The noble Messenger (saws) was sent not only to inform but also to transform humanity by bringing it out of darkness and into light. Muslims ought to pay attention to this aspect of the Sirah in this month of Rabi al Awwal.
Despites its being one of the most important pillars of Islam, most Muslims know little understanding about it beyond rituals. Hajj’s most important function—declaring dissociation from the mushrikeen—is seldom mentioned. It must be understood and revived.
The cliques that run mosques in North America pursue their own narrow agendas without addressing the burning issues or paying attention to the needs of the people. This has resulted in alienating most Muslims.
The sacred month of Muharram follows the sacred month of Dhul Hijjah. Salina Khan argues that the true significance of Ashura and the martyrdom of Imam Hussain must be addressed honestly to create awareness among Muslims about issues of legitimacy, justice, dignity and freedom in Islam.
Sister Salina Khan challenges the conventional, ritualistic approach to performing Hajj and explains her experiences during the last Hajj.
Muslims have become fond of building cathedral style masajid where all kinds of restrictions are imposed. Sister Salina Khan argues that masajid should become centers of activism for social, political and economic justice.
A Friday sermon I attended curbside on an oppressively hot day earlier last month turned out to be a long-sought breath of fresh air.
This Jum’ah, this time frame and this place we are in have their own dynamics and developments, their ups and their downs and when we present and explain issues and affairs at this time every week we intend it to be understood with the contents of our time and place and within the context that we find ourselves in. We are not just here expressing a khutbah in abstract and we are not here propounding on meanings that are theoretical only. We are trying as much as is humanly possible to activate the meanings that we obtain from Allah and His Messenger in the real world. With that as an introduction of sorts, (as you and we know or at least should know), there’s much talk into today’s political and social and cultural spheres that you and we are in and out of at times we find out that there’s a lot of talk and much concentration on governance.
The Muslims of today, even though they are coming of age, they’re maturing, still have a feature to them that is undesirable and that is they lack the confidence that should belong to them. Many times, (if we think through the events of life), we discover that the Muslims around us are simply too weak in their spirit and in their selves do what has to be done. This is not a peculiarity that is to be found only among Muslims; it’s also to be found among other types or other blocs of people. In this context we want to quote and try to explain some ayaat in the Qur’an in which the word Al Mustad’afeen is used. This word occurs thirteen times in the Qur’an- Al Mustad’afun or Al Mustad’afeen or Alladhina Istudifu or such derivatives of the same source words. Out of those thirteen times, four of them is in reference to Bani Isra’eel; one of them is in reference to Thamud- one of these civilisations that was destroyed because of its power rejection of Allah in the general area...
We are living in a world that bends the facts and twists the truths to suit their interests and basically their profits and moneymaking strategies. We are first of all thankful to Allah that we don’t belong to that crowd of people. Secondly, we thank Allah generously for providing us with the information that is necessary for us to continue to stand up for the truth and for justice regardless of how the winds blow. So in this particular timeframe that we are in there’s a lot of talk about what they call “the application of Shari’ah.” It has taken on a momentum of its own here. The media, the pundits, the propagandists, the public relations persons are all in a type of assault mode concerning what they call “Shari’ah law.” Brothers and sisters- before we get drawn into their direction of things, let us take a brief moment of rebooting our minds or of recalculating this plethora of information out there.
As you may have realised throughout all of these years, we have endeavoured our human best to clarify issues that have been buried under centuries of ignorance and generations that have abdicated their responsibilities. It wasn’t an easy effort and it still remains to be a challenging one. Obviously with all that is said and all that is expressed we, (meaning the Muslims), still have a condition in the world that needs necessary improvements. Our concentration is on our own internal thoughts because that’s the dynamo (and) that’s the dynamic of how we proceed in life and because we all refer to Allah’s Prophet let us revisit some of his character and interaction with the people around him- provided we are thinking. This is another obstacle that we encounter.
Today, we are highly conscious of Allah’s power and authority therefore we behave with that consciousness, saying the truth whatever the results may be. The final results are with Allah and not here; our presence here is only transitory. Brothers and sisters, committed Muslims- be advised that we are not individuals only. We are a larger body of committed Muslims. If we read the Qur’an with a consciousness and a thinking mind, we notice that Allah speaks to our plural character more than He speaks to our singular character. This would mean that when we read the ayaat of the Qur’an and we come across such words as Muslim and Mu’min and whatever extractions we have from these two words we realize that in the overwhelming majority of ayaat the collective body of Muslims and Mu’mins is mentioned much more than the singular Muslim or Mu’min. Muslims are expected to have a jama’ah.
One of the problems, (if not one of the major problems), we have is the misunderstanding that has settled in and that has been taken for granted; this misunderstanding has to do with the confusion or the separation of two terms (or) two words or two ideas. We are supposed to understand better but to say the truth at this time we don’t. There has been a separation of authority from divinity. This suits the secular world very well but it does not belong in our mind and in our life. When we say ilah we mean a divinity and an authority together- they are inseparable; that is why our definition is expressed by ash shahadah. I bear witness that there is no Ilah except Allah. The word ilah here does not mean a heavenly deity or a cosmic divinity that has no effect or has no influence in our lives. Alas- the Muslims have been assaulted throughout the centuries in a way that has excluded authority from its divine definition; so when someone says “oh there’s one God” that means that...
The consciousness and the attention that is required of you as it is part of the meaning of taqwa on this day; I beg you to pay attention to an abbreviated khutbah because of the time factor and because of the weather factor. We, Muslims, have been living and practice an individuals and sometimes selfish practice of Islam. There’s not much meaning that accompanies our Islamic practices. What is required of us is to, as much as possible, bring the Prophet’s behavior and interaction in his times and society into our lives and at the same time transfer our lives into his social and his personal life. This is something we have not done and all attempts at doing it have been short of a full success. Let us bring to your attention what we mean by this and we’re going to be guided by an ayah in the Qur’an in doing and expressing what we’re going to be expressing to you.
We are guided by Allah and the meanings that have been expressed to us by him. Certainly Masajid are Allah’s therefore you, (the committed Muslims), do not evoke anyone besides Him. (Surah Al Jinn verse 18) This point we tried to clarify in the past. There’s another ayah in Surah Al Anfal- the ayah thirty-four- in which Allah describes those who are in control of Al Masjid Al Haram at that time and if the conditions repeat themselves, at this time.
Allah says, and we want you to pay close attention to these ayaat- and the ayaat proceed until the end of the surah- Surah Al Fajr. We have visited these ayaat before and as is the feature of Allah’s words and phrases and meanings, they keep on giving extra meaning for those who keep on giving Allah extra efforts. This is the interaction or the interplay between Allah and we who within a certain range of dedication or commitment respond to Him- some of us more than others (and) others of us less than others. If you can- with all the experience and with all the explanations that you have in your mind and in your life- come now to try to grasp another level of meanings of these ayaat. The first set of ayaat have to do with physical laws.
The Muslims have been contaminated with the rust of time. A person may say “this sounds eloquent; what do you mean by that?” People in the course of history begin to slow down. It’s a fact of life or using the Qur’anic and Islamic terminology (i.e.) the words of the Qur’an and the Prophet, it is a Sunnah. Sunnah here doesn’t mean the traditional meaning, (you know), of following the Prophet and it doesn’t mean like it does in some languages (that) it is a tradition. A Sunnah is a social law.
Some two million Muslims are assembled in Makkah al-Mukarramah for the performance of Hajj. If the past is any guide, this Hajj will also be performed as a set of rituals in which the hujjaj go through various motions without realizing why they are doing this.
To try to build up on what we have already said in the past several khutbahs- it’s as if the whole issue that was central and a priority in the time of Allah’s Prophet at the beginning of this enunciation of Islam no longer exists in the crowd of Muslims today. What the Prophet and the first line of committed Muslims with him was concerned with was first and foremost Allah’s legitimate power and authority and the illegitimate power and authority of the society around them- that’s what they were concerned with. Today we have Muslims with whom the word legitimacy and illegitimate doesn’t factor into their thoughts! You rarely hear it in Khutbahs if at all. There’s not much published about the issue. What happened? Outside the fossilised mind of today’s Muslims- even though there is a vitality now that is beginning to come of age- but within that general fossilised or calcified mind there is an inability to step out of the status quo and take a fresh look at reality.
What you are about to hear may sound gibberish to those who are not involved in Islamic activities but those who are grounded and have spent time in the presence of Allah with the meanings of these words, then these words will serve, hopefully, as words of enlightenment. One of the problems with the contemporary Islamic Movement is that it has not defined itself, (we’re speaking about the contemporary Islamic Movement as a whole, there are exceptions to this), vis-à-vis the powers that be. (When) you encounter an average committed Muslim and you ask him, (whether he belongs to and Islamic Party or he belongs to an Islamic Organization or he belongs to an Islamic Association or whatever his affiliation with Islamic activism is), “what is your relationship with the Governments out here?” Besides giving you a very general answer, (i.e.), “well these Governments are not Islamic Governments of these Governments are not what we as Muslims would want Governments to be”