Jumuah khutbah of 28 August 2015 delivered at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town

Yesterday was the 11th Thil Qa’da which coincides with the birth anniversary of the 8th Imam of the Ahlul Bait (a.s), i.e. Imam Ali Ibn Musa al-Rida, an Imam whose legacy leaves us with much guidance in the social and political sphere in particular.

At the recent conference held by the Ahlul Bait (a.s) World Assembly in Tehran during the last week, the lecture delivered by leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatullah Syed Ali Khamenei contained an insightful analysis of the reality of the world that we live in and how our actions often reflect our ignorance of that reality.

Followers of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) are in a very special position as they follow a School of Thought whose teachings are based on the Quran and the Household of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) about whom very unique virtues are highlighted in the Quran which have not been revealed about anyone else at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sawa).

One of the most famous and outstanding virtues is the one of their absolute purity which is captured in Ayah Tat’hir when Almighty Allah says:

نَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرّ‌ِجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهّـِرَكُمْ تَطْهِيراً

“And Allah only desires to remove from you, Oh Ahlul Bait, all forms of impurities, and to purify you a thorough purification.” (Surah 33:33).

Focus on this last bit “and to purify you a thorough purification” and you will realise that it is a different purification to wudu or gusl or regular cleaning which also has the effect of a sort of purification, but not complete purification, or infallibility.

Being followers of this Holy Household with these unique qualities demands from us certain actions. These include to:

1. Promote Islamic Teachings;

2. Follow the Divine Commands;

3. Wholeheartedly struggle in the Path of Allah (jihaad); and

4. Fight oppression and oppressors

We should work hard and be at the forefront of doing da’wah, especially in this world wherein the image of Islam is so distorted. When promoting Islamic teachings, it is very worthwhile considering the well-known hadith of Imam al-Rida (a.s) wherein he says:

“May Allah have Mercy on one who revives our mission.” The Imam was then asked how this can be done, to which he replied: “He should learn our teachings and then impart them to the people, for if the people became aware of the beauty of our words and teachings, they shall surely follow us.”

We have an obligation to teach Islam to others in light of the teachings of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) and we are guaranteed that we will be successful as the teachings of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) have their own attraction and beauty which is diametrically opposed to the distorted image of Islam that exists in the world today.

Today, the most important aspect of Jihad or struggle in the path of Allah is not necessarily fighting wars and focussing on militarisation, but most importantly Jihad during our time is to know and have a clear understanding of the plots and plans of enemies of Islam in the Islamic Region.

Initially, all focus was on Iran when the Revolution of 1979 occurred, but the efforts to destabilise the region increased with the Islamic Awakening of recent years. This Awakening has not been quelled and is bound to go to the next level at its appropriate time.

So what are pillars of the plots and plans for the Islamic Regions based on? It is based on 2 pillars:

1. Division; and

2. Infiltration

Today the division that is promoted is based on the titles of Sunni and Shia, but different methods of division of this region has already occurred for over 100 years.

How does one quell an Islamic Awakening other than to create proxy forces which are killer machines and ISIS is acknowledged to be the creation of the American Administration by the very Americans.

Naive Muslims have fallen for this plot and their actions reflect this….either in supporting ISIS or in being pawns in the causing of hatred between Sunni and Shia. What appears to be a sectarian war today in the Middle East is not a sectarian war, but a political war. Understand that!

On the question of following Quranic commands, we need to be aware that the Quranic command that we are required to follow in relation to others is to be harsh against the kuffaar and merciful to each other (Surah Fath Verse 29). It is in keeping with this Divine Command that it is the policy of the Islamic Republic to look beyond Sunni and Shia titles and seek friendship with Muslim countries even though some of these very same Muslim countries have not been forthcoming and rather work against the Islamic Republic instead.

And we should continue to do the same i.e. seek friendship with all Muslims and extend our hand of co-operation with them, even though some of them are not forthcoming and work against us instead. This goes a long way in breaking out of the divisions that enemies of Islam so much want us to have.

The other issue on fighting the division in the Muslim ummah is to guard ourselves against those things that seeks to intensify our sectarian differences. And again on this point we are reminded that it is haraam to curse the symbols of our fellow Muslim brothers, and in particular to not curse sahabah and the wives of the Prophet (sawa).

On this point I want to mention that the Office of Ayatullah Khamenei compiled a book which was specially printed which contains the fataawa of all the leading maraji in this regard which was distributed at the conference.

Even though in the past we have mentioned that all our leading ulama condemn the causes of division within the Muslim ummah, Inshallah we hope to load the contents of this book on our website www.afosa.org in the near future so that people can actually see what exactly our leading ulamaa have to say.  The details of this book deals with 2 issues in essence:

1. The phenomenon of Takfeer and the condemnation thereof; and

2. The prohibition of insulting the sacred symbols of other Islamic sects

So that deals with the first pillar of the plots of the enemies to create division in the Islamic World.

But in addition to the creation of division in the Islamic World, the enemies have a much deeper purpose and longer term goal of infiltration by having a dominating presence in the region in fighting the Islamic Awakening and that is to penetrate their influence in the region through remodelling the imperialist programme.

What do I mean?

The project of the 20th century was the Nation State whereby the world was divided according to borders determined by the Europe after World War 1 and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Every geographical area was essentially given a name in terms of its proximity to Europe and its culture.

So if your culture was completely out of sync with European culture like India and China and countries in that region, then that continent was called the Far East. Notice that America, whose culture is in line with European culture, is not called the Far West!

And the countries in the Islamic World where their leaders promote a combination of Muslim culture and European culture, the combination of those countries were coined the name Middle East or Near East as their cultures are an in between mixture of Islam and the West!

But in reality the Middle East is actually West Asia!

The nation state project failed to create a permanent presence for the imperialist powers and the need arose to have a fresh look at how these countries are divided so that they can have a lasting influence in the region.

So as far back as 10 years ago, when Ayatullah Khamenei already said that the sectarian fights in the Middle East or rather West Asia were not religious wars but an attempt to re-divide the region to keep various groups apart and ensure that their weak state ensues, people did not believe.

But it has become very clear that the Western powers are openly talking about disintegrating Iraq into a Sunni state, a Shia state and a Kurdish state. And if we thought it ended there, then we in for a surprise, as proposals have been submitted for the division of virtually every Muslim country in the Middle East into smaller states along sectarian lines.

In 2006 already, Condoleeza Rice from the USA mentioned the creation of a “New Middle East.” In the creation of a New Middle East, countries with history that goes back thousands of years would not really be affected, and thus Iran and Egypt in a sense would still be similar, as Iran would not cease to be Persian and Egypt would not lose its Egyptian feel, but the rest would really see their borders redrawn.

So in Africa we already saw the division of Sudan into North Sudan and South Sudan.

And a country like Iraq would be divided into Shia Iraq, Sunni Iraq and Kurdustan.

And a portion of Afghanistan would be cut away to form Baluchistan.

And Jordan would be expanded to become the greater Jordan.

And Yemen would be divided into the Houti Republic of Yemen and the Sunni Yemen.

And Saudi would be carved out further into a small state that covers Mecca and Medina and the rest becomes another name.

Can you believe the arrogance.

The same arrogance with which the borders of the Middle East were secretively created by the British and the French after World War 1 are simply being redrawn and proposed by the Western Powers.

And it is presented in the amazing garb of sincerity for which naive Muslims fall as it is presented as a humanitarian and religious necessity. These new borders are supposedly required to stop the wars that people have become exhausted about (which the West instigated in the first case) and to ensure religious harmony as we will be living apart and thus the cause for potential conflict is reduced.

When one looks at the world from this perspective then one realises how some of us have been and continue to willingly promote the imperialist agenda of creating sectarian differences.

So you may all then ask the golden question….what do we do about the actual differences that do exist between Sunni and Shia? Do we brush it aside and imagine that they do not exist? Or do we argue until we are blue in the face and kill each other?

We firstly have to live up to the Quranic and Prophet injunctions that dictate that whoever utters the formula of “There is no god except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” is a Muslim and thus enjoys certain rights and has certain responsibilities towards other Muslims.

At the same time we must realise that the Quran promises a harsh punishment for killing believers when it says in Surah Nisaa Verse 93:

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَآؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمً

“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell, he shall abide in it, and Allah will send his wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement.”

Once we fully comprehend this, then ideally we should still avoid debates and have dialogue instead. And this dialogue should preferably be held by ulama.

The danger of debates is that it is approached with a cult mentality and nobody really reaches the truth necessarily but simply feed their egos in the process which in any case spiritually is one of the greatest sins. Debates are mostly about proving the opposite party wrong instead of seeking the truth, and in reality most of the time debates do not render much positive results.

So we should focus on dialogue instead and only with those who have a mature approach and are seriously interested in seeking a better understanding of matters related to aqeedah with the ultimate aim of finding the truth. And we should be on continuous guard to abandon such dialogue the moment we witness that a cult mentality of trying to prove the other to be wrong starts to creep into the dialogue as one would have completely lost the plot and would actually have started to serve the plots of the enemies of Islam by intensifying sectarian differences.

Extremists have made the definition of being a Muslim to be such a narrow one that it often seems that Muslims satisfying such narrow definition do not exist, yet the Prophetic definition of being a Muslim is such an all-inclusive one that its extremely difficult to find someone who proclaims the shahadatayn to be out of the fold of Islam.

We pray that the guidelines in this khutbah will go a long way in charting a path for better relations among Muslim sects Inshallah.