Black Lives Matter, especially to Muslims
“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 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, peace and blessings on him, 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, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, 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.
In the opening verse of Sura An-Nisaa’, Allah says:
“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.”
My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The USA is approaching its most crucial elections of modern times. At stake are many issues that concern us all, across the world: the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and the shocking attitudes towards black people.
The topic of this khutbah is: Black Lives Matter, Especially to Muslims. You might ask, why especially to Muslims?
It’s very simple. We are fond of complaining about discrimination against us, but what about our own discrimination against others? It’s all too easy to point the finger of blame on some white Americans and some white Europeans, but what about our own racism?
At the beginning of this khutbah, the Quran reminds us to “Speak a straightforward word,” “Wa quoloo qawlan sadeeda.”
So, let me speak a straightforward word. Sadly, there are still so many Muslims who have racist attitudes today, and who still treat black people very badly.
Black servants who work in Arab and South Asian homes will confirm this. Black graduates who work in Muslim owned businesses around the world are often paid less and respected less than their white colleagues. And the problem goes way back over the centuries.
The slave trade wasn’t confined to the Europeans going to West Africa and the Americas. Muslims in Zanzibar and the Coromandel Coast in India owned black slaves and sold them to the white colonists. We Muslims have our own shameful history, and those attitudes still persist today. Some of us still make crude and lazy remarks about black people. Some of us still use skin-lightening creams and hair-straighteners. Some of us still prefer marriages with white people rather than with black people. Before we start complaining about racism and Islamophobia, let us first get rid of our own racist demons! Remember that:
“Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves….” (Quran 13:11)
Black Lives Matter, or should matter, especially to Muslims. This is because we are the first Ummah, the first worldwide community that was and is not based on tribe, colour, race, language or nationality. Our leader, Allah’s Praised One, sws, declared in his last sermon:
“..All mankind is from Adam and Eve; an Arab is not superior to a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not superior to an Arab; also a white (person) has no superiority over black (person) and a black (person) has no superiority over white (person) except by cautious awareness of Allah (taqwa) and good actions. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that all the Muslims are now one brotherhood…”
The Muslim Ummah is the first international brotherhood and sisterhood united by a powerful idea: That God, Allah is One, and that every human being is descended from common ancestors, Adam and Eve. Every human soul has witnessed that Allah is our Lord and Master.
This covenant was made long before we were born, long before the universe, time, space, energy and matter came into existence. Here Allah gathered all the human souls that ever was, and ever will be. Then Allah addressed them all with the question:
“Alastu bi Rabbikum? Am I not your Lord? And they all replied, in one thunderous voice: Bala shahidna! Yes, Indeed You are, lest we should say on the Day of Judgement that we were not aware of this.” (Quran 7:172).
We have no excuse, brothers and sisters! Every human soul therefore has a dim and distant awareness of this Covenant, this confession. But we are forgetful, so Allah sent us many Prophets to remind us.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad sws, Allah’s Praised One, forbade all forms of racism. When Abu Dharr, a Companion, abused the Abyssinian Bilal, another Companion, calling him a “son of a black woman,” Rasool Allah became angry and reprimanded him, saying that he still had some of the ignorance of former times within him.
We should remember that the Prophet of Islam established a non-racial community more than a thousand years ago, and yet, here we are, still struggling to apply those principles, inside and outside of the Muslim Ummah. We Muslims ought to know, even more so than others, that Black Lives Do indeed matter a great deal.
I’ve heard some people say, yes, but surely, all lives Matter, not only black lives! That’s true. But let’s not diminish the impact of this moment in time. Undeniably, black people have suffered and are still suffering much more discrimination and humiliation, major- and minor-aggressions than any other racial group. This is the moment for establishing racial justice, especially for black skinned human beings, once and for all. Let’s not miss the opportunity.
The scholar Ibn Jawzy reminded us that “Allah will bless a land that is just, even if it is a non-Muslim land, and Allah will curse a land that is unjust, even if it is a Muslim land.”
Let us pause for a moment and reflect on those words.
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, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.
Sub’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem
Glory to Allah! Praise to Allah! There is no power and no strength except from Allah!
My dear respected sisters and brothers,
I was born in South Africa, and for the first 32 years of my life I saw and experienced the institutional racism of Apartheid. But I also saw the informal racism of slightly less oppressed Indian, Malay and mixed-race people towards each other and especially towards black South Africans.
To suffer racism is bad enough. But then to become a racist yourself is inexcusable.
In many parts of the world, our mosques have become ethnically exclusive “race temples” rather than the inclusive places of worship established by that first generation of Muslims, 14 centuries ago. We seem to have forgotten the luminous example of our noble and illustrious predecessors. We have a lot of work to do. Introspection, self-analysis and mending our clumsy and errant ways would be a good start…
I pray that Allah will help you and me to cleanse our hearts with any remaining stains of racism within our own hearts. I pray that Allah will help us remove the veils of ignorance from our eyes, and help us to treat black people with the same respect, love and admiration as anyone else.
Please, say ‘Ameen’.
Brothers and sisters, to conclude our khutbah:
“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.”
Allah says: “and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.” “and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”
InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90),
Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152].
wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].
Ameen. Aqeemus salaah!
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