(Khutbah at MEC/MAS on July 21, 2017)
By Azihan Ibrahim
The challenges the we face nowadays are akin to the Meccan Era of the Prophet’s life. Ranging from unpleasant stares at the groceries to the burning down of masajids around the country, these anti-Muslims behavior are on the rise. According to Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), from 2014 to 2016 anti-Muslims incidents increased by about 65%.
It is imperative for us to take lessons on how the Prophet dealt with such situations back then. After all, in the beginning only a handful were Muslims – a number a lot smaller than we are today.
“VERILY, in the messenger of Allah is the best model for everyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in the praise of Allah.” Al-Ahzab 33-21
When we talk about uswatun hasanah or good example, nothing compares to the endorsement of both friends and foes. We know that he was known as the truthful one in his community.
Rahmatan Lil Aalamin – (Al Anbiya 21-107)
What it means to us? When the word rahmatan is discussed we regularly relate it to certain acts of kindness, either to human being or animals and even to the protection of the environment. For example, who doesn’t know the event that took place in Taif? The Taif saga epitomized the very essence of patience, tolerance and vision of our beloved Prophet pbuh. The opportunity to take revenge on the assault is there when the angels we ready to crush the mountain and yet, not only did he refuse that opportunity but he did the opposite – making supplication for them, not against them, that their offspring will, InshaAllah, come to the fold of Islam. And the rest is history. Do we have the same vision for our own community we lived in?
In our affairs today, we are quick in seeking revenge, either by action or by supplication – wishing for the worst to the oppressor. For example, how many times we’ve heard preachers and Imams saying death to the Yahud but in the same breath they asked us to take lessons from Taif. We know from Islamic traditions that those oppressed, their supplications will not be refused by Allah. Perhaps it is time that we ask for the guidance to the enemy instead of for their destruction, i.e. following what the Prophet did in Taif.
Having said that, rahmatan lil aalamin is meant for a higher level than that, more than how to treat people and environment. Allah gives example that if this message was given to the mountain we would have seen it humbled and coming apart. Al Hashr: 59-21. The mountain will crumble not because of the physical weight but rather the responsibility that this message brings. We, human beings, have the mind and the intellect to crush the mountain for our use, and by default we are more capable. The sending of Rasululullah; meaning from his birth to his prophethood is mercy. He is the embodiment of mercy, his entire teaching is mercy.
This is the part that we didn’t get. What is our role in this great message? We can scream from the top of our lungs that Islam is mercy, the prophet was sent as a mercy but until and unless this message reaches those people around us, touches their lives – this slogan is just an empty rhetoric. In fact, it will be just a laughing matter for us to say that Islam is merciful.
Let’s honestly ask ourselves how we can fit in to be a part of this great message. Let’s make an honest supplication to Allah to guide us how to help his Deen. Other than just being a good father who goes to work every day and pays mortgage, or being a good mother sending kids to school and cooking good food; ask Allah what is there for us to bring back the rahmah to the rest of the world.
Concept of Khalifah – (Al Baqarah 2-30)
This one word is often misunderstood and misused by Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. Our role as khalifah or vicegerents of God is about taking care of things and improving the world, hence improving the quality of lives. Al-Gazali talks about how those who love nature love God and those who love God love nature. Between the wealthy and the poor, between the oppressor and the oppressed, between the strong and the weak; who would need more help and caring? For sure the latter.
One example that came to mind, and this perhaps will help us understand how this works, is the involvement of American Civil Liberty Union – ACLU in dealing with the Muslim ban issue.
Back in January, when President Trump signed the first executive order banning Muslims from 7 Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, ACLU was at the forefront fighting this unconstitutional ruling. They promptly sent their lawyers to the airports as well as filed several lawsuits against it. As a result, within one week ACLU collected donations six times more than their yearly average. They may not be the khalifah of the day but their actions are; championing the cause in protecting the minority and the oppressed, garnered supports from more than 350,000 donors.
When Muslim armies occupied the city of Samarkand, they did not follow the Islamic protocol of war by giving them enough notice, either to surrender or to fight. The worshiping monks in the city knew about this mistake and complained to Khalifah Umar Abdul Aziz. The caliph summoned the army general and asked to rectify this mistake. The general had to withdraw every single army out of the city and restarted the process ordered by the caliph. As expected, they came in without any fight. What they didn’t expect was, due to their uprightness following the etiquettes, they entire city embraced Islam – including those monks.
We have a choice – either to go about being stranger to each other, or move to the next level becoming someone who cares, or moving to the highest level as someone who is constantly taking care. When dealing with non-Muslims becomes an integral part of our lives, we can’t do it without getting organized, thus getting ourselves engaged and organized is now mandatory.