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Khutba # 29

The Scholar’s Goals in Contemporary Islamic Movements


Let us endeavor toward piety and righteousness, and obey Allah’s divine commands.  Let us be heedful of our choices in this life and their likely consequences in the hereafter.  We ask Allah to protect us from evilness and falsehood and help us lay a foundation with moral values according to the rules of our Lord. 


The Holy Quran urges us to respond to God’s call, for it says in Surah 8 (al-Anfaal), Ayah 24:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُم لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ

“Oh you who believe, respond to Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to what will give you life [enliven you], …”

Social and political movements are imbedded in social reality and phenomena, for social and political movements are not a collection of scattered and disjointed events.  Yet, movements by U’lamaa (clergies) in the Islamic world have in essence acquired a total Islamic character, because their movements relate to a singular awareness: such awareness can be called God-Consciousness.  For instance, the guidelines of this God-Consciousness are:

    Of a Prophetic character and,

    All other goals are seen in the light of a Divine self-Consciousness.


The Holy Quran in Surah 4 (al-Nisaa), Ayah 58 states:


إِنَّ اللّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تُؤدُّواْ الأَمَانَاتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ

أَن تَحْكُمُواْ بِالْعَدْلِ

“Verily! Allah commands that you should return the trusts to their owners; and when you judge among men to pass judgment with justice”


Nahjul Balaaghah captures the essence of this principle in one of the sermons of Imam Ali.  It says:[1]  


اللهم انک تعلم انه لم یکن الذی کان منا منافسة فی سلطان ولا التماس شی من فضول الحطام

“O God! You know that our struggle, moves, protests, and campaigns are not, neither had been for the sake of rivalry or for obtaining power,

nor are they for the sake of personal ambitions or for worldly ends, or for the purpose of accumulating wealth or acquiring worldly advantages”



Then what is the purpose of these principles?  The purpose is stated in the words that follow:


“…but [they are] to reestablish the landmarks of your religion, that we may make reform manifest in Thy lands, [in such a way] that the oppressed among Thy servants may attain security,

and Thy Laws which have been cast into neglect, may be reinstated).”


These phrases present a general framework:

In Islamic terminology Reform (Islah) is the opposite of Corruption (Fasad).  Imam Ali in his Khutba delineates his objective in a clear manner.  He says: “That we may re-establish the landmarks of your religion”, meaning establish reform.


Imam Ali also declares: “We seek to revive Islam whose teachings have been cast into neglect”. And that we may let reform (Islah) manifest in your lands.  In other words these reforms are to improve the life of God’s subjects, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the bare, helping the sick, fighting ignorance, and taking measures to improve the material welfare of people.


The third objective says: “That the oppressed among your servants may find security”. This points out Imam Ali’s goal, which is to deliver the oppressed from the mischief of the oppressor.  His intent was to deal with the relationship of man with man: be it between the oppressor and the oppressed, the plunderer and the plundered, and the victim versus the one who deprives him of his security.


In the letter to Malik ibn al-Ashtar, Imam Ali is cited to have written:[2] 


واجعل لذوی الحاجات منک قسماً تفرّغ لهم فیه شخصک   

وتجلس لهم مجلساً عاماً   فتتواضع فیه لله الذی خلقک

وتقعد عنهم جندک واعوانک من احراسک و شرطک  

حتی یکلمک متکلمهم غیر متتعتع

فانّی سمعت رسول الله - صلی الله علیه وآله وسلـّم – یقول فی غیر موطن:   " لن تقدس امة لا یؤخذ للضعیف فیها حقه من القوی غیر متتعتع"   

 “O’ Malik!  Govern in such a manner that the public considers you as the one who provides them with security,

who defends their lives and property,

and regard you as their friend and ally,

not as someone who gives himself an air of tyranny and belligerence,

who wants people to fear him. 

Do not seek to rule with the agent of fear”.

To attain sanctity and high station, and to deserve due respect, an Ummah has to provide such conditions that the weak can claim his right from the harsh without trepidations and face the harsh authority without apprehension, stammering, or a faltering tongue.



There are two points involved here:

    Firstly, people should totally free themselves from the spirit of weakness or debasement, and to be able to courageously face the harsh and powerful, in other words to defend themselves without a faltering tongue or apprehension. 

    Secondly, the social order must be such that the weak or the strong stand alike before the law. Hence Imam Ali says that the Islamic governance is to provide security to God’s servants against the hands of oppressors.


The fourth objective is spelled out in the following sentence: “That we may reinstate Thy [Islamic] Laws (hudood) which have fallen into neglect.  In the terminology of the Quran and Prophetic tradition, hudood means Islamic Laws in general, to include penal and non-penal regulations.


According to the above, when a nation stages a movement with a parity and sincerity of intent and follows a sincerely pure leadership, such a nation has the firmest basis, and is mighty to stand in the face of adversity.


For the end of the 1st part of the Khutba, read Surah Al-Asr, take a short intermission, then start the 2nd part of the Khutba with a short Du’aa.


Earlier, we had read an Islamic narration that before the establishment of a Universal Divine Justice (during the so-called ultimate Era), the sun shall rise from the west.  We wondered what it meant.  We can interpret this tradition to mean that perhaps the Western nations will come to realize the realities of Islam.


The Quran in Surah 4 (al-Nisaa), Ayah 135 states:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاء لِلّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَى أَنفُسِكُمْ

O you who believe!  Stand out firmly for Justice, as witnesses to Allah, even were it against yourselves……..


The Quran in Surah 5 (al-Maa’ida), Ayah 8 states:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ َ

O you who believe!  Stand firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the spite of others to you make you swerve……..


وَمِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا أُمَّةٌ يَهْدُونَ بِالْحَقِّ وَبِهِ يَعْدِلُونَ

Of those We created are people who direct to the truth, and dispense Justice therein


Before closing let us quote some sayings of Imam al-Saadiq in regard to justice:[3]

    Whoever treats people and does not wrong them, speaks to them and does not lie to them, and promises them and does not break his promise, his backbiting is nullified, his manhood is outstanding, his justice appears, his befriending is a must.


    When asked about quality of justice in man, al-Saadiq said:  It is the person who prevents his eyes from the forbidden, his tongue from the sinful, and his hand from the wrong.


How many of us follow the instructions above?  Look into the Muslim society of today and see how people behave and do business?  Can we truly follow the role and character of the Prophet (pbuh)!  Think about it and consider!


O God!  Make us worthy of taking an active part in this great Islamic movement.  O Lord! Make us worthy of the sun of Islam, and preserve the sacred existence of that Great Leader [al-Mahdi] in the shelter of your grace, and protect him until the attainment of the ultimate goal.


Finally, let us read Surah Al-Nasr with a short Du’aa to close the Khutba.


[1] Nahjul Balaaghah, edition of Subhi al-Salih , Sermon # 26.

[2]  Nahjul Balaaghah, edition of Subhi al-Salih, Sermon # 53.

[3]  A-Saadiq, Section of Sayings, Saying #72 and 194. Published by Islamic reference CD.

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