history of sacrifice for the course of Allah and what slips from him- we dont know whether that was deliberate to try and provoke some people or whether its trying to take the pulse- whatever the case, he said
referring to the new fertile territory in Iraq, that this is a Quraishi garden. These fertile lands were referred to as As-Sawaad, an explanation in the Arabic language that would indicate that the land is muddy, of a dark color that can sustain agriculture and productive produce. He said, This Sawaad is a Quraishi garden. This, as far as the internal make up of the population of Kufa, became the proverbial needle that broke the camels back. Now, to them it was proven that the government in Al-Medinah is out to expand the fiefdom of Quraish- this has nothing to do with Islamic values. They thought that the ruler of the Muslims in Al-Medinah had learnt his lesson. The previous Governor who was known to have not had a fiber of Islamic morals in him was relieved of his responsibility, the new one comes in, but the new one himself also had this nationalistic, this
tribal and even this class feature to him, and from here on, the dye was cast. The people of Kufa were convinced now that they had to do something about this. They began to agitate. At this time, when Saeed ibn Al-Aas the new ruler of Kufa that was appointed, (remember, these were appointments, this was not a Shura process in which the Muslims themselves decided who their governor or local ruler is going to be, (we have to learn from these mistakes)), realizes what has happened in Kufa, he goes back to Al-Medinah, and then, when he tries to come back to Kufa, they block him. The people of Kufa send out a contingent of troops on the road between Kufa and Al-Medinah and they tell him, Youre not welcome back into Kufa and if you come, you know what is going to happen to you! So, he returns, and for the first time, the Muslims in Kufa elect their ruler or regional or local Governor. Who do they elect?
They elected Abu Musa Al-Ashari, another well known character from the generation of the Prophet. Even though he doesnt come from Quraish. He doesnt have this stigma to him- there was a public stigma in the public eye, there is this thing that the Quraishis are taking over the Islamic State and theyre putting their men in these high and sensitive positions. So, when the election of a Muslim ruler took place, (there was no appointment, it was not imposed from the highest office, they themselves elected their own ruler), the other Muslims, they were not sleeping, they were seeing what was going on and they had their own grievances. The grievances were exponentially growing- Misr in Al-Basra, Shaam was sealed off from these events, and they began to feel themselves that something like this should begin to happen where they were. But, to convince the government, they would have to go to Uthman himself and
speak to him, telling him what has gone wrong. So, there were three delegations, about 600 from each delegation, from Al-Basra, Misr and Al-Kufa. They finally decided to go to Uthman and open this whole issue up. There were some historical headlines that captured some of these moments. As far as these delegations are concerned, they had three major grievances that they wanted Uthman to solve and do away with. The first was his nepotism, they considered assigning the highest offices to his relatives and family is a form of nepotism that violated what the Prophet and the two rulers after him did. They wanted him to take corrective measures along this line. The other one was that there was a maldistribution of wealth and they wanted Uthman to take measures to see to it that the rich people do not become richer and the poor people do not become poorer. The other issue was their immediate demand in vacating certain offices- meaning the Governors in these areas
should no longer be the governors. The words that he told them were set, we have to, quickly say that these people were not on a military mission. They were not going to Uthman to get rid of him, or assassinate him, or throw him out of office or these other things that some other people try to play into this. They were going to him simply to advise him to do what is right. Also, this was not a matter of a couple of days or a couple of weeks. When this popular movement began, against what it was considering to be a ruler who has slipped out of legitimacy, this was not a matter of days or weeks, this continued for about 70 days. The first time was a matter of a full month in which they were discussing back and forth what should be done, and in these discussions, it appears very vividly that Uthman was agreeing with their demands and that is why the issue seemed to at one time be diffused- things are going to be taken care of. But then, something happened, and here is where
is seems the history books are not as forthcoming as we would want them to be. None of the corrective measures that Uthman agreed to were institutionalized or executed. There can only be one explanation to that, and that is that the strong men, as they were called, those who represented the Tulaqa, the Quraishi tribalism, the Umawi clannishness, Marwan ibn Al-Hakam and Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan vetoed all of those demands in the closed decision making circle. So, nothing was done. So, these people, the average people, ie. Muslims who did not belong to an agenda, Muslims who were looking at Justice to be done. There was and this is important for us to think about, there was something like a movement that developed in these years leading up to the assassination of Uthman. That movement was called Al-Qurra, which means the reciters of the Quran. To understand them, we would have to capture the facts on the ground. When Allahs Prophet passed away,
there was an intense emotional vacuum and one of the attempts to fill in this vacuum was to concentrate the human mind and the human heart on the Quran. So, there was a popular movement that was concentrated around the Quran. People were memorizing, reciting, explaining, rehearsing, and exchanging its meanings amongst themselves in the Masjid, in public. This Qurra movement was the leading force in Kufa and it centered basically around two persons, Abdullah ibn Masud and Abu Musa Al-Ashari. None of them from this Quraishi, Umawi, Tulaqa ambience- they were free from that. There was a movement, because during Hurub Ar-Ridda, the social forces that wanted to renounce authoritative Islam and an Islamic central leadership in Al-Medinah, many of these Qurra had passed on in their opposition, or Jihaad against those who were fighting for purposes of breaking away from an Islamic authority and an Islamic Shura state. This began to
increase and as these were very serious in the toll that they had taken on these Qurra they developed a movement to preserve the Quran. The Quran up until now was not written down, had not become a Mushaf, was not collected into pages from the beginning to the end, and these Qurra's intensity about reading the Quran exposed them to the Qiraaat, the seven legitimate ways of reading the Quran, and some of this interaction began to cause friction among the Muslims. The Qiraaat themselves began to cause this friction which led up to the idea to consolidate the Quran into one Holy Scripture, one Holy Writ. So, Uthman decided to do this. Now, when Uthman was deciding some things, he was getting input from another circle of sincere Muslims, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Abu Ayyub Al-Ansaari, Saad, Zaid ibn Thabit and a few others (Radi Allahu Anhum) who were also advising him especially on this issue. So, he put together what is referred to
today as Al-Quran or Al-Mushaf Al-Uthmani which to some of the Qurra was misinterpreted as taking away the vitality of these Qiraaat. Still, up until this day is an area in which the Muslim mind is not very familiar with and it causes these problems nowadays. If we come to todays Muslims, we're supposed to have 1400years of education on these matters since then, and some Muslims will come and tell you, even scholars that you are dividing the Muslims by re-introducing these Qira'aat. Even though they are scholars they say this without a firm understanding of these Qira'aat. Never the less, this was an issue during those days, a critical issue and so, when this Qurra movement, these people who were out on the war front and who were intensely concentrated on the Quran, who began this corrective movement against the deviation coming from the inside circle of Uthman. When they did come to Al-Medinah, there were attempts at
reconciliation by the Muslims who were living the details of these issues in Al-Medinah. Finally, when it appeared, when it came clear that what was agreed upon was not going to be implemented and what exacerbated the issue a little more was that there were hostile acts against Muhammed ibn Abi Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu) and another prominent figure. These delegations from Kufa, Basra and Misr, are around 2,000, and 2,000 is nothing compared with the men under arms in this Islamic State, there was about 200,000 Muslims under arms and you had 2,000 who came to correct the deviations at the highest level. Imagine if the office of the Khalifah was to act like the governments nowadays! They could simply recall a fraction of the 200,000 and try to kill off these people who are coming to reform and correct what is wrong. That didnt happen, when Uthman spoke to them, and they left and these other events snowballed, indicating that there was no goodwill on behalf of
the castle, Uthman had elaborately built for himself his own residence, it was called Al-Qasr, they came back this time more serious. Ali and the others who were there, who were trying to diffuse this issue tried their best to have those corrections take place, but it appears, once again, that the Umawi lobby was not in a mode to adjust what had gone wrong, so they took a hard line position now, in opposing these people who had come from hundreds of miles away to oppose them. Uthman himself said that he saw or felt that there is a popular wave but he said he will not unclothe himself from a garment that Allah had clothed him with. These are his words. That is not so. He became the leader of Muslims by the baiah of the Muslims. Theres no ayah and theres no hadith that makes him the leader of the Muslims. It was his misunderstanding on principle that had him stay his ground. He would not leave, even though, his
castle, his elaborate residence was under siege for weeks. Ali had to send his son with food and water so that he doesnt die of thirst and hunger. Uthman wasnt permitted to go to the Masjid to lead the prayers because of the popular wave against the mistakes that were institutionalized during his years. Finally, there were some individuals, some books would try to make you believe there was some type of gangsterism or mob, No! this was a sincere attempt- now, there may have been trouble makers and trouble makers were all over the place, but by and large, this was a sincere popular recourse at adjusting the mistakes of government- some of these individuals went to the door and they torched it, they lit it on fire, and then, there were between three and five individuals out of around 2,000 who climbed over and went to Uthman in the sorry state that he was in. Remember, being under siege for this time period and as he was reading the Quran they stabbed him to death. We are
not saying that this type of action was the correct action to take, we are not saying that Uthman deserved to die in such a way, what we are trying to say is that these events took place and there was a breakdown of governance between the highest office in the land and the average Muslims who were here and there. This is where Islamic Governace broke down and this is how the third successor to Allahs Prophet met his final day on Earth. And, they leave, what was accomplished? In the institutional sense of the word, nothing much was accomplished- they wanted things to be done, those things were not done, but what became more clear is that that lobby that is in the shadows now would re-appear with its true agenda and what it had on its mind- an issue and a theme that we will approach in the coming khutbahs to try to have a feel for the area that our enemies now are trying to divide us on, an area that begs our attention, our common sense, our good intentions and our goodwill
towards each other. This is not an area that should invite our enemies to polarize us into sunnis and shiis killing each other and keep on killing each other, saying we dont want to take a rational look at these events- Why not?! If we are confident, if we are sure, if we rely truly on Allah and His Prophet, we can be delivered with informed knowledge from this trouble making area. Instead of leaving it the open field of the war mongers and those who are fermenting civil strife among the Muslims today. We are responsible for Justice, beginning with that deviation during that time until what we have today.
Brothers and Sisters, Committed Muslims
Going through some of the details of those sensitive years in Islamic history and trying to compare what was happening then with what is happening now- the mistakes that we had then pale, they drift into almost insignificance with the types of mistakes that we have today. Today, can the average person put together a delegation and go and speak to the highest person in Saudi Arabia , as an example. Yeah, they have a show, they have what they call some type of local council meetings, they throw in the word
Shura, and they tell people Lets hear your complaint? What have you to say? This, what we are talking about, is this Islamic Governance? At that time, the years that we are looking at, this is 30 years plus after the Hijrah, 20 years after the Prophet. It is said, and this cannot be finalized, but it is said that the opposition to Uthman, part of it was organized, thought out and planned during the Hajj and the Umrah to Makkah. When we go to Makkah, can we now have a meeting of minds and souls on issues that are faintly related to the issues that we are talking about? The answer to that is a solid No!. Why? Because the rulers that we have dont even compare to the vitality that was present in those days. The ruler of Makkah and Al-Medinah- he is going to say I can defend my position?! I think what I am doing is right, and if the Muslims come and want to speak to me in their hundreds I am willing to respond to them without bringing in the armed forces?! When
they feel that they are threatened, their armed forces cant do a thing, they call in the armed forces of the Kaafirs and the Mushriks of the world to defend them. But, with these details absent from the Muslim mind, these rulers, kings, monarchs and presidents are having a field day of security because were not thinking. This area is absent. We dont know what its like to go and speak to a ruler face-to-face, heart-to-heart, mind-to-mind. Thats been taken away now for over 1300 years. And what now- do we want it to become part of our social lives? No one can attempt to approach these rulers because no one wants to enter into this forbidden territory. Why? If we have Allah and His Prophet with us, we can go anywhere, into any territory and not become the terrorist that they want to say we are, or the gangsters or the goons or the hit-man and the assassins that they try to sink into our history back then. There was nothing, per se, evil about the Muslim public
conscience- nothing was evil then and nothing is evil about it now, regardless of the Umawi lobby back then and regardless of the Zionist Jewish lobby now. But, it is because we dont have this vital information in our heads and our hearts that these trouble makers begin to blow their poisonous ideas into our lives.
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