DISSENSION AND OPPOSITION IN ISLAM
- STREET M IMB AR Khutbah (2 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 (19-10-2007)DISSENSION AND OPPOSITION IN ISLAMIts been a hieidas since the last khutbah which came after a sequence of khutbahs of many months- we will try to regenerate the theme and direction that we were in. As a reminder or refresher, we, meaning the committed Muslims, are required to behave, act and move as a singular body. The ayah that is oft quotedand this is your Ummah, being one Ummah, and I am your Sustainer therefore conform unto me (Surah Al-Anbiya verse 92)The other frequently quoted ayahOh you, who are firmly committed to Allah, guard against Allahs power presence as is due to Him and do not die except in a state of submission to Him.And then,take protection in Allahs extension to you and be not divided (Surah Aal-Imran verse 102)Allah encourages us to be together and He discourages us from being separate from each other. With this refresher and reminder, we will go back to our own selves over almost 1,400 years ago and we will pick up from where we left off the last time.After the encounter at Siffin- our encounter at Siffin; (whether you like it or not, these were Muslims on both sides of the issue; one leadership was correct and another leadership was wrong and erroneous, but the people there, on both sides were the Muslim peoples)- what is called in the books of history Ahl Ash-Shaam and Ahl Iraq- these were Muslims- no-one questioned whether these were Muslims or not. After both sides agreed to at-tahkeem, or settling this difference through negotiations and discussions, when Ahl Iraq or the side of Ali (radi Allahu anhu) basically returned to Al-Kufa and Al-Basrah, there was a dissident group that refused to go all the way back to Al-Kufa, so they settled in another place called Harura. These were the ones who were dissatisfied- some of them were angry and some of them were nervous (as to) why Al-Imam of the Muslims decided to accept this arbitration or tahkeem. Were speaking about this camp of Muslims- when they went back to Iraq and most of them went back to their original areas, but now, we had a new development, and that was that Muslims who were from Al-Kufa and Al-Basrah but didnt want to return there, because they did not want to be under the direct jurisdiction of Ali because they disagreed with him. In their point of view and understanding, why did you accept this folly?! This is a mistake and you should not have done that. When (both sides, meaning) those who went back to Al-Kufa and Harura settled in, in the days, weeks and months after that, both of them felt uncomfortable so they began to discuss this issue. There were delegations that were going from Harura to Al-Kufa that wanted to find some type of common ground. There were talks, discussions and a type of intention to reach an accommodation between both sides.The people who settled in Harura became known in the Islamic books of history as Al-Khawarij, the dissidents that broke away from the side of Al-Imam. To give you a sense of how they felt, their leader or commander, his name was Shaat Al-Tamimi, felt so uncomfortable with this development that he left Harura and went to Al-Kufa. When the discussions began between both of these sides, they began by questioning why the Imam accepted this arbitration with the side that the Imam himself said or described as a people without the deen and Quran. Remember brothers and sisters- these are two disagreeing Muslim sides; that the atmosphere that they were in was a war atmosphere and that both of them were threatened, but no one from any side said we cant talk. Both of these sides have a lot to teach to the Islamic sides in our day and time when they say we dont want to talk. They didnt say that- at least up until now. They began discussing these issues between them. When the delegations or groups of Muslims would go from Harura to Kufa, they would say basically that we cant understand why you (Imam Ali), accepted negotiations and arbitration with the other side. The answer to that was it wasnt me personally who accepted this arbitration. After talking this over, these people who from now on were called Al-Khawarij said we can understand why you may stop the fighting- we can understand that- but we cannot understand why in addition to that you want to go to arbitration. There are two men who are assigned to solve this issue- we dont understand why this took place. Ali decided to send to them to Harura- this is their seat of power- ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu), his cousin, to try to reach some type of understanding. ibn Abbas goes there and its the same thing- they have the same objections, concerns and they say we dont know why you accepted this arbitration. ibn Abbas says to them at-tahkeem is nothing new; its not an alien concept. It appears at least twice in the Quran. The ayah that saysIn the case in which there are people who go to the Hajj and the Umra and are in the state of ihram, but if they hunt birds or game which is a violation of the Hajj and there are matters that need to be considered, then there is an arbitration for this issue (Surah Al-Maidah verse 95)Furthermore, ibn Abbas tell them arbitration is done in family matters where there are two sides to an issue.And if you, the community of Muslims, fear an irreconcilable disagreement between them (meaning husband and wife), then you dispatch arbiters from his and her folks, and if theres a will for reconciliation, Allah will cause that to occur (Surah An-Nisa verse 35)ibn Abbas was telling them the concept of arbitration was not a strange one. If Allah has advised arbitration on these matters that are lesser than the matters concerning the Islamic state and society, then it is due more in such a demanding manner. They answered- we can see the strength of their answer; brothers and sisters, were not trying to be judgmental, we are trying to understand ourselves, we are not speaking history, we are speaking today, if you have the relevant information to see how this is applicable today There answer to ibn Abbas and therefore to Ali was, when Allah instructs us in His words on issues pertaining to for eg. as-saariq, az-zaani al-qaatil- there are ayaat in the Quran that deal with a thief, a fornicator and a killer- and theres no room in these ayaat for ijtihaad or tahkeem. Has anyone ever said if theres a matter in the court of law concerning crimes, that we arbitrate? There isnt, we follow what Allah says. Here, the position is clear and Allahs words are vivid.You fight against the aggressing party until it comes back to the order of Allah (Surah Al-Hujurat verse 9)You can see how this is a grey area- there is not something that is all white or black (as the expression goes). Still- as they were trying to discuss this issue, they were trying their best to reach some type of understanding. If we wanted to help you out, we can say (in todays language), these who were called Al-Khawarij were the revolutionaries of the time. They couldnt see how a very clear issue of fighting against a very clear enemy which everyone should know, should go into this act of discussion, negotiation, talk, reconsideration and arbitration. The whole issue doesnt tolerate this. When Ali this from them, he said once again but I want to remind you that it was not my preference to stop the fighting and go to this arbitration; It was you, the people, who were with me, the overwhelming majority that wanted to do this, what do I do, fight by myself?! Brothers and sisters- here, we have Muslims (meaning these Khawarij) who (number 1) dont have enough confidence in a person who thinks the way they think- this is what it indicates, or else why break away? You dont break away when you know your leader thinks and feels the way you do, but there is an intervening element and that is public opinion. Public opinion wanted to stop the fight and solve this through bilateral meetings- what do you do with this public opinion? Do you dismiss it?! We want to remind you that as we said previously, this public opinion was moved by economic considerations, the standard of living at that time and the yearning for the forces of the market to take their course and when we look at that, we are not looking at something historical per se, we are looking at something contemporary and alive today. What do you do with public opinion? Internally, both sides wanted to put this behind them and reconvene as one body. The impression on the side of Al-Kufa was that these Khawarij and many of them- it is reported that around 2,000 of them left Harura and went to Al-Kufa; this is a gesture of goodwill- when both sides wanted to solve this issue, one side i.e the Kufis thinking that the other side is reconciled to reconciliation and the other side thinking that this is just a matter of time and re-grouping so that the Islamic potential is channeled once again against the aggressors i.e. Muawiyah and his circle. It seems that we dont have enough qualified Muslims who can put this into perspective without turning sectarian. Up until now, can anyone sense any sectarianism? This is a matter of being right or wrong, its not a matter of being a Sunni or a Shii. With the mutual feeling for reconciliation, what developed is what we call (in todays language) a type of understanding because these Khawarij in their heart of hearts were dead-set against arbitration and the Kufis were dead-set on arbitration, but there was a time when they dismissed that from their public mind (and thought) lets get along and they got along for a short while until the time of arbitration arrived. The delegation from both sides convened- it is said that 400 from one side from Ahl Iraq and 400 from Ahl Ash-Shaam and we know who the representatives of these two sides are. The representative of the side from Iraq was Abu Musa Al Ashari (radi Allahu anhu) and he represented that side- not that he was the choice of the Islamic leader, Ali- that wasnt his choice, yet he was functioning at his full capacity to speak for Ahl Iraq. On the other side, we had Amr ibn Al Aas who was representing Ahl Ash-Shaam. They got together and they began these discussions, deliberations and arbitration process and this is what they agreed upon Remember- we spoke about how Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) was assassinated and what Ali said about that assassination (i.e.)- I will not say that Uthman died dhaliman or madhluman. When these two individuals met, they began talking this issue back and forth- the primary purpose of that was to avoid further warfare and bloodshed- after that, they agreed (remember- this wasnt a transparent session; there were 400 from one side and 400 from the other side, but these individuals were speaking (as we would say today) behind closed doors. This is what they agreed upon Uthman was killed madhluman. We, Muslims know what madhlum means; and they agreed that Muawiyah is the wali of Uthman- in Islamic legal terms, that means Muawiyah has the right to go after those who were responsible for the assassination of Uthman. The ayah in the Quran saysAnd, whoever has been killed or murdered without a basis of justice, then WE have allocated to his guardian 1st of kin, an authorization, He should not be excessive in taking corrective measures for a person who was killed without justice (Surah Al-Isra' verse 33)Now that they agreed this far, the question was who does Muawiyah go to for justice concerning Uthman? What does he know? Does he go to Ali, who Muawiyah says was party to the assassination of Uthman? Obviously not! They couldnt agree to that. After they were locked on what to do next, both of these individuals agreed among themselves (remember they were away from the public eye and the 800 or so Muslims who were in the area who came to the arbitration from both sides)- so, one on one, Amr and Al Ashari agreed to a-null the leadership of Ali and Muawiyah. This is what they agreed to- this is in all books of history- no one disputes this. Let us remind you- brothers and sisters, there are many divergent views and we are not trying to choose and pick any of these divergent views; we are trying as much as possible to zero-in on what we have in our common history. When they agreed that they are going to relieve Ali and Muawiyah from their leadership positions, they said now we will go out and express this to the Muslim public that is here. Amr ibn Al Aas who was representing Ahl Ash-Shaam had a sly behavior and attitude. He always was telling Aba Musa Al Ashari to go 1st or speak 1st or take the 1st step in whatever they were doing- if they were going to go out of the room and speak to someone- whatever- Amr would always push Aba Musa Al Ashari to do it 1st. Now, when the time came for this historical announcement, he told Aba Musa Al Ashari (in todays words) go to the podium and express what we agreed upon. He did- Abu Musa Al Ashari goes in front of the Muslims audience (so to speak) and he says as per our agreement, I am relieving Ali ibn Abi Talib and Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan from their leadership positions in the fashion that I am taking this ring off of my finger and he gesticulated, he motioned- the ring that was on his finger- he took it off and he said in the same fashion, Ali and Muawiyah are off- and the Muslims were listening. Then came Amr ibn Al Aas and he said in the same way that Abu Musa Al Ashari relieved Ali ibn Abi Talib of his leadership position, I 2nd that voice, but in the same fashion, I am affixing Muawiyah to that position. Immediately Abu Musa Al Ashari told him this is betrayal- meaning you have gone beyond your bounds and now youve betrayed the trust that is in you- in other words, youre lying; this is not what we agreed upon. Then, there was a little commotion and some people took out their swords and it was going to turn bloody but it was settled and they immediately dispersed with the people going to Iraq and people going to Ash-Shaam and Abu Musa Al Ashari breaking from these two directions and going to Makkah. What happened here? There was trust on the side of Abu Musa Al Ashari, coming from the generation of the Prophet, he didnt know someone was going to commit this type of betrayal- it never occurred to him, but thats what happened and thats what we had.While this arbitration was going on in Adruh, in Dumat Al Jandal- an area between Jordan and Northern Arabia, something like mid-distance between Damascus and Kufa- for (maybe) weeks, what was happening in Al-Kufa? When Ali would come to the Masjid, these people who were against the arbitration would tell him inside the Masjid things likeRule belongs to Allah (Surah Al-Anaam verse 57)and there is no ruler except Allah. They would quote an ayah to him sayingdont commit the crime of shirk, if you do, all of your deeds will dissipate and in the world to come he is one of the losersAli was probably anticipating these types of developments because he said if they remain without any action, well leave them alone; if they try to propagandize their position, we will respond to them with evidence; and if they embark on a course of action bringing about instability and corruption, we will take issue with them with the force of arms. Remember, this was going on while the arbitration was going on hundreds of miles away- in the Masjid, they would stand and say these things to the Imam and he would say be patient, Allahs promise is due and do not be taken in by those who have not gained the certitude of Allah; They would stand up in the Masjid and say their famous sayings: Rule belongs to Allah and there is no ruler except Allah- he would respond to them by saying words of truth but intentions of falsehood. What do you do- brothers and sisters, committed Muslims- when you take a look at how energetic Muslims were and the freedom they enjoyed at that time- to this extent. We will trail this to see how it goes further and further; compare that with what we have today- stifled minds, incarcerated brains, smothered hearts, tied tongues- can we compare the freedom they had to express themselves with the lack and absence of freedom that we have today when we are not allowed to express ourselves.Brothers and sisters, Committed MuslimsWhen we take a close look- an objective one, not a sectarian or a nationalist one- an objective, Islamic consideration of where we were then and where we are today, we realize how much lost ground has been conceded to those who want to see our Islamic solidarity shattered. When we express these facts and details, we are sorry that this information does not come as common sense. We feel uneasy that Muslims do not have access to this type of information. From time to time, a warm hearted Muslims would come and ask but where can I get this information? What do you say to him, this information is not available in the language that you speak- which is the case in some instances; or it is available in the language that you speak but it is skewed, twisted and contorted either for nationalist or sectarian ends? We have a treasure of experience available to us if we can just neutralize the ego in us. Many of us carry a sectarian ego and many of us carry a national ego- lets slay these egos and be able to learn from ourselves. Were not speaking about foreigners, what you just listened to in the 1st khutbah is not about people who are living on another planet, or people who belong to another religion or people who speak another language, they are we and us. Why cant we understand ourselves? Because if we cant, were going to repeat our mistakes! If we were speaking about Al-Jamal and Siffin then, were going to speak about them to the magnitude of 100 now-a-days if we fail to learn from ourselves. This is not a lesson in history that is cut-off from our current affairs; this goes the heart of the plots, schemes and stratagems that right now, are in progress to turn ourselves against ourselves. Weve had enough of that! The sacrifices and lives that fell 1,300 and some odd years ago are not going to fall again- we will assure this to our enemies and friends. They are trying their best to fuel in-accurate information, stereotypes and polarizations; theyve been trying for the past 20 to 30 years and they are giving it all they have in the past 4 and 5 years, but so far, theres not an Islamic civil war that is consuming us, but the ignorance that lingers among us is something to be watchful of, lest these enemies break through our lives and place us on a course of disaster.
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