Jumuah lecture on Friday 7 December 2018 (29 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1440) by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town

Lecture 5 in the series: 


For the past few weeks, we have been discussing the political ethics and morals in the life and Seerah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), and the intent is to conclude this series today with the end of the blessed month of Rabi-ul-Awwal.

In principle, we divided this discussion into 2 important parts, referring to the internal politics and external relations. We discussed in detail the principles that Rasulullah (SAWA) maintained in his political behavior and interaction with the people, in the state of Madina which he governed. The transcripts of the prior lectures can be referenced for those important discussions.

Last week we started our discussion about the political ethics of Rasulullah (SAWA) when it came to his relationship with non-Muslims ie. his external political agenda. There are 5 key principles to note here:

1. Refusal of the domination or superiority of the non-believers over the believers;

2. The principle of Islamic dignity and honour;

3. Respect for contracts and agreements, nationally and internationally;

4. Peace is the key defining principle in our relationship with other nations;

5. The principle of dialogue


The very first principle which we discussed in this regard is the Quranic principle of rejection of any influence or domination of unbelievers over the believers. In other words, the spirit of this principle is that despite our legitimate and lawful dealings with the outside world, we need to always be conscious about the possibility of the deal opening the path of influence or domination of non-believers over the believers. 

Such deals are therefore not acceptable, and we see in history that Rasulullah (SAWA) was steadfast in his application of this. There were a few examples cited in this regard last week in lecture 4 in this series.


The second principle pertaining to the foreign policy of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) is the principle of Islamic dignity and honour. This is another very important principle which is well-established and based upon numerous verses of the Holy Quran.

The Holy Quran establishes very clearly that the honour, dignity and respect of Muslims is crucial. We should never compromise on this dignity and honour of Islam. Islam has the highest name and status, and nothing overrides it. This principle is established in various verses of the Holy Quran, such as the verses of Surah Nisaa’ (chapter 4), Surah Anfaal (chapter 8), Surah Yunus (chapter 10), and others.

For example, verses 62 – 65 of Surah Yunus reads as follows, in reference to this point:

أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

62. “Now surely the friends of Allah– they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ

63. Those who believe and guarded (against evil)

لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَىٰ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

64. They shall have good news in this world’s life and in the hereafter; there is no changing the words of Allah; that is the mighty achievement.

وَلَا يَحْزُنْكَ قَوْلُهُمْ ۘ إِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا ۚ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

65. And let not their speech grieve you; surely might is wholly Allah’s; He is the Hearing, the Knowing.”

The status of the friends of Allah (SWT) is indeed a very detailed discussion, and verse 64 establishes that they enjoy good tidings in this world and the hereafter. Verse 65 explains that one should not let the speech of the evildoers affect you, despite their evil intent to humiliate you, because honour belongs to Almighty Allah (SWT) alone.

Whoever wants to achieve honour should know that honour belongs to Almighty Allah (SWT). We will never be able to achieve any honour by compromising with the enemies of Islam. Another verse of the Holy Quran to reflect on in this regard is verse 139 of Surah Nisaa’:

الَّذِينَ يَتَّخِذُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِنْدَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ فَإِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا

“Those who take the unbelievers for guardians rather than believers. Do they seek honour from them? Then surely all honor is for Allah.”

Honour belongs to Almighty Allah (SWT) and his Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and the believers, but the hypocrites do not know this. This principle is very important in international politics and the relationship with the Islamic state. 


Any relationship, contract, agreement or deal which compromises this honour and dignity of the Ummah (Muslim nation) is of course not acceptable. Again, Rasulullah (SAWA) was extremely sensitive to this. He never bowed down to gain some benefit by compromising on the honour and dignity of Islam.

A very real example occurred recently when we heard the leader of the world’s superpower (so-called) brazenly say to King Salman of Saudi Arabia that he will not survive for 2 weeks without protection from USA! What dignity, honour, personality and respect is left for you after being on the receiving end of this scorn, especially when you call yourself ‘Khadimul Haramain ash-Sharifain’, when in reality you are the insult of the Ummah and the 2 Harams!

The deeper undertones to the above statement to the King of Saudi Arabia are an open insult, referring to him as a milking cow, and in essence, a nobody, needing to beg for protection from his imperialist masters as he cannot take care of himself! This is the extent of the open humiliation and dishonour meted out by the world’s superpower (so-called) to King Salman of Saudi Arabia. 

However, the deeper problem is that the King does not feel anything wrong with being on the receiving end of this level of contempt, and stoops lower and lower by further compromising his dignity and that of this Ummah (Muslim nation).

As we read in the Holy Quran: “Give the hypocrites bad news of adhaab”!


The third important principle of the Prophetic noble character when it comes to foreign policy is the principle of respect for contracts and agreements, nationally and internationally. 

Yes, we do not sign a contract which would pave the way for external influence in the Ummah, be it economical or cultural or political. This is the first principle we discussed at length in the previous lecture. The second principle is that we will not sign a deal which will compromise on our honour and dignity. 

However, with this in mind, if we sign any contract or deal, then we need to fulfil our end of the agreement, as explained in verse 1 of Surah Maaida (chapter 5 of the Holy Quran):

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ

O you who believe! Fulfil the obligations.

So we are bound to fulfil the promises which we entered into. Islam, the Holy Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah provide very clear evidence of this requirement. The rules are no different, whether you signed a contract with a Muslim or non-Muslim. We are required to respect and fulfil the commitments laid out in the agreement unconditionally. 

There are plenty of contracts that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) made with different tribes and communities in the last part of his life in Madina, which he remained committed to. There were situations where the counterparty wanted to breakaway, which prompted the companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) ie. Sahaba, to suggest that we should also breakaway. 

However, Rasulullah (SAWA) refused, saying that a believer is always committed to fulfilling the contract he/she made. This means that one cannot simply breakaway when one pleases. So this is another very, very important principle.


The fourth principle is equally important, which says that peace is the key defining principle in our relationship with other nations. Indeed, the enemies of Islam, who want to distort the image of Islam, want to say that the principle of Islam when it comes to relationships with others is one of war and antagonism. 

Indeed, this is not true, because the verses of the Holy Quran and the practical Seerah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) are evidence to this fact that the primary position is PEACE! This is very, very clear from the Holy Quran which adopts the position that even if they are only inclined towards peace, then we should make peace with them.

Another example is where the Holy Quran says that all should enter in peace, in verse 208 of Surah Baqarah (chapter 2):

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً

“O you who believe! enter into submission one and all”

Indeed, there were wars in the lifetime of Rasulullah (SAWA), but this was long after propagation started, together with open dialogue and negotiations for peace had failed. This verse 12 of Surah Tauba (chapter 9 of the Holy Quran) is very important to link into this point:

فَقَاتِلُوا أَئِمَّةَ الْكُفْرِ ۙ إِنَّهُمْ لَا أَيْمَانَ لَهُمْ

“Then fight the leaders of unbelief — surely their oaths are nothing”

So, this verse says that we should fight the leaders of Kufr, not because they are non-believers, but because they have no respect for any contract or promises which they make ie. aymaan. 


Now that we have established the 4th principle in the foreign policy of Rasulullah (SAWA), we should move to the 5th principle, which is repeatedly emphasized because it is so basic, and that is DIALOGUE! The principle of dialogue and Da’wah (invitation) is diametrically opposite to war! 

Verse 64 of Surah Aal-Imraan (chapter 3 of the Holy Quran) serves as reference for the invitation to dialogue:

قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا

“Say: “O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him.”

The common platform is Tauheed, and that neither party surrenders to anyone but Allah (SWT). Why did our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) write all those letters to the heads of state and empires of his time? Why was our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) commanded in the Holy Quran in verse 125 of Surah Nahl (chapter 16) to invite people to Allah (SWT) with wisdom:

ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ

“Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.”


This principle of dialogue, and acknowledging and respecting each other is a repeated reminder for our etiquette of mutual engagement. The event of Mubahila between Rasulullah (SAWA) and the Christians of Najran is a classic example. Rasulullah (SAWA) allowed the leadership of Christianity to come forward and engage in dialogue about their faith. This is an example of his relationship with the “people of the book”.

However, Rasulullah (SAWA) even engaged with the idol-worshippers. We read about this in the Holy Quran, in verse 108 of Surah An’aam:

وَلَا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ
“And do not abuse those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest exceeding the limits they should abuse Allah out of ignorance.”

This verse commands Rasulullah (SAWA) to not curse or use abusive language towards their gods, because they will, out of their ignorance, retaliate in the same manner towards you God, namely Almighty Allah (SWT).

So this is a different level of etiquette when it comes to dialogue with your opposition, and the sacred sights of each believe system is to be respected, instead of being assaulted and attacked.

The same trend of invitation is visible in the commands of Almighty Allah (SWT) towards Nabi Musa (a.s).

So, dialogue is one of the fundamental principles in the international relationship and foreign policy of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). 

There is so much to discuss in this series. We did not really get a chance to go into further detail about how important it was for Rasulullah (SAWA) to make CLEAR contracts and deals with his counterparties. 

His agreement with the Christians, and different types of Jews, the manifesto of Madina for example, are all part of the political Seerah and ethics of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). 

This is really exemplary, and presents a model for leadership across the different eras. The plight of Muslims globally would be much better if the Muslim leadership were able to adhere to the 5 principles we covered in the external politics of Rasulullah (SAWA), namely:

1. Refusal of the domination or superiority of the nonbelievers over the believers;

2 . The principle of Islamic dignity and honour;

3. Respect for contracts and agreements, nationally and internationally;

4. Peace is the key defining principle in our relationship with other nations;

5. The principle of dialogue


The past week reminds us of the demise of a great Muhsin, one of the greatest early supporters of Islam, the shelter of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). I am referring to none other than Abu Talib, the uncle of Rasulullah (SAWA). 

Abu Talib served as the most important protection for Rasulullah (SAWA) against the enemies. He stood firmly in the face of all the leaders of Quraysh to allow Islam to nourish and for its historical journey to start.

History has recorded that the demise of Abu Talib was so heartbreaking for our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) that he announced the whole year of his demise as the year of mourning (Aamul Huzn). This shows how dear Abu Talib was to Rasulullah (SAWA), but unfortunately some people have doubt about the Imaan and Islam of Abu Talib! 

Islam of the whole Ummah across 14 centuries is deeply indebted to Abu Talib. Hence, it is very sad that some people doubt about the Imaan of this great man!


A very positive news to report is the defeat of the Zionists in the United Nations, when an American proposed resolution to condemn the resistance of the people of Palestine was unsuccessful, as the majority of countries voted against this resolution. Alhamdu Lillah, this was a slap on the face of Zionism and their supporters.

The continuous suffering of the people of Yemen is again an important point to remain cognizant of. Words cannot really explain the suffering of these people. As you know, peace talks started in Sweden, which will hopefully bring some sort of relief for the people of Yemen. Despite the peace talks, the Saudi aggression continues unabated, as they continue to attack and bomb innocent civilians and infrastructure in Yemen.

In conclusion, I would like to once again remind myself and all of you about our responsibility to create awareness about the injustice and atrocities committed against our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Again, there is improvement or progress to note in their case, while we witness this week that huge numbers of people came into different cities of Nigeria, in support of their leader, Shaikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and protesting against his illegal detention in prison.