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Khutba # 33

Peace and the life of the Prophet of Islam


Let us all practice Taq’wa (piety and righteousness), and revere Allah and obey His divine commands.  Be aware of our final destination, our eventuality and departure into the everlasting life.  May Allah provide us all with the spirit of righteousness by way of His divine obedience as best assets for all.


Muslims living in the Western world are familiar with Western literature.  They are confronted with surprising inquiries and shocking remarks made by some Westerners.  Questions about holy war, anti-Jesus Islam, polygamy, divorce, status of women in Islam, are but a few examples.  An attempt is made here to examine these questions briefly, just in the service of the Truth and for the sake of the hon­est people.


The Quran makes it clear (whether we want it or not), that war is a necessity of existence, a fact of life, so long as there exist in the world injustice, capricious ambitions, and arbitrary claims.  See Surah 22 (al-Haj), Ayah 39.

أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ

To those against whom war is made, permission is given [to fight back], because they have been wronged —and Verily Allah is Most Potent for their help.


War is not an objective of Islam nor is it the normal behavior of Muslims.  War is only a last resort and is used under the most extraordi­nary circumstance when all other measures fail.


Every person is entitled to enjoy the peace of Islam and the kind­ness of peaceful Muslims, regardless of religious, geographical, or racial considerations, so long as there is no aggression against Islam or the Muslims.


If non-Muslims are peaceful with the Muslims or even indif­ferent to Islam, there can be no ground or justification to declare war on them.  There is no such thing as religious war to force Islam on non-­Muslims, because if Islam does not emerge from deep convictions, from within, it is not acceptable to God.  If there is any religion or constitution to guarantee peaceful freedom of religion and forbid compulsion in religion, it is Islam and Islam alone. To this point the Quran refers as follows in Surah 2 (al-Baqarah), Ayah 256:


لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىَ لاَ انفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“There shall be no compulsion in matters of Faith;

distinct has now become the Truth from the way of error;  therefore he who rejects Taghoot [powers of evil] and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the rope of God, whose support is never failing, for Allah is All-hearing, All-knowing.”

Even in the propagation of Islam a Muslim is not only forbidden to employ force but is also commanded to use the most peaceful means.  In addressing Muhammad, Allah says in the Holy Quran, Surah 16 (al-Nah’l), Ayah 125:


ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

“[O Muhammad] Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly discussion, and argue with them in a manner that is best: Verily your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path and He knows best those who are guided aright.”

If Islam is so designated for peace, and if the Quran is favorable to peace, why then did Prophet Muhammad launch wars and command battles?  Why does the Quran say `slay them and fight them'?  To seek some answers to this inquiry we have to refer to some historical facts that accompanied and preceded the Muslim wars against the infidels.


Upon receiving the Message from God, Prophet Muhammad called people to Islam, incessantly appealing to them to give up their idol-worship and believe in the One True God.  His first appeal was met not only with resistance but also with jeers, mockery and laughter.  He tried continually to present his people with the Blessed Call but had meager success.  Because initially he was not left free to propagate Islam in the open, he had to resort to private (confidential) preaching for about 3 years; this was to save the lives of his few followers and mitigate their hard­ships. When instructions from God commanded him to preach in the open, persecutions and torture increased dramatically, they were brutally inflicted on the handful of Muslims.  But the more the persecutions increased, the higher the number of Muslims rose.


To silence the Call of God, the infidels (idol worshippers) tried all kinds of pressure and temptation.  They tried threats, pressure, confiscation of property, and jeers, but to no avail.  And the more they tried, the firmer Muhammad and the Muslims stood.  When these heathens failed to shake the faith of the believers, they organized a merciless boycott; a fierce campaign to ostracize the Muslims.  For some years, the Muslims were forced to remain within a very tight circle of association, unable to preach, sell or buy property, marry or contact with any of their fellow Meccans.  Even this did not shake the Muslims' faith.  The boycott went on for 3 long years until the infidels themselves were tired of it and had to call it off.[1]

Bringing the severe boycott to an end was no indication of peace or sign of inclination to peace on the part of the Meccan infidels. On the contrary, pres­sure and persecution escalated with a rapid intensification, though to no avail, be it with the Muslims or to prevent Islam from spreading.  Finally, the infidels convened a summit conference behind closed doors.  They discussed what to do to eliminate Islam and terminate Muhammad (pbuh) once and for all.  A unanimous resolution was adopted; to select a strong man from every tribe to share in murdering Prophet Muhammad in his bed.


The mission of the Prophet was not destined to end at that level.  So God Almighty instructed His beloved Messenger to leave Mecca (his dear hometown), and immigrate to Medina.  In Medina Muhammad (pbuh) was to reunite with the native Muslims there and the earlier immigrants who had fled from Mecca to Medina (see Quran, 8:30; 9:40). This was the great event of the Hijrah or immigration from which the Muslim calendar dates.


Upon fleeing Mecca the Muslims were forced to leave behind practically all their properties, belongings, and even families.  As soon as Muslims settled in Medina, Muhammad resumed his peaceful preaching and his gracious invitation to Islam.  Some natives of Medina responded favorably to the Call of God and became members of the Muslim community. Others did not embrace Islam right away preferring their traditional beliefs for a while.  And because Muhammad was dedicated to peace and reform, he concluded treaties with the non-Muslims assuring them of freedom and security, and creating in their hearts, for the first time, a socio-national conscience instead of nar­row tribal allegiance.


While Muhammad was engaged in these reforms, trying to organize the Muslim community at Medina and lay down the foundations of stability, the (heathen) enemies of Mecca were in anxiety.  They saw Muslims and non-Muslims living peacefully side by side, and this made the idol-worshippers feel threatened.  Besides, deep in their hearts, the disbelievers did not like the Islamic message because they felt Islam was fast eroding their cultural ways and threatened the very livelihood of their leaders.  They hated the Muslims passionately, and their determination to eliminate Islam reached new heights. They decided to make trouble for the Muslims from within and from without.


Fighting raids were organized to attack Medina and return with whatever loot they could lay their hands on.  In the mean time the non-Muslims of Medina were getting apprehensive about the popularity of Islam and the novel spirit of brotherhood among the Muslims.  So, the infidels at Mecca exploited the sit­uation and stirred internal troubles for the Muslims. The response of the non-Muslims of Medina to the instigation of the Meccans was quick and manifest, and serious troubles were brewing in Medina.


By this time the Muslims felt threatened from within by the infidels of Medina, as well as by the raids organized by the infidels of  Mecca.  Besides, many Muslims were separated from their families by force, or lost loved ones to the belligerence of the Meccans, and their properties were confiscated.  Their blood was shed.  They were forced to leave their hometown in three waves of migration: two to Abyssinia and one to Medina.  It was only after enduring and suffering belligerence and deadly antagonism for thirteen years (during which the Muslims maintained a passive resistance) that a revelation came to the Prophet.  The revelation allowed the Muslims to carry arms for the first time to defend themselves!  Imagine, for 13 years the Muslims were at the whims and wishes of the belligerent infidels: because Muslims were not allowed to carry arms!  No matter how atrocious was the violent behavior of the heathens of Mecca, the Muslims for 13 years had to endure all difficulties! 


It must have been a paradox.  Though Islam came to ensure freedom and security, and to ally them with God, yet the infidels rejected it initially. Islam commissioned people to establish peace, to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, to support the oppressed and emancipate the subjugated, and to prove how reliable and helpful God is to His servants.  But how could Muslims do that if they them­selves were oppressed, subjugated to terror and thrust into helplessness?


We ask Allah to help us know true Islam and share it with others.  We ask Allah to grant us salvation in this world and in the hereafter, put us in the straight path, and help us avoid the sinful.


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.


This week is the anniversary of the Shahaada of Imam al-Husain.  Imam al-Husain was born on the 3rd of Shaban 4th Hijrah in Medina.  His father was Imam Ali (a.s.) who was the best model for the believers and Muslims throughout history.  Al-Husain’s mother was Fatima (a.s.) who inherited the qualities of her father, the Prophet (pbuh).  One can have an idea of the intense love the Prophet had for al-Husain from this Hadith:[2]


 حسین منی  وأنا من حسین،  من احبّ الحسن  والحسین فقد احبّنی ومن أبغضهما فقد أبغضنی

“Al-Husain is from me and I am from al-Husain.

The one who loves al-Hasan and al-Husain would have loved me, and the one who dislikes them will have disliked me..”



The Holy Prophet said lots of Hadiths about Imam Husain.  One example is quoted here:[3] 


الحسن والحسین سیّدا شباب أهل الجنة

Al-Hasan and al-Husain are the Supreme Leaders of the Youths of Paradise.



When we study the life of Imam al-Husain versus that of Yazid (the ruler then), and learn of the prevailing conditions at that time, we will conclude that there was no alternative before the Imam but to firmly stand against Yazid.  For swearing allegiance to Yazid would have meant publicly showing contempt for Islam and its lofty teachings: something never ever possible for Imam al-Husain.  Yazid, after all, not only showed disregard or contempt for Islam but also publicly demonstrated impudence to it, its basis, and its laws.


Some outstanding people of Mecca met with Imam al-Husain at the time.  They warned him of the danger of his move, (along with his family), the move to rise against the tyranny of Yazid.  But al-Husain answered them in a firm manner that it simply was impossible for him to give his allegiance or approval to Yazid.  Yazid, after all was the despicable head of a government of belligerence, injustice, and tyranny.  Thus, he decided to leave Mecca (the night before the Haj) in order to preserve the reverence for the house of God and not to allow his blood be spilled there by would be assassins and spies of Yazid.


In Karbala, on the tenth day of Muharram of the year 61 Imam Husain lined up his small band of followers before the enemy (calling themselves Muslims!!). That day they fought from morning till afternoon, until their final breath, and the Imam, the young Hashemite and the companions were all martyred.


The event of Karbala, the capture of the women and children of the Family of the Prophet, and their being taken as prisoners from town to town, over 700 miles one way, was the darkest spot in Islamic history.  The speeches made by the daughter of Ali (Zainab) and the fourth Imam (Zainul Abideen) disgraced Yazid and his administration.  The disgraceful treatment dealt to the family of the Prophet exposed Yazid and counteracted his propaganda.  The matter reached to such proportion that Yazid in public disowned and condemned the actions of his agents.


We pray Allah to help us deliver the message of Islam, offer it to others, grant us the opportunity to achieve both knowledge and piety.  Also we pray to Allah to help the oppressed people against cruelty and oppression in the Islamic world. 


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


[1] Seerah of Ibn Hisham, Vol. 1, Page350.  Also Tarikh al-Tibari, Vol. 2, Page 78.

[2] Tabaqat Ibn Sa’ad, Page 137.  Also Ibn Maajeh, Vol. 1, Hadith 145.

[3] Also Ibn Maajeh, Vol. 1, Hadith 143.

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