Published on February 16, 2014
Courses on Islamic Studies Designed and Taught By Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Siddiqi, Ph.D. Professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic Language In Several American Community Colleges The Role of a Muslim In Western Societies in general and in American Society in Particular
In the name of Allah the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful In order to do justice to this topic we must understand our status, recognize ourselves, and find out all about the role with which we were created. (1) Allah swt/God, glorified and exalted made an announcement to the angels when He was about to create His most honorable creation, the humankind,
“And remember when your Cherisher Lord said to the angels, surely, I am about to place on earth a Khalifah/vicegerent” The Holy Qur’an 2/30 Khalifah also means: Successive authority, to remind The humankind their role of transferring the heritage to their children
who will succeed this authority of teaching the divine message to their children who will succeed them, and so on and so forth. (2) Whose Khalifah/Viceroy? Khalifah of Allah swt, the Arabic word Khalifah comes from a root word Khalafa which means: to succeed, to follow, to come after, to take the place of.
The Islamic Caliphate system (Khilafah) comes from the same root word to define Islamic political system in which a ruler is called as Khalifah to indicate that in this system sovereignty belongs to Allah/God and not to the ruler who is a caretaker and implementer of Divine Law.
(3) What are the qualifications of a Khalifah? The number one qualification of Khalifah is to be the most knowledgeable in his group to deserve the leadership position, as mentioned in 2/31 of the Holy Qur’an: “ And He (Allah) taught Adam all the names, then He presented them(same knowledge) to the angels (giving them equal opportunity to learn them) then He said:
tell me the names of these, if you are right”. So, among the angels and Jinn who were present there and were given equal opportunity to learn the science of names which explains the nature and function of the things behind each and every name, only Adam was able to learn and thus he became the most qualified among them.
(4) Adam had to give a test of his knowledge by informing the angels and jinn what he has learned, who were present there as mentioned in 2/33 of the Holy Qur’an. (5) Then Allah swt created for Adam his wife (4/1), and sent both of them to the (4 Paradise (2/35), to train him on three other (2 35), important qualities of a leader/Khalifah: (A) Self-control: to teach that, He Selfprohibited both of them to approach a particular tree (2/35) (2 35)
(B) Don’t let Satan who is your declared enemy misguide you (2/34) (2 34) (C) Perfection only belongs to Allah/God, if you made a mistake, repent to Allah swt, don’t insist on your mistake like Satan did by disobeying Allah swt (3/135 & 7/23), (3 23), Now Adam is trained as a Khalifah of Allah swt and ready to go to earth.
(6) When Allah swt accepted the repentance of Adam and Eve, he sent them to earth, and made Adam as His first Prophet: Then His Lord chose him (for His grace), He accepted his repentance and gave him guidance. He said: go down both (Jinn & Human) of you all together with enmity one to another,
then if, as is sure, guidance comes to you from me, then whosoever follows my guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery. But whosoever turns away from my message, surely his will be a narrow life and We shall raise him blind on the Judgment Day. He will say: O my Lord! Why have you raised me up
Blind while I had sight (before), He (Allah) will say: so (it must be). Our revelations came unto you but you did forget them, in like manner you are forgotten this Day. 20/122-126 20/122(7) The woman was not blamed for eating from the forbidden tree according to the Holy Qur’an,
Adam was the one, being the head of the family, blamed for this sin: So, they both ate from it (tree), so their nakedness appeared to them and they began to sew for their covering leaves from the Garden, thus did Adam disobey his Lord and so he fell into error. 20/121 20/
(8) Allah kept sending His prophets and messengers to guide the humanity throughout the ages, and He perfected His message when humanity reached the highest level of intellectual maturity on the hands of His last, final and universal Prophet Muhammad pbuh. To address the human mind the Holy Qur’an was revealed as the greatest divine miracle.
The last Testament: Qur’an will be a source of guidance for the entire humankind up to the Day of Judgment. The Holy Qur’an will not only remain modern for all future generations but the humanity will continue find in it answers to all their questions and solutions to all their problems.
(9) The most important next duty is to teach people about Tawheed: the foundation of Islam upon which the building of Islam stands, it is very powerful concept of oneness with its three basic dimensions as mentioned in 2/163, 49/13 and 163, 49/ 42/13, 42/13, they are:
(A) Belief in one universal God, who enjoys all perfect attributes and does not suffer any imperfection of any kind (B) Belief in one universal humanity, who is given freedom of choice as very basic and fundamental human right, so, people can see beauty in diversity (C) One universal divine message conveyed by all the prophets and messengers.
10) (10) You must very frequently convey this message to all Muslims and nonnonMuslims that: (A) There is no room for terrorism of any kind in Islam, Islamic legal system will punish a terrorist with capital punishment, 5/32 (B) It is unlawful to commit suicide or suicide bombing, 4/29, 2/195 29,
(C) The Holy Qur’an promotes love and kindness, justice and fairness for all non-Muslims, (60/8), and not the non(60/ violence. (D) In Islam hurting a nonnonMuslim who lives in a Muslim country will amount to hurting Prophet Muhammad pbuh, and Prophet Muhammad will fight the case of a nonnon-Muslim victim on judgment day as a lawyer, in front of Allah swt.
(E) No where in the Holy Qur’an the killing of any innocent people is allowed, on the contrary, killing an innocent person amounts to killing the whole of humankind and saving an innocent life amounts to saving the entire humankind 5/32 (F) Islam was the first one in entire human history to design
the rules and regulations of wars and battles by prohibiting and making unlawful killing of women, children, babies, disabled people, old people, animals, civilians, people who have gone into any religious building, cutting of a shadow or fruit tree and destroying any human assets under any circumstances.
(G) It is unlawful to engage into violent demonstrations, under any circumstances even if someone insults the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, or treats Qur’an disrespectfully, our role model Prophet Muhammad pbuh, treated Thumamah ibn Aasal, who came to kill him, with generous hosting, compassion, and kindness which resulted in his conversion to Islam.
(H) A Muslim is not allowed to hold any grudge and enmity against any Muslim or non-Muslim, on the noncontrary it teaches them to help them if they can, otherwise spare all other people from harm of your tongue, hand or in any other way.
(I) The just balance between material and spiritual aspects of Islam is the point of distinction of Islam: But seek the abode of the Hereafter in that which Allah has given you and neglect not your portion of the world and do good to others as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love mischief makers. The Holy Qur’an 28/77 28/
(J) A Muslim is not allowed to fail to do justice under any circumstances by the commandment of Allah swt: O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allah even as against yourselves, yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, parents, kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lust (of your hearts), lest you swerve,
And if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice verily Allah is well-acquainted with wellall that you do. (4/135), another aspect of (4 135), establishing equal justice for all is discussed in the Holy Qur’an in glorious words of God: O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice,
be just, that is next to piety and fear (the wrath of) Allah, for Allah is wellwellacquainted with all that you do. (5/8). (5 In the light of these and many other verses, justice must be our number one priority in life, with all, even if we suffer with material losses by establishing justice, we will still be winners in the sight of Allah swt, despite our losses.
We are required to follow the Qur’anic method whenever we speak about Islam: (K) Invite (all) to the way of your Cherisher Lord with wisdom and beautiful exhortation and reason with them in the most beautiful way for your Lord knows best who have strayed from His path and He is best aware of those who go aright. 16/125 16/
The good deed and evil deed are not equal, repel (evil) with what is most beautiful, then he between whom and you there was enmity (will become) as though he was friend and intimate, and no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune. 41/3441/34-35
(L) And argue not with the people of the Book except with the means better than (mere disputation) unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury) but say we believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you, our God and your God is one and unto Him we surrender. 29/ 29/46
11) (11) One of the most important part of our role is to try to successfully convey the message that we are not different from any previous community of believers who followed their prophet in his teachings which he received from Allah/God, the glorified and exalted: We did not send any Prophet before you but we revealed to him (saying): there is no God but me, so worship me. (21/25). (21/25).
12) (12) The truth from Allah swt establishes the connection of earth with the heaven: Did you not see how Allah coins a similitude: a goodly word is like a goodly tree, its root is firmly fixed and its branches reaching the heaven, giving its fruit at every season by permission of its Lord, Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may reflect.
And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree up-rooted from upon upthe earth possessing no stability, Allah will establish in strength those who believe with the word that stands firm in this world and in the hereafter, and Allah will leave to stray those who do wrong and Allah does what He wills. (14/24-27). (14/24-27).
13) (13) Reaching out to the people of Book in particular and others in general through interinter-religious activities is very important and required by Allah swt: Say O People of Scripture! Come to common term as between us and you that we worship none but Allah, and that we join no partners to Him, and that none of us take others for lords beside Allah, and if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him) (3/64). (3 64).
14) (14) Why do you say what you do not do? It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not do. 61/2-3 61/ Actions speak louder than words, practice before you preach or teach. In Islam mere belief without deeds is a sign of weak faith. The true commitment to Allah reflects in your Dealings: honest and fair dealings with Muslims and non-Muslims, with nonfriends and foes, are the proofs of valid righteousness.
15) AsAl(15) As-Sirat Al-Mustaqeem: in the Opening chapter of the Holy Qur’an is a constant reminder to a Muslim to stick to a straight path, which is path of justice, moderation, and away from extremism and fanaticism. It is a path of those whom Allah swt favored with His bounties, not the path of those who earned His anger nor of those whe went astray (by their fanaticism).
16) (16) Whenever a Muslim will deviate from the moderation and will disturb the just balance in all aspects of life, particularly between material and spiritual ways, he will come out of the way of Allah and will enter the way of Satan, therefore, Allah swt has mentioned in His glorious words in the Holy Qur’an, the importance of moderation repeatedly.
One of those powerful verses is this: Thus we have made you a justly balanced nation that you may be witnesses over the humankind and the Messenger (as) a witness over you. (2/143). It means, Islam is a (2 143). system which equally caters for Deen and Dunya (Spiritual and material) for Allah has created us in this world for a test to find out who maintains the balance and who disturbs it, (67/2). (67/
17) (17) One of the best supplications of the Holy Qur’an teaches us the balance we are talking about: “And there are people who say: Our Lord, give us good in the world and give us good in the hereafter and save us from the punishment of fire, for them there is in store a goodly portion out of that which they have earned, Allah is swift at reckoning” (2/201-202). (2 201-202).
18) (18) Islam covers all previous Prophets and Messengers with same guidance of moderation and balance and prohibits them from exceeding their limits as in this verse: Say O people of the Scripture! Exceed not in your religion the limits of (what is proper) trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went astray before, and misled many, and strayed from a plain road, (5/77). (5 77).
18) (18) There are many warnings of Prophet Muhammad pbuh against fanaticism and exceeding limits to take you to destruction, in one of them he (pbuh) said three times: AlAlMutanatti’un (Fanatics) got destroyed (Muslim). Imam Nawawi explained this Hadith saying: going beyond the limits in their speeches and actions which results into the loss of spiritual and material (benefits).
19) (19) The greatest damage of exceeding the limits, it creates hatred, dispute, harm to others, and difficulty, that is why our beloved Prophet Muhammad pbuh said to his 2 companions (Mu’adh and Abu Musa) on their departure to Yemen: Yassira…..make it easy, don’t make it difficult, and give glad tidings, don’t create hatred, obey and don’t dispute (Bukhari & Muslim).
20) (20) The real solution to the problem of fanaticism is to refer to the sources of Islam as advised in 4/59, and keep away 59, from personal interpretations and opinions. This verse is very clear in enjoining obedience to Allah, the Prophet and the leaders, but if you differ in any thing among yourselves, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you do believe in Allah and the last day, that is best and most suitable for final determination. There is no basis for fanaticism in Islam.
We were able to cover just a few important points of this vast subject in this lecture because of the shortage of time and whatever we were able explain boils down to just one thing: Islam is a religion of just balance in every single aspect of human life and must not be disturbed by extremism and fanaticism to fully benefit from it.
Wa Aakhiru Da’wana ‘AnilHamduLillahi Rabbil’Aalameen: Rabbil’Aalameen: We close with praising Allah, the Cherisher Lord of the worlds.
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