Wesley Ja’far Porter
This is the khutbah I gave on March 28th at the Islamic Society of Ashland Mosque.
In the name of Allah the most gracious, the most merciful. We give all our praises to Him, and we seek his bounty in this life and the next. We seek his forgiveness for our sins, and we seek refuge in him from shaitan, and the evil within ourselves. He guides whom he wills and misguides whom he wills and we ask Allah to guide us down the straight path. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
“Surat An Nasr”…
This was the last surah of the Qur’an to be revealed to our beloved prophet Muhammad (sws). It was revealed during his last Hajj in the year 10 of Hijra. The English translation of this surah goes like this;
“When there comes the help of Allah, and the conquest
you see that people are entering the Allah’s religion in droves
Glorify the Praises of your lord, and ask forgiveness
Verily He is the one who accepts repentance, and forgives.
In the first ayah of this surah, Allah mentions the “conquest”. Allah (swt) is talking about the prophet’s conquest of Mecca. You see at the time just before the conquest, much of the Arabian peninsula was waiting to see what would happen there in Mecca, before embracing Islam. When the prophet conquered the city, HUGE DROVES of people from across Arabia entered into the fold of Islam. Now for me personally, anytime I see someone take shahadah, I cry. I cry because I know how beautiful it is to be guided by Allah out of the darkness of jahilia into the light of Islam. I cry just seeing one person enter into Islam, so when I think of this whole country of Arabia, all of these 10’s or 100’s of thousands of people proclaiming “La ilaha ila Allah, Muhammadun Rasool Allah”, it seems almost overwhelming to me. But a question lingers; Besides Allah’s guidance, what encouraged these people to enter into Islam based on the outcome of this conquest? After all, the prophet (sws) had a substantial army by this time and it doesn’t take a military genius to know that with a big enough army, no city is impenetrable. So what was so special about this conquest.
The prophet (sws) marched to Mecca with an army exceeding 10,000. However when he entered the city, he entered with no bloodshed or battle. The Quraysh knew they were defeated. After the destruction of the idols in the Kaaba, Muhammad (sws) addressed the Quraysh, “ Oh Quraysh, what treatment do you think I should accord you?”. To which the pleaded mercy oh Muhammad, mercy. At this Muhammad replied by using the same words used by nabi Yusuf (as) to his brothers, “ This day there is no reproof against you. Go your way for you are free”
So here was Muhammad (sws), who held there fate in the palm of his hand. These were the people who spat on him, who threw rocks at him, put dung or animal feces on him, had killed many of his followers, tried to kill him. These were people who by most people’s standards deserved retribution. These were people who he could have ordered killed. But, he didn’t. He freed them. He sought no retribution from them, only that Mecca from then on was to be a sanctuary, as it was meant to be.
You see it wasn’t just the fact that Muhammad conquered Mecca that drove the whole of the Arabian peninsula to embrace Islam. It was the fact that when he did, it was without bloodshed, and rasool Allah (sws) despite all the persecution, ridicule, and humiliation he had suffered at the hands of the Quraysh, chose mercy over retaliation. He chose love over hate. He chose to show the world what can happen in the face of an enemy, when you counter hate with love and peace. That’s why people came to Islam in droves from all over Arabia. And, after the prophet passed, it is also why within 80 years of his death, Islam had spread from North Africa to India. It was because of his example, that Muslims, Christians, and Jews were able to live in harmony under the rule of Umar ibn Khattab (ra) in the holy city of Al Quds or Jerusalem. He showed us how mighty and powerful peace can be.
Today, we live in a new world of ridicule and persecution. As Islam spreads rapidly in the west, hostilities are brewing fiercer than every amongst many non-Muslim westerners. One could say that in some ways, an Islamic “conquest” is taking place here in the west, and just like in every other instance of Islamic history, it is often meet with hostility.
When Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the US Congress, was elected, conservative congressman from Virginia said, “I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped,” he also said that Americans need to “wake up” or there will be more Muslims being elected and insisting on using the Quran when being sworn in. Well personally I hope he’s right about that.
We all remember the Danish Cartoon controversy. Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard drew depictions of the prophet Muhammad (sws) in some very despicable ways. Muslims around the world protested. In some cases Danish, German, and Norwegian flags were trampled and burned. Many Muslims here in the states boycotted ALL Danish products. In some cases violence and vandalism took place at Danish embassies during protests.
There have also been countless videos produced attacking Islam on various points. One called “Submission” depicted a scantily clad woman with Quranic verses tattooed on her body, talking about being sentenced to death for zina after she was raped by her uncle.
And, finally, most recently a movie titled “Fitnah” was released. This created quite a stir in the media in the past few days. Geert Wilders who is a Dutch parliament member produced the video, and has said that Islam is fundamentally violent and that Islam itself, not radical Islam even, ISLAM is a threat to the west. Now I seen some of this movie and to be honest it doesn’t live up to it’s hype. It’s very poorly made, and the quotes and footage contained in it are nothing new, in fact I have seen most of it before in other Islam bashing programs. It was this news headline that was my main inspiration behind today’s khutba, because I expected that the Muslim reaction to this will be a primary focus of the worlds media in the next few days.
What has been the response of the Muslims to these things? Violent protests, burning flags, death threats, and the list goes on and on. Let me ask a rhetorical question. Is this worse or not worse than what the prophet himself (sws) endured? Did he deal with insults on a daily basis? Of course. He saw his followers die because of their belief in the message of Islam. He saw people he once called his neighbors and countrymen attempt to kill him. He faced much worse than these silly cartoons and videos. But, going back to that conquest of Mecca, once he had the upper hand, how did he act? Did he burn the flag of the Quraysh? Did he slaughter them? Did he even invoke Allah’s curse on them? NO!!! He responded in peace. He set them free. Now you tell me, how can you honor the prophet (sws), by dishonoring his sunnah? You can’t !!! You just plain can’t. Even going back to the Danish cartoon controversy. Many American Muslims boycotted all Danish products. Why is that? Do we not realize that not ALL of Denmark was responsible for that?? Do we not realize that by boycotting ALL Danish products we might very well be boycotting and hurting companies that employ Muslims or may even be Muslim owned??
Can someone tell me, what the significance of burning a flag is? First of all, flags like those of Denmark and the UK, are designed around a cross. A religious symbol. We are told as Muslims not to desecrate the idols of others because they might in turn desecrate and insult the name of Allah. Even the ISRAELI flag has a religious symbol on it. Despite what you think of Israel it is still not appropriate to burn or trample there flag because on that flag is the Star of David which stands as a symbol of the Jewish faith worldwide. Have we really degenerated as an Ummah to the point that the best come back we have is to burn someone’s flag, and call for the head to be cut off?
I was outraged when I saw the news a few months back in Sudan where they wanted to prosecute and maybe even execute a British school teacher because she allowed her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Is this what we’ve become? Has the Ummah of our beloved prophet Muhammad (sws) really degraded into THAT??? E’Taq Allah Ya Muslimeen, E’Taq Allah!!! This, what we see in these situations, is not the Deen of Allah that droves of people in Arabia flocked to. This is not the sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad (sws), who endured hardship that most of us can’t even BEGIN to contemplate. This isn’t even common sense!!! You cannot defend the honor of the prophet (sws) by dishonoring his sunnah. I repeat, you CANNOT defend the honor of the prophet (sws) by dishonoring HIS SUNNAH!!
A Qulu Qawli Haatha, wa staghfirullah lii walaakum
Now as I said, the newly released film “Fitnah” was the primary inspiration for this khutba today, because frankly I’m a little worried about what the Muslim reaction will be. Now granted, I really doubt that any violent protests are going to break out here in Ashland and that people are going to storm the Wal-Mart or something, but none the less I feel it is something that we must be aware of. No doubt Mr. Wilders will receive countless death threats. Not to mention other sorts of torment he might receive. Now, he is most certainly misguided, and utterly wrong. But I wonder, what might it be like if instead of threatening to behead him, the Muslims simply say, “yahaadik Allah”, or may Allah guide you. And, what if Allah did guide him and he became Muslim. For those Muslims who made death threats, what would they say to him when they seen him in the masjid?
You know in reality, the reason the prophet (sws) was able to take all the ridicule was because of his immense iman. When someone responds violently or by cursing someone when their faith has been insulted, it ultimately shows a lack of iman, or faith. The sad fact is that the responses we’ve seen from Muslims around the world to these attacks, are saddening indicator of our weak our iman as an Ummah. You ever get into a heated debate with someone? Usually they start to get huffy and irritated when they’ve been backed into a corner and have no further way to rebut your argument. So, the only thing they can do usually is to get impassioned and maybe even attack you personally. For example do you ever see to little kids get into an argument? It usually ends something like, “Well…well….you…your just stupid!!!” That, it seems to me, is what the Muslims are doing when they react in these ridiculous ways to these attacks. If we have real and true iman, things like this wouldn’t even phase us. This Mr. Wilders is really probably just looking for some international fame. Let’s face it the life of a Dutch Parliament member can’t be that exciting. Really after reading about him, it seems pretty obvious to me that he’s just a sad little man who sees in this a great opportunity to make a name for himself, sell a few books, and maybe get on some talk shows. As I said before the film was very amateurish. So really, the worst thing the Muslims of the world can do at this point, is to make a big deal about it. The bigger we make it, the more popular he becomes. We know that our deen is the deen ul haqq, the religion of truth. We know who our beloved prophet Muhammad really was. We know how he was sent as a mercy to our world. Islam is the fastest growing faith in the western world, so of course we are going to face heat from those who are scared of change and scared of what they don’t understand. We need to be showing them what Islam really is. We need to show them that we are peaceful, caring and compassionate people and we want what’s best for our country and our world.
And, as we move forward, we see many more Americans and other westerners coming to Islam everyday, an estimated 20,000 Americans make Shahadah every year, and as Surat An Nasr tells us, as we see these people coming to the deen of Allah in droves, we should glorify the praises of Allah (swt), and turn to him in repentance and ask his forgiveness, and that he guide us all down the straight path so that Insha’Allah we might all see each other in Jennah.