JUMUAH SERMON DELIVERED BY MOWLANA SYED AFTAB HAIDER ON 15 JULY 2016 AT AHLUL BAIT (A.S) ISLAMIC CENTRE, OTTERY, CAPE TOWN
FIRST KHUTBAH (SERMON)
Today is the 10th Shawaal in terms of the Islamic calendar. Two days ago, which was the 8th of Shawaal, is a very significant date in the Islamic calendar as it reminds us of a very tragic development in the recent Islamic history which occurred approximately 90 years ago.
This was when the current Saudi dynasty came to power and took control of the Land of the two Holy Mosques and based upon the religious verdicts of their scholars, they attacked the graveyard of Jannatul Baqi in Madina and demolished all the structures that were present that covered the graves of:
- the Ahlul Bait (a.s) (i.e. the Household of Prophet Muhammad (sawa));
- the wives of the Prophet (sawa);
- the son of the Prophet (sawa);
- numerous companions of Muhammad (sawa); and
- other important personalities in the history of Islam.
This tragic incident created an outcry among Muslims across the world, irrespective of School of Thought (Sunni or Shia), who protested against this heinous act of insult and aggression against the dignity of the great personalities of Islam.
We still have newspaper clips available of that era which shows that it was headline news in Arabic newspapers like Egypt and other places.
But after almost 90 years, this movement was so successful due to having huge material resources at their disposal to outmaneuver virtually the whole international community of Muslims to consider this incident to be a non issue!
We do not witness ANY sensitivity at all about this issue any more. Most people are so impressed and influenced by the Saudi system and its flashy approach to things such that they will “buy” whatever they “sell” and will agree with them even though most Muslims are not necessarily “Wahhabi” in its real sense or followers of that particular School of Thought but will still “buy” into their narrative and will not be outspoken and critical of this system.
This is a reflection of the Saudi system’s extreme success in promoting their ideology and so-called logic such that it has convinced people across the spectrum.
People have actually bought this logic that building a structure over the graves is haraam (unlawful), bid’ah (innovation) or shirk (associating partners with Almighty Allah) and thus the Saudi destruction of these structures and graves was a great service to Islam!
Of course there are too many angles to consider in responding to this issue, but in the limited time available, let me attempt to address the core issues.
THEOLOGICAL ANGLE: IS THIS ARGUMENT VALID?
When examining the Quran or the resources of Ahadith (recorded narrations of Prophet Muhammad (sawa)) we do not find ANY solid evidence that supports this view of destroying the graves except a very limited number of narrations which are extremely questionable with regards to their authenticity.
Contrary to this, there are certain verses in the Quran which at the very least indirectly support the idea of some sort of structure being placed over a grave, especially of honourable, pious people.
In Chapter 18 of the Quran known as the Chapter of the “Cave”, in reference to the story of a certain group of pious youth who slept in a cave for 300 years while escaping from the despotic rule of their time, when these youth emerged from the cave and the people came to know about this miraculous event, there was a debate regarding what should be done with this site wherein the youth slept and were finally buried.
Verse 21 of Surah Khaf then narrates one of the proposals that was made by the people in this regard. It says:
إِذْيَتَنَازَعُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَمْرَهُمْ فَقَالُوا ابْنُوا عَلَيْهِمْ بُنْيَاناً رَبُّهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ قَالَ الَّذِينَ غَلَبُوا عَلَيأَمْرِهِمْ لَنَتَّخِذَنَ عَلَيْهِم مَّسْجِداً
“When they disputed among themselves of their affair then they said: ‘Build a building (monument) over them; their Lord best knows of them.’ Those who prevailed over their affair said: ‘We will build over them a place of worship’.”
This verse indicates that they resolved to a build a place of worship over this site!!
So how do you interpret this?
Some people will argue that this relates to a nation before Islam and that this verse is not a command of Allah.
The issue is this – if you have a problem with a structure over the graves or any type of building over the graves and your argument is that it is in contradiction with Tauheed (Onness of Allah) and amounts to shirk, then one should realise that the issue of shirk has nothing to do with the fact that this story in the Quran relates to a nation prior to that of Prophet Muhammad (sawa).
That is because ALL Prophets (a.s) basically came to purely promote Tauheed. This is thus not a fiq issue (jurisprudential matter) wherein we derive our religious rulings from the Quran and the narrations of Prophet Muhammad (sawa).
In matters of Fiq, we will for example pray in the manner that was taught by Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and previous nations would have performed their prayers in the manner that was taught by their Prophets (a.s).
Something that was lawful for example for the Nation of Prophet Isa (a.s) or Prophet Dawood (a.s) might not be lawful for the Nation of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and vice versa.
The argument of what is applicable to the followers of different Prophets (a.s) is applicable in relation to these jurisprudential matters which are specific to each nation.
But in relation to the CORE message of every Prophet (a.s) being the propagation of Tauheed, there is absolutely no difference – they taught the same message. Understand this!
Thus if building a place of worship or structure over the graves of those personalities who are pious and sacred is tantamount to an act of shirk, then this verse of Surah Khaf would have indicated that the proposal to build a mosque over the graves of the Companions of the Cave was an act of shirk and they were commanded to refrain from this idea. BUT it DOES NOT say so!!
And an even more detailed theological rebuttal can be provided to this argument, which is not possible in this limited time.
SIMPLE ANSWER TO THIS THEOLOGICAL QUESTION
The simple answer to this theological question is that Wahhabi Thought only started with this fatwa (religious edict) in the 7th or 8th century of Islam (we are now in the 15th century of Islam) with a scholar called Ibn Taymiyyah. In other words, it is something relatively new.
He is the one who passed a fatwa that it is haraam (unlawful) to build a structure on any grave and even indicated that it is not permissible to build a structure over the grave of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) himself. This was his view and is the view of the Wahhabis.
Of course the Saudi’s could not demolish the structure over the grave of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) as the outcry would be too severe and impossible to handle, even though they very much believe in doing this. And thus sometimes you still see their preachers who are absolutely brazen with no sense of honour for the Prophet of Islam, will still publicly say that if they could, they would not only demolish the grave of the Prophet (sawa) but would even demolish the mosque of the Prophet (sawa) itself!
These Wahhabi styled preachers teach you that Prophet Muhammad (sawa) is dead and is capable of doing nothing now that he is dead.
Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab, the founder of Wahhabi Thought is known to have said that the stick that he walks with has more benefit to him as he can lean on it while the grave and personality of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) is of no benefit to him as he is dead.
This is their logic!
HISTORY OF ISLAM REVEALS A VERY DIFFERENT PICTURE
The history of Islam reveals a very different approach to this issue of having structures over graves.
In the first 700 years of Islam, there is no recorded discussion of this issue!
Prophet (sawa) himself was buried in the same room wherein he passed away. Why was he buried there – under an existing structure? They should have buried him somewhere else in an open graveyard if this was an issue.
Furthermore, in the time of the second Khalif Umar, which was a mere few years later, he built a wall to separate the place of living of the wife of the Prophet (sawa), Ummul Mumineen (Mother of the Believers) A’isha from the actual grave itself.
Why did he do this to make this place special if it was nothing special?
There is much further details regarding the history of the grave of Prophet Muhammad (sawa).
Many people argue by saying that the green dome that we see today that covers the Holy Grave of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) was only built during the time of the Ottoman Empire – that is true, but it does not nullify the fact that there was a pre-existing structure over the grave of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) from day 1.
In the time of Bani Umayya (which is during the first century), a more distinct structure was erected over the grave of Prophet Muhammad (sawa).
During the time of Banil Abbas who came to power in the second century of Islam which effectively was the early days, they built a structure over the grave of their grandfather Abbas.
Since this grave was in very close proximity to the graves of four Imams of the Ahlul Bait (a.s), namely Imam Hassan (a.s), Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s), Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s) and Imam Saadiq (a.s) as well as even possibly the grave of Lady Fatima Zahra (a.s) or according to other narrations the grave of Fatima bint Assad, they built an entire courtyard over all these graves to demarcate them as sacred places.
Furthermore, they then built structures over the graves of the wives of the Prophet (sawa) in Jannatul Baqi, and then built a structure over the son of the Prophet (sawa), and then built structures over the martyrs of Uhud who are also buried in Baqi.
Now these Wahhabis who are so insistent on considering themselves in principle to be Salafis, or the followers of their pious predecessors of the first 3 generations of Islam whom they view to be the best generations, why do they ignore the fact that none of the scholars from these generations objected to this practise??
Were scholars not capable of recognising the supposed shirk nature of this practise for 700 years until Ibn Taymiyya supposedly discovered it for them?
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN IBN TAYMIYYA AND IBN ABDUL WAHHAB
Another angle to consider is that Ibn Taymiyya existed in the 7th century of Islam died in the early 8thcentury. He was followed by Ibn Qayyim and then other scholars.
In his own lifetime, Ibn Taymiyya was a very controversial person, yet today he is regarded as Sheikhul Islam and people tend to quote him left right and centre. Even those who do not necessarily affiliate themselves theologically with his School of Thought, don’t have a problem to quote him as he is called Sheikhul Islam.
He is a unique character. I do not consider Wahhabis of today to be real followers of Ibn Taymiyya, not really!
While Ibn Taymiyya had extremely controversial views and was an enemy of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) without a shadow of doubt, one thing that one must simultaneously acknowledge about him was that he was very critical of the state and politicians! That is a fact.
He was not ready to compromise and bow down to every king of his time.
Yet the followers of Ibn Taymiyya today are something else!
They have taken his ideology from him for a very specific purpose. Ibn Abdul Wahhab who came in the 12th century which is 400 years later took this ideology and then developed his POLITCAL vision to manipulate it. He thus presented the view that all the so-called shirk that existed was under the blessing of the existing Ottoman Empire (who themselves had unsavory issues but managed to somehow keep the idea of a universal khalifate to a limited extent alive) and that the Ottoman Empire was to blame.
So how do you destroy this supposed United Empire of the Muslims under Ottoman rule? Ibn Abdul Wahhab was there with the solution!
And thus Ibn Abdul Wahhab started by saying that the shrines and graves of the pious personalities must be demolished.
Though there is no theological basis for this, he used this non-issue to justify the breaking up of the Muslim Ummah into disunited fractional states with the ultimate ending of the Khilafate.
It’s because they wanted to create dozens of countries out of that huge Muslim Empire.
And once this is achieved, leave them to fight and kill each other forever.
This destruction of the Holy graves which started just less than 100 years ago, continued into wars between Muslims to this very day. What we see in the form of ISIS today are the very Wahhabis who NEVER ever fought against the real mushrikeen of our time, but are stuck with internal fighting.
Consequently the enemies of Islam are enjoying life while we suffer.
Thus when we speak about the destruction of Jannatul Baqi, it is not an issue of the destruction of a building consisting of bricks and mortar. NO! It is a symbol of an ideology with its social and political goal to divide this Ummah and disrespect the Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s).
SECOND KHUTBAH (SERMON)
In the last part of Ramadaan we witnessed the suicide bombing that occurred in the vicinity of the haram and shrine of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) in Madina and witnessed how most of the world were up in arms in expressing their disgust at the disrespect shown to Prophet Muhammad (sawa).
But 90 years ago, the Saudis exploded all the structures belonging to the Prophet (sawa) and his family, yet we do not express our disrespect regarding this incident.
That is one question.
The second question is the cancer of terrorism and extremism whose source, according to the Saudi scholars themselves, is the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya. This has even been admitted by the very Imam of the Holy Mosque in Mecca.
If you look at the fatawah (religious edicts) of Ibn Taymiyya we find that he says that whoever comes to the ziyarah (visitation) of the Prophet (sawa) to ask him for help is a mushrik (one who associates partners with Allah) and that even taking the blood of such a person in lawful!
These are the foundations of this extremism.
TERRORIST ATTACK IN NICE (FRANCE) AND LINK TO MKO
Last night (Thursday 13 July 2016) in Nice in France we witnessed another terrorist attack that took place.
Without any doubt, we condemn this heinous crime and recognise the large number of innocent people that have been killed.
But while we condemn this attack in the strongest terms, I would like to ask the very French authorities the following question: How is it that around 3 days ago in Paris in France, you supported a formally organised conference of the MUJAHIDEENI KHALQ ORGANISATION (MKO) better known as MUNAFIQEEN (HYPROCRITES).
WHO IS MKO?
Just a few months ago, these very people (MKO) were still on the list of terrorist organisations across the world.
The MKO is guilty of having committed heinous crimes against the people of Iran from the early days of the Iranian Revolution when they bombed and killed the leading personalities of the Revolution.
Until now they continuously claim that they kill people! They are not even shy to disclose that. They use violence to achieve their political aims and do not have a moto of using peaceful means to protest against the Iranian regime at all.
The French government gave this group of terrorists full protocol to have their conference in France itself! Why?
And then we see Members of the French parliament even having attended this MKO conference.
This MKO has a dark history. They evolved and grew in the lap of the dictator Saddam for decades. The very Saddam that France called a dictator and murderer, the French government give five star treatment to MKO who survived on the mercy of Saddam.
MKO established their huge base by the name of Ashraf under the shadow of Saddam and planned all their attacks from there. And you French authorities yourself called them a terrorist organisation, and so did the United Nations.
And now we even find that the ideologues of terrorism – Saudi Arabia – also proudly came to join them!
The very Saudi who will teach you that to build a structure over the grave of the grandsons of the Prophet (sawa) is shirk. However an organisation called MKO, in other words the Mujahideen of the People of Iran – they don’t call themselves Mujahideen of Allah – you have no issue to support them. This is the greatest shirk that the Saudi’s are guilty of.
MKO ideology is an ideology which is based upon a Socialist/Marxist approach which is then mixed with Islam. Yet Saudi who claims to be flag bearers of Tauheed go to support these people with such an ideology.
Thus as I have indicated previously, all of these issues that we witness today are POLITICAL motivations first and then crafted in ideological terms to fool the world.
With Saudi having crossed all the limits that one can imagine, it is actually a good sign of their imminent demise and that we are getting there.
CALL TO MERGE AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY IN CAIRO WITH SAUDI ARABIA
And my final point to share with you today is a very interesting development recently that Saudi Arabia has announced that Al-Azhar Ash-sharif in Cairo which is the centre of Sunni Islam should be demolished or at least merged with the Saudi Council of Scholars! Can you believe that?!
In other words Al-Azhar is reduced to nothing! Saudi is the one who want to be the vanguards of Sunni Islam.
Of course Sheikh Qardawi reacted very angrily at this insinuation – of course Sheikh Qardawi unfortunately has his own issues that we will not discuss here.
But for the Saudi’s, they think nothing of reducing an institution with a 1000 year heritage of knowledge, academic research and contribution to Islam to nothing. For the Saudi’s they think they can just buy them over!
My concluding prayer is that Almighty Allah opens the eyes of this Ummah to emerge from this situation of hate and sectarianism and being influenced by the ideologies that seek to destroy the foundations of Islam.