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Don’t Turn Mosques into Political Centers

Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani 

O Mumins, O Muslims, O believers. Alhamdulillah that Allah created us and guided us to Islam and made us from Ummat an-Nabi (s). If he made us from Ummati Musa (as) what would we be able to do? Nothing. If from Ummati `Isa (as) what would we do? But he made us from Ummat an-Nabi (s).

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

Kuntum khayra ummatin ukhrajit li-naas tamuroona bi ’l-ma‘aroofi watanhawna ‘ani al-munkari wa tuminoona billahi wa law aamana aahlu al-kitabi lakaana khayran lahum minhumu ’l-muminoona wa aktharuhumu ’l-fasiqoon – “You are the best nation brought forth to mankind  enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.” [3:110]

He made us to be from that ummah. To be under that favor, “wa maa arsalnaaka illa rahmatan.” He made us to be under the one described as the mercy to humanity. If we were from any other nation we would have suffered from not being from nation fo the Prophet. What kind of suffering. Suffering on Judgment Day. Because Ummat an-Nabi hiya ummatan marhuma, an Ummah bestowed with mercy. And that mercy has already been granted. The Nation of the Prophet (s) will be the first Ummat to enter Paradise.[1]

Is that mercy because of us or because of him (s)? If it is because of us, why are we disobeying? If we asked day and night to be from Ummat an-Nabi (s), even if the whole mankind were to ask, it is from His favor that you are granted that. It is not from your ‘amal. That is not from your ‘amal. That favor, if we were not given anything else but that, is enough to make us happy.

Why then with all that Mercy and favors which He is giving to us, are we complaining and disobeying? Why do we disobey? Why does a human being disobey?

He disobeys because he does not obey. It is because he obeys himself. Because his self asks him to obey himself and not to obey the Creator. That is why you disobey. Your self tell you, “Do this!” and you do it. Allah tells you, “Do this…” and you don’t do it.

You obey what you love. You disobey what you don’t love.

Disobedience gives you a proof that your love is not perfect. I don’t want to say that your love is fake, because we are weak people. You have to try. But you are obeying yourself more than you obey Allah. That is why people are misled.

The Prophet (s) was never misled. Why don’t we follow the footsteps of the Prophet and then we will not be misled?

The only one who was misled in his action was Iblees. So if we are misled we are followers of Iblees. How many times did Iblees disobey? One hundred times, one million times, or one time?

The answer is: one time. And how many times did we disobey?

In spite of this we are coming, saying, “I must be called ‘Imam,’” “I must be called ‘Shaykh,’” “I must be called ‘His Eminence,’” “I must be called ‘His Holiness.’”

You don’t deserve it. You deserve it if Allah gives that title to you. That title does not have any value from people. It only has value from Allah. If they call you ‘Imam,’ ‘Shaykh,’ ‘King’, it is not of value. You will be important in human vision but how will it help you in akhira? It will not.

So our problem today, in our community and around the world, is that we want to be respected. Nothing else.

If Allah does not support you, you will never be anything.

They say we make demonstration, we make opposition against government against this or that. Whatever you do if Allah doesn’t want it to succeed, you will never succeed. Why are we not succeeding then? Are we on haqq or on baatil? If we are on haqq, why are we not successful?

Allah said:

وَقُلْ جَاء الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا

 “qad ja’a al-haqqa wa zahaqq al-baatila inna al-baatila kaana zahooqa.”

And say: “Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish.” [17:81]

Why then are Muslims wherever they are around the world not successful? Yet they continue to make conferences and seminars, bring speakers, and go and demonstrate and criticize. Yet you are unsuccessful. There must be something wrong. Something hidden in the heart, something hidden.

What is that? It is arrogance. Hidden arrogance. You want to be the best, you don’t want to admit that your are a sinful person, that you must keep your head in prostration in order for Allah to change you.

They teach people, from childhood, something we never learned back home. They never say in Arabic, “Ana fakhoor bi nafsee”- “I am proud of myself.” Here they teach parents to say to their children, “I am proud of you.” You are proud. Proud of what? That word ‘proud’ is what caused Iblees to be thrown out of Paradise.

قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ

Qaala ana khayrun minhu khalaqtanee min naarin wa khalaqtahu min teen – He [Iblees]  said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and You created him from mud.”  [38:76]

“I am better than him.” That ‘better’ is a mistake.

Did you ever hear the Prophet (s) say, “I am the best; I am the greatest!” Never. Always the Prophet (s) is humble, teaching humbleness.

O Muslims, our problem around the world, is that we must change our love and our way of worshipness. We must go back to our Tradition, to the way that the Prophet (s) and his Sahaba showed us.

How many Sahaba were there; in Dar al-Arqam when revelation first came? How many? Five, ten? Yet they conquered the world.

I was visiting in Central Asia, near the border of China. One of the cousins of the Prophet (s), Kuthum ibn `Abbas, he brought the whole area into Islam. He did not speak Chinese. He did not speak Russian. He knows only Arabic. As soon as he came to that area, people began turning to Islam. How did he do that? By means of conferences, movies, television, videos? By spending millions of petrodollars? Now by television and movies, you cannot make da`wah even; only a few people will convert.

They were converting the masses into Islam. 100,000 or 200,000 people – whole cities were converting. That Light of Islam in their heart, the light of iman in their heart, that was bringing people to accept Islam.

As the Prophet described the religion as three levels: Islam, Iman, Ihsan. They used to observe the five obligations but in addition to that they did more. Their hearts were full of light, attracting people to them. That is because they were doing extra worship. Some people complain today that there is no such thing as extra worship.

How was Sayyidina `Umar (r) able to speak from Madinat al-munawaara to his commander Sariya. Sayyidina in Sham? `Umar was not a prophet. He was a calipha of the Prophet (s). Allah gave him that ability. He saw the enemy coming to attack Sariya from behind so he called out and warned him, from 2000 kilometers distance. That karama was a sign that Sayyidina ‘Umar (r) has two characteristics from iman: vision and hearing. The Reality of Hearing – ‘Ilm al-Yaqeen and ‘Ayn al-Yaqeen, not only Hearing but the Reality of Seeing.

The first characteristic is like one who has an audio tape. But when you have a video that is stronger – that brings you to Haqq al-Yaqeen the Reality of Certainty. Many people don’t look at these traditional Islamic teachings any longer.

The difference is that Sariya was only able to hear, he didn’t see Sayyidina `Umar (r), but he heard him, from afar, whereas Sayyidina `Umar was seeing and hearing and speaking.

These people who obeyed Allah and obeyed the Prophet, they truly followed the Sunnah. Allah said:

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

In kuntum tuhiboon Allah, fa-tabi‘oonee yuhbibkumullah wa yaghfir lakum dhunonbakum w’Allahu ghafoorun raheem

If you would love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3:31]

They were following the footsteps of the Prophet (s). And by following, Allah gave them power.

They were bringing people to Islam in masses.

They had no television, no cinema, no petrodollars, no books. Yet they were able to bring millions into Islam. They were walking with light in their hearts. That is maqam al-Ihsan that is mentioned in the hadith of Jibreel (as) as being, “To worship Allah as if you are seeing Him.” It is very transparent, very subtle. It means there is a possibility to see Him. You cannot see Him, but you can see His Signs.

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

Sa-nureehim ayaatina fil-afaaq wa fee anfusihim hatta yatabayyana lahum annahu al-haqqu awa lam yakfi bi rabbika annahu ‘ala kulli shayin shaheed

We are going to show them Our Signs in the far horizons.” [41:53]

He said it in the Quran: “Where are My Signs?” Not in books. Not in a satellite. “I am going to show them Signs in the horizons.” It means, “If they open their eyes I will give them a power to worship Allah as if you see Him.” Someone who is given that power, if he looks, do you think he will see what you see? We are seeing nothing, our noses only. If they look they can see far.

Say. Umar could see far. Say. Muhammad could look and see far. They knew what to do to attract people to Islam. They attracted without speaking. Anyone who says they do not exist today, he is wrong. Awliya ullah are present until Judgment Day. “alaa awliya-ullahi laa khawfan alayhim wa la hum yahzanoon.”

And not every Muslim is a Mu’min. Not every mu’min is a wali.

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Qaalat il-‘Arabu aamana qul lam tu’minoo wa laakin qooloo aslamna. Wa lamma yadkhuli al-eemanu fee quloobikum wa in tutee‘oo Allaha wa rasoolahu laa yalitkum min a‘malikum shayan inna Allaha ghafoorun raheem.

The desert Arabs say, “We believe.” Say, “Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say, ‘We have submitted our wills to Allah,’ For not yet has Faith entered your hearts. But if ye obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not belittle aught of your deeds: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [49:14]

“Say ‘we became Muslim.’” A Muslim is one who says, “I believe in the Oneness of Allah.” That is the level of tawheed. That is the level of Muslim, Islam: whoever believes that Allah has no partner and the Prophet is seal of messengers. You can be Muslim but not a believer. Mumin, a believer, is more perfect. And muhsin, is at the end, reaching the end.

“for not as yet has faith entered your hearts.”

If iman enters our heart, then we can change the darkness into light, falsehood into truth, Falsehood, batil, will vanish and truth, haq, will appear. Until then we will suffer. We ask Allah not to make us suffer.

Allah loves Islam.

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ

 Inna ’d-deen ‘inda-Allahi ’l-Islam– “The Religion before Allah is Islam…” [3:19]

Why then are non-Muslims supported and Muslims are not supported. Every year 2-3 million go for hajj. We practice our prayers, we fast, pay zakat, we go for hajj. Why are we not successful? It means something is wrong.

What is it? Love of dunya.

Because we are Muslims, and we love dunya, Allah wants to clean us in dunya. So he keeps us down. It is a cleaning process just like laundry. If you have dirty clothes you will clean them in a washing machine.

Clean yourselves first. If we don’t clean ourselves, we are never going to be successful.

The Prophet (s) said: “If you are three on a journey, put one as amir on you.”[2] How much that amir today became more tyrannical than the tyrants. Even on three people. If we choose someone to consult and advise, and make him responsible he becomes more tyrannical than the tyrants. That is hubb al-riasa. Love to be in charge, to be president; to be on top.

There was a story, about a man in old times when pious people with their money, would put up a water tap outside – a place to bring water for people to drink and fill water. They call it sabeel in Arabic. Also there was a place with no water and there was a person with a store buying and selling. So he put pitchers of water for people to come and drink. People came to drink.

One time that person became arrogant. Iblees was building up in his ear saying, “Everyone is famous. And you are giving that water. So make your self important.” Iblees whispering. So that was an old man. What did he do? He painted each pitcher different colors. When people come to drink, they take a pitcher. He says, “No! Take the green one, not the white….” He did this in order to give orders. This is our problem today. Everyone wants to be known and to be something in the world today. That is why we are losers. Allah said, and we give explanation later.

وَالْعَصْرِ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ

Wal-‘asr, inn al-insaana lafee khusr. Allah is giving an oath “By Time! Verily man is in loss.” [103: 1-2]

There is no greater oppressor than one who prevent dhikrullah in the mosque. That is a verse.  No one can say to any person do this or do that in a mosque. That is why the mosques in America are the worst, not those who pray in them, but those who are in hegemony on the mosques. That is why no support for Islam in America. Whatever they do they will not win. Until they come back to their tradition to their Islamic belief and behavior, then Allah will support them. They are prohibiting the light of dhikr in the mosques to that ayat is applied to them.

In a hadith Qudsi Allah said, as reported by the Prophet (s): Man adhaa lee waleeyun adhaantahu bil harb. “Whoever comes against a Friend of Mine, I declare war on him.”

That is about a normal person who is pious. What do you think about the one who comes against the Prophet (s)? I don’t care for the Reverend such-and-such. The one who answers him is a donkey. The dogs bark and the caravan must move. Don’t answer him; then you make him famous. Like Salman Rushdie. They made him famous by protesting his book. If no one spoke about it no one knew about it.

اللّهِ أَن يُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ وَسَعَى فِي خَرَابِهَا أُوْلَـئِكَ مَا كَانَ لَهُمْ أَن يَدْخُلُوهَا إِلاَّ خَآئِفِينَ لهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ وَلَهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

Wa man adhlamu mimman mana‘a masajida Allahi an yudhkara feeha ’smuhu wasa‘a fee kharaabiha ula’ika maa kaana lahum an yadkhulooha illa kha’ifeena lahum fee’d-dunya khizyun wa lahum fee al-aakhirati ‘adhaabun ‘adheemun

And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, Allah’s name should be celebrated?-whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment. [2:114]

Yudhkara feeha ’smuh means the name of Allah and name of the Prophet.

It means the mosque must be open 24 hours.

They put chairman of board and trustees. What are they chairman of: chairman of money? Open the door and let them come and go and pray late.

Allah prevented that. “Whoever comes against a Friend of Mine, I declare war on him.” What about the Prophet (s)?

These people don’t have any kind of shyness or khajal in front of the Prophet they are “bashing” the Prophet. There are some very well-know Muslim-bashers yes, but Muslims are bashing the Prophet (s), wa haasha.

They say he was only a man, revealed to him. They don’t understand the meaning of the ayat. This is bida‘; this haraam. That is why Allah’s is punishment coming on us. Because we are on haqq but dressing with the dress of baatil. We know that Islam is on haqq, but we are covering it with falsehood on ourselves.

Now you are afraid to say you are Muslim. Why? Now even in Muslim countries, you cannot go to airport with a beard. They tell you “you are a terrorist.” You have to cut your beard or they question you how many hours at the airport. And they want to protest in America. Even in Muslim countries they don’t let you [practice the religion].

Either you accept to live in that situation or you go home. If he goes home with his beard they stop him in al-Hijaz, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Gulf countries.

That is if these people here who think themselves qayyimeen ala umur al-Muslimeen, the upholders of the affairs of the Muslims continue as they are, they are going to bring the whole Muslim community down. These “leaders” in Washington. In one night they raised 1 million in Los Angeles. They bought a building worth $8 million. Why? Where is that money going? Never mind if that money is going in the right way, but don’t jeopardize the Muslims by sending that money – where we don’t know.

Mosques must be for ‘ibadat. Anyone comes for `ibadat, welcome. That is why big mosques have no baraka in them. It is becoming a business for pulling cash money. One of these mosques, a big one in area, collect all cash money.

You know what they did? They put up a chain of three stores selling cigarettes and wine in order to “clean” that money.

And Muslims are keeping quiet, and not saying anything, putting a blind eye. That is why we became a target of the government and we are all under observation.

May Allah save us! Let your heart be clean, and don’t conspire against yourself and those around you. Don’t plan strategies. Leave it to Allah.

That is why the Sahaba were successful and we are not successful. We are coming to a nation where there is no Islam and we are not successful because we are not on haqq.

You find in every mosque that people are conspiring against each other. [Say one thing do another.]

What do you think if that is occurring in a small mosque, then what about a big mosque?  They are becoming political centers. They are people specialized in politics. But don’t turn mosques into political forums. If you want to make an office and participate in politics that is ok. But they are turning the mosque into that. Why jeopardize the innocent people? Go and declare your political stance outside the mosque and the people will follow who want to.

Now they have Board of Trustees, and they meet in little rooms and discuss “How to fight the government, to fight the media.” Even in Arab countries you cannot speak. For thirty years, or forty years you have the same president.

Look at Libya. In 1969 he came to power. Until today is how many years for the same president? Ay – what. You were against kings and royalties?! They say “we are against monarchy.” That is one example where you made it worse. And all of them are the same. Why? Hubb ar-riyaasa. Love of the top post, the chair. Ask them to give up the chair, they will not give it. It is like glue.

Now in Kenya, for the first time, the opposition won. In Indonesia, Suharto was in power for 35 years. Other countries, also, I don’t want to name names or I will be stopped at the border.

Because the Americans don’t know anything about Islam. They were not taught. They think everyone is the same. That is the mistake of Muslims. They say “everyone is the same.” They made all equal. They said there is no hierarchy in Islam, so if someone commits a wrong action they take everyone in.

Alhamdulillah `ala kulli haal…