Thursday, August 28, 2008

International relationships - lecture 4 - By Sh Seraj Hendricks. Documented by Muhammad Allie Khalfe

Lecture 4 - Shaykh Seraj 07 – 04 – 2006

We take brief glimpses back into the distance and not so distant history.

To give as an idea as to the spirit of how these people embraced the legacy, all of whom uncounted barbarity, like Salahudin Ayyubi and others.

Salahudins words to his own men:

When we think how few men of real religion there are, how small the number of defenders and champions of the truth-when one sees ignorant persons imagining that the principle of Islam is hardness, severity, extravagance and barbarity-it is time to repeat these words:

(Sabr jamîl, wa'Llâhu'l-musta'ân-Qur'an, XII: 18)

Patience is beautiful, and God is the source of all succour.

We are not unique in this respect or in this regard.

There are people and there have always been people who have a genuine hatred of Islam. No doubt.

But we also have a history where we can see and learn from their (people of justice) ways and wisdom.

What ultimately does success means in Islam?

And we have outstanding examples to show us.

But the memories of these people of these examples are being appropriated in justification for the methods which some of the Muslims use today and this is in fact an unfair appropriation, one that seeks to justify a particular type of behaviour and that seeks to create a need or reason for this behaviour, an opportunity for this type of behaviour, Which does not at all reflect the efforts and ways of our great Mujahidin of the past.

The important thing for us today is to understand how these people conducted their warfare.

They believed firmly in something called a principled warfare, A principled one based firmly within the spirit of the Shari’a, that Ruh that determines everything, That is in fact the life blood of this Din

And none of these people were passivists or as they say quietists, but they refused to be activists at the expense of the Ruh and Spirit of Islam. They would rather be dead.

That is quite clear.

That includes people like Salahudin and others. One of them, closer to us is Amir Abdul Qadir al-Jazairi

A brilliant article written on his life by Rida Sha Qadri

The life blood of terrorism is hatred, not just terror linked to Muslims but any sort of terrorism. Islam has an entire Shari’a on this.

In our responses, we respond as Muslims and in responding as Muslims, we represent Islam and Muhammad (saw).

We need to reclaim our moral ground;

We owe it to ourselves to reclaim it.

This can only be done with the necessary understanding.

There is nothing in Islam that allows for the justification of killing or injuring of civilians nor of perpetrating any excess because of hatred.

The pursuit of justice must be done in accordance with justice; this means that the means should not undermine, defeat or destroy the ends.

As Muslims, we are charged with this moral obligation because our accountability is ultimately with Allah (S),

Not with your Amir or Shaykh.

Our accountability collectively is with Allah (S).

In the following Ayah Allah (S) almost begs us

يَـأَيُّهَآ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ للَّهِ

(O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah...)

Meaning, in truth for the sake of Allah, not for the sake of people or for fame, but for justice and with justice

شُهَدَآءَ بِالْقِسْطِ

(as just witnesses) observing justice and not transgression.

What does this mean? It means that we in our behaviour are in fact reflections of these ideals of Islam. And of our love and attachment to Allah (S)And our consciousness to Allah (S).

We as human beings are in fact mirrors to this. And as mirrors to this, we are Qawwamin, we are firm in this, in justice, not in an angry and defiant way, but in a way that speaks of the heart of Islam, the dignity of Islam, and of the high moral ideas of Islam, as exemplified ultimately by Muhammad (saw). This is a task of each and every Muslim.

Allah said;

﴿وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ﴾

(and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. ) The Ayah commands: Do not be carried away by your hatred for some people to avoid observing justice with them.

اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى

Rather, be just with every one, whether a friend or an enemy.(Be just: that is nearer to Taqwa)

This is better than if you abandon justice. Be just, no matter what the dangers are. We have to maintain the balance as an Ummatun Wasata

When we look at the morality of Islam, it is one we can confidently carry around without doubt and if one looks at the other Aqida (Example believing in the three in one God) it is not that easy to make sense if it or to just embrace it – in all fairness it is not as clear as believing in One All Knowing, All Aware Allah. We have a beautiful ‘Aqida, a strong one, a deep one.

We have such a powerful ‘Aqida – the thing is,

Certain people know what we are sensitive to for example, ‘drawing a picture of the Prophet (saw)’, which causes us to jump and go mad on in the streets and it allows for others to say, ‘Look at how those Muslims are going on’ –

Buttons are pushed and we lose our position as representatives of balance, peace and tolerance. People then say, ‘look at how these Muslims conduct themselves.

We reduce ourselves, the representatives of a divine message, to people who jump up every time a button is pushed.’we give reason for others to say,

Look how irrational and disgraceful Muslims behave’.

We have nothing to hide and nothing to be afraid of.

We have Allah (S) – we have no reason to be paranoid, what we have to do is seek ‘ilm and strive to understand this message of Muhammad (saw) and try to live up to it and be true representatives of it.

So we are asked by Allah (S) not to allow the hatred of others make us swerve from justice.

Often our responses are determined by Juhal (People who erect themselves up as leaders and as scholars) –

This result’s in standards being lowered and sacked in many ways.

The author which Saydi Seraj quotes on, goes on to say, The principal in this particular verse, was beautifully exemplified by the conduct of Amir Abdul Qadir al-Jazairi in the best of ways.

He led the Algerian résistance between 1830 and 1847 in Algeria, where the French were guilty of the most atrocious and barbaric crimes.


A ten Frank reward for one who returned with the ears of Muslim etc. The barbarity was atrocious.

They expressed and represented the worst of what humanity was capable of. Severed Arab heads were considered trophies in pursuit of the greed and colonialism.

The challenges of leadership are immense and this is where we have an excellent example in the life of Muhammad (saw).

Therefore there is not so much talk of the punishment of the ‘Awam (general public).but lots of talks of punishment in the ahdith are about the leaders and the Qadis who lead the people.

An ‘Alim and a Qadi by default stands with one foot in the Jannah and one foot in Jahannam.

You cannot afford to follow your ego or for the purpose of fame and name.

The slaughter of the Muslims became rife.

The following is some of the talks from the Amir to his own men:

Every Arab who has in his possession a Frenchman is bound to treat him well and to conduct him to either the Khalifa or the Emir himself, as soon as possible.

In cases where the prisoner complains of ill treatment, the Arab will have no right to any reward.

When asked what the reward was for a live French soldier, the Emir replied: eight douros.

When asked what the reward was for a severed French head, the reply was: twenty-five blows of the baton on the soles of the feet.

They wanted to respond in kind but he did not allow it. Even in the time of Muhammad (saw), His companions wanted to respond in kind but he (saw), never stood for it.

This is one of the reasons why these people are remembered in history. Their response was rooted within the Qur’an.

Allah (S) has honoured these people alone with this memory, this honour and dignity and we can look back and we can have no excuse for our own actions if they are not in accordance with the spirit of Islam.

His own companions had enough and they wanted to fight fire with fire but not for one moment did he allow himself to be swayed from justice, to allow himself to submit to their cause of revenge, not for one single moment did he do that.

The author says:

The standard he set for himself was a standard that expressed the need to transcend the need for human desire for revenge and that is part of the task when it comes to the Jihad al-Asghar and the Jihad al-Akbar.

This is all part of a challenge.

A captured and wounded French soldier who had himself thrice inflicted wounds on the Emir in previous battles was accorded medical treatment and taken care of in exemplary fashion.

We are Muslims.

We take our sunnah from Muhammad (saw) and not from the Italians and the French.

The Amir’s (Al-Jazai’ris) behaviour is largely recorded by French people themselves.

There appear to be more reports from the French who were absolutely amazed by this man.

When he was finally defeated and brought into France and later exiled to Damascus, he received thousands of French admirers – who had heard of his bravery and his nobility – they took his as a mentor – thousands of these French people came out into the streets and embraced Islam.
When he was finally defeated and brought to France, before being exiled to Damascus, the Emir received hundreds of French admirers who had heard of his bravery and his nobility; the visitors by whom he was most deeply touched, though, were French officers who came to thank him for the treatment they received at his hands when they were his prisoners in Algeria.

Perhaps the most relevant story of all for today's context is the Emir's famous defence of the Christians in Damascus in 1860.

When the Druzes were approaching the Christian quarters of the city, the Emir confronted them, urging them to observe the rules of religion and of human justice.

'What, they shouted, 'you, the great slayer of Christians, are you come out to prevent us from slaying them in our turn? Away!'

'If I slew the Christians,' he shouted in reply, 'it was ever in accordance with our law-the Christians who had declared war against me, and were arrayed in arms against our faith.'

This had no effect upon the mob. In the end, the Emir and his small band of followers sought out the terrified Christians, giving them refuge, first in his own home, and then, as the numbers grew, in the citadel. It is estimated that no less than fifteen thousand Christians were saved by the Emir in this action; and it is important to note that in this number were included all the ambassadors and consuls of the European powers.

As Churchill puts it:

All the representatives of the Christian powers then residing in Damascus, without one single exception, had owed their lives to him. Strange and unparalleled destiny!

An Arab had thrown his guardian aegis over the outraged majesty of Europe. A descendant of the Prophet had sheltered and protected the Spouse of Christ.

It is interesting to note that another great warrior of Islam, Imam Shamil of Dagestan, hero of the wars against Russian imperialism, wrote a letter to the Emir, when he heard of his defence of the Christians.

He praised the Emir for his noble act, thanking God that there were still Muslims who behaved according to the spiritual ideals of Islam:

I was astonished at the blindness of the functionaries who have plunged into such excesses, forgetful of the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him, 'Whoever shall be unjust towards a tributary, who shall do him wrong, who shall lay on him any charge beyond his means, and finally who shall deprive him of anything without his own consent, it is I who will be his accuser in the day of judgement.'

A Frenchman, Léon Roche, who entered the inner circle of the Emir's entourage by pretending to have converted to Islam. During the siege of Ayn Madi in 1838, Roche was traumatised by the fighting and killing, and sought out the Emir; entering his tent, he pleaded with the Emir to help him.

He calmed me and had me drink an infusion of schiekh (a kind of absyn flower common in the desert). He supported my head, which I could no longer hold up, on one of his knees. He was squatting in the Arab fashion. I was stretched out at his side. He placed his hands on my head, from which he had removed the haik and the chechias, and under this gentle touch I soon fell asleep. I awoke well into the night. I opened my eyes and felt revived. The smoky wick of an Arab lamp barely lit the vast tent of the amir. He was standing three steps away from me. He thought I was asleep. His two arms were raised to the height of his head, fully displaying his milky white bernous and haik which fell in superb folds. His beautiful blue eyes, lined with black lashes, were raised. His lips, slightly open, seemed to be still reciting a prayer but nevertheless were motionless. He had come to an ecstatic state. His aspirations towards heaven were such that he seemed no longer to touch the earth. I had on occasion been granted the honor of sleeping in Abd al-Kader's tent and I had seen him in prayer and been struck by his mystical transports, but on this night he represented for me the most striking image of faith.

The true warrior of Islam smites the neck of his own anger with the sword of forbearance; the false warrior strikes at the neck of his enemy with the sword of his own unbridled ego. For the first, the spirit of Islam determines Jihad; for the second, bitter anger, masquerading as Jihad, determines Islam. The contrast between the two could hardly be clearer.

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