By Sh Saleh Ibn Muhammad Āl-Tālib – 28 Rabi uth Thani 1435
His Eminence Sheikh Saleh Ibn Muhammad Āl-Tālib –may Allah protect him− delivered this Friday’s khutbah entitled “The Ummah’s Malady and Its Remedy”. He spoke about the causes of the Ummah’s weakness and the series of calamities befalling it in recent decades. He further explained that this situation is imputable to a major reason: namely, Muslims’ failure to adhere to the Noble Qur’ān and the Noble Sunnah, in addition to the blatant disunity among them. Finally, he insisted on the necessity of remedying that especially at the hands of Muslim scholars (the Ulama) and rulers.
Praise be to Allah! Praise be to Allah Who sent His Prophet with guidance and the final of divine messages. Allah sent him with revelation, supported him with miracles, unified with him the Arab tribes formerly disunited, and rescued them through him from obscurity to radiant light. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone –the Lord of the Earth and the Lord of the Heavens. How profuse His bounties are! How numerous His graceful blessings are despite our interminable sinning! I equally bear witness that Muhammad is Allah’s Servant and Messenger. His Lord perfected His creation, blessed his inherently noble self, made his guidance a token of purity for all creatures, and imparted lustre to the whole universe through His religion. May Allah send His Salat (Graces, Honours, Mercy), Peace and Blessing upon him, his family, his Companions, the tabi’in (the contemporaries of the Companions after the death of the Prophet [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him]), and all those who follow them righteously till the Day of Judgement!
The best advice ever provided, after offering due praise and greetings, is to urge you to observe Taqwa vis-à-vis Allah, the Supreme Being: “O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).” [Al-Aḥzāb: 70-71]
Each of you shall return to Allah and proceed to the Hereafter. Time flies, days hasten to their destination unfolding our lifespan. Human souls in the Herein are bare and shall soon return to their owner (Allah). Gates leading to Allah are still wide open, and with Allah lies all vow of recompense and threat of chastisement. He is lurking for tyrants but His bounties for obeisant worshippers are endless.
Nowadays, the whole world is engaged in a fierce struggle for realising political, nationalistic, religious, and economic desires. It is witnessing a number of serious crises due to individual whims, regional avidity, and tyranny deriving its very existence from committing atrocities and aggressions. This has led to the emergence of wrongdoing, injustice, warfare, casualties, and devastation of material assets, which threatens the whole world with turmoil and deteriorating conditions.
Muslims have been largely affected by such calamities. Having fallen prey to the greed of other nations, their share of the disaster has been twice as much as the others’. Some of their territories were colonised, their resources completely exhausted, their sources of livelihood and riches stolen, and their voices lost. They have been experiencing disunity, dislocation, conflicts, and divergence. Meanwhile, many of the other countries are organising themselves into international coalitions and alliances which have ironed out their differences. As a result, they have come closer to one another in order to serve their mutual interests, bearing in mind that the Muslims’ bonds of unity, solidarity, collaboration, and mutual assistance are potentially stronger than those extant among all the other nations of the entire globe.
The real conditions of Muslims today are quite similar to those they once experienced on the day of Al-Aḥzāb (the Confederates)1: “When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harbouring doubts about Allâh.” [Al-Aḥzāb: 10].
Look at the Al-Aqsā Mosque … the Holy Land and its outskirts … the Levant (Sham) of glory and its inhabitants … Burma and Central Africa … the turmoil in so many Muslim countries, internal fighting (civil strife), and the rush of enemies from east and west to seize them.
The wound of Palestine is still bleeding; the more Muslims are preoccupied with incidental events, the more the occupier reopens that very wound to cause painful irritation, which becomes all the more provocative for millions of Muslims. In so doing, provokers are simply accelerating the emergence of revolts and confrontations which can easily be triggered but slowly subdued. The Muslim peoples are experiencing today the state of a boiling cauldron. Being aware of such a vulnerable situation, their enemies rushed to block their aspirations and abort their dreams, using as their ally certain wicked souls and all those who want to induce their people to sink into decadence, humiliation and expatriation.
The one billion Muslims are now experiencing ordeals and cruel predicaments across the world; in fact, it is part of Allah’s universal rule of trial through affliction so that Allah might accomplish a matter which He had already ordained.2
Our great Muslim Ummah, which is deeply rooted in history, is a high-ranking pioneer nation; it prevailed over the world throughout ages of human history. Therefore, its well-deserved destiny is to continue to occupy its leading position, since it represents the closure of nationhood, the owner of the most perfect divine laws, the witness to successive generations of mankind, and the inheritor of the revealed divine religions the final True Religion.
Under its rule, the whole world enjoyed stability and people benefited from its justice. When it called people to Islam through wise counselling, they were guided to the path of their Creator. Under its rule, the earth was connected to the avenues of bliss ascending towards heaven. At that moment in history, Muslims were completely aware of the quintessential nature of their own Ummah and its merits thanks to the wise leadership of their rulers, scholars, and judicious people. They offered sacrifice and showed patience and perseverance. Consequently, they enjoyed the blessings of life, and so did their Ummah and the entire world. The fruit of the prevalence of the final religion (Islam) announcing the sealing of divine revelation was so bountiful that it affected even the lives of animals, birds, and plants.
Now that the equilibrium has been disturbed, the civilisation of the machine has prevailed over that of Man, egotism has been dominant, morality has decayed, many advocates of this religion have grown powerless and have turned easy prey to the maladies affecting previous nations, and now that many Muslim rulers have failed to assume their full responsibility, this Ummah has been split into factions with little control over their destiny. Their force has been scattered to the four winds, their might has lost all momentum, and their position among the nations has deteriorated.
As a corollary, people today seek guidance from sources other than Islam; they turn to other nations for counsel; they over-rely on the products of materialistic civilisation and the gist of modern thought. The only outcome has been further loss and straying in life. Nevertheless, our only relief here is that the malady whose symptoms are the aforementioned failures does not reside in Islam per se, but it is the fault of many of its followers and advocates. This is why the torch has not been extinguished but rather its carrier has felt exhausted. The sun has not gone down below the horizon but its watcher’s eyes have rather turned blind. Indeed, this religion resists extinction. It resists dilution although some of its followers have melted into soft substance. Even if one generation does not fully assume its responsibility vis-à-vis its religion, Allah will create other generations to assume such responsibility.
All the foregoing elements urge us to stop for a moment of contemplation in order to find a way out. That is to say, to look for a rescue path and an optimal plan for the rebirth of our Ummah so that we can protect it from afflictions, wars, poverty, scarcity, diseases, and ignorance. Today’s conflict between nations is not a mere competition for victory but it is rather a struggle for survival. It is a matter of existence or non-existence: to be or not to be!
In an era of intellectual and cultural globalisation followed by an economic and political globalisation, and in an era of dominant superpowers where everyone is trying to impose their own opinion by force, solidarity among Muslims remains the ultimate tool of survival, since the world around us is constantly building coalitions and only united powerful groupings command due respect.
The Muslim peoples categorically reject all types of faith except Islam. They adhere to it as a creed, a system of government, a religion which unites their dispersion, a brotherly bond unifying their ranks, sincere deeds fulfilling their goals, justice reigning over their societies, and equality enjoyed by all social strata so that they could live in peace and worship Allah in serenity.
Solidarity and mutual assistance are a natural predisposition in human nature, an authentic Islamic principle, and a magnificent divine command: “… Help you one another in AlBirr and AtTaqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression… ” [Al-Māedah: 2]. Allah (Glory Be to Him: He is the Venerated of All Speakers) said: “And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allâh (i.e. this Qur’ân), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allâh’s Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islâmic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allâh makes His Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided.” [Āl ‘Imrān: 103]
The Messenger of Allah [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] said, “In their solidarity, mutual love and affection, the believers are comparable to the human body: whenever an organ is affected, the rest of the organs will consequently respond via symptoms of insomnia and fever.” [Reported by Imam Muslim and Imam Bukhari] He [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] also said, “The believer is to the co-believer like building blocks, they mutually support each other.” In the Musnad of Imam Ahmed ‒via a good chain of narration‒ the Prophet [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] said, “Congregation is mercy whereas disunity is torment.”
The first thing the Messenger of Allah [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] did when he emigrated from Makkah to Madinah was to enjoin the Muhajireen (Muslim immigrants from Makkah) and the Ansār (Muslim supporters in Madinah) to establish brotherly ties with each other. As a matter of fact, Qur’ānic verse and the Prophet’s hadith have repeatedly exhorted people to adhere to unity and reject disunity. This is not only a religious commandment but also a rational principle, since divergence pertains to irrationality. Allah (To Whom belong Might and Majesty) said: “…You would think they were united, but their hearts are divided, that is because they are a people who understand not.” [Al-Ḥashr: 14] Accordingly, Allah once tormented a certain people by inflicting on it Diaspora for forty years during which they went astray everywhere on Earth.
O Servants of Allah!
This Muslim Ummah has a historical heritage of unity and consensual spirit. More than any other nation, it possesses the potential and the constituent elements of unity. Throughout history, it has tried to follow labyrinthine tracks leading down blind alleys and obscure pathways, but it has neither succeeded nor gained any insight in traversing those paths out and back.
The Islamic Ummah is expected to sincerely and faithfully try to hold fast to the very motives that represent its raison d’être, return to its spirit of leadership, and adhere to the essence of its message. We are hoping that this expectation will be shared by all Muslim people: including people in power, those concerned with Islamic da’wa, politicians, economists, educationalists, and sociologists in our modern world. We expect them to adopt such a view and defend it sincerely, faithfully, resolutely, and decisively so that our Ummah can regain and occupy its due position among the nations of the world and realise the divine proclamation in Allah’s (Glory and Grandeur Be to Him) statement: “You [true believers in Islâmic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islâm has forbidden), and you believe in Allâh.” [Āl ‘Imrān: 110]
Nowadays, the world is witnessing the bankruptcy of Western values, the disintegration of man-made secular systems, the multiplicity of disasters affecting mankind, the decadence of human dignity. It is also witnessing the support of discriminatory doctrines and sectarian perspectives which advocate and lead to bloodshed in Muslim societies, divide their opinion, twist their religion, ruminating past enmities and our predecessors’ grievances, and allowing animosities and vengeance to take root.
The Ummah’s disunity is further aggravated by the hysteria of partisan affiliation and the multiplicity of identifying labels to the point that the noble designation originally assigned to the members of this Ummah –that is, Muslims− is about to disappear amidst the vast ocean of partisan and sectarian affiliation which, whether forced or voluntary, further itemises society and fosters disunity in already divided communities. To add insult to injury, categorisation enthusiasts have become so label-sensitive that they classify Muslims on the basis of a single term uttered or even via misclassification.
This requires from all Muslims to realize the magnitude of the responsibility of preserving the remainder of their territories and communities and to proceed to building solidarity amongst them in order to reduce the gravity of their differences. They also need to work seriously and steadily in order to gradually realise unity as stipulated by the Holy Qur’ān and the Noble Sunnah. While engaged in such a process, they have to be equipped with a proper understanding and realistic knowledge of modern life in order to move on confidently and steadily. All improvisation or reactive response has to be avoided. All events and incidents should be handled according to the modern spirit in conjunction with the Shar’ (Islamic legislation or law): “So fear Allâh and adjust all matters of difference among you.” [Al-Anfāl: 1]
Unification attempts have been made on premises other than those of Islam. Such attempts have been founded on nationalistic and racist thoughts which would alienate Islamic faith and overlook its laws or legislations. Each time, the outcome has been but loss, dispersion, bloody wounds and devastating effects which are still at the root of the Ummah’s suffering.
There are signs of glad tidings despite the doom and gloom and the grave dangers afflicting Muslims, despite the ferocity of the offensive launched against them. Verily, the Ummah teems with goodness and benevolence; it is a good enough witness and observant of righteousness and justice among people: “And so are the days (good and not so good), We give to men by turns.” [Āl ‘Imrān: 140]
If willing to act in good faith, a unified Muslim Ummah would be able to set a model of integrity and a living example of true Islam; that kind of Islam for which all mankind aspire in order to be saved from its stumbles, agitation and bankruptcy with respect to values and morals in a world dominated by the dictates of the ego, materialism and mad passion. It is a world where morals and political initiatives are overpowered by such dictates and where materialism has failed to ensure happiness for people and to put an end to warfare and conflicts.
The current rupture befalling Muslims today is but a temporary misfortune; it is one that Islam had already experienced and subsequently overcome and survived. Verily, succumbing to defeat is a misdeed, loss of confidence in the future and a sin. Defeat comes from within the self before it is brought by pressure from the enemy, and we are not the first nation to be trialled and forced to live contrary to its will.
The imperativeness of solidarity is a matter imposed by reality, recommended by experience, and prompted by the critical phase our Ummah is undergoing in a world where people who are so far apart culturally, religiously and ethnically rush to seek solidarity among them in order to safeguard their common interests. If this is the case, then we should be the first to be entitled to such attribute and endeavour, as our Lord ‒the Almighty– said: “Truly! This, your Ummah [Sharia or religion (Islamic Monotheism)] is one religion, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me (Alone). [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]” [Al-Anbiyā’: 92] He (May He be extolled) also said: “And verily! This, your religion (of Islamic Monotheism) is one religion, and I am your Lord, so keep your duty to Me.” [Al-Mu’minūn: 52]
O Allah! Bless us by the Qur’ān and the Sunnah and benefit us with the verses and wisdom they contain! I say this and ask Almighty Allah to forgive you and me.