Saturday, May 20, 2006

Wake Up! Our Collective Responsibility

Assalamu alaikum, unfortunately I've been rather busy lately and not got round to posting notes etc. Please pray that Allah puts baraqah in my time. Also, there hasn't been a dars of hadeeth for a few weeks either. Yesterday, Shaykh spoke on "Assting the Religion of Allah and the Ummah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل). Masha'Allah the talk was very relevant to our current state and he discussed our collective responsbilities as Muslims. I've posted some brief notes below. Wasalaam.

The talk was on assisting the religion of Allah and the Ummah of Rasul (صلى الله عليه و سل). Shaykh began by mentioning that we have a duty other than fasting, praying, going on pilgrimage etc. However, we have slipped into a mode of thinking that religion is just restricted to a few formalities. We neglect important aspects of religion such as assisting fellow Muslims in need.

Throughout the talk Shaykh gave various examples about how we stress particular importance to one aspect of religion but neglect other important aspects. He first mentioned the situations with masaajid. All over the world masjids are being built wherever Muslims have formed communities (and Shaykh did mention that this is an obligation). Shaykh elaborated by saying that no expense is spared and people are encouraged by the hadeeth where the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل) mentioned that whoever builds a Masjid, Allah will build a house for him in Jannah. This is valid but sometimes we can be almost selfish by giving to the Masjid because we want a palace in Jannah. With regard to the cost, Shaykh mentioned that we hear of more and more elaborate and expensive masjids being built e.g. those costing 3, 5 or even 7 million pounds sterling. A sign of the day of Judgement is that people will rival each other in the building of masjids. Despite this building and erecting of masjids, the ummah collectively is apathetic to the plight of Masjid al Aqsa.

Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq then discussed that we have collective responsibilities, commands and obligations (from the Holy Qur’an).

For example, in Surah Maidah Allah says:

Assist each other to virtue and piety, and assist not each other to sin and transgression, Fear Allah: verily Allah is Severe in chastising” [Part of 5:2]

The entire verse in Arabic is below:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تُحِلُّواْ شَعَآئِرَ اللّهِ وَلاَ الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلاَ الْهَدْيَ وَلاَ الْقَلآئِدَ وَلا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُواْ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَن صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَن تَعْتَدُواْ وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الْبرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Similarly, in Surah Asr, there is also a collective command from Allah and we are reminded of our collective duty:

By time,
Verily man is in loss,
But not those who themselves believe and work righteous works, and enjoin upon each other the truth, and enjoin upon each other endurance.” [103]

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

Shaykh narrated an incident which is mentioned in Bukhari regarding a conflict amongst two groups of people. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل) was preoccupied in Madinah trying to resolve this dispute and time for salah came, and it was a rare occurrence that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل) was present in the city but did not lead salah. We learn from the hadeeth that whoever remains preoccupied in the needs of others, Allah remains preoccupied in his needs. The word hajar which is used means any need whatsoever, including those things which we may consider trivial such as helping push someone’s car that has broken down. However, we are extremely selfish and do not even respond to trivial calls from fellow Muslims. Even pouring water in the pot of another Muslim is a good deed. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل) says do not consider it to be insignificant – even this is an act of sadaqah.

The message being pumped out via various channels is be good Muslims but do not concern yourselves with the affairs of Muslims across the globe. This message is being sent out with increased vigour by those with a vested interest. Even in the masaajid, no one talks about anything except salah, zakat and Hajj etc.

What about all the verses of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil? We are told in the Holy Qur’an that we are the best of nations but why is this? The verse of the Holy Qur’an is as follows:

O Ye are the best community sent forth unto mankind; ye command that which is reputable and ye prevent that which is disreputable. and ye believe in Allah If the people of the Book believe, surely it were better for them. Of them are believers, and most of them are transgressors. [3:110]

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

Hence, the verse clearly says that we are the best of nations because we enjoin the good and forbid the evil.

Is it really justice/piety/righteousness when all we concentrate on is personal morality? Deeds such as etikhaf are virtuous acts but it isn’t the height of piety given the state of the ummah today.

There is a hadeeth narrated by Abu Bakr (رضى الله عنهما) which is narrated in ibn Majah, Sunan of Abu Dawud and other books where Abu Bakr (رضى الله عنهما) ascended the minbar and he spoke about a particular verse and said that those who fail to hold the hand of an oppressor i.e. to prevent the oppressor, then Allah will destroy all of them. There was no concept of individualism with the sahabah.

Shaykh then went on to discuss some bizarre examples in the ummah of focusing on certain duties and overlooking others. For example, no ulema have stated the Taraweeh is wajib, at most it is a Sunnah Muakkadah i.e. an emphasised, punctual sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل) or the sahabah. Yet people are punctual and attach great importance to Taraweeh whilst often overlooking the other Fardh salah during the day e.g. in Ramadhan some people don’t pray any salah except Taraweeh. Allah condemned previous nations for such behaviour. This is dhulm, for dhulm literally means placing something out of place i.e. to give preference to something that we shouldn’t. This is why someone who doesn’t practice Tawheed commits dhulm. Shirk is dhulm because unjustly false gods and idols are elevated to the position of Allah, and the status of Allah is reduced.

It is important to remind each other and make provisions for our other responsibilities i.e. those not related to personal moralities. We hear of stories of the Holy Qur’an being abused, and rightfully so there is uproar. However, we should bear in mind the hadeeth of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل) when he said addressing the Ka’ba that how great is your sanctity etc however, the sanctity of one believer is greater than even you oh Ka’ba. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سل) mentioned the things meant by the sanctity of one believer – these are his blood, wealth, dignity, and that only good should be thought of him.

Whilst we respond to attacks on Rasul (صلى الله عليه و سل), we should respond with equal vigour to attacks on that which is of greater sanctity than even the Holy Ka’ba.

A man came to Abdullah ibn Umar (رضى الله عنهما) and asked for a fatwa. He asked whether it was permissible to swat a gnat in the haram of Makkah. Abdullah ibn Umar (رضى الله عنهما) recognised that the man was from Iraq. Abdullah ibn Umar (رضى الله عنهما) said that woe be unto you oh people of Iraq. You slaughter the grandson of Rasul (صلى الله عليه و سل) and you come here and ask about the blood of a gnat. This further demonstates how we often concentrate on small things and overlook greater responsibilities.

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