Friday sermon: From Nigeria To Minnesota: How Islam Prohibits Racism And Killing Of Innocent Lives By Imam Murtadha Gusau

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In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is for Allah. We praise Him, we seek His aid and we ask for His forgiveness. We seek Allah’s refuge from the evils of ourselves and from our evil actions. Whosoever Allah guides, there is no one who can misguide him; and whosoever Allah misguides, there is no one who can guide him.

I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, who has no partner; and I testify that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His servant and Messenger.

Dear brothers and sisters, we are now on the land of humanity, civilization and progress. We are in America and the State of Minnesota specifically. The sounds of auto machines, their horns, the facades of buildings, and people’s clothes make us feel the degree of progress for those living in this part of the universe. A few steps on from our path, we are facing a security check, a team seeking to establish security and defuse the chaos in Minnesota! We have stopped here to check the details of what is going on?

We can see a policeman pressing down his pointed knee on the neck of a black citizen called “George Floyd”! We can hear the whine of George, who is in his 40s looks like a criminal, with the dirt and dust of poverty on him due to being on the street life and recklessness. These tough men suspected that George carried a fake coupon (20 dollars)! So they decided to lay him on the ground, and deal with him violently!

Consequence of ignorance:

So as long as these policemen carry on with their duty, we have some time to enjoy talking about another black man, elsewhere, and in different circumstances! Let’s go back a little, sorry, actually let’s go back a lot, not that much, but only a thousand and four hundred and forty one years (1441 AH). Here is Bilal Bin Rabah, the black-skinned previously owned slave freed from slavery by the first man who converted to Islam after the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him), devoted Bilal to a mission with a very distinct character, that being raising the call to prayer from the Greatest Mosque at that time, the Madinah Mosque. Here is Bilal who went to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), complaining about the behaviour of Abu Zar, that he mocked him due to the colour of his mother’s skin, stating, “O Son of a black woman!” Bilal knew very well that the religion that he chose abhors those who determine the characteristics of others solely on the basis of their colour or their race. For this reason, he went to the Prophet Muhammad himself to resolve this problem for him!

Respected servants of Allah, is the person’s colour, or the colour of his mother, related to the rights and obligations upon them? Is there a criterion other than piety that can determine whether a person has more privilege than others in the religion of Islam? Such questions were swirling in the head of Bilal, who had similar features to those of George Floyd! The blood started to rush into the face of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), when hearing the grounds of the dispute. Indeed, the peripheral issues of the dispute quickly disappeared, and only the phrase, “O son of the Black woman” remained!

So he, (Peace be upon him), looked towards Abu Zar, that great figure in Islam, and he (Peace be upon him), was frank and clear, and did not praise Abu Zar, but rather said in order to correct his views to others, “Did you mock him because of the colour of his mother? You still have within you some ignorance (within you)!” This is ignorance, falsehood, and a lack of knowledge in the spirit of Islam that makes a person’s view of his brother determined by the pigment of melanin, the curvature of the eyebrows, or the tone of his speech!

“You still have some ignorance (within you)!”, this is how Islam ruled on the unacceptable behaviour of Abu Zar, may Allah be pleased with him.

Perspective:

Let us return to Minnesota to look at our friend George Floyd. A whine-like sound emanates from him. He says pleading to the policeman who is keen to protect the security with the power of his two knees: “I cannot breathe.. I cannot breathe!”

George Floyd, how comical are you! You cannot breathe? Don’t you know that the policeman has another perspective, which is: it is not necessary to breathe! No disaster will happen if you cannot breathe, George! So why do you need to breathe? How beautiful is the justice that prevents the black man worth 20 dollars. “George” from breathing! He would cause the US National Security a violent shock, because he had a fake coupon worth 20 dollars.

Wallahi I am surprised how Stephen Mnuchin (US Treasury Secretary) has still not made an announcement to the media agencies about the damages caused to the American economy by the serious fraud planned and committed by “George Floyd.”

Allahu Akbar! Allah is the greatest:

So long as George still breathes, even if it is a weak breath, we can return back to “Bilal” to see where he is now?

We are now in Makkah! People are crowded around the Prophet (Peace be upon him), and amongst them are the most important Islamic personalities surrounding him: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali and other Arab men, as well as the elders of Makkah; those whom the blood of Arabism (Arab Nationalism) permeates their bodies. Also those with glowing white faces, gather around, waiting upon any order from him (Peace be upon him), to implement immediately! But the Prophet (Peace be upon him), searches with his pure eyes for another person, a non-Arab, and a non-white being, who even has a past history in slavery. Perhaps you know who he is? Indeed, he is Bilal Bin Rabah!

But this time, there was no problem of the type, “O Son of a black woman” that occurred between Bilal and Abu Zar. Rather, the issue is related to an order that he will direct towards the “Son of black woman” to go up to the greatest monument in the world and the greatest building in history with his black feet! The Prophet (Peace be upon him), commanded him to go up on the Ka’abah and to raise the call to prayer (Allah is Great.. Allah is Great)!

Wallahi, Allah is greater than the false and deceitful civilizations, Allah is greater than the lies of oppressive advancement, Allah is greater than the recklessness of the very white humanity!

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), wanted to tell history that Islam is a faith that does not give importance whether you are Arab or Ethiopian, white or black, upright or pug nosed, it is a faith and belief that targets the heart and from a deeper perspective than that of genetics and nucleic acids!

Victory for melanin:

Let’s return to George Floyd, and see what is the latest on his breathing!

Oh! It seems that a development has happened! George Floyd is dead, there are no longer any breaths. The policeman lifted his knee that is keen on national security from George’s neck that seeks to confuse currency markets and tamper with stock prices with its fake coupons!

Subhanallah, he actually killed him!

The cherished colour has gained victory over the disliked colour! Melanin pigment has won over the pigment that Allah has chosen for each and every person, it has won over humanity, compassion, and the right to live!

Progressiveness, civilization and humanity can raise their voices on black funerary tunes to tell the world: The black person has no right to breathe!

As long as the American judiciary, the National Security Agency, and President Trump himself delve into the matter of “George Floyd” who died because his colour was not compatible with the requirements of human civilisation, this civilisation, that sees colour as an integral part of the entitlement for humans to breath. So long as this matter is still under investigation, we can take our final look at “Bilal of Islam.”

The Law of Mastery:

Bilal walks in the city of Madinah, and those of pure Arab stock stretch their necks to look at him. Then the decree comes from the greatest leader in the history of Islam, “Umar Bin al-Khattab.” The true Arab leader, whose lineage crosses that of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

He looks at the black Bilal with admiration and honour, looking at him whilst he redefines the law of mastery, and the concept of greatness; not merely deserving of breathing and decent living, so he proclaims to make all of human history hear, and his statement becomes a preserved law protected and memorised by the offspring of all Muslims who are fed it as they are nursed with the milk of their mothers:

“Abu Bakr is our master, who freed our master (bilal from slavery).” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Dear brothers and sister, Islam, which gives the right to live to all human beings without discrimination, does not only take measures to prevent the violations against this right but also renders it a duty of the community to ensure minimum life conditions and basic needs with the system of mutual assistance and solidarity.

Man – whether a believer or not – is Allah’s servant and a nice entrusted being. Therefore, he has honour and he deserves respect. It is the basic understanding of Islam not to discriminate among people in terms of being humans and to regard them as beings having equal rights, duties and values.

Value of Man:

Man has a special, honourable place among created beings. What makes man honourable among other beings must be the divine spirit Allah breathed into him while creating him. The following is stated in the Qur’an regarding the issue:

“He Who has made everything which He has created most good: He began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay, And made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised: But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His spirit…” [Qur’an, 32: 7-9]

Thanks to this spirit man has in him, he is superior to angels and he is the vicegerent of Allah on earth. That man is the vicegerent of Allah is stated as follows in the Qur’an:

“Behold, your Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth.’…” [Qur’an, 2:30]

Allah granted man honour and value by making him the vicegerent on earth. With this property, man will obey the decrees of the noble books sent down through Prophets and the natural laws in the universe; and he will apply them; he will benefit from the endless boons of the Creator, worship and thank Him. This is the purpose of the creation of man.To sum up, the duty of man as the vicegerent is to act in accordance with Allah’s will and to be happy. Allah Almighty wants this; He sent Prophets and noble books for this purpose.

Allah Almighty, who is the creator of the realms, created everything in the best form. (See Qur’an, 32:7) Allah, who is the best creator, (See Qur’an, 23:14) created the first man in the best form and all human beings in the best form and perfectly. Allah states the following for man in the Qur’an:

“We have indeed created man in the best of molds.” [Qur’an, 95:4]

Indeed, man is the most beautiful creature. The phrase “Ahsani Taqwim” (the best mold) mentioned in the Qur’anic verse includes all kinds of material and spiritual beauties. The straightness of his height, the uniqueness of his posture, having mind, intellect and thought, having the ability to speak and write, having the ability of art, the property of being able to discriminate between the beautiful and the ugly, the good and the bad, etc. are some of those beauties.

Respected brothers and sisters, according to the Islamic belief, man is equipped with perfect mental, bodily, ethical and spiritual abilities and faculties. He is born in a clean form with the ability to elevate materially and spiritually. Man, who is created with these abilities, can ascend to climaxes. He has such an honour.

Allah states the value He gave man as follows in verse 70 of the chapter of Al-Isra’:

“We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of our creation.”

Importance Given to Human Life:

The great importance is given to security of life, in other words, right to live, in Islam and it is stated that human life is untouchable.

In Islam, “protection of life” has the most important place among the basic values called “religious necessities.” Furthermore, it is possible to say that these five basic principles, which are listed as the protection of the religion, life, mind, lineage and property, are related to the protection of life directly or indirectly.

In some cases, the protection of life comes before the protection of religion, which is in the first place, in the list of those values. As a matter of fact, the practices like the permission of committing some forbidden deeds to save human life, and the obligation of committing those forbidden deeds in some cases emphasise the importance given to human life.

Precautions in order to protect human life:

The religion of Islam puts the right to live, which is the most natural right of man, under the guarantee of law and imposes some material and spiritual sanctions in order to ensure full respect to the right to live. I can list them as follows:

1. Material sanctions

When man’s being sent to the world is narrated, the opposition of angels stating that man will cause mischief and shed blood on earth is mentioned (See Qur’an, 2:30).

Indeed, after a while, the first shedding of blood occurred due to the hatred and jealousy between Prophet Adam’s two sons.

It is stated in the Qur’an that killing a person is a serious crime like killing all people and that to save a person’s life is a lofty and valuable act like saving all people:

“…If any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people…” [Qur’an, 5:32]

In the religion of Islam, retaliation (Qisas) is essential related to the crimes of killing and wounding people.

There are many Qur’anic verses and Prophetic Hadiths regarding the issue. As a matter of fact, The following is stated in the Qur’an:

“O you who believe! The law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand, and compensate him with handsome gratitude, this is a concession and a Mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave penalty.” [Qur’an, 2:178]

“Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).” [Qur’an, 17:33]

Many words and practices of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) are regarded as evidence that punishment by retaliation is legitimate. The Messenger of Allah stated the following regarding the issue:

“… The penalty for a person who kills deliberately is Qisas (retaliation).” [Ibn Majah]

The imposition of punitive sanctions against the unjust attacks at the security of the lives of people, in other words, rights of living of the people are arrangements made in accordance with the importance given to the safety of people.

In addition, the principle of punishing a murderer by the state, and after an objective and fair trial, not by the relatives of the person who was murdered is adopted.

All this is an expression of the importance given to the protection of human life from a different viewpoint.

Even during the state of war, the right of killing the enemy is very limited in Islam; the killing of those who do not actually participate in the war like women, children, clerics and elderly men is forbidden; and the right of living of the prisoners of war is protected.

It is clear that the cases of actual state of war, execution of the sentence and legitimate defense are excluded from this prohibition.

2. Spiritual sanctions

Along with worldly sanctions like Qisas and Diyyah (blood money), there are also some spiritual (other worldly) sanctions for killing a person in the religion of Islam.

It is stated in the Qur’an that killing people without a legal reason will bring about Allah’s wrath and curse and hence a very severe spiritual responsibility:

“If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.” [Qur’an, 4:93]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) addressed all Muslims as follows in the Farewell Sermon:

“Just as this day, this month and this city is sacred, so too are your lives, property and honour sacred; they are protected from all kinds of violation; that is, they are under the responsibility of the community and the guarantee of law…” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Thus, he stated that man’s right to live was untouchable.

He stated the following in another Hadith:

“Avoid seven destructive things…. One of them is to kill a person that Allah renders haram except for justified cases….” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The property of the right to live according to Islam:

The religion of Islam regards the life of every person, no matter what his belief, colour, race and social status is, as an untouchable value and tries to prevent all kinds of attacks on and dangers to human life in the most effective way.

Therefore, Islam does not give people the right to commit suicide, which means to end one’s own life, and regards it among major sins; it states that such a person will be punished severely in the hereafter just because of committing suicide no matter what his belief and deeds are.

To sum it up:

Man, who is equipped with perfect mental, bodily, ethical and spiritual faculties and abilities, is born in a clean state and suitable for all kinds of material and spiritual elevations.

In our religion, great importance is given to man’s security of life, in other words, the right to live, and it is stated that human life is untouchable. Some material and spiritual sanctions have been imposed in order to ensure full respect to the right to live.

As a result of the principle of “the protection of life”, which is one of the basic purposes of the religion of Islam, it is strictly forbidden for a person both to kill another person unjustly and to commit suicide.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

 

 

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

 

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Dhul Qa’dah 4, 1441 A. H. (June 26, 2020).

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