ALI (R) AND PEOPLE'S WAR FATIGUE
- THE STREET M IMB ARKHUTBAH : (16 November 2007)webpage: www.geocities.com/khutbahshttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/the_street_mimbar/Suggestions & Criticisms: PLEASE e-mail: khutbahs@...It is in such a manner that We make plain our signs so that the course of thecriminals may become clear.Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem.Alhumdulillah. Peace and blessings on Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa sallam), his Noble Companions and Family.Brothers and Sisters, Committed Muslims....audio on http://www.islamiccenterdc.com/khutbassermons.htm (2-11-2007)IMAM ALI AND PEOPLES WAR FATIGUEAllah says to us, if only there are people who are listeningO you who are securely committed to Allah, obey Allah and obey His Messenger and those who are entrusted with authority from among you (Surah An-Nisa verse 59)This is an ayah that is accessible to every Muslim; that has no ambiguity of meaning and that has been with us for around 1,400 years or so. Pity the minds and people who care not to investigate the application of this ayah, especially when we have the hindsight of looking at our developments and ups-and-downs from those initial generations of Muslims who were the forerunners of the application of the meanings of this book and the instructions of this Prophet. We have taken it upon ourselves to investigate as much as we can in this weekly khutbah our trials and errors- we are human beings and weve been human beings ever since this wahy was revealed and well continue to be human beings till we surrender our collective existence to Allah from this world. Did we have our mistakes? Yes, weve had our mistakes. Did we try our best? Yes, generally speaking- when we look at the Muslim collective, we tried our best. But even though these are the generalizations, are there further details that we should consider that up until now, we have not had a solid and consolidated effort to do? In this regard, we said the last time, we are living our initial efforts to obey Allah and to obey His Messenger and those who are in the positions of authoritative responsibility. We traced ourselves for 30-to-40 years after the Prophet and weve reached the point where we, the committed Muslims of that generation, decided to disagree with each other. Theres nothing that we know of, that bars Muslims from having different points of view. As much as we understand and can tell, that is a given right to every Muslim, to have and hold firmly to their point of view that comes out of their conviction and understanding of Allah and His Prophet- that is a God-given right. Up until now, theres nothing wrong with the discrepancies of opinions that we, as a whole, had. From reading the book of Allah and understanding the Prophet of Allah, we know that something is wrong when our differing point of view turns deadly against our ownselves. Weve had this happen in our historical self and society that goes back to that 1st and 2nd generation of Muslims that was nurtured by the presence of Allahs Prophet. The point that we reached is- those who broke away from Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and they explained their position by saying we should fight on against al-fia al baaghiyah, the transgressing or aggressing component among us- that was in reference to Muawiyah and his camp- but these people, even though they are permitted their own political ijtihad- thats their God-given right- these people were wrong when they turned their weapons against themselves- because who are we speaking about? Were speaking about an Islamic society, a component of that Islamic society held on to a political version of things, but just because they have a political version of things doesnt mean that they have a right to turn their weapons against themselves. They killed Abdullah ibn Al Khabbab ibn Al Arat, as we mentioned previously, and Ali sent a representative of his to try and talk this issue out instead of fighting it out and they killed him. This type of trigger-happy attitude doesnt have a justification in the book of Allah or in the Sunnah of His Prophet. Beyond that, when it came down to the nitty-gritty of the issue, these Khawarij- remember, this is a history that many people dont want to open up; we dont know why! If you are in the presence of Allah and His Prophet and if you understand what Allah and His Prophet are saying, why shy away from these types of details? To the contrary, you approach these details with the confidence and knowledge that can sort these otherwise, ambiguities out so that we can proceed on Siraat Al Mustaqeem.And for certain, this is My Siraat- the direct approach to me- as it is straight, therefore follow through on it and do not be distracted by other approaches and avenues. If you do, you will go astray from this direct and forthwith access to Allah. This is Allahs advice, council, remaining word and bequest unto you (Surah Al-An'aam verse 153)It takes this type of heightened, cultivated and informed mentality and psychology so that they do not become today military campaigns that turn us against us. The demonstration of what we have are plenty and they are attributable to our inability to sort them out. When these types of characters came to Ali and they said look, youve been wrong, you are wrong and we were wrong at one time; now, we see the light (this is what they tell him), we confessed to our kufr (these are their words) and it behooves you , meaning Ali, to confess to your kufr, to express your taubah, repentance and then assume the straight course that we have assumed. At this moment, you can visualize the type of condescending attitude that was displayed by this category of Muslims and after that there was no solution to this type of self-righteousness and holier-than-thou attitude that turned violent, killing everybody whom disagreed with them except to go to An-Nahrawaan- we spoke about that encounter there, in which 3,000 of these Khawarij were obliterated. OK- when that was done, what type of Muslims public opinion did we have? We had these warriors who were with Ali returning to Southern Iraq, viz. Al-Kufa and Al-Basrah, the majority of whom went back to Al-Kufa. They told Ali we need a respite; give us some time; we have to recharge ourselves and recuperate from this war. He said OK- we have a time period when we can re-gather our strength, put ourselves together and then proceed to Muawiyah and his camp. But, they took that time and Ali comes back to them and he says the following after he tells them youve had your time; enough time youve spent to re-group, re-charge and now the time has come to put on the military gear. They would listen with their ears but they would not respond with their hearts; they dont want to go to war. Brothers and sister- we say this in light of Allahs wordsO you who are firmly committed to Allah, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those who are entrusted with decision-making from among you (Surah An-Nisa verse 59)Here is an Imam or Wali Al-Amr Al-Muslimeen telling the Muslims around the time has come to resume our responsibility and theyd just listen passively. The words do not penetrate into them, so what does he tell them? What do you do? These are the Muslims who are left, how do you approach them? Brothers and sisters, because these issues have become potential matters of civil strife and wars among us today because we dont listen and we dont put affairs and issues in their contexts- this is what he said to them (were going to quote; we have to quote, we have no choice or else we could have just summarized them as we usually do, but because youll find (that) these words are not just limited to this khutbah, they go thousands of miles away and youll find the technical or sectarian person or some jaded personality out there that if we dont quote these words, theyre going to try and say No, you were not accurate is what you said; for that reason were going to try and be as accurate as possible on this issue and not have internal and external enemies cause friction among us when we are all on the same wave-length. These are not simple people around him, these are the people who have been to Al-Jaml, Siffin and An-Nahrawaan and this is what Ali said to them, word-by-word- OK, well take this sentence by sentence and try to deliver this meaning in English: O subjects of Allah, what has come of you, (that) when I order you to mobilize for the course of Allah on a course to Allah you show a gravity towards the Earth; you are tied down to your worldly interests? Are you satisfied with this worldly life in exchange for the ultimate or other worldly life? Are you satisfied with humiliation and degradation in lieu of glory and honor as a manner in your social life? The 2nd sentence: Why is it that every time I order you to Jihad, your eyes begin to turn in your heads as if you are in the throes of death and as if you have stony hearts? At times of non-combat social life, you appear to be lions (meaning, when theres no aggression and no immediate threat to society, you portray a very courageous and bold manner) but when you are called to warfare and the clash of arms then you are like canny foxes. The frontiers of your domain are contracting (meaning youre beginning to lose sovereign grounds) and you display no fear of what is happening. The eyes of your enemies are not sleeping while you are in a deep slumber. Of course, you have a right over me. This is Wali Al-Amr Al-Muslimeen or the Imam of Muslims saying to his people or his civil society, as long as youre in sincere communication and council with me, I will be in sincere communication and council with you. I will guarantee that you get the share of the Islamic budget; another right that you have over me is that I will continue to teach you so that you are not ignorant; and I will continue to mannerize you so that you are able to pass on this teaching to others. Now, as for my right upon you (up to here he was stating their rights upon him; now, what is his rights) he said you honor the allegiance you gave me and you continue to be sincere whether you are present or whether you are absent and another right I have upon you is that you respond when I call upon you and that you obey when I order you. This is word-by-word, quoting Ali in what he said to the people who were around him. It appears, obviously, from reading and understanding this quote, that we, the Muslims, for the 1st time in our history are dealing with the issue in which society begins to fail its leader. This didnt happen before in this manner. This is the 1st time that we had people who agree that this is their leader and can understand what their leader is telling them but they seize to be responsive. Theyre not listening, not obeying and not following up on what they have to do. This is the 1st civil and political failure that we have in our Islamic history. That being said and stated the question is what was the explanation or rational of the Muslim peoples for no longer responding to their higher responsibility? This didnt happen in a vacuum! People just dont say we no longer want to listen to our wali al-amr or Imam because we woke up some morning and we just felt like we dont want to go along with what he has to say- thats not how human nature works. What is it that made these people feel the way they feel and act the way they are acting? 1st of all, we have to understand that this Islamic society in Al-Kufah and Southern Iraq (and Iraq itself) at that time had been through what we may call three civil wars. 1st they went to Al-Jaml then Siffin and recently An-Nahrawan and it is not easy (believe us brothers and sisters) to continue to fight when you have been fighting your own- theyve been fighting their people, folks, crowd, relatives and their families and how much can a society take? This is an area that still the Muslim mind has not settled on. How much can an Islamic society be stretched because from their point of view- they didnt say it in these words, but reading about them and understanding them, if they were here today they would say weve been stretched too much, we cant take it any longer. It wasnt like the time of Abi Bakr, Umar and Uthman (radi Allahu anhum) when the Islamic armies were dealing with a foreign enemy- thats different. When you tell people to fight their own people for justice, they reach a cut off point and the explanation that these people had is we have reached that cut off point; we cant take it any longer; not all the people are Ali in as far as his commitment to the truth and his insistence on justice- they werent like that, they were the average, regular and normal individuals in a crowd with a social multiplier- thats who they were. So when Al-Imam told them now let us go and do what we wanted to do from the beginning and face off this renegade in Ash-Shaam (meaning Muawiyah); they would listen and watch but they would not respond; they dont want to do that. Some of them also looked around and saw that some of the Prophets generation refused this war altogether. Whatever side there is war amongst the Muslims said we dont want to have anything to do with it; some of them, symbolically, would go and break their swords in a gesture that meant enough is enough; how can we fight against those who say la illaha illah Muhammmad rasoulullah? This was also a social trend in that society and region.Besides theres another issue that you need to be aware of- Ali had what we call to day a policy that all the revenue that comes to the Islamic treasury has to be immediately distributed to the Muslims; it cannot stay in the treasury. This is one of the points of disagreement between Ali and Umar. Umar didnt disagree with Ali on a personal basis, he put this issue to a shura when he was in Al-Medinah. What are we going to do? During Umars time is the time when the Islamic treasury began to get full; before, Muslims were poor; we were in poverty so we didnt have to deal with this issue of what do we do with this money and surplus wealth that is accumulating- that was not an issue. During the tenure or time of Umar, it became an issue, so Umar put it to the shura of the Muslims- what are we going to do with this? Some of them said you give out what is necessary and what is not necessary, you keep it for (what was called at that time) ad-dawaween, which is the administrative aspect of the Islamic governance. Ali disagreed with Umar at that time, but now Ali is in the position of the leader of the Muslims, the way Umar was at that time, so now he saw to it that whatever came into the Islamic treasury leaves immediately. So, people began to fell that money was coming their way; and not only money, at times it may have been fruit, produce, honey, it was even reported that what came to the Islamic treasury was needles and threads and it didnt stay there one day. Immediately those needles and threads were given to the Muslim public. Ali would say that room in which the money is supposed to be should be clean- nothing in it. This was another contributing factor to these people saying well- if we have this revenue coming to us and we dont have to go and fight- weve had enough of that- lets live this life, lets live and let live.Then, there was another issue and that was Muawiyah. He was sending these people of Kufa and Iraq promises and money. That was another issue of dissuasion. There were contacts inside this Iraqi society who were told if you are neutral or if you dont take sides against us, then you will have a bright future and some of this money began to come from Ash-Shaam to Iraq .Then, these people were looking at a larger picture. Now, public opinion began to fear that if the Muslims were threatened by the previous two super-powers- the Byzantines were threatening Ash-Shaam and this wasnt ignored by the people in Iraq and the Eastern frontiers, the areas that used to be Persia were also showing instability; Ali could not have a tight control over these areas, so all of this fed into a general perception by these people- wait a minute here, how far are we going?! Were not trying to say that the general social attitude at that time was correct- No. What we are trying to do is understand- with accuracy and a conscience- the factors that were at work. You (can) bring these factors into todays world- its easy to look at this with the distance of 14 centuries, but reconstruct these issues on todays society and see what will happen. But still, the issue remains if a people have a leader who is obedient to Allah and His Messenger, do they have the right to break away from him?! We dont have any information from Allah or His Prophet that once that is the case i.e. a legitimate leader and an Islamic society, that there has to be a break between them, as was in the making in this time period that we are looking at.Let us also quote Ali when he spoke to this condition. Once again, we have to quote him because there are weak characters, feeble minds, a tremendous amount of tradition, nationalism and sectarianism out there and if we were to summarize what he said without quoting him, then all of these features will kink in and try to discredit what we are saying- for that reason, well take you back to his words. OK- whats this 1st sentence saying here: O people whose fathers were united but whose hearts and desires are divided: theres no glory to a person who calls upon you and there is no comfort to a heart that has experienced you. Your words could chip away at boulders and stones and your actions invite the works of your enemies. If I call upon you to jihad, you begin your fabrications and innuendos; contrived excuses on the basis of falsity; (hes reminding these people of Iraq ) you are the ones who asked me to postpone the encounter with Ash-Shaam. A humiliated person cannot retard oppression and you cannot reach validity and truth except by being serious, motivated and perseverance. What other homeland besides your homeland are you capable of defending? And what Imam after me are you going to fight? A person of vanity is the one that you have been contagious in giving them vanity; and whoever is successful via yourselves is successful with a disappointing force of arms. The way I feel today, I have no ambition of gaining victory by you and the way I feel today, I cannot even believe what you say. May Allah draw a line between me and you and may Allah exchange for me people who are better than you are. Indeed, after me, you will encounter an encompassing humiliation and disgrace and a chapping sword and an oppressor is going to take advantage of your self-centeredness and make it a policy, he will divide your society; (this enemy) will bring tears to your eyes and make your eyes weak. He will cause poverty to enter into your homes and families. It will only be a short while after that and you will have desired to have seen me and supported me. You will come to know the truth of what I am saying and Allah will be excluding those who have done injustice to themselves or to others. These are the exact words of the Imam describing for us the moment in which the relationship between a leader and society is being frayed. There are other quotes (here) from the Imam that we could have quoted, but suffice it to say that this is our common experience. Were not speaking about foreigners, non-Muslims or ignorant Muslims, we are speaking about the cream-of-the-crop of Muslims and what happened and we are also reflecting on our ignorance today by not being able to learn from that rich experience that we should inherit. Once again, all of this can be understood in light of the ayah,O you who are firmly committed to Allah, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those who are entrusted with decision-making from among you; and if you differ, refer to Allah and His Messenger (Surah An-Nisa verse 59)Brothers and sisters- committed MuslimsWe had one problem- of authority- at the beginning of our Islamic history. At that time, especially with the 1,400 years that we are speaking about, we have the luxury and opportunity to consider the facts on the ground and to extract from this consideration the applicable lessons. This wasnt a generation that just popped into and then popped out of existence without having left us with pertinent moral lessons that we should learn. All of that has been smothered by the traditionalism that itself has become a religion that itself has retarded us from understanding who we were and who we are. Is there something difficult to understand about this if we just put our God-given minds, the faculties that Allah has endowed us with and we can resume our authoritative responsibilities and positions? But look at today- if we had this issue centering around one or two personalities, now we have look at the issues that we have. (Take a) look at the authorities that we have; how many authorities do we have in Muslim countries? 50 to 60 and counting?! And they- authorities that have no legitimacy, obviously- keep on increasing.(Take a) look at this past week- the king of Arabia goes to England and he shakes hands with the queen. Someone (a man and woman) is in trouble in his Kingdom if they shake hands in Arabia today, but the king of that land goes to Europe and theres no-one to tell him what are you doing? Cant you see the hypocrisy or he doesnt have a choice?! The queen is his lord and he cant disobey- if the United States, Britain , the Zionists and imperialists decree something, he doesnt have choice.Then, this hasnt been played up and hasnt made the headlines in this country, but in the past two weeks, there were riots in Dubai . The Indian, Pakistani and Bengali community there- who are these? These are laborers who come from the Indian sub-continent and theyre being paid between $100 and $140 a month; they come on contracts and they belong to sponsors; they are put in living quarters that are closer to animal shelters than they are to human domicile and when they go to work, they are thrown into trucks or crammed into small buses and vans. Their living conditions are miserable, they generate as-su and al-fahsha- they dont have their families with them, they leave their families behind and some of them live there for years- without a family- this becomes a breeding ground for adultery, homosexuality and many other problem. 4,000 of them had enough of it and they demonstrated in this integral part of Arabia, the United Arab Emirates . Usually, what governments would do is theyd send in the troops and put an end to this demonstration- just kill them or kill some of them and make them a lesson for others. But in this case, it seems like the government of the United Arab Emirates could not do such a thing. Why? Because these are Indians or Pakistanis and now, when you speak about India or Pakistan , youre speaking about nuclear countries and governments. Were sure the Indian Ambassador in Dubai was watching this very closely to communicate back home on what will happen to the citizens of his country. This is in a country where these sponsors- these are supposed to be Muslims- are stashing away in their bank accounts hundreds of billions of dollars. This is Islam?! Where is Islam in government and authority?! Oh no! They dont want us to think about Islam in government and authority; you have to think about Islam on the toothbrush or fingernail clipper or bed-sheet thats where Islam is supposed to be- dont open your minds to an Islam of social justice. We are trying to take this issue from its beginnings so that we understand who we are and what are responsibilities are.
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