Knowledge and Governance

First Khutbah

Friday 29 October 1999

Everyday, many times a day all Muslims turn to Allah and say, ba’d audhu billahi minash shaytanir rajim;

                   Ihdinas siratal mustaqim

                   Guide us on the Straight Path.

  Sadaqa’llahul ‘Adhim

We are told by the Mufassireen, the recognised commentators on the Noble Qur’an, that the Surat al-Fatihah from which this blessed ayah comes contains all of the Qur’an. They say this means it contains all the various elements that are expanded upon throughout Allah’s Book, such as the Oneness of Allah, the Shari’ah, stories of the Prophets, the Next world and so on.

The Sirat al-Mustaqeem is considered as that part of our journey lived in this world according to what Allah and His Rasul, sallallahu alayhi wa sallim, laid down as correct and without fault, leading to the Garden in the Next World. Its being the path through this world is emphasised by our request of Allah that precedes it in this ayah, namely – ihdina – guide us.

We did not need to ask for guidance before we came into this world, because we all replied to Allah’s question alastu bi rabbikum – ‘Am I not your Lord?’ with: bala! – ‘Yes indeed!’ We had no doubt. And there will be no doubt after we leave this world – when only the Rasul’s intercession will affect our cause, because our ability to act at all will be cut off.

So the guidance we seek relates directly to the short time we remain on this earth. The guidance is not because we don’t know what to do, that is the state that the Kuffar flounder around in. The Sirat al-Mustaqeem is Islam, it is the Qur’an, the synthesis of which is the Prophet and his life among his companions.

The Sirat is that road that has no bend in it; it leads directly to its goal. So what we are asking for is the ability to stay on it without deviation. We are asking Allah for the strength and courage to resist Shaytan’s call to leave it, by being occupied with worldly matters, however good or evil they may be.

The guidance we seek may come in many different forms, directly from teachers of the Qur’an and Sunnah, our own study of them, from the community that we live in, from our parents, and so on.

In the days when people were ruled by Islam, by their amirs and fuqaha, it was much simpler and more direct. It existed all around as the social norms were based upon an Islamic ethos, the remnants of which are still experienced by our brothers who come from countries that used to be ruled by the governors of the Khalifah.

Today this is much more difficult, and a much greater responsibility devolves upon the individual to know his Deen and the correctness of the path he is on. Sayyiduna Ali, radiallahu anhu, told us not to follow a truth because of the one who utters it, but to follow the truth itself, which will reveal those who hold to it.

The Kuffar leadership are empowered by the passivity and acceptance of their followers, who slavishly take on the ever-changing philosophies and world view that is dumped into their bowls as their daily media portion. If you talk to them you will be hard pressed to find something that originates from their own experience or knowledge, instead you will hear the echo of a headline or a pseudo argument from some documentary or other.

Islamic knowledge cannot enter this arena, for it ceases to be just that. Knowledge stops where opinion begins.

Islamic knowledge has always been based upon ascertainment. That is, so-and-so got it from so-and-so, who got it from so-and-so until its source and meaning are plain. If we mention anything from the Qur’an, we need to know what the Mufassireen say about it. Is the ayah nasikh or mansukh, abrogating or abrogated, and in what circumstances did it come down among the first community? This protects against those bid’a that strip the Deen from out of our grasp.

The destruction of Khilafah informed and guided by fiqh has brought with it the displacement of ‘Ilm. If it is difficult to find leadership based upon Book and Sunnah, it is equally hard to find knowledge of the same. It is certainly not found in universities based upon western models, and institutions connected to national governments.

The success of the Muslims was always based upon adherence to the Deen from Madinah by the taqwa of Muslim leaders and the ‘ilm of its fuqaha.

The speed with which Islam will be re-established will be built upon the re-emergence of such leaders and their fuqaha. May Allah make it sooner rather than later.

Aqulu Qawli hadha wastaghfirullaha li wa lakum

Wa lisaairil muslimina fastaghfiruhu

Innahu huwal Ghafurur Rahim.


Second Khutbah

Alhamdulillahir Rabbil Alameen

Ash hadu an la ilaha ilallah wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah.

La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah.

The destruction of power, that is legitimate leadership and the demise of knowledge will always lead to Kufr. Islam is neither a system nor a philosophy, but a marriage of action with knowledge and knowledge with action. This is what makes it dynamic and always corrective; this is what Sirat al-Mustaqeem means.

It is our nature as human beings to forget and to go astray. If Islam was static, if it became an edifice, or a state, it would be possible to get around it or under it or away from it, but Allah says, ba’d audhu billahi minash shaytanir rajim;

Both east and west belong to Allah, 
so wherever you turn,
the Face of Allah is there.
Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.

You may turn to the East and see the sun rising, and hope may spring to your heart, and you may turn to the West and see it setting, which may bring dismay, but Allah is the reality of both, and only with that understanding will your heart be at peace. The whole of the Deen is based upon you. For you, your last day is the Last Day, your rising is the Rising, your judgement at the Balance is the Judgement. What other path is there other than the one you are on. You cannot escape yourself except by submission to your Lord, which is following the guidance He sent us through His beloved Messenger, sallallahu alayhi wa sallim.

The Sirat al-Mustaqeem is the path that leads to the Face of Allah in the next Life. The Shari’ah that constitutes the Sabeel of Allah is what turns our attention to His Face while we are confronted by the myriad aspects of Dunyah and its concerns of family, reputation and wealth, or these days we could equally say debt.

The Sirat al-Mustaqeem is as Allah has created it, it is a constant reality.

Allah says in Surat al-Insanba’d audhu billahi minash shaytanir rajim;

we guided him on the way,
              whether he is thankful or unthankful

Allah is al-Hadi, the One who guides. We ask Him that He guides us and keeps our paths on His Sirat al-Mustaqeem.

Ya Allah! When we look, let us see Your Face, and when we move, let us travel on the Sirat al-Mustaqeem, sirata’lladhina an’amta ‘alayhim, ghayril maghdoobi ‘alayhim wala’d-dalleen.


A Note

The Rasulullah was sent as a mercy to mankind and this should be borne in mind in relation to how society is set up and functions. Coupled with this is Allah’s word that His Mercy precedes His Anger. So whoever stands in place of the Rasulullah as ruler or as Allah’s khalif on the earth, i.e. all of us, mercy with all its connotations must be the foundational element upon which society is built.

The responsibility of leadership is towards the people under its authority. The one honoured with leadership must in turn honour his subjects and care for them according to the example and guidance of sayyidina Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallim. The men of knowledge under him must help him in this regard. Laws are the parameters of society, but not its heart. It is what is within those bounds that makes a people what they are. We want a society that confirms just laws and not one that abides by them. The more a people are just and merciful in their transactions the less recourse there is to legal judgments. The society that is based on what Ibn Khaldun calls ‘Asabiyya’, that is ‘common feeling’ will last and flourish by that spirit and one that relies on law will find itself in need of endlessly creating new ones. The people of fiqh must grasp this firmly, as did Imam Malik; it is not the law that has to be maintained but society itself. This brings the dynamic of a just power guided by knowledge of what Allah and His messenger have commanded.

The rule of the just man permeates his people so they become its willing implementers and guardians. The integrity of a community is maintained by the mercy and humanity of its constituent parts, leaving the judges to deal with the aberrations.


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