Jumuah lecture on Friday 31 January 2020 (5 Jamadil Thani 1441)

Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider

Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town

Respected brothers and sisters, the question that often arises is what are the guidelines and commands of the Holy Quran and Islam as a whole, when it comes to our relationship and interaction with our opponents and those hostile forces. What route should we be taking? Should we be taking the route of peaceful negotiations and compromise or should we be taking the route of resistance and perseverance on our principled position? 

I am not talking about peace in contrast to war, as war is very clearly not the first option according to Quranic and Islamic commands. Peace is indeed the first option. This is the unequivocal command from verse 61 of Surah Anfaal (chapter 8 of the Holy Quran):

وَإِنْ جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا

“And if they incline to peace, then incline to it.”

Generally speaking, what should our approach with the adversaries of Islam be? Should it always be through negotiations and compromise or should it always be on the path of resistance?

Now, when we look at this angle, we find a clear answer from the Holy Quran, that both are possible. However, there are many conditions when it comes to negotiations and compromise, and without these conditions being present, the option for negotiations and compromise is not a good option. I am not saying it is Haraam (forbidden), but what we understand clearly from the Quranic text and the commands of Almighty Allah (SWT) is that it is not a viable option. 

This is a clear message from the Holy Quran that if the enemies are not sincere, and they do not show any sign of genuineness  in their desire for peace and a just settlement of a difference or dispute, then don’t expect your enemy to be kind and compassionate about you. The Holy Quran expresses this very clearly in many verses, that the path of resistance is the only path. 

SHOULD WE ABANDON RESISTANCE FOR PEACE?

The logic of the Holy Quran is that of course, a negotiated settlement and compromise is easy and comfortable, but ease and comfort never really bring the required results. Rather, it brings the worst results. This comfort and easy solution which we are normally seeking comes at a heavy price, but if you are looking for genuine solutions then you have to pay the price for it through tests and difficulties and hardships.

I wish to cite verse 186 of Surah aal-Imraan (chapter 3 of the Holy Quran) in this regard, which presents a very thought-provoking message: 

لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا ۚ وَإِنْ تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ

“You shall certainly be tried respecting your wealth and your souls, and you shall certainly hear from those who have been given the Book before you and from those who are polytheists much annoying talk; and if you are patient and guard (against evil), surely this is one of the affairs (which should be) determined upon.”

The first part of this verse is explaining that if you are looking for a comfortable solution, then it is certainly not there. It is a divine tradition that we will be tested, and we have to face challenges from the people of the book. Now, in this situation, must we surrender and negotiate with them, or must we resist? The last part of this verse explains that we should persevere on the path of resistance. 

Sabr does not mean we should remain silent. Sabr means perseverance and resist, staying focussed and not to surrender.

This verse sketches out two paths, namely the path of negotiations and compromise, and then there is the path of resistance and Taqwa. This verse explains that the path of resistance and Taqwa is a very steady path, which will pay you back. Compromise will not pay you back! 

THE PATH OF COMPROMISE WITH ENEMIES IS NOT WORTH IT

Again, in verse 35 of Surah Muhammad (chapter 47 of the Holy Quran), the message becomes very clear:

فَلَا تَهِنُوا وَتَدْعُوا إِلَى السَّلْمِ وَأَنْتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ وَاللَّهُ مَعَكُمْ وَلَنْ يَتِرَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ

“And be not slack so as to cry for peace and you have the upper hand, and Allah is with you, and He will not bring your deeds to naught.”

The meaning of “antumul a’laun” is that you shall have the upper hand and you shall prevail! You will have the upper hand when you do not cry for peace and humiliate yourself in front of the enemy. Surely, Almighty Allah (SWT) will not leave us high and dry if we adopt this approach. He will pay us back. 

Another important verse for reflection in this regard is verse 2 of Surah Mumtahina (chapter 60 of the Holy Quran), which provides an even clearer guideline, that we need to understand the logic and mentality of our enemy. They will not give you what you want!

You must remember that if he comes onto the negotiating table, it is out of no other option, because genuinely, he will never like you to win or even survive. So now, when he can no longer fight you, or match your resistance, he will come through the backdoor, with a beautiful façade, trying to deceive you with the slogans of peace and compromise, and supposedly wanting to prevent bloodshed. 

This verse 2 from Surah Mumtahina exposes the situation clearly:

إِنْ يَثْقَفُوكُمْ يَكُونُوا لَكُمْ أَعْدَاءً وَيَبْسُطُوا إِلَيْكُمْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ وَأَلْسِنَتَهُمْ بِالسُّوءِ وَوَدُّوا لَوْ تَكْفُرُونَ

“If they have the upper hand of you, they will be your foes, and will stretch out their hands and their tongues toward you with evil (intent), and they long for you to disbelieve.”

The last part of this verse is crucial to remain mindful of. It lays out their ultimate plan, which is for you to become a non-believer. They expect you to abandon your ideology and deviate from Tauheed. 

THE PATH OF RESISTANCE STRENGTHENS OUR FAITH IN ALMIGHTY ALLAH (SWT)

If we analyze the history of Islam, we do have instances where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) compromised. The Treaty of Hudaibiyyah is a relevant example. However, the principle approach outlined in the Holy Quran is that the non-believers unfortunately do not understand the language of peace. They only understand the language of resistance. This is the only option open for the believers against these followers of Satan is to resist and believe in Almighty Allah (SWT). 

A few weeks ago, in the aftermath to the martyrdom of Shaheed Qaasim Soleimani and Shaheed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandas, we discussed verse 22 of Surah Ahzab (chapter 33 of the Holy Quran):

وَلَمَّا رَأَى الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْأَحْزَابَ قَالُوا هَٰذَا مَا وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَصَدَقَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ ۚ وَمَا زَادَهُمْ إِلَّا إِيمَانًا وَتَسْلِيمًا

When the Believers saw the Confederate forces, they said: “This is what Allah and his Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true.” And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience.

The reaction of the true believers in the face of the united front of the enemies is that it simply strengthens their faith and zeal in obedience to Almighty Allah (SWT).

OUR ENEMIES ARE KEEN TO EXPLOIT OUR MOMENTS OF WEAKNESS

This is a very deep discussion, because there are conflicting views to understand and unpack from the logic of the Holy Quran, which holds the position that the expenses of compromise are in fact much more than the expenses of resistance. It may appear on face value that you are winning when you compromise, but the reality is that you lose. 

On the flipside, when you resist and give a clear message that you are not available for surrender, then even negotiations become something else, underpinned by dignity. The tune changes!

The logic of the Holy Quran is that the enemies always look for our weak points. They are constantly studying how they can buy us over, and how they can infiltrate and by-pass. They will be very happy if we surrender, because their final aim is not to live with you while they respect you and you respect them. 

If you recall, in the aftermath of 9/11, when there was a whole uproar about terrorism, our enemies in the form of Western leaders were barking that this whole situation is a threat to their civilization ie. the values which pervade in the world today in the form of no morals, no faith and no God-consciousness. 

So, for them, the physical violence presented by terrorism is only the surface level problem. The real problem they have is that it is a clash with their secular values, which they refer to as their civilization! Hence, they want us to surrender to accept their values. They want us to present an Islam which is comfortable with their values, so that they can be happy. Otherwise, they will not surrender. The compromised version of Islam is the version which is very happy with their aims and agendas. 

SECOND KHUTBAH
THOUGHT-PROVOKING ANALYSIS OF THE HUMILIATING DEAL OF THE CENTURY

Respected brothers and sisters, resistance against the enemies is the only way. We should not surrender, nor be hopeful for anything positive from so-called peaceful negotiations. This is the position clearly established in the Holy Quran from our discussion in the first khutbah. 

The Quranic position does not say “do not negotiate”. The Quran gives one the option but cautions that it is not desirable.

Today, the well-known Palestinian journalist and political analyst, Abdul Bari Atwan, started his editorial with this sentence: “26 years of negotiations and compromise by us Palestinians brought us its natural fruit today”. What is this natural fruit he is referring to? It is not the roadmap for peace, but rather, the document of humiliation and shame!

He very beautifully says that before we condemn even the sell-outs in the form of the Arab leadership, we have to condemn ourselves, that we put our eyes of hope on people whose intentions were clear from Day 1. We did not listen to this clear guideline from the Holy Quran, as explained earlier in verse 35 of Surah Muhammad (chapter 47 of the Holy Quran), that we should not humiliate ourselves crying for peace:

فَلَا تَهِنُوا وَتَدْعُوا إِلَى السَّلْمِ وَأَنْتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ وَاللَّهُ مَعَكُمْ وَلَنْ يَتِرَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ

“And be not slack so as to cry for peace and you have the upper hand, and Allah is with you, and He will not bring your deeds to naught.”

He says that we did not believe in this promise of Almighty Allah (SWT) and this is the result we see before us today. 

THE HUMILIATING DEAL OF THE CENTURY IS REPUGNANT TO ITS CORE

This so-called “Deal of the Century” is nothing but selling the dignity, integrity and sovereignty of anything by the name of Palestine. 

This deal is so bad, that even those who wasted 3 decades of their life in negotiations from which they naturally gained significant personal benefits, are unable to accept or condone this laughable deal. They have drawn a clear line on how much they will compromise. 

This document, in its substance says that Israel gets everything, and Palestine gets nothing. In simple terms, Israel can erect settlements wherever it wants, with the Palestinians getting little pockets of homelands. This is like the concept of Bantustans in Apartheid South Africa. Honestly speaking, these Bantustans in Apartheid South Africa is still much better than what the Palestinians would get under this deal. 

There was some form of power entrenched in the Bantustans, but there is no power for the Palestinians even in these homelands proposed for them. They have no foreign policy. They have no army. They have no security or weapons. They have no control and must live like slaves. 

In this deal, Jerusalem, which is the biggest issue, is regarded as the capital of Israel without any compromise. Gaza is part of the Palestinian state without any natural resources to develop an economy. Furthermore, this deal has no right of return for refugees. Security is guaranteed for Israel, but not for the Palestinians. Ethnic cleansing will continue as a free licence to Israel. I can carry on and on….

This deal is so bad, that even those who were sold their conscience, land and dignity and were dying for this compromise and negotiations are feeling ashamed to accept it. Now, in contrast to this, the so-called leadership of the Haramain is very happy to accept this deal!

The Quranic guidelines we discussed in the first khutbah have become clear. This deal is the result when you expect to find something good emerging with the Zionist entity of Israel and American imperialists. They will not be happy with you, and they will not give you anything until you move to their side. 

This is the scenario before us today, where one realizes that resistance is the only option. We hope and pray that may all these Palestinian groups, who were deceived, wake up from their slumber and stand united in their resistance against this cancerous entity of Zionism, and start their united struggled for their liberation. 

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