Jumuah lecture on Friday 22 November 2019 (24 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1441)
Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town
Last week, we focused more on the Milad and birth of our Nabi & Rasul (SAWA) and the secrets behind the arrival of this divine Noor (Light) in this world. We deviated from the discussion which we started 2 weeks ago, which was very much connected to this sacred month of Rabi-ul-Awwal and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) himself. This was the discussion on his Hijra (migration) to Medina, which we will continue today.
To recap, we discussed that Hijra and Jihad are mentioned in the Holy Quran alongside each other. They are the base of our strategy against the pressures and challenges which we face as Muslims and followers of the religion of Islam. There is absolutely no doubt that to migrate has been emphasized so much in the Holy Quran and Hadith resources.
Actually, there are examples of migration (Hijra) as being the turning point for the history of Ambiya (Prophets (a.s)) and their mission and struggle. Examples which immediately come to mind are the Hijra of Nabi Musa (a.s), Nabi Ibrahim (a.s), Nabi Isa (a.s) and our Nabi Muhammad (SAWA).
QURAN ENCOURAGES US TO PHYSICALLY MIGRATE FOR SELF-DEVELOPMENT
Now, besides this issue of Hijra being the most important point in the history of Anbiyaa, the Holy Quran also speaks about why we should embark on migration. What are the reasons and motivation? I am only talking about Hijrah in the sense of physical movement and migration from point A to B.
This physical Hijra is so highly regarded in the Holy Quran that so many reasons are explained on why to migrate. For example, the Holy Quran speaks about migration for the sake of knowledge in verse 122 of Surah Tauba (chapter 9):
وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنْفِرُوا كَافَّةً ۚ فَلَوْلَا نَفَرَ مِنْ كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طَائِفَةٌ لِيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ
“Nor should the Believers all go forth together: if a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion.”
This verse explains that in every community, there is a group of believers who do not migrate, so they should learn religion properly, and then when they return, they should be able to teach.
Another example is that very popular Hadith which we have all heard repeatedly, where Rasulullah (SAWA) said that we should seek knowledge even if we must migrate to China. Now, all of this is a clear indication that one of the reasons for migration being important is to acquire knowledge, and there is no restriction on this.
In another Hadith narration, Rasulullah (SAWA) says that whoever emerges from his home seeking knowledge, then a thousand angels accompany him while making Istighfaar (repentance) for this person.
QURAN REQUIRES US TO MIGRATE TO PROTECT OUR FAITH
We already discussed last week the very important issue to protect our faith, if in a society we cannot practice religion due to the conditions being so difficult. Hijra would be compulsory in this case.
The early history of Islam bears testimony to this when our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) ordered a group of people in Mecca, who were under immense pressure from the disbelievers there, to consider migrating. He recommended that they consider migrating to Ethiopia, where he gave comfort that nobody is oppressed there. As a result, the first Hijra occurred, led by Jafar at-Tayyaar.
As I mentioned, there are numerous places in the Holy Quran where this issue of migration is mentioned. An example is verse 41 of Surah Nahl (chapter 16), which says that whoever migrated for the sake of Almighty Allah (SWT) after being oppressed, will see a good place in this world open for them:
وَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُوا فِي اللَّهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا ظُلِمُوا لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً
“And those who fly for Allah’s sake after they are oppressed, We will most certainly give them a good abode in the world.”
So, you migrate to take care of your faith, because the environment you are in is difficult to keep away from sin, since it is openly promoted. The excuse of those who do not migrate and choose to continue living in these environments will not be accepted, as expressed in verse 97 of Surah Nisaa (chapter 4 of the Holy Quran):
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ظَالِمِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ قَالُوا فِيمَ كُنْتُمْ ۖ قَالُوا كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ قَالُوا أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا ۚ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا
“Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So these it is whose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort.”
So, these people will provide the excuse that they were oppressed, and therefore they could not practice their faith freely. Almighty Allah (SWT) will refuse this excuse by affirming that His earth was big enough for them to migrate.
QURAN PROMISES MATERIAL BENEFITS TO MIGRATION TOO
This is another interesting point. Of course, migration must be for the pleasure of Almighty Allah (SWT). At the same time, the Holy Quran indirectly says that migration also brings great Barakah (blessings) and Ni’mah (gifts) for you in this Dunya. Verse 100 of Surah Nisaa (chapter 4 of the Holy Quran) refers:
وَمَنْ يُهَاجِرْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يَجِدْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُرَاغَمًا كَثِيرًا وَسَعَةً ۚ
“And whoever flies in Allah’s way, he will find in the earth many a place of refuge and abundant resources.”
This is what I am trying to draw your attention to. Indeed, migration should be for spiritual reasons, for knowledge and protection of your faith. This includes staying away from the Haraam culture which we explained. Aside from this, we read in this verse that you will find plenty of resources. This means that there are financial/economical benefits when we migrate (which is the Sunnah of the Prophets (a.s)).
PHYSICAL MIGRATION PALES IN SIGNIFICANCE COMPARED TO THE INTERNAL MIGRATION
Besides this particular Hijra from one region to another region, there is another internal Hijra which is explained in the Holy Quran, which is a lot deeper and more genuine. This is the Hijra from darkness to light, from misguidance to guidance, from sin and disobedience to obedience of Almighty Allah (SWT).
Imam Ali (a.s) says that there is someone who says that he migrated (physically), but he did not migrate (spiritually)! Real migrants are those who migrate from sins and never turn back. Almighty Allah (SWT) commands us in verse 5 of Surah Muddaththir (chapter 77 of the Holy Quran) to abandon impurity of the soul:
“And uncleanness do shun.”
Now, this Hijra is necessary for each of us every day!
REAL EXAMPLES OF INDIVIDUALS MAKING THE DIAMETRIC SHIFT TO FIND THEIR LORD (SWT)
History has very interesting examples of this Hijra, and I would like to draw your attention to 2 of them.
There is a person in history called Fudayl ibn Iyad. He was a terrible character. In simple terms, he was a gang leader whose job is to commit all kinds of crimes. One night, when he wanted to burgle someone’s home, he noticed the occupant of the home to be in Ibadah when he was about to jump over the wall to make an illegal entry. Fudayl ibn Iyad heard this person in the home reading the Holy Quran in a most beautiful, penetrating voice. This person then reached verse 17 of Surah Hadid (chapter 57 of the Holy Quran), which Fudayl ibn Iyad could hear clearly:
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ
“Has not the time yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah?”
This verse asks that surely the time is now for our hearts to surrender and humble before the zikr (remembrance of Allah (SWT))? It was this verse that caused a revolution in Fudayl ibn Iyad, resulting in him turning back. This was a migration (internal Hijra) from where he was to a completely different situation.
Would you believe it, Fudayl ibn Iyad became one of the great mystics of the history of Islam! He begged for pardon from the people and tried his best to recompense those whom he had robbed. He then focused himself on zikr and spirituality and turned himself totally towards Almighty Allah (SWT). This is migration!
BISHR HAFI TRANSFORMED THROUGH ONE SENTENCE FROM IMAM MUSA KADHIM (A.S)
Then we also have the example of Bishr Hafi. He was a very rich guy, with an ostentatious lifestyle, driven by opulence and lavish parties. He was very well-known in Baghdad for this. One day, the 7th Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Imam Musa ibn Jafar al-Kadhim (a.s) was walking in the streets of Baghdad and happened to be passing the house of Bishr.
The house of Bishr was “rocking” from the loud party, and as Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s) was passing, a slave woman who worked in the house of Bishr came out to throw away the garbage. Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s) looked at this slave woman and asked her what appeared to be a strange question. Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s) asked her whether this house belongs to a free man or a slave?
This woman looked at Imam Kadhim (a.s) perplexed at what she thought was a rather silly question. She responded by saying that this huge mansion, with loud music and lavish party can obviously not be from a slave! She said that this house belongs to Bishr, one of the richest guys in Baghdad, and we are enjoying and having a good time. Where can a slave host all of this?
Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s) responded to her with one statement and then continued walking. He said that this is a free man, but if he was a slave of His Lord (SWT) then he could not have been like this. After uttering this sentence, Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s) moved on.
This slave woman went back inside the house and Bishr (the boss) asked her why she took so long. She narrated to Bishr what transpired outside, and the revolutionary statement of Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s). Bishr started to shout and repeated this statement over and over. He rushed out of his house, and did not even put on his shoes.
He ran barefoot behind Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s), trying to track him down. Bishr eventually caught up with Imam Kadhim (a.s) and appreciated the revolutionary statement which transformed his life, as his whole existence was in the Hellfire if he were to continue with this lifestyle.
Bishr realised that if he was a servant of Almighty Allah (SWT) then he could not continue operating like this. He made a sincere repentance and became one of those very pious people of Baghdad, known as Bishr Hafi!
The reason why he was called Hafi is because this refers to someone who is barefoot. Since he made a sincere repentance while he was barefoot, he retained this status and never again wore shoes. This is the true essence of Hijra – the internal migration, which we all need to focus on, to transform from sin and bad habits to obedience of Almighty Allah (SWT).
LEGITIMATE PROTESTS IN IRAN HIJACKED FOR SINISTER MOTIVES
We have heard much being made in the media about the protests in the Islamic Republic of Iran after the petrol price hikes. I would like to highlight a few points and share some insight here.
Firstly, as we know, to protest and to express displeasure and disagreement against any policy of the government is the right of the people. It happens in our country every day, but nobody takes note of it! In Iran, it does not occur very often, and therefore, it becomes a big story. This is the first point, and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran allows for people to come into the streets and protest. People have the right to publicly express their feelings regarding any policy of the government.
Based upon this, people felt that this fuel price increase to be particularly taxing, especially after immense pressure from the heavy international sanctions. They responded by coming into the streets and voicing their protest. This is one aspect and there is nothing wrong with it.
Nobody claims that the people who run the Islamic Republic of Iran are infallible. In fact, even an infallible Imam like Amir al Mu’mineen Imam Ali (a.s) allowed people to be critical and to voice their opinion against his policies. So, there is nothing wrong with these protests.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Iran, there are so many enemies of this Islamic Republic, and they are ever ready to exploit and divert a healthy, positive and genuine people’s movement into a completely different direction. This is exactly what occurred.
When certain elements interfered on the commands of the enemies of the Islamic Republic, and started burning and destroying public property, and even killing those in authority wanting to stop this unrest. They even used live weapons against the police. This is very clear of the foreign influence when you find the US Secretary of State, Israelis and the Saudis openly supporting, as if they had ordered the actions of these rogue elements.
Naturally, that is their plant to exploit any point against the Islamic Republic, which once again Alhamdu Lillah they defeated. Everything is back to normal and they did not succeed. In fact, in response to these few days of protests and whatever happened in between, a huge number of people came out in support of the Islamic Republic in the past few days, condemning these rogue elements who caused the violence to legitimate protests.
Guess what – nobody reports this! Hundreds of thousands of people in Tehran, Qom, Ahvaz, Khoramshah, Isfahan and numerous other cities came out in the streets in support, but nobody want to report it.
THE REALITY OF INTERNET SHUTDOWN TO PREVENT INSTABILITY
They used social media, which is a very dangerous tool to disturb the stability in a country. This is what they used in Iraq and we see the mess Iraq is in today. Yes, corruption in Iraq and problems of the Iraq government are indeed there, but unfortunately, those people who came out in the streets did also not reach anywhere, because there are so many different elements involved.
There are also so many different role players playing the game and exploiting the situation. Therefore, there is no result.
Now, the internet was shut down in Iran amidst the unrest, and we noted in the media the level of alarm this caused, even though it was for a few days only (and it is back now). Compare this to Kashmir, where there is a complete shutdown of the internet for the past 4 months! There is no communication allowed for the whole of Kashmir. Did we ever hear anybody raise outrage over these people of Kashmir being deprived of access to such a basic need of today’s life?
The internet is Iran was shutdown for a few days to control the situation and to not allow exploitation. It shows how our enemies want instability and chaos for us, and nothing else. It achieves nothing but chaos!
Next week we will discuss further in detail about the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. This is indeed a very serious challenge in our society.
PLEASE LIKE I SHARE I COMMENT