Here is my Eid khutba
Khutba Eid-ul-Fitr 2010, Islamic Da’wa Center, Milwaukee
By: Waheeduddin Ahmed
Takbeerat, Hamd wa Thana
My dear fellow Muslims and those who can hear me! Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. We have completed yet one more month of Ramadan in our lives, in dedication to our duties and responsibilities as Ibadullah (the servants of Allah) and our devotion to Prophet Mohammad (S), a mercy to all mankind. In doing so we were not deterred by diversionary thoughts, the temptations and seductions of the worldly pleasures and the waswas (the whisperings of Satan); purified our bodies and our souls; gave alms and charities. We did these as individuals and we did these as a community in this city and as a community of Muslims worldwide, consisting of one-fifth of the inhabitants of this globe. This act of self-purification not only affected our lives in this world and in the Hereafter but had a profound effect on our neighbors; on the villages, the cities and the communities in which we live. Alas the world fails to see us in that perspective. Our adversaries are tirelessly trying to portray us in negative light. If the churches, the synagogues, the temples, the priests and pastors are sincere and truthful in their claims of wanting to rid America of the evils of immorality, they would see us not as adversaries, not as competitors but as partners in this task.
The world is focused these days on terrorism and rightly so. Different people have different views on terrorism. An unjust war against a much weaker opponent is an act of terror. Killing innocent people either by air or on the surface is terrorism. Bombing civilians and giving it a fancy name such as collateral damage is an act of terrorism. When an occupying force bombs cities and inhabitants using its most powerful and sophisticated air force, when the other side has none, is the most terrible form of terrorism. However, these are not the things I wish to talk about in my khutba today. I wish to talk about the most terrible things that are happening in the Muslim world today and the relationship of Muslim America with those events. If you are following the news in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq you know that human beings in mosques, religious shrines and religious processions are being blown to pieces by explosives worn by other people on their vests. If a human being kills other human beings using his own body as a bomb and blowing himself to pieces in this act, it is obvious that this person is either very strongly indoctrinated and dedicated to his murderous task or his body and mind are possessed by Satan. And if a fifteen or sixteen year old kid does this, who has had no chance to experience the good and the bad that the life offers, who has had no part himself in the politics that Muslims suffer in this world, he must have been manipulated, brainwashed and his mind altered by the most sinister monster-makers of the world who wear turbans and kufis and since this mutual annihilation is occurring between the Muslim sects, all of whom are Mowahidoon and utter the kalimah of Shahadah, we can easily surmise that this is Satan’s work, whose agents are disguised in abayas, turbans and kufis.
It follows therefore, that these agents of evil, who want to destroy the integrity of the Islamic Ummah are paid and nurtured by the enemies of Islam; and if this happens in countries, whose infrastructure has been utterly destroyed by foreign armies, creating political, social and administrative anarchy, we know that there is no hope for those societies to survive unless the society breaks out of the shackles of false religiosity and destroys by all possible means the agents of this Armageddon. Take Pakistan for instance, the country is in the midst of the most thorough flooding in its history, comparable to the Noah’s deluge. One-third of its territory is under water and yet suicide bombers have killed scores of people at religious places, shrines and processions. Can you call these killers humans and the instigators of such acts, even if they are preachers, humans? Most important of all: can, we the American Muslims have any association with this religious and moral chaos? The answer is definitively NO. These things cannot be a part of our identity. It is time for us to redefine ourselves.
Look at other Muslim countries in the World. With only a few notable exceptions, everywhere there is chaos. There are kings and dictators, while every non-Muslim country in the world, including those in the sub-Sahara Africa is moving towards political freedom. If a so-called civilized country in the world needs to torture a prisoner, forbidden by its own laws, it sends the prisoner to one of the Muslim countries in rendition. These countries compete with each other commercially in building torture cells to the perfection demanded by customers, the biggest and the most important customer being our own government.
We, the Muslims of America, are a distinct nation in the making. We have a great future in front of us and some very difficult tasks to perform. We must create our own ethical and political profile based on true Islamic principles, not on those taught and propagated by the half-baked, ignorant mullahs of the East. The Imams and leaders, who are imported from the Old countries need to reorient their thinking and their attitudes and discard the extra-Islamic cultural pollutants which have accumulated over centuries. Islam in America shall be basic in its purest form.
The Muslims of America will always stand with those, who are on the side of justice, whether at home or abroad, regardless of whether the conflict is between Muslims and non-Muslims or between Muslims and Muslims and give them moral support. However, we can no longer fight their battles for them, in Palestine, Pakistan or elsewhere. There is no such thing as Arab solidarity any more. The Palestinians are finding out that they cannot draw on any resources other than their own in the fight against the enemy. Therefore, they are forced to make compromises. We, the American Muslims cannot render them much support since their adversaries are the closest allies of our own government. All our efforts to influence the government have failed, whether it is George W. Bush or Barack Husain Obama. We Muslims in this country are in the thick of battle ourselves and our own survival is at stake.
Islamophobia in America is on the increase. All politicians, in the Republican Party in particular, find that bashing Islam is a very good tool to secure easy votes. As we now know, politics in America is about lies, dishonesty, injustice and disinformation. There is no such thing as patriotism in America. Whether on the Wall Street or on the main street, the White House or the governor houses, all they care about is their own narrow interests. The interests of the country and the nation are never on their minds. There were good honest people and the youth who, having become eligible to vote for the first time tried to make a difference in 2008 but they were brutally betrayed. Disappointed and dismayed, they do not even want to vote anymore. As a result the Extreme Right, in the form of Tea Party is on the ascendency. This is an affront to serious-minded intelligent people in America but it seems that this party is the true representative of the American un-intelligentsia, which forms a majority. One therefore, weeps and laments about the demise of America as we knew it. Will America be a third rate power very soon, one wonders?
You may have heard of a pastor of a church in Florida, who wants to launch a campaign to burn a Qur’an a day. Burning of books of knowledge is not a new thing. All uncivilized brutes at various points in history have done it but imagine the reaction such a wanton act will arouse around the globe. There are Christian minorities in various Muslim countries, living peacefully. I am told that in Damascus, on the way from the airport to the city, you see more churches than mosques. In Lebanon, Muslims and Christians form a delicate balance. In Nigeria there is already turmoil between the Christians and the Muslim majority. In Egypt, the Copts make a very peaceful and productive existence. Will it take an American pastor to ignite religious hatred all around the world and make massive fireworks of the Bibles and the Qur’ans? Whatever happens, we the Muslims of America should remain calm and refuse to be incited to revenge by these maniacs, although matches are cheap and bibles are free. We have never burnt any bibles, nor ignited any churches. We are forbidden by our religion to do so. We believe that Islam will prevail and the Qur’an will prevail because of its logic and its intellectual approach to the problems of mankind. No, we shall not burn any bibles but we promise you this: if you burn one Qur’an, ten Qur’ans will come alive in the hearts of the people. Unlike Bible, Qur’an is indestructible because it is preserved for ever in the memories of people and thousands more are memorizing it every day. Our answer to this challenge, my dear friends, is to increase our efforts manifold to take the Qur’an and its teachings to millions of people in this country, who feel spiritual and intellectual void in their lives so much so that the very people, who are cheering the Qur’an-burning today will revere it tomorrow and make it the guide in their lives.
There have been at least nineteen attacks on mosques and other Islamic places in this country from Florida to California during the past few weeks. The proposed mosque on ground zero has become a subject of national debate and discussion lately. This is being linked to the terrorist act on 9/11 and Muslims, not only in New York but all around the country are being put on the defensive. This is clearly a conspiracy. It is time that the American Muslims stopped apologizing for 9/11. It had nothing whatsoever to do with us. 9/11 was an act of war, carried out by America’s adversaries abroad, against whom the American government had been waging war for decades. Their names, like the name of Barack Husain Obama must be completely irrelevant in their adversarial relationship with America. Invoking the name of Islam in such acts is itself a terrorist act, perpetrated to harm the entire community. We have never mentioned that the man who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma was a Christian and Hitler and Mussolini were Christians or Baruch Goldstein, who massacred scores of Muslims in the Mosque of Ibrahim(A) in the city of Hebron was acting in the name of Judaism. We have never said that since Goldstein was born in Brooklyn, New York, the American Jews bear responsibility for his heinous crime. Having said this, we can debate among ourselves whether building this mosque at that place and at this time is a good idea. The Muslim public opinion seems to be divided on this issue. On one hand, some believe that we must assert our constitutional and legal rights and fight this one out; others on the other hand caution restraint.
I believe that a fight at this time will boost the chances of success for the Tea Party and the likes of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin and will be very debilitating for Muslims. The polarization, which occurs, will unsettle us for years to come. It will therefore be wise not to make the Ground Zero masjid an issue. We can take a lesson from Suleh Hudaibia, in which Prophet (S) made a compromise with the Meccans on the question of the rights of Muslims to perform Hajj; even when the Meccan representative refused to accept the signatory’s name mentioned as Mohammad the Messenger of God. When Ali Bin Abi Talib, the scribe of the agreement, refused to alter the title, the Prophet himself struck it off and made it Muhammad the son of Abdullah. This compromise was, from the strategic and tactical point of view a stroke of genius. This single act of wisdom did more to the propagation of Islam in Arabia than any act of the Prophet before and after. I think that our situation now is very much similar. This is time to avoid unnecessary conflict with non-Muslim America. This is the time when we laboriously and adroitly build institutions, quietly broaden our base, propagate Islam independently of those in the Middle East and South Asia, acquire political and economical clout as Jews did and remember that they are even less than us in number.
On Saturday, August 28th, Martin Luther King’s birthday there was a huge rally in Lincoln Memorial Park, in Washington D.C. organized by the Fox News host Glenn Beck. It was called “restoring honour” and was addressed by, among other people Sarah Palin. This was a rally by the American Right, who wants to restore America to the days of bigotry and write infamy in its fate. This is the biggest challenge the Right has thrown to the decent progressive Americans. In answer to this challenge all the fair-minded American individuals and organizations are organizing a counter rally at the same place on October 2nd. It is very important that this rally is a success. There will have to be at least one million people there. Muslims will do well to join this rally in great numbers, like they did in the Million Man March years ago.