Monday, January 17, 2011


A Khutbah by Mahmoud Mostafa

Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem

Praise be to Allah. We bear witness that there is only one god who has no partners beside Him, and we bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.

Praise be to Allah who blessed us with the guidance of His prophets and messengers. Praise be to Allah whose Mercy encompasses everything. Praise be to Allah who knows our needs and answers our calls and brings peace to our hearts.

Praise be to Allah who breathed into us of His Spirit and placed the light of His guidance in our inmost being. Whomever Allah guides, no one can misguide, and whomever Allah misguides, no one can guide. We put our trust in Allah and seek His forgiveness, aid, and support.

A man once came to the Prophet (puh) and asked him about the hereafter. The Prophet asked him, “ And what have you prepared for that time? ” The man replied, “ Nothing, except that I love Allah and I love you. ” The Prophet (puh) answered him, “ You are with the ones you love. ”

Dear brothers and sisters, the guidance of Islam is the guidance of love. The innate, natural and ancient religion that is Islam is the religion of love. The Prophet (puh) came to guide us to love and to make clear the love that is at the core of all religion. Our purpose as human beings is to consciously manifest Allah ' s love in our lives. This is the most significant meaning of Khilafa and Ibada that can bring purpose to us and transform our lives. When we reflect upon the history of the Prophet (puh) and the spread of his message we will realize that Islam could not have taken root in the world without the love that filled the heart of the Prophet and was clearly manifest in his way of relating and interacting with people that brought out their own deep and profound love for him. Without this mutual and abiding love, none of us would be here today. Without this love Islam would not have been possible.

Today, it seems that we too often hear and read much that is harsh and heartless about Islam and not enough that is loving and beautiful. There seems to be too many messages of prejudice, literalism, legalism, violence, and oppression. The superficiality, ugliness and darkness that is too prevalent in today ' s Islamic discourse is nothing like what the Prophet brought us.

I would like to share with you part of the first sermon ever given by the Prophet (puh) in Medina. This is what he had to say to his companions,

“ Verily, the best discourse is the Book of Allah. One is truly successful whose heart Allah has adorned with the love of His Book, and whom, after living in denial, Allah has caused to enter into submission to Him, and caused him to prefer His Book above any human discourse. The Book of Allah is the most beautiful and eloquent of discourses.

Love that which Allah loves! Love Allah with all your hearts! Grow not weary of hearing the Word of Allah. Do not stop remembering Him. Do not let your hearts grow hard toward Him. For verily, Allah has preferred His Book above all of Creation. Indeed, Allah has endowed it with guidance to the best of deeds, and made it an example for the elect of His servants, and filled it with righteous discourse, and has made clear in it what is lawful and unlawful for you.

So, serve Allah alone, and associate with Him no other. Be ever conscious of Him. Be truthful to Allah in what you utter from your mouths. Let the Spirit of Allah be the source of love between you. ”

Can you hear the love in his words? Can you hear his urgent call to our hearts? Can you sense the profound purpose in his teaching?

Love is so central to Islam that without it there can be no real faith. The Quran tells us clearly what following the Prophet is about,

3:31 “ Say, if you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you greatly and forgive your sins for Allah is forgiving and merciful …”

And even more decisively it says to the people of faith that,

5:54 “ O you who have faith whoever among you turns back from his religion Allah will surely bring forth a people He loves and who love Him who are humble before the faithful and exalted before the deniers. They strive in the way of Allah and fear no blame from any blamers. This is the favor of Allah, He bestows it on whomever He wills. For Allah is all-encompassing, all-knowing! ”

In these two tremendous verses we can understand some remarkable things. We can understand that faith and faithfulness are defined as love between God and the people of faith. A Mu ' min is one who is deeply and profoundly in love with God. It is this love that motivates us to strive, to seek, to turn back to Allah, to give up our worldly attachments and return to our Rabb. It is this love that gives us the power and strength to face the various trials of our faith throughout our lives. It is this love that teaches us humility, compassion, trust, obedience and honesty. It is this love that enables us to sacrifice, to give of ourselves and of our possessions for the sake of God. It is this love that opens us to submission, to Islam. We can also understand that this relationship of love is a special, precious gift bestowed by God upon us. Without His will and generosity we would be heedless of His love in our hearts. We can also understand that the abandoning of religion in the context of this Ayah is to turn away from love because the consequence of this abandonment is that God promises to replace us with people who have this relationship of love with Him. And we can understand that the way to God ' s love is to follow the Prophet (puh), to be in his footsteps, to strive to be like him and in this striving our love is made greater and greater by God.

In a Sacred Tradition Allah says,

“ I was a hidden treasure and I loved to be known so I created heaven and earth that I may be known. ”

One of Allah ' s names, one of His attributes, is Al Wajid. This word has several meanings among them is to bring into existence. It also has the meaning of intense, existential love. Reflecting upon this divine name, we can see that there is a relationship between love and creation. And reflecting upon the sacred tradition we can see that God ' s love to be known is the primary reason for creation. In this way we can come to a truly profound insight; Allah ' s love is the very cause of existence. We are alive today because of His love, the whole Universe is here because of His love.

The relationship of love between us and Allah, between us and others, and between us and all of creation is essential to reaching our full potential as human beings. When we nourish our hearts with love, when we manifest Allah ' s love in our lives; with our families, with our friends, in our work, in our prayers, in everything that we do, the entire meaning of life changes for us and our own experience of our humanness is transformed; we become adorned with the beautiful characteristics of the Prophet.

This is the meaning of following in the footsteps of the Prophet (puh); we follow him by adorning ourselves with the qualities of his noble character. We follow him by striving to become like him in our humanness, in our quality of relationships, in our conduct in society, in our service to humanity.

The noble character of the Prophet (puh) has been best explained by his cousin, Jaffar Ibn Abu Talib, when he was asked by the King of Abbysinia to explain his religion. Jaffar replied:

“ We were a people lost in ignorance. We worshipped idols, we back-stabbed one another in gossip, we committed sins without shame, we severed the bonds of mercy among us, and we were unkind neighbors. The strong among us devoured the weak. Thus we were until Allah sent to us a messenger from among ourselves, well-known to us in his nobility, honesty, trustworthiness, and tenderness. He called us to unity and to devoting our worship to Allah alone and to removing the idols from our hearts. He commanded us to be truthful when we spoke, and to fulfill our trust, and to preserve the bonds of mercy among us, and to be kind neighbors, and to desist from violating what is sacred. He called us to turn back from our sins, and from falsehood, and from devouring the wealth of orphans, and from defaming honorable women. So we believed in him and in his message and we followed what he received from his Lord. ”

Brothers and sisters, the Sunnah of the Prophet is about the kind of character that manifests God ' s love in existence. His Sunnah is that which ennobles us, that which transforms us into better human beings. It ' s about becoming kind and tender human beings who are deeply and profoundly in love with God.

The Prophet's love, awe, and longing for Allah comes through with overwhelming clarity when we reflect upon his prayers. Here is just one example:

"O my God make me love You, make me love those who love You, make me love all things that bring me closer to loving You. O my God, make me love You, and Your angels, and Your prophets, and all of Your creation. O my God, make my love for You dearer to me than myself, and my family, and my wealth, and my children, and from cool, pure water to the thirsty."

May Allah bless us with His love, and the love of those who love Him. May Allah fill our hearts with love. Allah bless Prophet Muhammad, his family, and companions. Peace be with you and Allah ' s mercy.

•  Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem

Praise is to Allah the Merciful, and the Compassionate. I bear witness that there is only one God and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Prophet. Peace and blessing upon him, his family and companions. We bear witness that he fulfilled his mission and delivered his trust and made the path of surrender clear to us.

In the Quran it says,

2:165 “ Among people there are those who take others as equal besides Allah. They love them as they would love Allah. But those who have faith love Allah more than anything else. ”

You remember in the first part of this Khutba that the Prophet (puh) told the man who came to him, “ You are with those you love. ” The Prophet wasn ' t just being nice to this man, he was teaching him and us something very important. He was making clear that love is the ultimate test of our worthiness as human beings. And he was giving us a way to understand about our own love. To know what it is that we really love.

We are with what we love. Whatever we love is what is closest to us. What is most often thought of and remembered by us, what is most sought by us, that ' s what we love. So, what is it that we remember the most? What occupies our attention the most? What do we wish for the most? Let us be honest with ourselves, do we think of Allah most of the time? Or are we thinking of other things most of the time. Where is our attention? Is it on God or is it on the countless other things that occupy us and distract us from our real purpose?

If we can examine ourselves honestly and know what we love then we have taken a major step forward. If we find that what we love is Allah then we are blessed with a great gift for which all praise is due to Allah. But if what we love is other than Allah, then at least we know and we have the opportunity to seek to change what is in our hearts.

A reliable test of how true our love is for Allah is to see how much we are able to serve others and to give of ourselves generously and openly for Allah ' s sake. This is one of the most important truths: The quality of our faith is reflected in our intention, attitudes, and behavior.

How do we do this? How do we clear our hearts of our love and attachment for all these things that are other than Allah? How do we get rid of our pre-occupation with all the other captivating distractions that compete for our attention? How do we become among those who “… love Allah more than anything else ” ? We can find the answer in the Quran and the way of our Prophet (puh) and it is the remembrance of God because it is in the constant remembrance of God that our hearts can find stillness and intimacy can develop. As we are guided in the Quran:

13:28 “… It is through remembrance of God that hearts find rest ”

In the Quran Allah promises us,

2:152 “ Remember Me, I shall remember you. ”

Our remembrance of Allah is His remembrance of us. Our call to Him is His answer to us. Remembrance is the way of intimacy with Allah.

In a Sacred Tradition, Allah says, “ I am as my worshipper thinks I am. I am with him when he remembers Me … if he seeks closeness to Me by as little as an inch, I come closer to him by a yard. And if he seeks closeness to Me by a yard, I come closer to him by a mile. And if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running. ”

In another Sacred Tradition Allah says, “ My worshipper can get close to me with nothing better than what I have made obligatory. And as he continues to get closer with selfless acts of giving I love him. And when I love him, I become his hearing, his sight, his hands, and his feet. And whatever he asks of Me, I shall give him and whatever aid he seeks of Me, I shall aid him …”

So, Allah ' s grace multiplies with our sincere efforts and honest intention to come closer to Him. Whatever we give to Him comes back manifold to us. In this way, little by little, our love for Allah grows and develops and it transforms us into loving, noble human beings.

We get close to Allah by serving Him, by being for His sake, by learning to make our intentions purely for Him, by learning to become a little less selfish and a lot more giving.

The Prophet (puh) once told his dear companion, Muazh Ibn Jabal, “ Muazh, I do love you! ” Muazh replied, “ And I love you, Messenger of Allah, more dearly than my own father and mother! ” The Prophet then instructed Muazh, “ Do not end a prayer without asking Allah to help you remember Him, to be thankful to Him, and to serve Him in the best of ways. ”

As we continue to live our lives in remembrance of Allah our capacity for love will grow, our hearts will expand and we will reach our full human potential inshallah.

The intimacy and love that develops in us with our remembrance and other selfless acts of service is a mystery and a wonder.

Allah says in a Sacred Tradition, “ I have prepared for my righteous servants what no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor been imagined by any human heart …”

May Allah bless us with His merciful guidance to His straight path. May He bless us with His love. Allah we seek refuge in You from hearts that are not humble, and egos that are never satisfied, and eyes that do not weep, and prayers that are not answered, and works that are not elevated.

Allah, bless us with wholesome hearts, grateful tongues, and obedient bodies. Do not let us forget You. Do not deny us loving You. Allah, preserve us and protect us. Be merciful with us. Increase our blessings and support us. O You who has ability over all things.

Allah, bless Your beloved servant, and the light of our hearts, our master and friend Muhammad, the noble and pure Prophet and bless his family, companions, and followers. May we become his companions in this world and in the other world, and peace be upon you and Allah ' s mercy and blessings.

Rise to prayer that Allah may have mercy on us all.

Islam & Terror

Although it is useless to discuss whether Islam allows terror, since our consciousness and minds are manipulated for years to make us believe that Islamic belief causes terror, we should say a few words on this topic. But before Islam’s stand against terror, we should remind that this topic is a new one introduced after 1991 in order to create a new enemy front against the Western hegemony in the world. It is Muslims in the world who have been terrorized for centuries, not who have terrorized others. Those who employ some figures from the Muslim world whom they have trained as terrorists are the same powers that accuse Islam of allowing terror.

Any terrorist activity, no matter who does it and for what purpose, is the greatest blow to all religious and humanistic values. For this reason, no one—and certainly no Muslims—can approve of any terrorist activity. Terror has no place in one’s quest to achieve independence or salvation. It costs the lives of innocent people.
If a ship is carrying nine criminals and one innocent person, Islam does not allow the ship to be sunk to punish the nine criminals.

Even though at first sight such acts seem to harm the target, all terrorist activities eventually do more harm to the terrorists and their supporters. Although there may always be some who exploit any religion for their interests, Islam does not approve of terrorism in any form. Terrorism cannot be used to achieve any Islamic goal. No terrorist can be a Muslim, and no true Muslim can be a terrorist. Islam orders peace, and the Qur’an demands from each true Muslim that he or she be a symbol of peace and support the maintenance of basic human rights. If a ship is carrying nine criminals and one innocent person, Islam does not allow the ship to be sunk to punish the nine criminals, for doing so would violate the innocent person’s rights.

Islam respects all individual rights and states clearly that none of them can be violated, even if doing so would be in the community’s interest. The Qur’an declares that one who takes a life unjustly has, in effect, taken the lives of humanity as a whole, and that one who saves a life has, in effect, saved the lives of humanity as a whole. Also, our Prophet Muhammad says that a Muslim is one who does no harm to others with either his or her hand or tongue.

One can criticize Islam because it recognizes war and even commands it. This criticism is unjust, for first of all it is not Islam that introduced war into the human history. Islam allows war in order to put an end to the domination of injustice and tyranny, to rescue the oppressed and to establish a tolerant social-political environment.

Since Christianity brought no explicit rules for the conduct of war, wars in Christian world have been much bloodier and ruthless. It can also be said that, apart from the Crusades, Christianity was misused to provide a cover and means for the colonization of two thirds of the world by the Western powers in previous centuries. The criticism is wholly inappropriate when voiced by the Jews, for their history, is also full of wars, as the Old Testament is explicit in ordering War, and unfortunately one can find quotations similar to the following "And we utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying every city: men, women, and children” (Deuteronomy, 3:6) The crimes that have been committed for years by modern Israel are also known to everybody in the world.

As for other religions such as those in south, east and south-eastern Asia, they lack rules to govern the collective life, and so more comparable to esoteric philosophies, and yet their followers have not refrained from waging war.

The modern secular world has caused more bloodshed and destruction in the past hundred years than during the whole of human history before. Islam has never had the least part in tens of millions of deaths in the revolutions in Soviet Union and China; and in the massacres in Afghanistan and Chechnya and in the brutal suppression of freedom movements in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. It was secular powers of the world which caused the death of more than 60 million people, mainly civilians, and forced countless millions more to remain homeless, widowed and orphaned, during and after the two world wars. It was not Muslim countries who made nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and used them to intimidate poor and weak nations.

Islam and war, and why Islam allows war?

Islam, which declares, “Peace is what is the best,” aims at establishing peace throughout the world. However, war is a reality of human history. It is a manifestation in the social life of humankind of the inner condition of those who have not been able to attain excellence in mind, heart (spirit) and conduct. Or it is a manifestation of the war between the spirit and the carnal soul, or between Satan and the perfectibility of human nature.

What is important and necessary therefore is, rather than turning away from the reality in a vainly idealistic manner, to establish rules to make war just, in respect of both its motives and purposes, and its means and conduct, so that the harm of it is contained, and the good in it may benefit the people in general. War may then be, not something in itself desirable, but capable of serving (rather than perverting) a desirable end - like disciplining and training the body to improve its strength or skill, or doing a necessary operation to save someone's health, or administering upon a criminal the due punishment for the sake of deterrence and the health of the moral environment. Precisely such disciplining of the means and ends of war is what Islam has done.

Quran does not order war, but allows it on condition that it should be in God’s cause and for defensive purposes. It also enjoins that the limits set by God must not be exceeded. Those limits are related to both the intention and the practice. For example, Islam does not permit war for motives such as conquest or plunder, or to quench a lust for revenge, or for the sake of some material advantage or satisfy racist persuasions. Islam does not seek to compel anyone to change their faith. On the contrary, it seeks an environment where all are free to accept faith freely. Islam has also set limitations on the conduct of relations before, during and after conflict; for example:
  • Do not betray any agreements you have entered into
  • Do not plunder
  • Do not commit injustices or use torture
  • Do not touch the children, the womenfolk, the elderly, or other non-combatants of the enemy
  • Do not destroy fruit-trees and tilled lands
  • Do not kill livestock
  • Treat with respect the religious persons who live in hermitages or convents and spare their edifices (Ibn al-Athir, al-Kami fi al-Tarikh, Vol.3, p.227)
When considered together with other relevant verses of the Qur`an, the verses 1-6 in surah 9 present principles concerned with the Islamic view of war. In summary:
  • Even in warfare, Islam is ready to make peace and treaty with the opposing side.
  • A Muslim government remains faithful to any treaty it has made until the end of its term.
  • If the opposing side betrays the agreement, The Muslim government must publicly and officially declare to the other side that the agreement is no longer valid. Even though it can declare war as soon as the agreement loses its validity, it should grant them a respite to make a new evaluation.
  • If the opposing side continues their hostilities and do not change their attitude even after the end of the term granted, this means that a state of war has begun.
  • In order to force the enemy to cease hostilities or to defeat them in war, the Muslims must be powerful and remain steadfast. However, the Muslims must always observe the rules of war mentioned above.
  • When the enemy side is inclined toward peace and making a treaty, the Muslims should also be inclined this way. They should also give asylum to those who seek it and, without harming in any way the wealth or persons of the asylum seekers, covey them to their place of safety.
These were the rules of war openly commanded by the Qur’an and practiced by the Muslims during history.
Islam aims at universal peace and, as a reality of human history, ensuring peace sometimes requires fighting. As declared in the Qur’an (Though killing is something you feel aversion to) disorder (rooted in rebellion against God and recognizing no laws) is worse than killing (2:191); and disorder (coming from rebellion to God and recognizing no laws) is even more grave and more sinful than killing (2:217), the conditions that give rise to war and disorder are more grievous than killing itself and therefore war, although not inherently a good thing, is permissible if it will remove these conditions.

Islam & War

In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in humanity, thank you very much for having confidence in us, and we hope our efforts, which are purely for Allah's Sake, meet your expectations.

First of all, we would like to tell you that war is decreed in Islam in self defense. This indicates that aim behind war is to ward off aggression not to impose Islam as a religion. Referring to this, Allah Almighty says: “To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged; and verily God is most powerful for their aid.” (Al-Hajj:39)

Turning to the main topic of the question concerning war ethics in Islam, we would like to develop the whole issue while dealing with the following main points:

1-Personal Behavior of the Troops:

In war, as it is in peace, the instructions of Islam are to be observed. Worship does not cease in war. Islamic jurisprudence maintains that whatever is prohibited during peace is also prohibited during war. War is no excuse to be lenient with misbehaving troops. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said: “Beware of the prayer of the oppressed; for there is no barrier between it and Allah.” Here, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, differentiates between the oppressed believers and non-believers.

2-Whom to Fight:

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