Monday, 24 March 2014

The story of Prophet Yusuf (as)


Allah (swt) revealed the Quran to His beloved Messenger Muhammad (saw) to guide mankind out of disbelief, ignorance and misguidance. Allah says, “(This is) a Book which We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad) in order that you might lead mankind out of the darkness (of disbelief) into the light (of belief in the Oneness of Allah) by their Lord’s Leave to the Path of the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praise.” [Surah Ibrahim: 1] The Kitab of Allah is full of stories of previous prophets and their nations. A diverse range of stories are narrated with unambiguous details of how many such previous nations perished on account of their rejection of and disbelief in Allah (swt) and His prophets and messengers. One such prophet is Yusuf (as) with a tremendously weighty story, which is narrated to the ummah of Muhammad (saw) through the Quran. This article explores the life of Yusuf (as), the purpose of such prophetic stories, their relevance and the lessons we can derive as individuals and as an ummah collectively. This article will only focus upon the most salient parts of the story of Yusuf (as). Purpose and relevance of prophetic stories Before we launch into the substance of the life of Yusuf (as), it is vital to explore and appreciate the purpose of such narrations in the Quran. Prophetic stories are not mere fairytales and Allah (swt) did not reveal them to Muhammad (saw) as futile irrelevant information. Indeed, being the last ummah, our failure to properly grasp the purpose of such stories would lead us astray and make us of the ignorant. Allah (swt) narrated the events which took place thousands of years ago to Muhammad (saw) so that we as the ummah may draw lessons. None of us, including Muhammad (saw), could possibly have acquired the story of Yusuf (as) had Allah (swt) not narrated it to us. Allah (swt) says, “This is of the news of the Ghaib (unseen) which We reveal by Inspiration to you (O Muhammad)”. [Surah Yusuf: 102] Such revelations transmit lessons and reminders for the ummah to remain on the path of haq (truth) in relation to life’s affairs, whether temporal or spiritual, and avoid the pitfalls of the past nations. These stories are highly relevant to our 21st century life because, save for changes in technology and science, the essence of human life remains the same. Mankind today is engaged in similar evils which previous nations had engaged in. If the ummah fails to lead mankind out of the darkness of kufr, the same fate awaits mankind as those previous nations were subjected to. Therefore, prophetic stories are acutely relevant today. The prophethood of Yusuf (as) The account of the life of Yusuf (as) in the Quran is one of the most detailed and uniquely fascinating stories of all. It illustrates the qualities, which are the prerequisites for success in this life and in the hereafter, whilst demonstrating the blameworthy characteristics in man which lead to his downfall and failure. As Imam Ibn Kathir (may Allah be pleased with him) mentioned in his book, Stories of the Prophets, it is a story “involving both human weaknesses such as jealousy, hatred, pride, passion, deception, intrigue, cruelty, terror as well as noble qualities such as patience, loyalty, bravery, nobility and compassion”. Yusuf’s (as) lineage consist of prophets; he was the son of Prophet Ya’qub (as), his grandfather was Prophet Ishaq (as) and his great grandfather was Prophet Ibrahim (as). Thus, it came as no surprise to his father when it became apparent that Yusuf (as) was destined to receive divine revelation. The story of Yusuf (as) begins with the glad tidings of his prophethood, which then develops into a series of tragic trials and tribulations, and finally ends with success and glory where Yusuf (as) becomes a ruler in Egypt. The story begins with his dream about himself and ends with his interpretation of that dream. The plot to exile Yusuf (as) Yusuf (as), who was the most beloved of his father, dreamt that eleven stars, the sun and the moon were all prostrating before him. He narrated this dream to his father the next morning, whereupon Ya’qub (as) realised that this was a vision from Allah (swt) and an indication of Yusuf’s (as) future prophethood. Ya’qub (as) warned his son not to disclose this vision to his brothers, for he feared that it would cause further jealousy amongst them who were already acutely spiteful of Yusuf (as). Yusuf’s (as) brothers were deeply resentful of their father’s love for Yusuf (as) and his full brother Binyamin. They felt that Yusuf (as) was depriving them of their father’s love. Little did they care that in fact it was Yusuf’s (as) sublime praiseworthy character which endowed this deep love and affection from his father. His brothers thus plotted to remove Yusuf (as) from this position of love and affection so that they could receive their father’s undivided devotion. Thus, after much scheming and conspiring, they concocted a plot to banish and exile Yusuf (as) into a distant land. They cunningly invited Yusuf (as) to go out with them and threw him down a deep well and left him to fend for himself. The brothers then deceitfully told their father that Yusuf (as) was devoured by desert wolves and presented Yusuf’s (as) shirt, which they had soaked in sheep’s blood. Upon receiving this heartbreaking tragic news about his most beloved son, Ya’qub (as) did not believe his sons. Allah (swt) relates to the ummah Ya’qub’s (as) response, “He said, ‘Nay, but yourselves have made up a tale. So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought against that which you assert’.” [Surah Yusuf: 18] In the face of such great loss Allah’s Prophet Ya’qub (as) showed us how one should respond. Ya’qub (as) did not despair of Allah’s help, nor dissatisfied with the calamity that befell upon him. Instead, he remained patient and sought refuge in and the help of Allah (swt) alone. There are indeed lessons for us from this episode of the story in Surah Yusuf. Allah (swt) says,“And Allah was the All-Knower of what they did.” [Surah Yusuf: 19] Allah (swt) was fully aware of what was occurring and could indeed have stopped the wrongdoers who harmed Yusuf (as). However, out of Allah’s infinite foresight and wisdom, He (swt) decreed otherwise and allowed it to occur so that His decision of a great future for Yusuf (as) would prevail at the appointed time. Allah (swt) let the wrongdoers have a momentary respite so that eventually Yusuf (as) would succeed and have authority over his nation, not just over his brothers. Lessons for today We have witnessed much bloodshed in the Arab Uprising. Brutal dictators who were darlings of the Western colonialists for decades have been dethroned but at the cost of rivers of blood and countless martyrdom. Allah (swt) is not unaware of what is occurring in the region. Indeed, He (swt) is allowing the wrongdoers to commit these atrocities but will eventually give victory to the believers at the appointed time. The wrongdoers would then be subjugated to the deen of Allah (swt) in due course, just as He (swt) had granted victory to his Prophet Yusuf (as) and His Messenger Muhammad (saw). At the time of the dawah of Muhammad (saw) in Makkah, despite the Quraish’s atrocities against the early Muslims, Allah (swt) had granted victory to His Messenger (saw) over the Quraish and subjugated them to the authority of Islam. For now however, the ummah has no option but to persevere in face of such tremendous trials and tribulations and continue with the efforts of replace these dictators with righteous rulers who would rule by the Kitab of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of His Messenger (saw). Sincere effort in the path of Allah (swt), obedience to the shari’ah, tawaqquland sabr (patience) are vital for the ummah today. Yusuf (as) taken to Egypt Meanwhile, a passing caravan of merchants came to rest at the well and discovered this young handsome man at the bottom of the well. The merchants rescued Yusuf (as), took him as a slave to Egypt and sold him to the chief minister of Egypt. The chief minister soon realised that Yusuf (as) was no ordinary slave boy and had huge potential in him. He thus ordered his wife, Zulaikha, to be kind to Yusuf (as) and provide him a comfortable life. This was indeed Allah’s plan, as He (swt) says, “Thus did We establish Yusuf in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of events. And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not.” [Surah Yusuf: 21] Allah (swt) wanted to take Yusuf (as) out of his homeland in Cannan (which is the area of Palestine, Syria and Jordan) and bring him to Egypt for a great destiny ahead and He (swt) allowed Yusuf’s (as) brothers to commit the evil acts which was all part of Allah’s greater plan. Yusuf (as) languishes in prison The story of Yusuf (as) at this point takes another difficult twist, as the chief minister’s wife, Zulaikha, attempted to seduce Yusuf (as). He was no ordinary man but was blessed with exceptional attractiveness. Allah (swt) informs us that when the women of Egypt saw Yusuf (as), “They said, ‘How perfect is Allah! No man is this! This is none other than a noble angel!’” [Surah Yusuf: 31]. Moreover, Muhammad (saw) said regarding Yusuf’s (as) handsomeness, “He was given half of all beauty”. In the interest of brevity, we will not explore this section of Yusuf’s (as) life in depth. Suffice to say that Yusuf (as) was confronted by another major test, which, by Allah’s help, he overcame. However, it was Allah’s design that Yusuf (as) should end up in prison away from the evils of these lustful women! Once in prison, the story of Yusuf (as) enters its third phase of tests, wherein he continues with his prophetic mission of dawah to his fellow prisoners. Yusuf (as) spent several years in prison (possibly nine years) for a crime that he did not commit. However, there was a greater wisdom behind Yusuf’s (as) imprisonment, which was soon to be unveiled by Allah (swt), the Master of all planners. The Egyptian king’s dream The king of Egypt saw a terrifying dream which frightened him and made him fear for his kingdom. The king desperately sought interpretation of this dream but all attempts at its interpretation failed. The most experienced of his advisors, soothsayers and pundits at the time failed to interpret this dream accurately. It was at this point that a servant in the king’s household remembered Yusuf (as) and his ability to interpret dreams. This man was with Yusuf (as) in prison and had himself benefited from an earlier interpretation by Yusuf (as) of his dream. The king’s officials narrated the dream to Yusuf (as) in prison and he informed them that Egypt would experience seven fertile years followed by seven years of drought. Yusuf (as) advised the king that during these difficult years ahead, a very careful management and distribution of the resources was essential. Yusuf (as) mentioned that after these 14 years, fertility would return to Egypt and resources would again be in plenty. When the king received this interpretation, he felt convinced. The king recognised Yusuf’s (as) virtues, knowledge and foresight and immediately ordered the release of Yusuf (as). However, Yusuf (as) refused to leave prison unless he was exonerated and his innocence declared. The king thereupon investigated the allegations that were made against Yusuf (as) by Zulaikha, which soon proved to be unfounded. The king, recognising the greatness of Yusuf (as), thus ordered his immediate release. Allah (swt) says, “And the king said: ‘Bring him to me that I may attach him to my person.’ Then, when he spoke to him, he said: ‘Verily, this day, you are with us high in rank and fully trusted’.” [Surah Yusuf: 54] Yusuf (as) requested the king to appoint him as the minister of finance of Egypt so that he could assume responsibility for the management of the harvests and storehouses and distribute resources efficiently. The king duly complied because Yusuf (as) was the best person for this task. Thus, Allah’s (swt) plan to catapult Yusuf (as) into greatness came to fruition after years of perseverance in the face of difficult tests. He (swt) says, “Thus did We give full authority to Yusuf in the land, to take possession therein, as when or where he likes. We bestow of Our Mercy on whom We please, and We make not to be lost the reward of Al-Muhsinun (the doers of good)”. [Surah Yusuf: 56] In spite of the immense tests which Yusuf (as) had faced (as aforesaid), Allah (swt) did not allow the patience of Yusuf (as) to be lost in vain and instead rewarded Yusuf (as) with greatness, victory and authority. According to Mujahid, a great early mufassir from the tabi’een, the king of Egypt became Muslim at the hands of Yusuf (as). This prophet of Allah, Yusuf (as), thus ruled Egypt by the laws of Allah (swt). The Quran does not dwell any further into this episode of the life of Yusuf (as). The story then phases into the final episode where Yusuf (as) interacts with his brothers, which we will not explore in this article. Modern slander against Yusuf (as) In order to justify participation in democracy and non-Islamic rule, some Muslims in recent times have alleged that Yusuf (as) participated in non-Islamic rule when he was appointed as the minister in Egypt. They assert that as Yusuf (as) had participated in non-Islamic rule for a necessity, it thus follows that it is permissible for Muslims today to rule by kufr democracy if it becomes necessary. This is indeed a great slander against a prophet of Allah (swt) and a gross misunderstanding. Prophets are immune from sin and are sinless. This is the very point of prophethood. Yes, prophets are human; but they are not capable to sinning. Allah says, “And We sent not before you (as Messengers) any but men, whom We inspired from among the people of townships”. [Surah Yusuf: 109] How can a prophet of Allah (swt) participate in kufr? Such assertion is false because the evidence available do not support such argument. As we have mentioned above, the king of Egypt had become Muslim after the appointment of Yusuf (as) as a minister. It would be a great error to suggest that they both ruled by kufr! Moreover, the shari’ah of Yusuf (as) was unique to his nation. For example, when his parents came to meet Yusuf (as) following his appointment as a ruler, they prostrated before Yusuf (as) on account of the honour and respect Yusuf (as) enjoyed. However, Muslims are not permitted to prostrate before anyone other than Allah (swt). Therefore, whatever Yusuf (as) ruled by was from his shari’ah revealed to his nation and whatever was revealed to Muhammad (saw) is the shari’ah of Muhammad (saw) for this ummah. We cannot conveniently select from the shari’ah of previous nations to suit our twisted agendas. Lessons for the 21st century Allah (swt) informs Muhammad (saw) that in the stories of prophets are lessons for this ummah,“Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding”. 111 Today, the ummah is facing attacks from every angle possible. In the West, Muslims face intellectual attacks, media propaganda and humiliation and draconian terrorism laws that singularly target Muslims. In the Muslim world, Muslims are subjected to oppression and massacres en masse, as is the case in Burma, Syria and Yemen just to name a few. Such depressing circumstances are not new to the believers. In fact, many prophets and previous nations had faced similar trials and tribulations and were successful because they trusted in and relied upon Allah (swt), engaged in righteous good deeds and followed the shari’ah of their time. The ummah today similarly needs to trust in and rely upon Allah (swt), for the victory of Allah is near indeed. As we have seen from this article, Allah (swt) has His plans for the believers and will inevitably grant them success, although He (saw) gives momentary respite to the enemies of Allah and the evil doers. Allah (swt) says, “(They were reprieved) until, when the Messengers gave up hope and thought that they were denied (by their people), then came to them Our Help, and whomsoever We willed were delivered. And Our Punishment cannot be warded off from the people who are Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists).” [Surah Yusuf: 110] The mother of the believers, A’ishah (ra) explained the above verse in the following words, “This verse is concerned with the followers of the Messengers who had faith in their Lord and believed in their Messengers. The period of trials for those followers was long and Allah’s help was delayed until the Messengers gave up hope for the conversion of the disbelievers amongst their nations and suspected that even their followers were shaken in their belief, Allah’s help then came to them.” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir] Allah grants victory when the situation appears hopeless and hardships prevail. This is when believers eagerly await Allah’s help. The ummah today is at a critical juncture whereby a transition is occurring from one phase to the next. The Muslims are required to follow the shari’ah without compromise. Taking shortcuts and pragmatism would not lead to victory. If we learn anything from the prophetic stories, the help of Allah (swt) came when the believers had firmly held onto the rope of Allah (swt) without compromise. We must do the same today and work tirelessly to bring back thedeen of Allah. May Allah (swt) make this Ramadan the final days where the ummah remains without her rightful ruler, the Khalifah. “Indeed, they planned their plot, and their plot was with Allah, though their plot was a great (one, still) it would never be able to remove the mountains from their places (as it is of no importance)”. [Surah Ibrahim: 46]

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Tafsir Surat At Takweer - Sheikh Abu Talha (Part 1)

Sheikh Abu Talha expounds on the meanings of Surah At Takweer which was revealed during the early stages of the dawah in Makkah. In his unique style and presentation he links the message of the Quran into our current scenario and the oppression and obstacles faced by the Islamic dawah carriers which are similar to those faced by the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) and the Sahaba (RA). He also extracts the method to carry the dawah from the way of the Prophet Mohammed SAW and his companions' actions in Makkah.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Moderate Muslim



Who is a "Moderate" Muslim?



On December 18th, 2010 the Toronto Star published an article that advocated the banning of not only the Niqab (face covering) and Burqa (full body covering), but also the Hijab (head covering).

The article stated, "The burqa and niqab represent a tradition that views women as sexual objects, temptresses who, with the flash of an ankle, can bring men (weak creatures incapable of resisting this temptation) to their knees. It's a repugnant value system and I reject it. So should all Canadians who embrace secular feminism. So let's ban the burqa, the niqab, and while we're at it, the hijab."

The article used the term "moderate Muslim" to describe the person who stated that, "The law of the veil is not only humiliating to women, but it is an insult to men."

"Moderate Muslim": An Islamic Measure?
The article gives an opportunity to examine the practice of the media, opportunistic politicians and others who praise some as "moderate Muslims" and denounce other Muslims as "militant," "radical" and "extremist." It can be tempting to present oneself as part of the camp that is not cast in a negative light. However, before using terms such as "moderate Muslims" and "extremist Muslims," we need to understand what each of the terms mean.

What does it mean to be a "moderate Muslim"? Who exactly are the "extremists"?

Some may argue that these words are harmless, and that they are simply a way to distinguish between "good" and "bad" Muslims. CNN labeled Algeria as "extremist" for banning the import of alcohol. Prior to this ban, Algeria was considered "moderate."

To analyze this (or any) issue, we must first refer back to the Qur'an and Sunnah. Did RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم divide the Sahaba (ra) into "moderates" and "extremists"? Did the Sahaba (ra) measure each other by scales of "moderation" or "extremism"? Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:

إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ

"Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you." [al-Hujraat, 49:13]

Therefore, the measure of people is not in how extremist or moderate they are, but rather in their righteousness. Dividing Muslims into "moderates" and "extremists" is an innovation in Islam. It was never professed by the early generation of Muslim scholars, and has been only recently introduced into the Islamic discourse.

Making Islam Look Undesirable
The reality of this discourse is to make Islam look undesirable. The media, think tanks, and politicians denounce Islam as "militant," "radical" and "extremist" so that Muslims feel threatened when they practice their Deen. Some examples include:

Abstaining from Alcohol: Muslims are considered extremist for forbidding Muslims from purchasing alcohol within the Muslim lands! CNN reported: "A surprise vote by Algeria's parliament to ban the import of alcoholic drinks in the moderate Muslim country marks the return of Islamic extremism..." We can see that the media considers consuming alcohol as the hallmark of a "moderate" Muslim. Conversely, one who forbids Muslims from consuming alcohol is an "extremist."

Wearing the Hijab: The Toronto Star - a left-leaning paper in one of the most tolerant cities in Canada - demonized the Hijab and called for it to be banned! The Star article cited earlier praised the "moderate Muslim" for despising the ruling prescribed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى for women to cover their hair, wear the Jilbab (body covering), and for men and women to maintain their modesty when dealing with one another. Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

"Oh Prophet! Tell your wives, your daughters and the believing women to draw their cloaks all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known so as not to be annoyed." [Al-Ahzab, 33:59]

وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ

"And (for women) to draw their head-coverings (khumur) over their necks and upper chests (Juyub)." [An-Nur, 24:31]

Abandoning the Khilafah: A RAND Publication, "Building Moderate Muslim Networks," states: "Whether a political philosophy derives from Western or Quranic sources, to be considered democratic it must unequivocally support pluralism and internationally recognized human rights...Support for democracy implies opposition to concepts of the Islamic state... Muslim moderates hold the view that no one can speak for God. Rather, it is the consensus of the community (ijma), as reflected in freely expressed public opinion, that determines what God's will is in any particular case."

This directly attacks the concept of Khilafah as established by RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم. We are well aware that the Sahaba (ra), who succeeded the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, established the Khilafah, where the State applied the Ahkam Shar'iah based on the Qur'an, the Sunnah, Ijma-as-Sahaba, and Qiyas. They never implemented laws based on the collective whims of the people.

Therefore, think tanks, media personalities, and certain politicians define a "moderate" Muslim as someone who is willing to abandon the commands of Allah سبحانه وتعالى whenever it conflicts with liberal values that emanate from the secular creed (Aqeedah). On the other hand, a Muslim who abides by the commandments of Allah سبحانه وتعالى is deemed an extremist and someone who should be shunned by society.

Dangers of Compromise
We should also be aware of the dangers of compromise. We may be tempted to curtail our Islamic practices in the hope of being considered moderate. However, Allah سبحانه وتعالى has warned us against such a practice:

وَدُّوا لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُونَ

"They wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them, so they (too) would compromise with you." [al-Qalam, 68:9]

Although this tactic of promoting "moderate Muslims" is recent, it is in actuality nothing new. The colonial powers have been working for centuries to make the Muslims adopt secularism as their sole reference point. This vision to engender a colonized mentality was articulated in 1854 by Mountstuart Elphinstone, who said, "we must not dream of perpetual possession, but must apply ourselves to bring the natives into a state that will admit of their governing themselves in a manner that may be beneficial to our interests..."

Remaining Steadfast
Muslims today have fallen upon severely trying times. We cannot pick up a newspaper, turn on the television or surf the internet without being exposed to accusations and lies leveled against our Deen, our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, or our Ummah. This pressure has compelled some to explain Islam in a manner that appeases its critics - with the hopes of being considered "moderate" themselves. We must not fall into this trap. Instead, we must first strengthen our ties to Allah سبحانه وتعالى and recall that Allah سبحانه وتعالى has warned us about such trials:

وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا

"You will certainly hear much that is hurtful from those who were given the Book before you, and from the Mushrikin (polytheists)." [al-Imran, 3:186]

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ

"Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,' and will not be tested. We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test)." [al-Ankaboot, 29:2-3]

And RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم warned us that: "A time is going to come on people when remaining steadfast on Deen will be like holding a burning coal in one's hand." [At-Tirmidhi]

In this climate of Fitna (trial), we must reaffirm our commitment to Allah سبحانه وتعالى, work hard to maintain our Islamic identity, and be confident in that which the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم brought us. Allah سبحانه وتعالى promised us:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ

"O you who believe! If you support Allah, Allah will support you." [Muhammad, 47:7]

We should also recognize that the real goal of our existence is to attain the pleasure of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and be resurrected amongst the companions of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Consequently, we must endure whatever trial we may be afflicted with and remain steadfast on the duty that we have been entrusted with. A believer is never at loss when he or she endures for the sake of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, as he or she is working for a reward that is eternal: Jannah.

RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "The affair of the believer is amazing! The whole of his life is beneficial, and that is only in the case of the believer. When good times come to him, he is thankful and it is good for him, and when bad times befall him, he is patient and it is also good for him." [Muslim]

If we look to the Sahaba (ra), we will find in them excellent examples of persistence and steadfastness. They were faced with trials similar to ours where the disbelievers used tactics of labelling Islam. The People of the Book attempted to make Islam look crooked in order to create obstacles for the message of Islam. Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:

قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تَصُدُّونَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ مَنْ آمَنَ تَبْغُونَهَا عِوَجًا وَأَنْتُمْ شُهَدَاءُ ۗ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

"Say: O followers of the Book! Why do you hinder him who believes from the way of Allah? You seek (to make) it crooked, while you are witness, and Allah is not heedless of what you do." [Al-Imran, 3:99]

Quraysh also used propaganda to label RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Sahaba (ra) as extreme elements of society. Although the terminology they used was different, their goal was similar: to put pressure on the Muslims so that they would conform to the Kufr thoughts, emotions, and laws of the Quraysh. For example, Al-Waleed bin Al-Mughirah led the effort to devise a propaganda strategy to isolate RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Some ideas (e.g. labeling him a poet, soothsayer, one possessed by Jinn, etc) were rejected because they were unrealistic. They settled on labeling him a sorcerer with words who broke up families.

Despite this climate of Fitna and fear, RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Sahaba (ra) stood firm in their Deen and did not buckle under the pressure. Instead the sahaba (ra) displayed great courage. For example, when RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Sahaba (ra) were living in Makkah (i.e. before the Hijrah), Abdullah bin Mas'ood (ra) said that he would make Quraysh listen to the Qur'an. So, one morning he went to the Ka'aba and read the Qur'an aloud, whereupon the people of Quraysh attacked him. When he returned to the Sahaba (ra), they said: "This is what we feared would happen to you." He said, "Allah's enemies were never more contemptible in my sight than they are now, and if you like I will go and do the same thing again tomorrow."

Allah سبحانه وتعالى eventually made them victorious over their enemies in this world, and granted them His pleasure in the Hereafter:

رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ

"Allah is well pleased with them as they are well pleased with Him." [at-Tawba, 9:100]

If we desire Allah's سبحانه وتعالى pleasure, we must follow the example of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and his companions (ra) and, inshAllah, we will be amongst those whom Allah سبحانه وتعالى is pleased with.

May Allah سبحانه وتعالى give us the strength and resolve to endure the tribulations of our times and always be at the forefront of carrying the mission of Islam and returning the implementation of the Deen of Allah to this world. Ameen.

وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنْتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

"So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers." [al-Imran, 3:139]

Monday, 5 April 2010

Victory (Nasr)

The True Understand of Victory (Nasr) being from Allah


“Verily those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the way of Allah and so they will continue to spend it, but in the end will become an anguish for them. They will be overcome and those disbelievers will be gathered in Hell" [TMQ Al-Anfal: 36].

Ibn Kathir in his Tafseer mentions that this verse was revealed during the battle of Badr in particular concerning Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. Moments before the battle it is narrated that Abu Sufyan delivered a speech calling on the Quraish to donate their wealth for the war (harb) and in particular to get rid of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once and for all.

He also narrates from Ibn Abbas (ra) from Mujahid (ra) that it was revealed concerning Abu Sufyan because he donated his wealth to kill the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

Dahhak (ra) said: "This verse was revealed concerning the people of Badr and all those capable of doing (what the ayah mentions). The Sabab an Nuzul (circumstance of revelation) was concerning a specific incident i.e. at Badr. Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has informed us that the Kuffar will spend their wealth so as to hinder people from following the Tareeqa (path) of Haq (truth), and they spend their wealth for this purpose until they become miserable … they wish to extinguish the light of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) and to make their word prevail over the word of truth but Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) raises his light although the Kuffar may detest this and He helps his Deen and makes it prevail over all other Deens and this is their humiliation in this life and punishment of hellfire in the hereafter." [Tafseer Ibn Kathir]

This verse is applicable to the current reality where the Kuffar have launched a crusade against Islam and are continuing this during the blessed month of Ramadhan. This verse was revealed during the month of Ramadhan when the Quraish were gathering their forces and wealth in order to quell Islam, which culminated in the famous battle of Badr. Today the forces of Kufr are also attempting to curb Islam by attacking the Muslims of Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir and other parts of the Islamic land. They spend their wealth not only to fight the Muslims physically but also to colonise the minds of the Muslims by attempting to sever them from their Aqeedah (belief) and distort the Islamic culture.

Unlike the battle of Badr, the Muslims today do not stand side by side under a single leadership, which implements Islam. Rather since the destruction of the Khilafah, the Muslims have been in the absence of the shepherd, shield and protector whom the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) called the shade of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) upon the earth.

Al-Tabarani and Al-Baihaqi reported that the Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The Sultan is the shade of Allah on earth".

Without this Sultan, Imam or Khalifah we are exposed to attack from all sides without having a leadership that protects our lives, property and dignity. In this situation it is of paramount importance that we understand the concept of Nasr (victory) being from Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) in the correct manner. It can be noticed, from looking at their statements and behaviour, that some Muslims misunderstand this concept.

Some find it hard to believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) can provide us the victory when we are drowning in a sea of problems and the ship of the Kuffar seems so powerful. They see the heads of Kufr such as America and its modern Ahzab (Alliance or Coalition) as too strong economically, militarily and politically for the Muslims to overcome. They become mesmerised by the spider’s web (Bait al Ankabut) and can’t see through its weak structure. This has led to some being defeated by the current onslaught and has resulted in their inactivity and failure to try to liberate the Ummah from the Fir’awn of the world by standing up and re-establishing the Khilafah. Defeatism should never enter the heart of the true believer who knows that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) will provide the victory.

Another misunderstanding that people fall into is one of mixing the Aqeedah (belief) and the Ahkam Shari’ah (Shari’ah rules). They believe that Allah Azza wa jall will provide us with victory but they rely on this without undertaking the actions that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) ordered us with. This error in understanding leads people to remain inactive to change the situation around them and leaves them content in waiting for the victory to come, often the only action they call for is Du’a to Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) and the asking of help from Him (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala). This diseased view is a corruption in the Islamic mentality and can lead Muslims into fatalism and neglecting their Fara’id (obligations). To demonstrate this we can look at the belief in the Rizq (provision) being from Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala). We belief that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) is Ar-Raaziq (The one who provides) however when it comes to our actions we must follow His commands and prohibitions otherwise we would be violating the Qur’an which he revealed to us as a Furqan (criterion) and we would definitely fall into sin.

It was narrated that Umar bin Al-Khattab (ra) passed by some people, who were known as readers of the Qur’an. He saw them sitting and bending their heads, and asked who they were. He was told: "They are those who depend (al-mutawwakiloon) upon Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala)." Umar replied; "No, they are the eaters who eat the people’s properties. Do you want me to describe who those who really depend upon Allah (al-mutawwakiloon) are?" He was answered in the affirmative, and then he said: "He is the person who throws the seeds in the earth and then depends on his Lord, The Almighty, The Exalted."

Umar bin al Khattab (ra), of whom the Shaytan was afraid, explained to us how depending upon Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) does not mean leaving his obligations and not working to achieve his responsibilities. The Muslim man is commanded by Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) to earn a living for himself and his family although he has the permanent belief that effort is not proportional to Rizq. Hence there is a difference between the matters of Aqeedah and the following of the Ahkam Shari’ah.

Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once shook the hand of Sa’ad ibn Muadh (ra) and found his hands to be rough. When the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) asked about it, Sa’ad said; “I dig with the shovel to maintain my family.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) kissed Sa’ad’s hands and said; “(They are) two hands which The Supreme loves.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Nobody would ever eat food that is better than to eat of his own hand’s work.”

As Muslims, we know that the Ajal (lifespan) can be only terminated by Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala). As He (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) said,

“And no person can ever die except by Allah's leave and at an appointed term” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 145].

Although our death cannot be avoided the knowledge of this should not lead to us abandoning any cures to illnesses or other means from the reality. Rather we seek cures for illnesses in response to the Hadith, “For every disease there is a cure. So seek the cure.”

Unfortunately we can see contradictions in those who restrict themselves to Du’a when it comes to solving the dire problems the Ummah is faced with like the bombardment of the innocent Muslims of Afghanistan. They would not limit themselves to Du’a when it comes to seeking their Rizq (provision) rather we would find them studying, working and striving in order to achieve it. Nor would we find them leaving their property unattended and their houses insecure even though they believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) is Ar-Raaziq (The Provider). When they are ill we would find them going to the doctor and taking medicine. Then how can it be, when Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has commanded us to motivate the people of power like the armies in the Islamic world to undertake their duty of repelling the aggressor and crushing the crusaders that they remain inactive praying for the Mahdi to emerge or for the victory to be granted? How can it be that they remain silent when Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has commanded us to undertake the intellectual and political struggle in order to remove the corrupt rulers in the Islamic land and replace them with the Khilafah? As if we are like a feather in the wind with no accountability.

We must understand that victory is only granted by Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) just as Rizq (provision) is, however we have not been left on this earth without a Shari’ah wandering aimlessly. Rather He (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) revealed the Qur’an in the month of Ramadhan as a guidance for mankind together with the clear proofs of this guidance for us to follow.

The two extremes of defeatism and fatalism are both incorrect and did not exist in the Sahabah (ra). The Muslims in the battle of Badr as in all the other battles understood that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) is the provider of the victory even if they were outnumbered, so they didn’t become defeated by the difficult reality around them, rather they knew that they were entrusted with the obligation of doing their utmost to defeat the enemy. The example of Badr is sufficient to demonstrate this.

In the second year of Hijrah the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) set out on the 8th of Ramadhan with three hundred and five of his companions mounted on seventy camels - ‘Amr ibn Umm Maktum was assigned to lead the prayer whilst Abu Lubabah was left in charge of Madinah. They rode the camels in turn heading towards a caravan led by Abu Sufyan. As they marched on they sought news of the caravan until they had reached the valley of Dafran where they settled, and news reached them there that Quraish had set out from Makkah to protect their caravan. The whole affair then assumed different proportions for it was no longer simply a raid on a caravan, the question was whether to confront Quraish or not. So Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) consulted the Muslims. Abu Bakr (ra) followed then by ‘Umar (ra) voiced their opinions respectively, then al-Miqdad ibn ‘Amr (ra) arose and said, "O Messenger of Allah! Go where Allah tells you, for we are with you. We shall not say as the children of Israel said to Moses ‘You and your Lord go and fight and we will stay at home’, but you and your Lord go and fight and we will fight with you.""Give me advice O men!" by which he meant the Ansar who had paid allegiance to him at al-’Aqabah. They had pledged to protect him as they protected their wives and children, with the stipulation that they were not responsible to fight with him outside Madinah. When the Ansar sensed that he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) meant them, Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh (ra) who was holding their banner said, "It seems as if you mean us, O Messenger of Allah." He (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "Yes.” Sa’ad said, "We believe in you, we declare your truth, and we witness that what you have brought us is the truth, and we have given you our word and agreement to hear and obey; so go where you wish, we are with you; and by He who sent you, if you were to ask us to cross this sea and you plunged into it, we would plunge into it with you; not a man would stay behind. We do not dislike the idea of meeting our enemy tomorrow. We are experienced in war, trustworthy in combat. It may well be that Allah will let us show you something which will bring you joy, so take us along with Allah’s blessing." The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was delighted with Sa’ad’s words and said, "Forward in good heart, for Allah had promised me one of the two parties, and by Allah, it is as though I now saw the enemy lying prostrate."

Then the two sides advanced and drew near each other on Friday morning on the 17th of Ramadhan. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) straightened the ranks and incited the Muslims to fight. The Muslims were encouraged by the words of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and went forward. The fighting broke out fiercely and the heads of the Quraishi fighters went flying from their bodies, the Muslims becoming stronger all the time chanting ‘Ahad! Ahad!’ (The One, the One). Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) whilst standing in the midst of the confrontation took a handful of pebbles and threw them at Quraish saying, "Foul be those faces!" Then he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) ordered his companions to charge and they duly obliged until the battle was over, and the foe was routed. The Muslims emerged victorious despite being outnumbered three to one, they slew many warriors and tribal leaders of Quraish and took captive many more. The Quraish fled the battlefield and the Muslims returned to Madinah having achieved a truly great victory.

In these difficult days it is vital for us to have the mentality the Sahabah (ra) had regarding the issue of Nasr (victory). We must believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) will provide it whenever He (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) wishes, we shouldn’t become defeated if we don’t see it, nor should we remain idle waiting for it to come about. We have to do our utmost in implementing all the orders of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) including those regarding changing the status quo and re-establishing the Khilafah. This life is a test and in pursuit of political change we may face all types of tribulations as the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and the Sahabah (ra) faced.

“Or do you think that you shall enter the gardens of Bliss (al-Jannah) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you?” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 214]

Indeed Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has promised us His (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) help and victory.

“So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 139].

“O you who believe if you aid the cause of Allah he will aid you and make your foothold firm” [TMQ Muhammad: 7].

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Aafia Siddiqui?

Who will free Aafia Siddiqui?

In March 2009 two female US Journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling were seized by North Korean border guards while reporting for California-based Current TV. They were subsequently tried and sentenced to 12 years in prison for "hostile acts" and illegal entry into North Korea. After their imprisonment America worked tirelessly to get the women released and in August 2009 dispatched former US President Bill Clinton to speak with North Korea's Kim Jong Il. The meeting was productive and the two women were later released.


In March 2003 a women was also seized and imprisoned. Her name was Aafia Siddiqui. Like the US Journalists she was a women, she studied and worked in America and her three children were American citizens. But unlike the US Journalists captured six years later she was a Muslim and she had no leader to take care of her affairs.
This is her story.
Dr Aafia Siddiqui was born in Karachi, Pakistan, on March 2, 1972. She was one of three children of Mohammad Siddiqui, a doctor trained in England, and Ismet. She is a mother of three and also a Hafiz-e-Quraan. Aafia and her three children were seized by Pakistani intelligence agents in March 2003 and handed over to the Americans in Afghanistan where she was imprisoned in Bagram and repeatedly raped, tortured and abused for years. A report in the Pakistani Urdu press at the time said that Aafia and her three children were seen being picked up by Pakistani authorities and taken into custody.

Moazzam Begg, and several other former captives of the Americans reported that a female prisoner, "prisoner 650", was held at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. Yvonne Ridley of Cageprisoners.com wrote about "Prisoner 650" (Aafia) her ordeal of torture and repeatedly being raped for over four years.

"The cries of (this) helpless woman echoed (with such torment) in the jail that (it) prompted prisoners to go on hunger strike." Yvonne called her a "gray lady (because) she (was) almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continue to haunt those who heard her. This would never happen to a Western woman."

Both the Pakistan government as well as US officials in Washington denied any knowledge of Aafia's imprisonment until her plight was brought out in to the open and started to receive media attention. Trumped up allegations were then brought against her that she was involved in terrorism and a ludicrous claim that she managed to wrestle a gun off a US soldier and shoot at US officers.

On 4th August 2008, federal prosecutors in the US confirmed that Aafia Siddiqui was extradited to the US from Afghanistan where they allege she had been detained since mid-July 2008. The US administration claimed that she was arrested by Afghani forces outside Ghazni governor's compound with manuals on explosives and ‘dangerous substances in sealed jars' on her person. They further allege that whilst in custody she shot at US officers (none being injured) and was herself injured in the process.

On 7th August 2008 an article in the The News exposed some of the treatment Aafia had been subjected to whilst in American custody.

one of her kidneys had been removed
her teeth had been removed
her nose had been broken, and improperly reset
her recent gunshot wound had been incompetently dressed, was oozing blood, leaving her clothes soaked with blood.

An August 11, 2008, a Reuters report stated that she had appeared at her court hearing in a wheelchair, and that her lawyers pleaded with the judge to make sure she received medical care. Elizabeth Fink, one of her lawyers, told the Judge:

"She has been here, judge, for one week and she has not seen a doctor, even though they (U.S. authorities) know she has been shot."

Aafia's Lawyer Elizabeth Fink told a federal judge in New York that Aafia shows signs of having been imprisoned and treated inhumanely for a long period of time. According to documents described in court by Fink, Aafia told prison staff that she feared her son was being starved and tortured, and asked them to take food off her tray and send it to her son in Afghanistan.

Another of her lawyers, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, "We do know she was at Bagram for a long time. It was a long time. According to my client she was there for years and she was held in American custody; her treatment was horrendous."

Aafia remains in a US detention facility in New York, in poor health, subjected to degrading and humiliating strip searches and cavity searches whenever she receives a legal visit or appears in court. She has subsequently refused to meet with counsel. It has been reported that she may suffer from brain damage and that a part of her intestine may have been removed. Her lawyers say her symptoms are consistent with a sufferer of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The trial of Aafia Siddiqui will start this week.

In the absence of the Khilafah she along with every other Muslim in the world is effectively stateless and as prophesised by the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم we are like froth and scum that is carried down by a torrent of water.

"The People will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their food." Someone asked, "Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?" He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied, "No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be froth and scum like that carried down by a torrent (of water), and Allah will take the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast al-wahn into your hearts." Someone asked, "O Messenger of Allah, what is al-wahn?" He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied, "Love of the world and dislike of death." [Abu Dawud and Ahmad]

It's wahn that led the Pakistani authorities to kidnap and handover a Muslim women to the Americans even though the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. [Bukhari]

It's wahn that prevented any ruler in the Muslim world lifting a finger to help protect the honour of a Muslim women and free not just Aafia but the thousands of Muslims incarcerated in Guantanamo, Bagram, and secret CIA detention centres even though the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Indeed it is obligatory upon the Muslims to free their captives or to pay their ransoms."

It's wahn that leads the rulers in the Muslim world to imprison, torture and abuse hundreds of thousands of sincere Muslims in their dungeons even though Hisham bin Hakeem said; "I bear witness that I heard the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم say; 'Allah will punish those who punish the people in the Dunya.'" [Muslim]

We must remember that we were not always stateless. When the Islamic State existed in the past the honour of Muslim women was protected and the Muslim prisoners were freed.

During the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم a Jewish goldsmith of Banu Qaynuqa abused the honour of a Muslim woman by tying the edge of her garment causing her private parts to become uncovered. A Muslim man happened to be there and killed the man. The Jews then retaliated by killing that Muslim. The man's family called the Muslims for help and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم sent an army against them and after a 15-day siege expelled the entire tribe from Madinah.

Imam ibn Athir records in ‘Kamil' the famous story of a Muslim woman who was captured by the Romans and held in a place named ‘Amuriyyah. Not content with only capturing her they tried to dishonour her as well. Frightened and alone she called out the name of the Khaleefah, "[Ya Mu'tasim] Oh Mu'tasim." A man witnessed this incident and rushed to the Khaleefah informing him of what had happened. When he heard the plight of this woman he responded bravely, "Labbaik [I am here at your call]." He prepared a large army and set off for battle and to rescue the woman. Mu'tasim's army conquered the enemy and entered ‘Amuriyyah. After destroying the enemy stronghold, they came to the woman and freed her.


Khaleefah Umar bin Abdul-Aziz sent a letter to the Muslim POWs in Constantinople. He told them:

"You consider yourselves to be POWS. You are not. You are locked in the cause of Allah. I would like you to know that whenever I give something to the Muslims I give more to your families and I am sending so and so with 5 dinars for each one of you and if it wasn't that I fear the Roman dictator would take it from you I would have sent more. I have also sent so-and-so to secure the release of every single one of you regardless of what the cost would be. So rejoice! Assalamu Alaykum."
Oh America and its allies!

Today you murder our men, women and children, torture and imprison us and steal our resources. But you must realise this is only a temporary situation. The Islamic revival is gathering pace and the wahn is slowly melting away through the interaction with the strong Islamic thoughts. You know this which is why you launched the war on terror and why you spend $billions occupying our lands.

When the victory of Allah سبحانه وتعالى arrives and the Muslim lands unite under one Khaleefah, be under no illusion that the Khilafah will utilise all its political, economic and military might to free the Muslim prisoners and protect the honour of our women.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Lessons from the story of Musa (as)

Al-Qur'an Al-Kareem informs us about organizing the relationship between man and his Creator, man with himself and man with others. This is done so that harmony will be existent until the Day of Judgment. In addition to this, one cannot help but notice that in many places, the Qur'an includes stories about previous Prophets. What is the role of these Qur'anic anecdotes in carrying the da'wah during this and every age? There is no doubt that the Qur'anic stories are replete with signs, lessons and miracles, and that a da'wah carrier needs to be attuned to them. The Qur'an does not leave any aspect of our life without having an effect on it in one way or another.
It is quite true that we are bound to the Shari'ah that Muhammad (saaw) brought, and we are not allowed to take the Shari'ah of those that preceded us. It should be noted, however, that when we examine the stories of previous prophets (pbut), we are not taking any legislation from them, only the wisdom and lessons about how they carried the da'wah. It is solely for this purpose that Allah (swt) mentioned these stories in the Qur'an. Now, if we had to choose a lesson from the Prophethood of Muhammad (saaw), one story that may initially come to mind is the Isra' and Mi'raj. This story reminds us of what happened to the Holy Land that Allah (swt) has blessed, and how today this land has been taken away from the Muslims. This should become a source of motivation for Muslims to save the Holy Land, and all other lands.
The story of Musa (asws), in particular, has many lessons and many steps that Musa (asws) undertook when he called Firawn (Pharaoh) to believe. These actions are tactics that we now need to examine and study. Al-Qur'an Al-Kareem has a variety of stories of different Prophets. When it comes to Musa (asws) and his life, we can conclude that Surah Taha is enough as a source to expound upon the lessons from his life. We will examine this Surah, Insha'Allah, understand it, and see how Syed Qutb (ra) explained it in his book Fi-dhelaal Al-Qur'an (In the Shade of the Qur'an).
Surah Taha begins with Allah (swt) telling Prophet Muhammad (saaw) that the Qur'an was not revealed to him (saaw) in order for him to suffer or live in misery, especially when people reject him and disbelieve in the message he (saaw) carries. This is because Muhammad (saaw) had no control, whatsoever, over the hearts of people, which would compel them to believe. As the Surah continues, it gives many details about the be'tha (when Allah sent Musa), and describes how Allah (swt) takes care of those who carry His message. Even though it is true that the stories comprise almost one-third of the Qur'an's contents, the story of Musa (asws) occurs most often, being mentioned many times and in many Surahs.
As we begin to analyze Surah Taha in understanding the story of Musa (asws), we see that Musa (asws) and his wife returned from Medyan, where Shu'ayb (as) once lived. On the way back to Egypt he saw a fire near the mountain of Sina. He asked his wife to stay behind as he went to examine the fire, hoping to catch some of its flame and start a fire of his own, to help guide him and keep him warm during the cold night. This beginning shows how Allah (swt) prepares a da'wah carrier, both mentally and physically, for what is required of him in delivering the message. A da'wah carrier is willing to do what the da'wah requires from him no matter how difficult the challenge is. This example exhibits this attitude, where Musa (asws) knew he would have to climb mountains and walk long distances to reach his destination.
When he reached the light, Allah (swt) revealed,
"And when he came to it (the fire), he was called by name 'Oh Musa!, Verily! I am your Lord! So take off your shoes, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa. And I have chosen you. So listen to that which is inspired in you' " (20:11-13)
Upon hearing this, Musa (asws) was given the knowledge that he had been chosen to be Allah's messenger, and this required him to prepare, with all of his senses, to understand the message he would be carrying. This message was based on three fundamental issues, as described:
"Verily! I am Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but I, so worship Me, and offer prayers perfectly, for My remembrance. Verily! The hour is coming - and My Will is to keep it hidden - that every person may be rewarded for that which he strives. Therefore, let not the one who believes not therein, but follows his own lusts, divert you therefrom, lest you perish (20:14-16)."
These core elements, which are required from every message and da'wah carrier, are:
To believe in Allah (swt) and His oneness; to believe that Allah (swt) is the only one who deserves to be worshipped and not anyone or anything else; and to expect no reward from anyone, whomsoever, except from Allah (swt).
In doing so, the da'ee will pay no attention to those who are trying to deviate him, or those who are telling him things like: "you are just wasting your time", "nobody listens to you", or "why don't you do something more pragmatic."
Then the Surah proceeds to another issue, of how Musa (asws) felt when he saw his staff transformed into a snake, and how fear overwhelmed him. Nonetheless, he was ordered to pick it up, and not to be scared, because Allah (swt) would make it go back to its real nature. After witnessing this, Musa (asws) felt relaxed and Allah (swt) continued to comfort him. Allah (swt) cured Musa (asws) from the ailment he had in his hand, Allah (swt) said,
"And press your (right) hand to your (left) side, it will come forth white (and shining), without any disease as another sign, (20:22)."
This was another miracle the Messenger of Allah (swt) would use as proof of his prophethood. Once all of this took place, then all of his senses, abilities, and every part of his body was ready to carry the requirements of this obligation from Allah (swt).
This brief description of how the Qur'an prepared Musa (asws) to carry the message, reminded our Prophet (saaw), and reminds us, that the nafs need preparation in order to carry the requirements and responsibilities of the Da'wah. This preparation requires special attention and signs, and might be through a miracle like making the staff of Musa (asws) a snake, or a miracle like Al-Qur'an Al-Kareem, which is the case with Muhammad (saaw). Then the ayat talk about the first obligation placed on Musa (asws),
"Go to Firawn! Verily, he has transgressed (all bounds in disbelief and disobedience, and has behaved arrogantly, and as a tyrant) (20:24)."
After receiving this order, he began to remember how oppressive and cruel Firawn was to his people, enslaving and torturing them. Musa (asws) began to seek help and support from his Lord, Allah (swt),
"Musa said: 'O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness). And ease my task for me; And loosen the knot (the problem) from my tongue, (i.e. remove the impairment in my speech), that they understand my speech, And appoint for me a helper from my family, Haroon, my brother; Increase my strength with him, And let him share my task (of conveying Allah's message and Prophethood), That we may glorify You much, And remember You much, Verily! You are of us Ever a Well-Seer (20:25-35)."
He asked for all this because he knew the weaknesses he and his brother had, and would have to overcome in order to accomplish their mission. With this, Allah (swt) reminds us that whenever he orders someone to do something, whether it is one of His prophets or a da'wah carrier, He will provide them with the abilities to achieve their obligation. Allah (swt) will never ask His da'wah carriers to do something beyond their reach or their abilities. In response to Musa's request,
"Allah said: 'You are granted your request, O Musa! (20:36)."
Allah (swt) continues to remind Musa (asws) of the favors that have already been bestowed upon him, starting with how he was supposed to be killed at birth, like the rest of the children that Firawn was killing, but was spared. This reminds the da'wah carriers that Allah (swt) will never let them down, because they are the ones that are trying to establish His Deen, and they are the ones who are trying to spread the call to obey Allah (swt) amongst all of mankind.
Allah (swt) then told Musa (asws),
"Go you and your brother with My Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelation, etc.,) and do not, you both, slacken and become weak in My remembrance. Go to Firawn, verily, he has transgressed (all bounds in disbelief and disobedience, and has behaved arrogantly, and as a tyrant). And speak to him firmly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah (20:42-44)."
This demonstrated to us that when Allah (swt) ordered Musa (asws), Muhammad (saaw), and all the prophets to carry the da'wah, He also told them how to carry it. He even told them which style to use, as in this example. They were told not to be harsh, rather they should be firm with the people, even with the oppressors. Also, they shouldn't become desperate or frustrated, nor should they ever lose hope that the people will be guided. This is because once frustration gets to the heart of the da'wah carrier, then the da'wah will lose its momentum and its spark. This will make the da'wah carrier slow his efforts, and eventually stop him from carrying the da'wah. Those who deliver da'wah must continue carrying it without any frustration, even if the road is full of Firawns.
Fear was in the hearts of Musa and Haroon (pbut), mainly rooted in the imminent interaction between them and Firawn,
"They said: 'Our Lord! Verily! We fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress (all bounds against us)' (20:45)."
This shows us how a da'wah carrier may become fearful of the dangers posed to him, and how peace-of-mind is needed in order to overcome his fear. This must be accomplished in a way that will never make him have fear from delivering da'wah again, and to the point where he will disregard the source of the fear. Upon this request, Allah (swt) sent them good news
"He (Allah) said: 'Fear not, Verily! I am with you both, Hearing and Seeing' (20:46),"
reminding them that He, Allah (swt), Al-Qadir, the one in control, the one above every oppressor and every person, the one who is stronger than anybody, was with them. This was enough for them to become relaxed, allowing them not to fear anything, and to realize that when Allah (swt) is with them, then no one can harm them.
Subsequently, Allah (swt) gave them the order
"So go you both to him, and say: 'Verily, we are Messengers of your Lord, to ask you to let the Children of Israel go with us, and torment them not; indeed, we have come with a sign from your Lord! And peace will be upon him who follows the guidance!' (20:47)."
They were the two messengers sent to save Bani Israel from the oppression of Firawn, to bring its people back to the 'aqeedah of Tawheed, and to take them to the Holy Land. This was also good news to Muhammad (saaw), reassuring him that Allah (swt) would never let him nor those who follow him, down. The ayat continues, relaying to us the conversation that took place between Musa (asws) and at-taghiya (the tyrant), Firawn.
"Firawn said: 'Who then, O Musa, is the Lord of you two' (20:49)?"
Then, "Musa said: 'Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright' (20:50)."
Firawn neglected and ignored the fact that Haroon and Musa (asws) were messengers of Allah (swt). That is why he asked them about their Lord, and he heard the answer, that their Lord is the Creator and the organizer of everything. Then Firawn questioned Musa (asws) again,
"(Firawn) said: 'What about the generation of old' (20:51)."
To which,
"(Musa) said: 'The knowledge thereof is with my Lord, in a Record. My Lord is neither unaware nor He forgets. (20:52)."
In actuality, by this Musa (asws) was telling Firawn that Allah (swt), the Creator, was the One who was guiding him, and without this guidance, Musa (asws) would not have knowledge. He continues to tell Firawn,
"Who has made earth for you like a bed (spread out); and has opened roads (ways and paths etc.) for you therein; and has sent down water (rain) from the sky. And We have brought forth with it various kinds of vegetation. Eat and feed your cattle, (therein). Verily, in this are proofs and signs for men of understanding (20:53-54)."
His aim in this was to explain to Firawn the ability of his Lord, Al-Khaliq (The Creator), Ar-Razzaq (The Provider), Al-Mudhabir (The organizer). This description which Musa (asws) gave to Firawn called upon every good mind to think about this wonderful system that was created by Allah (swt). Musa (asws) continued his discussion with Firawn, hoping he might fear Allah (swt) and believe
"Thereof (the earth) We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again (20:55)."
Firawn, however, was stubborn and arrogant, claiming that he was a lord himself. In reality, of course, he was very weak, and had no answer to the signs that Musa (asws) was bringing him. Instead of responding to the evidence which Musa (asws) brought with another evidence, he started maneuvering and tried to change the subject. He began throwing accusations at Musa (asws),
"He (Firawn) said: 'Have you come to drive us out of our land with your magic, O Musa? Then verily, we can produce magic the like thereof; so appoint a meeting between us and you, which neither we, nor you shall fail to keep, in an open, wide place where both shall have a just and equal chance (and beholders could witness the competition)' (20:57-58)."
To this Musa (asws) responded,
"(Musa) said: 'Your appointed meeting is the day of the festival, and let the people assemble when the sun has risen (forenoon)' (20:59)."
Now in order to understand what type of person Firawn was, we must remember his crimes, namely that he killed the sons of Israel, he used to kill their men and their boys, leaving their womenfolk alive. He did this because he was so afraid of his people, fearing that they would threaten his status in life, which he was so careful to protect. He paid attention to nothing but his kingdom, to the throne he sat on, and whatever else he owned. This behavior is typical of our rulers today. They are so fearful that some ideological movement or political parties who are trying to implement Islam as a complete system, which would wrest their rulership from them. That is why today's rulers slander and hunt down such movements the same way Firawn attacked Musa (asws) and his people.
The way Firawn challenged Musa (asws), thinking that Musa (asws) would give up, serves as a valuable lesson for da'wah carriers nowadays. However, Musa (asws) did not give up, he accepted the challenge because he was assured that Allah (swt) was with him. He was confident that the Haqq would win and the batil would be defeated, no matter what the oppressors and the liars did.
"So Firawn withdrew, devised his plot and then came back (20:60),"
He assembled all his magicians and all his powers. This is quite similar to what our current rulers do today when they are confronted with the Haqq. Their aim is to manipulate the minds of the populace, trying to make them believe what the rulers want them to believe. This can be easily observed when we hear government backed scholars giving us fatawa that legitimize whatever haram our rulers commit, such as accepting peace with a Jewish state established on Muslim lands, or inviting the troops of the kuffar to Muslim lands to fight against other Muslims. Our rulers attack those who carry da'wah by all means, at all times.
Musa (asws) did not forget to remind Firawn about something very important before the day of the meeting. He told him what the end would be for those people who fight against the da'wah and its carriers,
"Musa said to them: 'Woe unto you! Invent not a lie against Allah, lest He should destroy you completely by a torment. And surely, he who invents a lie (against Allah) will fail miserably (20:61)."
This statement made its way into the hearts of some of Firawn's people who were listening. Those who heard what Musa (asws) was saying started to think about it. Some of them believed that Musa (asws) was calling for Haqq, and Firawn was on the side of batil.
"Then they debated with one another what they must do, and they kept their talk secret (20:62)."
This shows us that good elements do exist in society during all times. They may even be from the offspring of the kuffar or from the oppressors. More importantly, this shows us that the da'wah carriers must not hesitate from saying the truth anywhere they are, at any time, because this word of truth might influence some people. Even in this example, we should know that the wife of Firawn became a believer.
In the meeting that came thereafter, Firawn's magicians faced Musa (asws),
"They said: 'Verily! These are two magicians. Their objective is to drive you out from your land with magic, and overcome your way of life. So devise your plot, and then assemble in line. And whoever overcomes this day will be indeed successful' (20:63-64)."
The ayah indicates that the dawah of Musa (asws) was comprehensive and was accused of threatening the status-quo. Also, the ayah shows that Firawn underestimated the people around him, assuming that they all would help him, and they would not say anything against him. However, he was mistaken. From this there is another lesson to be learned, that the Will of Allah (swt) was there, and that He (swt) witnessed all that occurred, and made Firawn offer to Musa (asws) the challenge to confront him in front of the people. This demonstrates how Allah (swt) will help da'wah carriers develop a platform from which they can address the people in an effective manner.
When the magicians met Musa (asws),
"They said: 'O Musa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw (20:65)?"
Musa (asws) told them to begin, showing that the challenge was accepted from both parties. The magicians threw down their ropes and staffs. They were so convincing that Musa (asws) became frightened of what they had produced, believing what he saw to be real snakes. This serves to remind us that after everything, Musa (asws) was still a human being, and even though he knew Allah (swt) was on his side, he was overwhelmed by what he witnessed. So Allah (swt) reminded him,
"We (Allah) said: 'Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand. And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician's trick, and the magician will never be successful, no matter whatever amount (of skill) he may attain (20:68-69)."
Again, this is because what Musa (asws) was doing was the Haqq, and what they were doing was the batil. The batil will never succeed, no matter how powerful its proponents appear. When the batil is confronted with the clear Haqq, then the batil will collapse.
Musa (asws) responded to the order of Allah (swt), and threw down his staff. Upon doing this, a reaction that nobody expected took place.
"So the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: 'We believe in the Lord of Haroon and Musa (20:70)."
The prior disputes they had amongst themselves were reconciled, and now they all agreed with what Musa (asws) had brought. Their doubts transformed into iman, and their darkness became light. In response to this,
"(Firawn) said: 'Believe you in him (Musa) before I give you permission? Verily! He is your chief who taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on the trunks of palm-trees, and you shall surely know which of us [I (Firawn) or the Lord of Musa (Allah)] can give the severe and more lasting torment (20:71)."
Firawn was arrogant, believing that before the magicians could become mu'mineen (believers), his permission was required. This is the way all of the oppressors are, believing that the people are their slaves, and that they have to do whatever they command, whenever they want it.
Firawn refused to accept what Musa (asws) did as a miracle, but rather as magic. He threatened the magicians who believed in Musa (asws) with torture and execution. This is similar to what we find ourselves in today, when our current rulers use the same tactics, claiming that they want to maintain stability and the current way of life, and that they don't want any radicals or extremists to change the way people are living. Firawn thought that just by his order, the people who responded to Allah (swt) and His messenger would return to kufr. He underestimated the power of iman, which enters the heart and makes it more powerful than a mountain. The magicians responded to Firawn,
"They said: 'We prefer you not over the clear signs that have come to us, and to Him (Allah) Who created us. So decree whatever you desire to decree, for you can only decree (regarding) this life of the world (20:72)."
These are the believing sparks, which attack falsehood and the kufr, destabilizing its very foundation. Imagine the way Firawn perceived the scene, how dare they say something like this directly to Firawn's face, who claimed himself to be a god. He believed he owned the whole world, and the ability to take and give life. Firawn listened to these powerful statements, and how these believers didn't care about him or his threats and warnings anymore. They told him that they consider the iman which they just accepted as a means for their forgiveness. They continued,
"Verily! Whoever comes to his Lord as a Mujrim (criminal, polytheist, disbeliever in the Oneness of Allah and His Messengers, sinner, etc.), then surely for him is Hell, therein he will neither die nor live. But whoever comes to Him (Allah) as a believer (in the Oneness of Allah, etc.), and has done righteous good deeds for such are the high ranks (in the Hereafter), - Everlasting Gardens ('Adn Paradise), under which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever: such is the reward of those who purify themselves [(by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds) which Allah has forbidden and by doing all that which Allah has ordained)] (20:74-76)."
Not only did they tell Firawn how they felt about his threats and their feelings towards this life, but now they began to threaten him. They told him that his crimes and his tortures would lead him to the torture of jahannam, a punishment which is more severe than Firawn could ever impose, leaving him to never die and never live. They declared their belief in their Lord, and vowed to never do anything but the khayr (good), in order to attain the highest level in Jannah. This level of conviction is completely foreign to the understanding of the oppressors. Their hearts are sealed, and refuse to be opened to the truth.
The ayat described the victory of the Haqq and the defeat of the batil, and exhibited the blessings of Allah (swt) when He (swt) directly intervened to save Musa (asws) and his people, and how He (swt) made Firawn and his soldiers drown in the sea. This came at a time when Musa (asws) and his people had no hope, because they were much weaker than the army of Firawn. The ayat tell us that the end of the struggle between the believers and kuffar resulted in a victory for iman and defeat and humiliation for the kufr.
This serves as a good example for us today, showing how in the past the believing sons of Israel were tortured and they had no helper or supporter whatsoever. Nowadays, the da'wah carriers who carry the Haqq, have no support or help, and no one to rely on, except Allah (swt). Consequently, they must remain on the Haqq, until Allah (swt) provides them with victory, the way He provided previous believers with victory.
".Verily, Allah will help those who help His (cause). Truly Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty (22:40)."
The batil, the falsehood, will not last forever, it will be defeated sooner or later. The da'wah carriers must work until Allah (swt) gives His victory to the Muslims.
"It is He Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Deen of truth (Haqq), to make it superior over all other ways of life, even though the Mushrikun hate it (9:33)."
Oh Shabbab of Muhammad (saaw)! We call upon you to raise up once more the rayaat (flags) that Muhammad (saaw) held up in the past, under which kufr and oppression were destroyed. Carry them, lift them, and spread the da'wah everywhere, so that you will live happily, your Ummah will live happily, and the Haqq will become superior on the earth, as Allah (swt) wants it to be.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Resetting US relations with Iran

Many have interrupted Obama's recent proclamation to suspend deployment of US missile shield components to Poland and the Czech Republic as proof that finally America is serious about recasting its relations with Russia in a more positive light. However, subsequent statements by members of Obama's administration about future plans for missile defense dubbed ‘phased adaptive approach' are likely to forestall warming of ties between Moscow and Washington.

For instance in a New York Times opinion piece, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates criticized his detractors for describing the new plan as "distorted as some sort of concession to Russia". He further emphasized that the new proposals would bolster European security. "We are strengthening-not scrapping-missile defense in Europe," he wrote.
Away from the public bickering over the effectiveness of the phased adaptive approach, one cannot help but notice that America is most interested in resetting its relations with Iran and not Russia.

New revelations about Iran's diminished missile capabilities now set the stage for the normalization of relations between Tehran and Washington. Downplaying the Iranian threat last month, Robert Gates said, "the intelligence community now assesses that the threat from Iran's short- and medium-range ballistic missiles...is developing more rapidly than previously projected" and "the threat of potential Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles capabilities has been slower to develop than was estimated in 2006." Gates sudden reassessment follows a familiar pattern frequently employed by US officials to downgrade the peril of Iran's military assets-whenever the situation most demanded it. Previously, under the Bush administration, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) revised its estimate from 2010 to 2015 the date by when Iran would possess and atomic bomb.

Additionally, and more significantly, the NIE claimed that Iran had abandoned plans to weaponize its nuclear programme in 2003. NIE claims were a severe below to Israeli plans to attack Iran, and at the time was widely derided by officials of the Jewish State. At the end of last year, America also refused to sell Israel advanced versions of its bunker-busters bombs and downplayed Israel's show of air power over the Mediterranean. America's lack of support to its most trusted ally in the region clearly underscores that American intentions towards Iran are not nefarious at all.

America's ambivalence towards Iran was again on display when another close ally Britain found its sea personnel captured by Iranian forces. American indifference was intentional as she feared that Britain engineered the naval fiasco to instigate an attack on Iran. Likewise, the US offered very little public support to European voices that vociferously bellowed out calls for the Iranian protestors to topple the Iranian regime.

When scrupulously analysed each event presented America with a unique opportunity to initiate regime change in Iran that many politicians in Washington coveted for. But Washington chose not to do so. On the contrary, America acted in a strange manner-she either watched as a silent spectator or diplomatically mobilized efforts to cool down tensions. The out of character behaviour when measured against the ubiquitous fiery rhetoric that emanated from the corridors of power in Washington suggests to any reader of political events that the two countries are working in cohorts to cement America's hegemony in the region.
America's reliance on Iran to stabilize Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon is too precious to be squandered by any crude attempts undertaken by her closest allies to attack Tehran.
The overly inflated threat from Iran's benign nuclear programme by the incessant news coverage has conveniently provided America with the necessary pretext to augment its military ties with Israel and the Gulf countries. Not to mention it also provides America with new avenues to strengthen her missile defense shield abroad and aid nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East under the guise of peaceful nuclear pacts and in the shadow of nuclear arms reduction talks with Russia. There is little doubt that America will exploit such pacts to ward off competition from Russia, China, and Europe to control cheap Middle Eastern oil.

All of this brings us to the present nuclear talks between Iran and the big six powers. The talks will only conclude, when America is fully satisfied that she can no longer achieve any of her strategic objectives and that her surrogates in Iran have been completely exhausted and are unable to execute her plans. At that juncture, America will settle the nuclear issue and may even allow Iran to keep nuclear weapons in exchange for strict controls.