Jumuah lecture on Friday 15 March 2019 (8 Rajab 1440)
by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town
Almighty Allah (SWT) proclaims in His Holy Book, in the following verses:
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ
“He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse.”
Verse 33 of Surah Tauba (Chapter 9)
يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ
“They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse.”
Verse 8 of Surah Saff (Chapter 61)
Almighty Allah (SWT) establishes one very, very crucial fact in these verses, and other verses of the Holy Quran. The clear message from these verses is that Islam is in this world, with all its external and internal challenges, and here to stay and be victorious in leading humanity.
This is also what we believe very strongly, and without any doubt, that the final victory belongs to Islam. The history of Islam is itself concrete proof to this reality. Islam faced challenges from its very first day, in fact, serious challenges!
ISLAM EMERGED 1400 YEARS AGO WITH A MESSAGE OF REFORM
It is also important to know why this was the case, because Islam did not only emerge as a religion of some moral/ethical guidelines with spiritual teachings, which has nothing to do with the people and society at large, or simply put, the socio-political infrastructure of the communities.
Islam came as a comprehensive and complete message, which the Holy Quran expresses very clearly as a challenge to the existing society of Jahiliyya where Islam appeared, and continues to challenge similar societal setups after 14 centuries!
Perhaps the form of the societal setup has changed. However, the nature of the societies which Islam challenged back then, socially and politically, has not changed. People who wanted to control the destiny of people and wanted to enslave the nations and exploit others for their profits has always been there, albeit in a different format.
The system of idol-worshipping and all other practices of ignorance (Jahiliyya) was the system to achieve this particular goal of control and exploitation at that time. Today, this format is perhaps not there, but the nature of exploitation and enslaving humanity at large for their own benefits and monopoly is still very much there, and quite frankly on a much stronger and sophisticated scale.
So, without any doubt, Islam is a challenge to this status quo and societal infrastructure.
FACING CHALLENGES IS INTRINSIC TO BEING MUSLIM
The Holy Quran promises and establishes this fact, that Islam will face challenges, and if you want to follow this path, then we should be prepared to face these hardships, opposition, and continued pressures. The Holy Quran explains that this path of Islam is full of bumps and obstacles.
This is also the logic of Islam explained in Hadith narrations from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), that this message will survive, and be sustained, but will experience serious challenges throughout its history.
If one reflects on the reaction of the people at the start of Islam, we note that the first reaction of the people was to mock Rasulullah (SAWA) and look upon Islam with contempt, and ridiculing them. Then, if this tactic did not work, then they would resort to sanctions against the Muslims. I am referring here to the very early stages of Islam. And if that does not work, then they would resort to violence and wars.
These 3 strategies were employed by the enemies in the early days of Islam, and have not changed. Today, the message and ideology of Islam is under attack, in the same way that Islam was mocked at back then. We live in a new age of Jahiliyya (ignorance), which claims to be very academic and intellectually enriched, but in its core fibre, we see a great deal of deliberate ignorance about humanity and human nature.
Then if you look at the second strategy mentioned, namely sanctions, we see that very clearly today, where anyone who stands with this live and dynamic Islam, which challenges societal ignorance with its relevant and reformative message, we see how they are opposed with sanctions meted out. In the early periods of Islam, we saw isolation of Islam in the small valley between 2 mountains of Mecca. Today, we see this tactic of sanctions still playing quite heavily!
The third strategy of violence and wars needs no explanation, as that is very clearly before us. This was used in the early periods of Islam and we witness it up until today.
INTERNAL HYPOCRISY TO DESTABILIZE ISLAM
We should also reflect on the internal challenges, which is another important strategy which the enemies of Islam continue to use against us. Conspiracies and hypocrisy! If we look at how hypocrisy played its destabilizing role in those early days of Islam, and see a similar situation today.
Unfortunately, the leaders of this Ummah today have no shame in sitting next to the worst enemies of Islam and coming along on very friendly terms, forgetting their own brethren. Instead, they collaborate hand in hand with the enemies of Islam against their own people and their rights. HYPOCRISY!
The hypocrites of those days with the enemies of Islam at the time, and the hypocrites of today with the enemies of Islam today! Their tactics of divide and rule were successful at that time, playing the card of Arab versus non-Arab, Muhajir and Ansar, to divide and rule. Today the tactics are no different, as they are also playing on the ethnic divisions and of course the sectarian divide.
Today, we see how the enemies of Islam control through occupying the lands of Islam and promoting corruption of the minds through the media, not to mention the economic and political conspiracies they continue to successfully employ against us.
It is interesting to note that the Holy Quran says that these challenges will continue to be there. The nature of Islam somehow demands such opposition, because it is a threat to all the interests of certain groups of people in society. They will react! We should never fool ourselves into believing that life will be rosy by following Islam.
THE HOLY QURAN PROMISES FINAL VICTORY IS WITH THE OPPRESSED
Following real Islam comes with challenges, from wars to contempt and being ridiculed, sanctions, occupation, violence and everything! This is what we should expect to contend with. With all the difficulties happening in our world today, we continue to place our trust in the concrete hope expressed repeatedly in the Holy Quran.
Verse 8 of Surah Saff (Chapter 61 of the Holy Quran) cited earlier, appears a few times in the Holy Quran with slight variations. They want to extinguish the Light of Almighty Allah (SWT) but they will never be successful!
Their fight with Islam is directly and indirectly, through different methods. However, the message of the Holy Quran is clear, that they will never be successful.
Almighty Allah (SWT) has promised in the Holy Quran, in verse 105 of Surah Anbiyaa (chapter 21), that the earth will finally be inherited by His righteous servants:
أَنَّ الْأَرْضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحُونَ
“My servants the righteous, shall inherit the earth.”
Then further, in verse 5 of Surah Qasas (chapter 28), Almighty Allah (SWT) promises the final victory is surely with the oppressed:
وَنُرِيدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ
“And We desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the heirs”
Therefore, in conclusion, whatever we see and experience today as challenges we need to endure, has a promised outcome which is one of victory. This is the message of hope of the final victory of Islam which keeps us focused towards that final victory of truth.
NEW ZEALAND TRAGEDY AND THE ENVIRONMENT OF HATE AGAINST ISLAM
This religion of Islam has survived, and will continue to do so and flourish, despite all the opposition across the ages.
What we have witnessed in New Zealand is one example of that hate against Islam. Words cannot express the depth of this tragedy, and the scale and magnitude of this heinous crime which was committed against innocent Muslims while they were performing Salaah of Jumuah.
Indeed, our hearts are hurting, and our eyes are full of tears, and our sympathies, duas and prayers are with the Muslim community of New Zealand.
We know all too well how painful it is when someone comes in the most sacred place and commits a crime of this gravity. We have been through this experience. We witnessed bloodshed in our mosques, here in our own country of South Africa. We all know how deep the impact is felt, which words cannot describe.
At this moment in time, all the attention is directed towards these right-wing extremists, who are responsible for this tragedy. The evil murderers who perpetrated this crime are only the ones who carried it out directly.
However, the people responsible are not only these right-wingers. The responsible ones are those so-called leaders of this world, who call themselves as the civilized and opposed to extremism, but are creating this environment against Islam, as the fibre of their message is the same as the extremists.
They are the ones who are responsible through different forms, in creating this mentality of hate and extremism. This terrible murderer who carried out this attack did not do this without any background. In his justification, he wrote about anti-immigration and his support for Trump on this subject!
He further wrote about white supremacy too! Now, while others may not speak directly using the words white supremacy, we see that this is the message which they are portraying, one of superiority over others who should remain enslaved by being their allies and towing their line!
Therefore, whoever opposes them gets punished, and their media machinery works against them.
THE ENVIRONMENT OF HATE AGAINST IS ISLAM IS A GLOBAL PROBLEM
Today, it is not only these right-wing extremists who have this mindset of white supremacy. In fact, a huge number of people across the world have this extremely negative attitude and mindset towards Islam and Muslims.
They look at Islam with contempt, because it presents a challenge to their control over the resources of the world. Islam appears in our time once again as a challenging force against their hegemony. Therefore, they are hitting back.
Naturally, there will now be all kinds of repercussions. This murderer killed 49 innocent people in 2 mosques in New Zealand, but what about the hundreds of thousands of people killed in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan killed by this mentality of supremacy and hegemony.
A similar situation which is taking place in Kashmir cannot be ignored. We see the manner in which Muslims in India have been targeted by the same Hindu extremists who are very close to the same mentality as white extremists.
The common theme is that they all enjoy the benefit of the broader environment which has been created against Islam. This is what we are facing, and we have to keep our eyes open to confront this.
We will see, that the martyrdom of these people in New Zealand will be the source of the revival of Islam in that part of the world. Time will tell. We will see the opening of the minds and awakening of the people, in this same place where this terrible crime was committed.
This is exactly what happened in our experience last year! The propaganda against the followers of Ahlul Bait (a.s) reached its peak, but we see how it all melted down with the martyrdom of this one brother Abbas Essop. People opened their eyes. This is what martyrdom does.
PRESIDENT OF USA VISITS IRAQ GRIPPED WITH FEAR
The worst sanctions have been instituted against the Islamic Republic of Iran. They have tried their level best to isolate Iran, by getting all the Arab leaders on their side, together with support from Europe etc.
However, let us analyze events of the past few days with the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, visiting Iraq. Iraq, is in some shape or form a colony of USA, albeit not directly.
The influence of USA in present day Iraq is all well-known, since they are the ones who removed Saddam. They have a huge embassy of USA in Baghdad. They’ve had USA soldiers stationed in Iraq for such a long time. In their own words, they say they provided freedom and liberation for the people of Iraq from the dictatorship of Saddam.
After years and years, we saw at the end of 2018, the President of USA making a secret visit to Iraq in the darkness of the night. He could not announce that he is coming, nor could he come during daylight, or even meet with the President of Iraq or other leading ministers like the foreign minister of Iraq for example. Nor could he even take pictures with them. Nor could this same President of USA put his foot in the streets of Iraq!
He is seen as a thief! This is the extent to which the leader of the so-called most powerful country in the world is concerned with his own security! He lands at a US air base in Iraq, in the middle of the night and leaves before daybreak. And then only after he has left do they announce that he visited!
GRAND VISIT OF IRAN’S PRESIDENT TO IRAQ IS THE PRIDE FOR ALL MUSLIMS
Now, contrast that visit by the President of USA, the so-called most powerful country in the world, with the visit of President Hassan Rouhani from Iran, a country which has been sanctioned and totally isolated. We see how President Rouhani arrived with the greatest dignity and respect and warm welcome from the people of Iraq this past week.
The leaders of Iraq were all ready to receive him warmly, and beyond that, it is highly symbolic that President Rouhani is one of very few heads of state who was allowed to meet the Grand Ayatollah Sistani.
This is something highly significant, as Iraq’s own President and Prime Minister are not afforded this privilege by Ayatollah Sistani. In fact, Ayatollah Sistani refused to meet any high ranking Iraqi political officials for the past few years, instructing them to first sort out their corruption before wanting to meet him. He does not allow any political officials in his office for this reason.
This Grand Ayatollah Sistani is the symbol of unity and solidarity for the people of Iraq, where Sunnis and Shia, Yazidis, Christians and Kurds all look up to him as a shelter of hope. This man, with his greatest stature in Iraq, receives President Rouhani and endorses the relationship, independence, sovereignty and respect between Iraq and Iran. President Rouhani followed this up with similar meetings with other grand Maraji’ in Iraq.
We see how this President of the sanctioned Islamic Republic of Iran walks the streets of Najaf, Karbala and Kadhimain!
What we witnessed with this visit was really great news, as it was a slap on the face of those countries who have declared sanctions on Iran, trying to have it cornered.
This is the promise of Almighty Allah (SWT) when we place our trust in Him. Yes, we will be tested with all kinds of difficulties and tumultuous hardship, but He will surely take care of and complete His Light, as noted in the opening verses of this Khutbah.