Khutba: Leadership

First Khutba

Friday 22nd October 1999

And remind them. For truly reminder benefits the muminun.
I did not create either jinn or man except to worship Me.
I do not require any provision from themand I do not require them to nourish Me.
Truly Allah, He is the Provider, the Possessor of Strength, the Sure.

These few ayats from Sura Adh-Dhariyat are vast in their implications for us – if we were really to digest them and take them on we would find in them sufficient guidance to take us safely through the whole of our lives in this treacherous and ensnaring dunya existence. We have only been brought into this world for one reason: to worship Allah. That means in practical terms to take on His deen as laid down for us definitively for the last time by His Messenger Sayyidina Muhammad, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam. He is the one who has reminded us of why we are here and the one who showed us how to put Allah's guidance into practice. All of us know this. All of us say this. But there is no use in words without action. And no use in actions without sincerity. And no use in sincerity unless it is embodied in our lives. Sincerity – ikhlas – means believing in and acting for Allah alone. Allah ta'ala follows up the ayat telling us why we have been put here with two ayats which let us understand what this in fact involves. As can be seen these refer to provision and this is because this is a matter which lies at the very heart of ikhlas. If we really do have ikhlas we know in the depths of our being that Allah, our Lord, truly does have power over all things and, therefore, that our provision is His affair alone and this in turn will give us absolute trust in Allah and remove from us all anxiety about getting what we need. In other words, our hearts will be free of preoccupation with seeking provision and able to fully focus on our true purpose in life – that of seeing Allah's deen fully implemented in ourselves and the world around us.

Unfortunately this is not the case with most of us. For the great majority of us our main preoccupation is the same as that of animals – procreation and provision, begetting and nurturing families and going after what we need for our survival in this world. This is what in fact occupies our minds and hearts most of the time and as Allah makes clear to us we only have one heart and it cannot face two directions at once. This means, then, that, whatever we may say or even think, the reality is that in a deep sense many of us are not doing what we were created for and have not, in fact, properly understood the Message which the Prophet, salla'Llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, delivered to us. Indicating this propensity the Prophet, salla'Llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, told us,

'Islam began as a strange thing and will become a strange thing again as it began. So blessed be the strangers.' He was asked, 'And who are the strangers?' He replied, 'Those who put things right when people are corrupt,' or in another variant, 'Those who put right my Sunna which people have corrupted.'

Many Muslims have diminished the meaning of the Prophetic Sunna and their understanding of it is restricted to following certain aspects of the personal behaviour of the Messenger of Allah, salla'Llahu 'alayhi wa sallam. These are certainly part of the Sunna but its definition is, of course, far wider than that and in fact comprises the whole implementation of Allah's Guidance to us as contained in the words of His Book and realised for us by the Prophet, salla'Llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and his Companions in every aspect of the life of the first Community in Madina. It is certainly this wider understanding of the Sunna which now needs to be put back in place in this time when, for the first time since that first Community, there is nowhere in the world governed according to laws of Allah.

In order to do this we must first and foremost base ourselves, as they did, firmly on the great source of guidance, Allah's Book, the Encompassing Ocean, the Noble Qur'an itself. Sayyidina 'Ali, karama'Llahu wajhah, said:

'I heard the Messenger of Allah, salla'Llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, say, "There will be fitna." What will bring us out of it, Messenger of Allah?" I asked. He replied, "The Book of Allah which contains the news of what came before and information about what is still to come and gives you the means of judging between yourselves. It is decisive and is no jest. Any tyrant who abandons it will be destroyed by Allah. Anyone who seeks guidance from any other source will be misguided by Allah. It is the firm rope of Allah. It is the Wise Remembrance. It is the Straight Path. It is that by which opinions are prevented from deviating. The tongue is never confused by it. Scholars can never exhaust its meanings. It can never be rebutted, no matter how strong the refutal. Its wonders will never run dry. It is that about which, when the jinn heard it, they said, 'We have heard a most amazing Recitation. It leads to right guidance so we have iman in it.' Anyone who speaks by it speaks the truth and all who act by it are rewarded. Those who are called to it are called to a straight path."'

So this is a step which everyone of us can and must take. Each one of us must make the Qur'an our own. We can do this by learning to recite it correctly and increasing in our recitation so that no day goes by without our reciting a portion of it. We should continually add to what we know of it by heart so that there is never a time when we are not memorising some sura or passage from it. We should ponder its meanings as it instructs us to do, so that its ayats begin to unfold for us, its wisdom and guidance begin to permeate our daily existence and so that it becomes an integral part of the texture of our lives as it was of the lives of the first Community. Then with our hearts filled with its light we will be enabled to act upon it as they did with an ikhlas born of true appreciation of Allah's absolute power and true reliance on Him so that, as theirs were, our actions will by Allah be effective and, as they did, we will be able make Allah's word uppermost in the world once again. Allah ta'ala says:

Say: "Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Falsehood is always bound to vanish."
What We send down in the Qur'an is a healing and a mercy to the muminun,
but it only increases the wrongdoers in loss.

Second Khutba

O you who have iman! Have taqwa of Allah with the taqwa due to Him
and do not die except as Muslims.
Hold fast to the rope of Allah all together, and do not separate
. (3:102-3)

One aspect of the corrupted Sunna which desperately needs putting back in place and must be if we are to see Allah's deen re-established is a matter indicated by these ayats from Sura Ali 'Imran and which was in fact a given in the lives of the first Muslims in Madina – the political unity of the Muslim Community. This takes us back to the theme of Hajj 'Isa's clear and inspiring khutba last week and it is something we will keep on having to return to again and again until it becomes a reality once more. As we have seen before certain aspects of our deen are absolutely dependent upon it and there is no doubt that it is a necessary condition for the full reimplementation of the shari'a as a whole.

Leadership is first of all necessary for any group of Muslims at a local level. Without it there can be no community as such and without it the Muslims in any area, particularly under overtly kafir rule as we are here, will inevitably degenerate into atomised family units totally subject to the inwardly corrupting authority of the kafir state system. So all Muslims should adopt the political form dictated by the Qur'an and Sunna and gather themselves together under amirs chosen from among themselves to whom they give bay'a. Then zakat can be properly collect and distributed and the Muslims can begin to garner political power as Muslims and Islam can begin to get the recognition it deserves. We are lucky enough to have an amir here in Norwich so I call on all the Muslims here to take advantage of that so that we can present a unified front and strengthen ourselves and raise the profile of Islam in the city and the country as a whole.

But, of course, local leadership is not enough. The Sunna demands a leader for the whole umma and we had one from the time of Prophet, salla'Llahu 'alayhi wa sallam until 1922 when the last Osmanli khalifa was deposed. Up until that time, in spite of their massive technological superiority and in spite of the fact that they had made significant inroads into outlying areas of the Dar al-Islam, the kafir powers had never been able to break up the political and spiritual cohesion of the Umma as a whole. The destruction of the khilafa, however, resulted the immediate complete dismemberment and disintegration of the political reality of the Dar al-Islam and various varieties of nationalism and other imported ideologies replaced Islam as the dominant political ethos in the Muslim world.

For Islam to regain its rightful place at the head of world affairs the umma must regain its khalifa. For this to happen we as Muslims have to realise our need for it and then encourage that realisation to spread like healthy virus through the sick body of the umma in its present divided state. If we here and groups like us, of whom there are undoubtedly many throughout the world, begin to actively want this and to talk about our need for it and to ask Allah earnestly and regularly for it, there is no doubt that He will answer our prayers because what could be more pleasing to Him than to see those who worship Him sincerely in the way brought by His final and most beloved Messenger unified and powerful again.

What is happening in Chechniyya is distressing and terrible and we ask Allah to help our fellow Muslims there in the face of the terrible onslaught they are facing. But think how different the situation would have been for them had the groundswell of Muslim opinion calling on them to fight under the banner of Islam and become a Dar al-Islam for all the Muslims when they won their victory over the Russians those few years ago been far greater than it was. The Russians would not be fighting a small, beleaguered, isolated nation they would have had to fight a quarter of the world's population.

And if hundreds of millions of Muslims were calling for the political unity of the Umma, the Pakistani generals would not have been able to capitulate to the world banking system in the wake of their successful coup, as apparently they have done, and they would have been compelled to respond by implementing the Shari'a and taking on the leadership of the Umma to the great joy of the vast majority of their population.

No there is no doubt that if sufficient numbers of Muslims take up this refrain some Muslim leader, sooner rather than later, will respond and take on the mantle of leadership of the Umma and raise the banner of Islam high in the world once more. But I repeat, we the Muslims must activate the desire for it in our own hearts and encourage and stimulate the desire for it in the hearts of all the Muslims we meet because

Allah never changes a people's state unless they change what is in themselves. (13:12)

One potent weapon we have in our hands to help bring this about is the great  du'a' of Shaykh an-Nasir. We recite it here daily after salat adh-Dhuhr and if large numbers of Muslims in mosques throughout the world were to take up reciting it with earnestness on a regular basis we would, I am sure, achieve our desire in a very short time. I will end by reciting three couplets from it and all success and victory are by Allah and from Allah.

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O Lord, grant Your clear victory to the one who takes charge and empowers the deen.

And help him, O You who are forbearing, and help his party and fill his heart with what will make him pleasing to You.

O Lord, help our Muhammadan deen, and make its end mighty just as its beginning was.