Friday, 30 August 2019

Marginalisation

Assalamu Aleikum brothers. 
Jumaa Mubarak 

Marginalisation was never a new problem for human society, but has always been a perennial one. 
One whose effects were even felt within the first truly Muslim community. 

Today our Nation suffers no less from those effects. For there are masajid around this country where people are exhorted to attend and give towards, as a religious obligation, but where in the end they still feel like they do not belong. 

No wonder we find disillusioned Muslims looking for another way, moving away from our communities and into the rural areas of England. 
Distancing themselves from their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. 
This is nothing less than a reverse Hijra. 

And yet the fault lies not with them. 

The favour that Allah t’ala blessed humanity with, was the creation of an inclusive Muslim society which can be felt through the accessibility of each arkaan (religious rule) to each and every one of us. 

On the Hajj and in the Haram there is no exclusivity for the rich or the powerful. 

So much so that you witness many errors in those rules that it makes you smile, especially when you remember the Hadith  ...
“A man said “Allah is my servant and I am his Lord” and Allah smiled”

This because in his eagerness for the religion the man made a mistake, and so Allah smiled in appreciation of his eagerness. Then how can we not love the people who in their eagerness for the religion, err. They are neither mean, nor uneducated, but most loved. 

Islam came to perfect society. 
And the Messenger (saw) was sent to perfect morals. 

And whilst his answer to marginalisation within nascent Medina might rightly be thought miraculous, it should still prove a benchmark for us all the same. 

A disunited, inward-looking, constantly warring Arab Nation, he united with the mission to tell those that did not know. 

A tribal society where protection was gained through allegiance to one of the tribal chiefs, he changed so that any and all resident of Medina could extend protection and it would be incumbent on them all. And that as a precursor to a lawful and right-led society. 

A divided city he united with a truly amazing brotherhood the likes of which has never been repeated. 
Where he paired together in brotherhood each emigrant with each free resident of Yathrib (the before name for Medina). 

Whilst the emigrants were the obvious beneficiaries, having lost everything in their flight from Quraishi oppression, the residents to Medina no less benefited. For they gained a title- the helpers-  became united and in being asked to give, knew that they belonged. 

And whilst some of them gave their homes, still others half of their wealth, and still others even offered to divorce their wives so that their new found brothers might have family ... the prophets instruction to wish for your brother that which you wish for yourself puts no such obligation on us today. 

A brotherhood that banished marginalisation, made a society of equals, and a religion that is fully accessible to everyone. 

This ideal can and should still provide a benchmark for us, today, in helping us to forge a way to remove the feelings of marginalisation, and un-belonging, that mar our communities. 

When a person moves close to you, or another becomes a new Muslim, or another advances in age and is in need of help and support, or another feels alone- our imams should invoke the brotherhood of the Messenger, in the simple things like inviting them to share a regular meal together, always being readily available to give sincere advice and help, and in the giving of unbidden gifts. 

A monthly reminder to be there for your brother, and a simple ask if there are any that need the brotherly help of one that is paired to them. 

Then we can say that we are trying our best to live our lives in the Prophetic way, where no one is left behind and all feel cared for. 
That is the brotherhood of Islam. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

the openness

Alhamdolillah 
There is nothing even coming close to the openness and accessibility of Islam. 

To see old ladies hobbled over, and trudging willingly, on the way to Jamraat, to pelt the devils, and fulfil the rites is a humbling experience. 

That you do not need to be a scholar or sheikh to earn the forgiveness of the Most Gracious, nor do you need to be one to experience things that are phenomenal. 

Everyone of us experienced our own personal miracles on the Hajj, things that in the wider scheme may be a small consequence, but to each and everyone of us are there as evidence of the blessing. 

Just as is Islam accessible, so are its sources, and for good reason. 
Because intelligence is not an exclusive trait for those that study in a madrasah, or under a Sheikh. 
And Islam is intelligent.  

And when you approach it with intelligence and belief, then things open up for you. 

I am a nobody in most religious terms, and yet things have opened up for me because I have used my intelligence and ability, and believed. 

For I have seen the Messenger (saw) thrice in my dreams, once he came to me with a broad smile and offering a warm embrace. 
I have seen Jesus (as) stern of face as he descends. And much more. 
And if I lie, here, then may God’s curse be on me. 

This religion is open, accessible and yet many people only want to accept knowledge from a Sheikh, who is not intelligent but has a title. 

Seek to understand things yourselves, and contemplate them for this is to do justice to the openness of our religion. 
And to be otherwise is an injustice.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Mount Mercy

Assalamu Aleikum 
Jumaa’ Mubarak from Medinatul Nabi

Brothers, imagine that you were at Jabal (Mount) Rahma 1430 years ago. (*1)

Imagine that you were privy to hearing the last Messenger (saw) sent from the Most Gracious ensure that his Nation was left in no doubt about the things that mattered. 

Imagine his foresight in doing so. 

Famously there he said, in front of tens of thousands of Arabs, that no Arab is superior to a non-Arab. 

These words were not ideology, nor assumption, nor supposition, but were treated as fact by those that heard them. And not facts for a rainy day, but facts to live and die by. 

Indeed it is these words that warranted the explosion from Arabia that changed forever the history of the World. 

For the Messenger of the Most Gracious never once insinuated that Muslims should conquer.
The closest thing that he ever said that was remotely to do with other Nations both occurred on that day. 

‘No Arab is superior to a non-Arab.’

And then a little later ...

‘Those present tell those absent perchance they may understand all the better.‘

And they understood from this a mission, sacred. That is mentioned as a parable in the heart of the Quran. 

Now, imagine that, after delivering the sermon, you were standing there on that most holy day and place, a re-enactment of the day of recompense, and you heard the Messenger ask the people...

“O people, have I delivered the message?”

Would you respond with the tens of thousands, in one voice, “Yes”. 

And then he (saw) said, thrice: 
“O Allah, bear witness”. *2

So, if you are able, then intend for the Hajj next year, and on the Day of Arafat ascend Jabal Rahma and imagine that you were there, and ask in earnest supplication “O Allah t’ala count me amongst those that were there that day, count me amongst those that bore witness to the truth of Muhammad (saw) and that he did indeed deliver the message. “

Three months later the Messenger (saw) accepted an invitation and returned to his Maker. 

Within ten years that which he prophesied when the whole of Arabia came to attack him at Medina came to pass. 

“With the first I saw the red palaces of Syria, with the second the white palaces of Madain (within Persia), with the third the gates of Sana (the Yemen)”. *3

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. 
And he shall speak Peace to the Nations, his rule will be from the sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the Earth. 

Just as Zachariah prophesied, and Jesus (as) reminded us all of. *4

What I have said here is my opinion. If it is wrong then that wrong belongs to me. 
Knowledge is sought through study and contemplation, not via lectures, nor speeches, nor this above.

Friday, 2 August 2019

the Honour of Hajj

Salaams brothers. 
Jumaa Mubarak 

The honour of Hajj is in exhausting yourself in completing the prescribed rites, in the correct order and at the correct times, even whilst hundred thousands of your fellow brothers and sisters do the same. 

The honour of Hajj is in the shaven heads, the removal of the glitter and pomp of the world and the symbolism that skin deep we are all the same. 

The honour of Hajj is in the return when your brothers see the evidence of your shiny scalp, even as the army of Khalid (ra) was dumbfounded when he crossed, and then returned across, the Empty Quarter whilst they marched from Iraq to Syria believing him to be in the rear. 

The honour of Hajj is to make it early in your youth, to honour the holy sites that all men were called to when Ibrahim (as) - Abraham (may God br pleased with him)- announced the Pilgrimage three thousand years ago.  

And then if you feel that your debt encumbers it’s acceptance, ask on the day of Hajj - at the promised meeting place on the plains of Arafat- that God bring you back again to this blessed place, on this blessed date, free from debt that He might grace you. 

The beauty of Hajj is in the simple things that you can do to make your brothers and sisters happy in the blessed places - sharing a prayer mat- making space for one another- offering food, drink and shade- and smiling and hugging even whilst you know not their language and they know not yours. 

The beauty of Hajj is in the small miracles that attest every day to the majesty of the place. 

The beauty of Mecca is in the Kaba, whose beauty is only enhanced by other beautiful things that surround it. 
The first house. 
The first return after the Hajj. 

And the seven circuits, that the angels make above us, and along with us. The symbolism of a life lived with the Most Gracious at its centre.