Justice in Darfur

“As-salámu ‘alaikum wa rahmatul láhi wa barakátuh!”

“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem.

Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh”

All Praise is due to Alláh, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Alláh, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Alláh, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, sws, is His servant, and His messenger.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem! Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, haqqa tuqaatihee wala tamu tun-na, il-la wa antum Muslimoon.”

O You who believe, – Fear Allah, as He should be feared, and die not except as Muslims.

Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, wa qooloo qawlan sadeedaa. Yuslih-lakum a’maalakum wa yaghfir lakum thunoobakum, wamay yu-til-laaha warasoolah, faqad faaza fawzan atheemaa.”

O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory…

My respected Brothers and Sisters,

The humanitarian crisis in Darfur is getting worse. Around 200,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians, and 2 ½ million people have been made homeless. The international community has been very slow to respond to this problem, and the attitude of Muslims on the whole has been rather shameful. It’s abundantly clear that the Sudanese government has been using Janjaweed bandits to commit mass murder and rape in their campaign against the people of Dafur. The oppressors are Muslims and the victims are fellow-Muslims. The sheer scale of suffering is quite appalling. But one hears hardly a whisper of protest from the Muslim world generally. Why have we become so selective in our sense of justice? Why do we only complain and demand justice when we are the victims? Why do we remain silent when our fellow Muslims are the oppressors? Does Islam not teach us to be just, even when it is inconvenient for us, even when justice rules against our personal interests?

Allah deplores those who apply justice selectively, those who are guilty of double standards. Such people are classed as hypocrites: munaafiqoon. The hottest part of hell is reserved for them, and we Muslims must avoid doing anything that brings us near to hypocrisy. We must be absolutely impartial, fair-minded and scrupulously just at all times. We dare not turn a blind eye to unjust and dishonourable behaviour of our fellow Muslims, whether it happens in Darfur or Damascus, Cairo, Karachi or Kuala Lumpur, or, for that matter, when Muslims behave badly in New York or London. When brother Muslims commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, they deserve our utter condemnation. Allah has not given anyone the licence to behave unjustly. We must be as vigorous in our condemnation of their behaviour just as much as we condemn the attacks by others, on Muslims elsewhere in the world. There’s no such thing as halaal oppression or halaal terrorism.

In the standardised universal format, every khutbah ends with these words from Sura Nahl, The Bee:

“InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil ‘adel, wal ihsaan, wa itaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha ‘anil fahshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-ith-thukhum lallakum tathak-karoon.” (Quran 16:90),

“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.”

Brothers and sisters, we are used to hearing this verse at the end of every Arabic sermon, khutbah, but how often do we reflect on its meaning? It tells us the Allah commands justice. Allah doesn’t say it’s an optional matter. We can’t just take it or leave it. If we disregard justice, we violate a clear command from Allah. That’s serious, and the consequences of disobeying Allah’s command can be absolutely fearsome and devastating.

In the 12th Century of the Common Era, the Caliph Al Mu’tasim ordered his soldiers to kill the ambassador of a Mongolian leader. This un-diplomatic and unjust incident was to have far reaching consequences. The Mongol leader was Genghis Khan, and he didn’t take insults lightly. Muslims had become so arrogant with wealth and power, some of their leaders thought they could treat other nations with impunity. Genghis Khan was so enraged by this atrocity. He mobilised his army and with his fearsome warrior horsemen, he unleashed a tidal wave of death that swept across the Asia towards Europe. The Mongols destroyed everything in their path. Baghdad, with its great libraries, its beautiful palaces and public buildings, was burnt to the ground. Caliph Al Mu’tasim was rolled up in an exquisite carpet, and trampled to death under the horses’ hooves. Genghis Khan boasted: “I am the wrath of God, sent to punish mankind for their sins,” When he was asked, why did he commit this terrible massacre? He replied: “Because you Muslims were unjust.”

Brothers and sisters, Justice is an integral part of Islam. We Muslims are not Allah’s chosen people. We cannot do as we please and expect Allah to favour us above other communities. Being a Muslim is a great blessing, and it’s also a great responsibility. We have a duty to study and to understand what that responsibility is. There are no excuses for ignorance. Justice is one of the non-negotiable parts of our faith. We have to be just and fair in our dealings with others, even to our enemies, even if it is against ourselves. There are several verses in the Holy Quran that confirm this.

In Sura Al Nisa 4:v58 the Holy Quran says:

“Allah commands you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due: and when you judge between one person and another, that you judge with justice: Truly, how excellent is the teaching which He gives you! Indeed Allah knows and sees everything.”

And, again in Sura An-Nisá, 4:135 we read:

“O you who Believe! Stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Alláh, even as against yourselves or your parents or your family and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Do not follow the lusts (of your hearts) in case you might swerve. If you distort (justice) or decline to uphold justice, truly Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.”

In Sura Al-Máida, verse 8, we are told: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealing; and do not the hatred of some people towards you, lead you to act unjustly towards them. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah for Allah is well acquainted with all that you do.”

Islam also teaches absolute equality before the law: Rich or poor, black or white, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Sikh or Buddhist, we are all children of Adam [A.S] and we all deserve equal treatment in the eyes of the law.

A woman belonging to a high and noble family was arrested for stealing. She was brought to the Prophet Muhammad, sws, and it was recommended that she might be spared the punishment because of her status. This suggestion angered the Prophet Muhammad sws so that the vein on his neck swelled up and he said:

“The nations that lived before you were destroyed by Alláh, because they punished the common man, and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes. I swear, by The One Who holds my life in His hand that even if my daughter, Fatima, had committed this crime, I would have cut off her hand.”

Brothers and Sisters, our Beloved Prophet Muhammad sws would not have spared his own daughter if she committed a crime. What clearer example do we need? If we behave unjustly, we not only harm others, we also wrong our own souls. And Allah will hold us accountable for everything we do.

All praise is due to Alláh, the Lord of all the Worlds; may the greetings and peace be upon the best messenger, Muhammad, the unlettered prophet; and upon his family and upon all of his companions. Amma ba’ad, And, after this,

Behold, Alláh and his angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O you who believe! Ask for blessings on him, and salute him with a worthy greeting.

O Alláh! Send your greetings upon Muhammad and his family, just as you sent your greetings on Abraham, and his family. O Alláh, send your blessings on Muhammad and his family, just as you blessed Abraham and his family. In both worlds, you are praiseworthy and exalted.”

Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. Was-salaatu was-salaamu alaa Khairil mursaleen. Muhammadin-nabeey-yil Ummiy-yee, wa-‘alaa aalihee, wasah-bihee, aj-ma’een.

Ammaa ba’ad:

Innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, wa alaa áli Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”

Part Two:

Sub’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem.

“All glory is for Allah, and all praise is for Allah; There is no power and no strength except with Allah.”

My respected brothers and sisters,

When we pray to Allah, we always beg for His mercy and His forgiveness, never for His justice. That’s an interesting point. Why don’t we ask Allah for justice? Why are there no du’ahs, no supplications asking Allah to impose His justice on us? The answer is simple. If Allah dispensed His justice, without His mercy and forgiveness, then we would be doomed. Allah says in His Holy Book, [Sura 16:61 and 35:45], that if he were to punish us for our wrong doing, and give human beings what they deserved, because of their sins, there wouldn’t be a single living thing left on the face of the earth. So, Allah’s relationship with human beings is based on His generosity and His mercy.

He says, “I have imposed Mercy on Myself.” And remember that no one will enter paradise because of their good deeds alone. Only Allah’s mercy will make this possible.

The Holy Quran teaches us that Allah has 99 Beautiful Names, “Asmaa ul Husna,” and the two Names that we invoke most often are Al Rahman and Al Rahim, the Most Merciful and Most Compassionate. As you all know, one of the most beautiful and evocative suras in the Holy Quran – they are all beautiful suras, but this one is really special – It’s called Sura Al Rahman.

We are very, very fortunate that Allah does not reward our good deeds and bad deeds in a mechanical, mathematical sort of way. We are all so forgetful, so sinful and rebellious, and our good deeds are so few and far between. If we were to be rewarded one-for-one, we’d be totally lost. But Islam teaches us that every bad deed is recorded as one bad deed, and every good deed is recorded as ten good deeds. Allah is so generous! Furthermore, He assures us in His Hadith Qudsi, that even if we came to him with sins as high as mountains, and we sincerely ask forgiveness from Him, associating no partners to Him, then He will forgive us.

Brothers and Sisters, I often hear some of us talking about the value of our good deeds. I’ve heard brothers actually calculating their ‘thawaab’ and adding some numerical value to their actions. They’re so used to working out their profit margins in business, they seem to think that Allah is some kind of chief accountant with a huge spreadsheet to do his calculations. I don’t think it really works that way, I don’t think we can go to Allah with our payslip and complain that there was a mistake in our wages….. If we really want to please Him and to earn our special place in paradise, we will have to rely not on His Justice, but on His Generosity, His Mercy.

Allah says in Sura Al Shu’raa [the Poets] ch26:v89 that ‘none shall enter the garden except those with a sound heart’ … “qalbun saleem”.

Let’s forget our calculations about good and bad deeds. Entering paradise, Allah’s garden Al Jannah is not going to be a mathematical exercise. It really is about our disposition spiritually. How was our love and gratitude to Allah expressed through our dealings with His creation? Did we harm anyone? Did we deny anyone’s rights? Did we care for animals and for the environment? How much did we add to the sum total of human happiness? How much did we remove from the burdens of human misery and despair? Did we make the world just a wee bit better than we found it? Brothers and sisters, the answer to all these questions will be decided by the disposition of our hearts. Let’s remember that beautiful prayer,

Rabbana la tuzigh quloobana, ba’da ith haday tanaa, wahablanaa mil-ladunka Rahma; Innaka antal Wah-haab.

“O my Lord! Do not let our hearts deviate from the truth now that we have been guided. But Grant us Mercy from Your very presence; for You are the Grantor of Bounties without measure!”

Brothers and sisters, to conclude our khutbah on Justice:

InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa itaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fahshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-ith-thukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Quran 16:90),

“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.”

Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152].

“and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.”

wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].

“and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”

Ameen. Aqeemus salaah!