In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All Praise be to Allah, the lord and cherisher of all creation. We give Him our praise, we seek His guidance, we beg his forgiveness, and we seek refuge in Him from the evil within ourselves and in our deeds. No one whom Allah guides can be misguided, and no one whom Allah allows to go astray, can be guided. I bear witness that there is no Deity worthy of worship except Allah (swt), and I bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and messenger of Allah.
Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, "Oh you who believe. Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor. Allah is a better protector to both. So follow not the lusts of your heart, least you commit injustice. And if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is ever Well Acquainted with what you do." (An Nisa 135).
Islam is a faith of rights and limitations. All things have rights. People have rights. Animals have rights. Plants and trees have rights. Stones and rocks even have rights. Life in this dunya is in all actuality a balancing act of fulfilling others rights over us. We must make sure that we fulfill Allah's rights over us first and foremost. But, we must also fulfill our families rights over us, and our employers rights over us, our rulers rights over us, and even our own bodies' rights over us. These rights make this world work. It is the grease that allows this great machine of life to function smoothly and efficiently. It is the cartilage between the joints of our many relationships. These rights are what allows for peace in this world. However, when these rights are violated, then it is like a car out of oil. Friction is created. Things begin to loose control, and eventually the whole thing just shuts down. No peace. There can be no peace, whether it be big or small, without justice. Justice, simply is ensuring that rights are upheld. And, often in today's materialistic world, it becomes easy to overlook others' rights. For those of us who consider ourselves descent people, we would like to think that we do respect the rights of others for the most part. However, we forget that Shaitan is tricky. The prophet Muhammad (sws) told us that Shaitan had given up on deceiving us in large matters, so beware of the smaller matters. Sometimes we may forget the little rights people and other things have over us, and when we do that, we fall into committing injustice, even though we're not really aware of it.
I would like to go back to the verse from the Qur'an that I quoted earlier. Allah (swt) says, "Oh you who believe" (this tells us that Allah is talking to Muslims specifically), "Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah". This is a direct command from our Lord (swt) to stand for justice. There can be no middle ground on this issue, when Allah aza wa jall uses this kind of language. "STAND OUT!!!! FIRMLY FOR JUSTICE! As witnesses to Allah".
" Kunu Qawaamiina!!!, bil qisTi shuhadaa'a lillaahi".
كونو قوامين بالقسط شهدا لله .
Make no mistake about it, this is an order from my Lord, from your Lord, from our Lord, to stand firmly for JUSTICE. There is no middle ground, there is no compromise and there are no excuses. Allah (swt) goes on, "even if it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor". These words from Allah illustrate to us that justice is blind as they say. There is no favoritism in justice. Justice means that one's rights are ensured, and that the one who violates another's rights should be penalized accordingly, regardless of who they are. We as Muslims have a responsibility to stand up for justice, and to stand against injustice, regardless of who the oppressed and the oppressors are. Of course if we see Muslim brothers and sisters oppressed in the world today, we have a responsibility to stand up for them and against their oppressors, in whatever way is appropriate. Today we see this a lot. Particularly in places like Palestine and Somalia. Our brothers and sisters in these places are killed, raped, and terrorized on a daily basis. Rights? ha! What rights do these people know? How many rights of the Palestinian people have been violated since 1948, or 1967, or even in just the past two or three years. Countless. How many rights of the Somali people have been violated in the past 20 years? Even in many cases by other Somalis? My point is that we don't have to look very hard to find Muslims who are victims of oppression and who's rights are being violated on a daily basis. But what about the other way around? What about when Muslims commit injustice and oppress others? What about Muslims like the Taliban in Afghanistan? Who beat women in the street if any trace of skin could be seen? Who publicly executed thousands of people without any type of fair trial? Who sexually exploited countless women and children? All in the name of their perverted, backward, sadistic, and downright satanic "version" of Islam. What about corrupt so called democratic leaders such as Mubarak of Egypt? He, who imprisons anyone who disagrees with his policies. Or, what about the so called royal families of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, who impede the very livelihoods of their subjects, and who's motivation is money and greed? These are all Muslims who commit injustice on a daily basis. The prophet Muhammad (sws) said, "support your brother whether he be doing right or doing wrong". When he was asked how could one support someone who is doing wrong, the prophet (sws) replied, "by preventing him from doing wrong". As Allah (swt) says we have a responsibility to stand up for justice, EVEN if it against ourselves. Ourselves as Muslims.
Allah (swt) continues in this verse, "So follow not the lust of your heart, least you commit injustice". This also relates to another verse from Allah's kitab. He says in that verse, "Oh you who believe, stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealings, and LET NOT THE HATRED OF OTHERS MAKE YOU SWERVE TO WRONG AND DEPART FROM JUSTICE. Be just, for that is next to piety. And fear Allah for he is well acquainted with what you do". (Al Ma'eeda vs. 8) The message from these verses should be clear. Do not let hatred of those whom have done injustice to you, make you do injustice to them. We have a saying for this, "two wrongs don't make a right". A good example of this in modern times is suicide bombing. Going back to Palestine, as I said these people have suffered countless injustices. However, despite how grief stricken and hopelessly desperate they are, they cannot fall into doing injustice by killing civilians. By killing men, women, and children who were not directly involved with their oppression. This is what Allah (swt) means by "Don't let the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice".
So far most of my examples have been one's concerning other parts of the world. But, what about here in this country? What about right here in Ashland? Without a doubt, Muslims are targets for bigotry from the left and right. Muslims are harassed, degraded, victimized, demoralised, and sometimes even terrorized. For many Muslims throughout this land, it is not uncommon to hear slanderous remarks called from passing cars. For many it has become a part of life to get that evil eye whenever they walk into the neighborhood grocery store, and God forbid a young Muslim decides they want to be a pilot. How many of you can think of a time that something happened to you or to someone you know, that was unjust and a violation of your or this persons rights in some way? Especially when it involved religion? These incidents happen a lot nowadays. But, in many ways they are not unlike what has happened to other minorities in American history. But, the thing we must cling to ever so tightly in order to persevere these things, is justice. We must always stand up for what is just when faced or when another is faced with injustice. The prophet (sws) said, "Whenever you witness munkar (something wrong, or injustice) stop it with your hand, and if you can't stop it with your hand, then stop it with your tongue, and if you can't stop it with your tongue that at least have hatred for it in your heart, and that is the least of faith". So, the general message is that whenever we see injustice, we must do what we can to stop it, or at least hold it in contempt in our hearts. That is the absolute least we can do.
The last part of the verse from suret An Nisa, is, "And if you distort your witness or refuse to give it at all, then verily Allah is always well acquainted with what you do." Sometimes people, in order to make the argument more in their favor, will "distort" or exaggerate the truth when standing up to an oppressor. While this may or may not work in your favor in this world, Allah knows what's in your heart and will judge you accordingly. And, also sometimes people who have been victimized in some way or another, don't want to do anything about it; sometimes out of fear, sometimes simply because they don't want the hassle, especially when someone is victimized by someone they are supposed to trust such as a parent, teacher, doctor, or law enforcement. However, Allah (swt) is reminding us here that it is our RESPONSIBILITY to stand against injustice and to do what we can to ensure that it wont happen again either to us or to others.
It is also important that we stand up for justice both as individuals AND as a community. Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, "Let there rise from among you a band of those calling towards all that is good, and commanding what is right, and forbidding what is wrong, and they are the ones who will be successful".
(Al 'Imraan vs. 104)
We must always stand in solidarity behind those who have been wronged within our community. We as a community must always be the first to speak out against injustice, even if it be our enemy who is violated. The prophet Muhammad (sws) said, "The Muslim Ummah, is like the human body; when one part of the body aches, the whole of the body shares in the pain". And Also like the human body, we must all come to the aid of those who are suffering and oppressed; just as white blood cells and antibodies band together to attack an invading pathogen, and just as our senses each become more keen when one of them is lost or out of commission. Let us all seek to be among those who will rise from amongst the Muslim ranks to be the commanders of good, and the forbidders of evil, and that we might be a shining example to the world of what justice truly is and truly means, so that in the end we may attain success both in this life and the next. Qulu Ameen.
...And Allah Knows Best...