Taking Responsibility

I received the following message, and while I didn’t confirm the message itself, I did confirm that the Imam of of Masjid ul Aqsa (Jerusalem) visited South Africa where Mufti Ibrahim Salaji is. In any case, it’s worth taking notice of.

The Imaam of Musjidul Aqsa, Shaykh Ally Abbaasi, complained to Mufti Ebrahim Salajee about the pathetic condition of Palestine. He complained that in a recent protest against Israel, none of the Muslim countries supported them. Although they are surrounded by Muslims, the conditions only worsen day by day with no support at all from our Muslim brothers.

After hearing this, the Mufti paused for some time. Then he responded to the Shaykh’s complaint. Below is the crux of the Mufti’s reply which is in actual fact the solution to the problems of the Muslims around the globe.

Mufti Salajee said:

“I once read in the Tafseer (commentary) of Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi (rahmatullahi alayh) that Allah Ta’ala has kept different systems for Masjidul Haraam in Makkah and Masjidul Aqsa in Palestine. The system that Allah Ta’ala has kept for Masjidul Haraam is that it will always be under Divine protection no matter what the condition of the Muslims may be. Allah Ta’ala will never allow the disbelievers to take control of the Ka’bah Shareef. That is why, when Abraha and his army of elephants went to attack the Ka’bah, Allah Ta’ala protected His house using small birds which destroyed Abraha and his powerful army.

However, the system of Masjidul Aqsa is very different.

The condition of Masjidul Aqsa is based on the condition of the Muslim Ummah.

If Muslims live in the obedience of Allah Ta’ala then Allah Ta’ala will bless them with the control of the Masjid. But Allah forbid, if the Muslims move away from the obedience of Allah Ta’ala, He will take away the control of the blessed lands and hand it over to our enemies.

In the first few verses of Surah Bani Israaeel, Allah Ta’ala mentions:

وَقَضَيْنَا إِلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَ‌ائِيلَ فِي الْكِتَابِ لَتُفْسِدُنَّ فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ مَرَّ‌تَيْنِ وَلَتَعْلُنَّ عُلُوًّا كَبِيرً‌ا ﴿٤ فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ أُولَاهُمَا بَعَثْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ عِبَادًا لَّنَا أُولِي بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ فَجَاسُوا خِلَالَ الدِّيَارِ‌ ۚ وَكَانَ وَعْدًا مَّفْعُولًا ﴿٥ ثُمَّ رَ‌دَدْنَا لَكُمُ الْكَرَّ‌ةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَمْدَدْنَاكُم بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ أَكْثَرَ‌ نَفِيرً‌ا ﴿٦ إِنْ أَحْسَنتُمْ أَحْسَنتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا ۚ فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ الْآخِرَ‌ةِ لِيَسُوءُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَلِيَدْخُلُوا الْمَسْجِدَ كَمَا دَخَلُوهُ أَوَّلَ مَرَّ‌ةٍ وَلِيُتَبِّرُ‌وا مَا عَلَوْا تَتْبِيرً‌ا ﴿٧٧

 

And We warned the Children of Israeel in the Book, that they would do mischief twice on the earth and would be very proud and arrogant about it. When the first warning came, We sent against you Our servants who had strong aggressive power and they entered the very inmost parts of your homes and it was a warning [completely] fulfilled.

Then We granted you the return against them: We gave you increase in resources and sons, and let you have much man-power.

If you did well, you did well for yourselves and if you did evil, you did it against yourselves. So when the second warning came to pass, [We permitted your enemies] to disfigure your faces, and to enter your Temple as they had entered it before, and to visit with destruction all that fell into their power.

 

The Children of Israeel (the Jews) were the believers of that time, and Muslims are the believers of this time, hence the same warning applies to us as well. After reciting this verse, Mufti Ebrahim Salajee explained that from this verse, we clearly understand that we as an ummah have to work towards our self reformation and increase our connection with Allah Ta’ala. Then we will once again see Islam (and hence true justice) restored to the glory it enjoyed during the era of Umar (Radyallah anhu) and Salaahuddeen Ayoobi (Rahimahullah).”

Shaykh Ali Abbaasi was elated when he heard this reply. He hugged the Mufti and asked him what he felt was the way forward, to which the Mufti replied,

“The effort of da’wah and spreading the message, the efforts of setting up institutes of learning and teaching, and the efforts of spiritual retreats will have to increase. With these three efforts working parallel to one another, there is great hope that we, as an ummah, will reform ourselves and increase our connection with Allah Ta’ala.”


Having spent our lives in secular education and having very little exposure to religion apart from its basic rituals and tenets, such religious solutions may seem far-fetched or disconnected from reality. But if we contemplate for a moment about what it means to “have a connection with Allah Ta’ala”, and how that can magically change anything, things open up a bit.

Having a healthy connection (which is greater than the mere parroting and mechanical execution of the basic pillars that most of us, including myself, are guilty of) – such a healthy connection with Allah implies a lot of things. Such as the following 7 things:

  1. We fix our priorities. We recognize that the very purpose of our creation was to be His khaleefah/vicegerent on earth, and so we learn about His religion in order to fulfill this role successfully. We accept that true success and happiness is dependent only on our success in this particular job, and that if we fail at this job, then any number of degrees, medals or awards cannot make us successful. We do not rely on our personal subjective guesses but actually make the efforts to learn from scholars of the Quran and Sunnah about things like sabr (patience), taqwa (God-consciousness and self-restraint), shukr (gratefulness), iman (faith), ihsan (excellence/beauty), hayaa (modesty) and all their different aspects, and how to implement them in our lives. We treat the knowledge of the religion of Allah with at least the same – if not more – sincerity and importance that we have given to other studies and to our careers.
  2. Because we have taken our purpose as khaleefah seriously and have adopted the above values, we are not afraid of losing our jobs, our grades, our degrees, our friends or social status for standing up for what is right, because such temporary things do not matter to us more than the timeless truth.”O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it is against yourselves…” (4:135).
    We recognize that there is little to no difference between the world when the Quran was revealed and now. We did the same things then as we do now. We still eat and drink, laugh and cry, live and die, tell the truth or cheat and lie, get married, have kids, love and hate, buy and sell, make war and make peace, travel, learn, have fun, display tolerance and forgiveness or intolerance and narrow-mindedness, and follow different religions, just like we did 1400 years ago. Virtually nothing has changed, the only thing that’s changed is how we do it. Therefore we recognize the timelessness of the Quran and that its implementation is based on timeless human issues. So we look to Allah for our universal standards, and do not look up to the subjective opinions of society’s changing ideals as if they were the true standard. Especially not when we can see with our own eyes that after homosexuality, the next thing to be legalized is child abuse.
  3. Because we honor the Creator, then we honor His Creation in more ways than is possible otherwise.
    “All of Allah’s creation is His family, and Allah loves most those who treat His family well”, taught the Prophet ﷺ (Bayhaqi).
    So we actually spend time to learn about the rights of Allah’s creation and how to fulfill them. We know more about each other, care more about each other, and accept our responsibilities and do not assume everything is “someone else’s personal problem.” We can more easily sacrifice our own likes and dislikes for the benefit of others. “Help your brother, whether he is oppressed or the oppressor,” said the Prophet ﷺ. And how to help the oppressor? “By stopping his hand.” Muslims are supposed to feel responsible for their societies and to resist evil. Not sit by quietly while Madrasas are razed, wine is introduced into their markets, the arts see rising levels of obscenity, and homosexuality is slowly given acceptance. Because Muslims are learning to be kind, they are painfully aware that society will suffer because of these things. When the nuclear family is disturbed, all of society hurts. It is not enough to be good for our own selves. Over and over again Allah reminds us in the Quran to “enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.”
  4. Included in the rights of the creation is the earning of Halal income. All income that Allah has declared Haram – in fact anything that is Haram at all – is only Haram because it is harmful (whether physical, emotional, or spiritual) to ourselves or others, in the short term or the long term, financially or otherwise. When we have a healthy, sincere connection with our Creator, we become concerned with earnestly doing what is right, rather than feeling offended if we are told that we are involved in Haram and then justifying our actions. We act like mature adults and do not hang onto certain ideas or excuses just because our families or cultures “always do it”. It’s not like we hang onto whatever they say in everything else anyway. And we discover that it is NOT the case that changing career choices or limiting professional options in order to remain in the Halal realm will make us poor and/or miserable. Allah compensates beyond measure.
  5. Allah tells us in a Hadith Qudsi that if we walk towards Him, He comes running towards us. “And when I love My servant I become his hearing with which he hears, his eyes with which he sees, his hands with which he touches and his feet with which he walks.”  People with a strong connection with Allah are therefore better at intuitively seeing and understanding the underlying truth value of issues. They have learned the tricks of Satan and can spot them easily. They are not fooled as easily by lies or propaganda. Therefore they do not confuse their foes and friends. When Allah says in the Quran – for their own benefit – that certain groups from the People of the Book cannot be trusted as political allies, they believe Him. They do not assume that they are smarter, kinder or more aware of people’s intentions than God Himself.
  6. When a society conforms to His laws, it naturally prospers. Because it sees huge reductions in ignorance, dishonesty, bribery, selfishness and careers centered around power, fame or money (rather than honesty or benefit). And so –  naturally – there are fewer people willing to accept local or foreign bribes to divide and conquer their nations; fewer people hoarding their own wealth at the expense of the poor; fewer people getting fooled or impressed by powerful men despite their unethical engagements; fewer people selfishly turning their refugee brethren away because they gave their “nationalities” higher priority that the border-less brotherhood of Islam, and because they forgot that the Prophet ﷺ taught us to share – even if all we have is a single date; and fewer people too distracted by mindless entertainment and ostentation to protest – or even recognize – the moral erosion in their communities, which will only give birth to more morally bankrupt leaders who will in turn care nothing for their nation.
  7. When a society conforms to Allah’s Laws, He personally ensures their success. Because He is by their side.

“Allah is with those who patiently persevere…” (2:153)
“Allah is with those who are Mumin...” (8:19)
“Allah is with those who are Muttaqee (who fear God and conduct their affairs with God-consciousness)” (2:194, 9:36)
“Allah loves those those who do justice…” (60:8)
“Allah loves those who do Ihsan (excellence)…” (2:195, 5:13)
“Allah loves those who are Muttaqee…” (3:76, 9:4, 9:7)
“And whoever fears God, He will make a way out for Him, and provide for him from whence he could never imagine…” (65:2-3)

If we end up with leaders who don’t care about us and will not stand up for us even when we’re barricaded in and bombed by rogue statues, whether it be in Palestine or Syria or Pakistan or elsewhere, it’s because we as an ummah didn’t bring up people who cared. So of course Allah is not with us. Because when we violate His laws (and by extension – everything that is beneficial to humanity), then we don’t deserve Him to be by our side. When we violate His laws, we’re the ones asking for trouble. And if we don’t personally face the consequences of the violations, someone else will.

But why does Allah let the consequences of our wrong actions hurt us? He does it in His kindness, for us to realize that we’re doing something wrong, so that we can turn back to Him.

Evil has become rife on the land and at sea because of people’s deeds; so that He may cause them to have a taste of what they have done; so that perhaps they may turn back (from evil). (30:41)
So imagine this. If we – the comfortable, educated Muslim elite who know it all – unlearn all our biases and then begin to learn about Islam from scratch, and have children, and bring them up with this knowledge and its implementation, and teach them how to be successful at the greatest and most honored job in existence – the vicegerency of Allah the Most High – then it’ll only take one or two generations to change everything.
Even if we don’t have kids or aren’t married, we can still start right now. By making the intention, especially now in Ramadan, on one of the most valuable nights in the entire year. And if we don’t have kids, we can still learn and teach others.
May Allah give us the strength and resolve to successfully fulfill our job as His vicegerent on earth, to formally and seriously pick up studies about Him, His Messenger, and His Message of Divine justice and love, and to apply it in our lives, to gain His love and pleasure, and do our bit to the make the world a bit of Paradise on earth. Dear Allah, we are tasting the consequences of our deeds all over the world, let us now turn back to You, and do not turn us back.
  اللهم إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّا
Oh Allah! You are the Most forgiving and Noble, and You love to forgive, so forgive us.
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